Taking a hike in a National Park might not be the first thing that springs to mind when planning your visit to Haarlem. It should be though! National Park Zuid-Kennemerland is located between Haarlem and Zandvoort and is composed of dunes, beaches and coastal forests.
The National Park has 25 entrances. Today, I am going to talk about one in particular: Middenduin. It is my favorite because it is so close to my home. It is also very close to the city centre and easily reached by bus, bike or even train. An ideal destination if you want to get away from the city for an hour or two.
What can you expect at Middenduin? Well, after crossing the little bridge on your right side it might look a bit dull at first, being all flat and straight. But just keep on walking, and you after you walked underneath the train tracks you will be awarded with the beautiful view of Middenduin’s centre. The water and the open space create an environment where flora and fauna (apparently the kingfisher breeds here!) are very happy, and it shows.
From here on you can choose: go left over the little bridge, or stay on the right side of the grass land. If you are interested in seeing some highland cows I suggest staying on the right side of the field. Just follow the path and as soon as you enter the forest, go right again. As soon as you see an iron grid on the path, you know you are close. Cross it and keep your ears and eyes open for the beautiful animals that roam the forest and keep it healthy. They are used to seeing people and won’t harm you, but please just let them be and don’t touch them.
Some things you need to know about Middenduin:
- the park is open for visitors between sunrise and sunset
- bikes are not allowed at Middenduin, it’s just walking here
- dogs are not allowed
- there are three marked walking routes in the park
- free entrance
And how do you get at Middenduin? Easy..
- take bus 81 going to ‘Zandvoort Busstation’ and get off at ‘Bloemendaal, Kennemerduinen’. Take the first street to the left (the Duinlustweg), walk over the bridge and the entrance to the National Park is on your right hand. Bus leaves every half hour.
- take a train to Overveen. Leave the train station and turn right at the supermarket. Cross the train tracks and simply follow the street for about 15 minutes. You’ll pass a roundabout, some restaurants, a church on your left side and then the street will bend to the right. Keep on walking until you can turn left at the Duinlustweg. Entrance to the park is on your right side.
- ride your bike to Middenduin. Leave the city via the Zijlweg. Go straight ahead until you get to a roundabout, turn left here. The street will bend to the right, continue going straight ahead. Turn left at Duinlustweg. Entrance to the park is on your right side.