Zeeland is one of the twelve provinces of our country and is located in the southwest of the Netherlands. You will find miles of beaches that attract millions of tourists from home and abroad every year. But it is not only because of the beautiful beaches that Zeeland is such a popular vacation destination. Zeeland has much more to offer: from culture to relaxation!
Zeeland offers something for everyone. Whether you love nature, prefer to sniff some culture in one of Zeeland’s beautiful cities or authentic villages, or perhaps you’d prefer an active vacation. Zeeland is definitely a wonderful vacation destination, in summer and in winter.
A visit to the capital of Zeeland should certainly not be missed during your vacation. This city has so much beauty to offer. Besides many historical and monumental sights you can also enjoy shopping and delicious food. A must-see is the view over the city if you have climbed the 207 steps of the “Lange Jan” tower of the Abbey. Middelburg also has fun, typical Zeeland markets and you can take a boat tour or a ride through the city by horse and carriage.
Middelburg is also worth a visit in the winter. The town is then transformed into a Winter Wonder Town. Enjoy drinking glühwein at one of the many winter terraces, performing tricks on the ice rink or shopping at the Christmas market.
2. Day at the beach
Zeeland has the sunniest weather in the Netherlands and combined with a number of beautiful, spacious beaches, it is the obvious place to go if you like sun, sea and beach. In total Zeeland has 650 kilometers of beaches, so the choice is yours.
For the most beautiful beach go to Ouddorp at Sea, but also in such Cadzand, Brouwersdam, Domburg and New Heemstede find beautiful and clean beaches. You can combine a day of sunbathing on the beach with a stroll along the boulevard, a game of volleyball or a kite surfing lesson. Your beach experience will be completely ultimate if you spend the night in one of the many beach cabins in Zeeland.
3. Walking routes along Zeeland’s coastline
Because of its beautiful nature, Zeeland is an excellent place to discover on foot. There is a large network of beautiful walking routes that take you along the most beautiful places in Zeeland. One very popular route is from Oostkapelle to Domburg. You can, depending on how far you want to walk, also very easily determine your own route. The wandelroutenetwerk runs throughout the province.
If you would like to add a touch of adventure to your walk, you can go on a treasure hunt or go beachcombing in search of the most beautiful beach treasures. During the wet boot tour you can walk through the mud. There are also tours and expeditions that are specifically aimed at children.
4. The Delta Works and Neeltje Jans
To protect Zeeland from a flood disaster such as that which struck in 1953, the Delta Works were built. This impressive defense system can be visited and there is plenty to see and do. So you can walk and cycle and you can visit a butterfly garden.
A visit to Deltapark Neeltje Jans should not be missed and is also very fun and educational for children. You can learn a lot about the Delta Works and the Oosterscheldekering, but you will also find (water) attractions and even a seal show. In short, you’ll find everything here for a fun day out. If you want to admire the Delta Works from up close, you can also take a boat trip.
5. Seal safari
Because of the beautiful nature and the abundance of water, many animals can be found in Zeeland. And of course it remains the most special to see animals in the wild. Various nature excursions are organized, where you can see the animals in their natural habitat. Think of butterflies, tree frogs, bats and lots of fish.
But the best part is the seal safari where you can get very close to the seals during a two hour boat trip. The boat departs from Sint-Annaland, but you can also board in Zierikzee. Booking tickets is recommended.
6. Cycling in Zeeland
It’s ideal to discover Zeeland by bike. Don’t worry if you don’t have a bike with you, because there are plenty of places where you can hire bikes, mountain bikes and even tandems and delivery bikes. You can set off on your own and let the miles of bike paths take you through the beautiful surroundings. But there are also many beautiful cycling routes that have been selected for you to take you along the highlights.
The best known are the Blossom Route in Zuid-Beveland, which is of course the most beautiful around May when all the fruit trees and flowers are in bloom. In East Zeeland Flanders there is the Kappeletjesroute on which you will encounter all kinds of typical Zeeland chapels along the way.
7. The Arsenal
If you want to keep the beach for a while, then of course you go to the most adventurous amusement park in Zeeland. In Pirate Park the Arsenal in Vlissingen you can spend the whole day experiencing all kinds of pirate adventures. Fun for young and old. Go in search of treasure like a real pirate, shoot off cannons and visit a blood-curdling pirate show.
The best park in Zeeland also has a sea aquarium with an extensive collection of (tropical) fish, rays and even real sharks. With a little luck you can help feed the animals or maybe you can pet a shark.
8. Steam train Goes-Borsele
If you have never ridden in a real steam train, this is your chance. From Goes, a coal-fired train travels via Kwadendamme to Hoedekenskerke. It is quite an experience to make this nostalgic ride.
You can choose from different classes and make the tour as luxurious as you want. Do you dare to sit on a wooden bench or do you prefer decadence, just like the wealthy citizens of the past? You can get off at different places along the way and thus explore more of the surroundings of Zuid-Beveland.
9. Terra Maris
Between Oostkapelle and Domburg is the museum for nature and landscape of Zeeland with in- and outdoor activities for young and old. Terra Maris, which literally means “land of the sea”, is housed in a castle and is situated in a beautiful nature reserve where you can enjoy walking and spending time. In the exhibitions you will learn more about the history of Zeeland’s flora and fauna. All year round all kinds of extra activities are organized. For example, there are nature excursions and treasure hunts for children. Or take part in a workshop to pick up cartridges or take a look behind the scenes at the aquarium.
On Schouwen-Duiveland, about twenty minutes from the beach is the beautiful Zierikzee. The city center here has several monuments and once you have walked through the city gates and wandered through the narrow cobbled streets filled with stores and restaurants it is not difficult to imagine how people used to live here.
Besides the Old Harbour there is also a new fishing harbour, from where the fishermen sail up the Oosterschelde. From the quay you have a beautiful view of the water and the Zeeland Bridge. Once back you eat the fresh fish on the cozy square of the city. Tip: park just outside Zierikzee, then you can walk straight into the center.
Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is also called the other side. You ‘used’ to get there via one of the two ferries from Kruiningen or Vlissingen (now both pedestrian/bicycle ferries), nowadays the quickest way is through the 6.6 km long Westerschelde Tunnel. (An experience in itself). Once out of the tunnel, Terneuzen is a fine destination. The city is located directly on the water and has a beach, long promenade and a cozy town center with a striking number of stores.
What you can’t ignore are the huge container ships that sail right past the boulevard. Complete apartment buildings pass by. Impressive to see. An extra good place to watch them is at the locks (after the tunnel at the 1st traffic circle take the third exit). Do you have children? They’ll feast their eyes on such big boats.
12. Domein Westenschouwen
Forest or beach? Usually you have to choose, but in Westenschouwen this is not the case. Here you will find the most beautiful forest in Zeeland right next to the dunes! The domain Westenschouwen as it is officially called offers several hiking trails, a climbing park and via stairs you are on the other side of the dunes on the beach.
The beach here is wide and clean. If you drive to Westenschouwen go first all the way to the parking lot. From there you can go straight to the beach, eat in the restaurants near the traffic circle or into the woods. Tip: take the side road behind the parking lot. Your reward: a perfect view of the Delta Works. Additional tips? Long dune walks between Westenschouwen and Haamstede or visit the lighthouse!
13. The Zeeuws-Vlaanderen beaches
For fine sandy beaches and lots of sunshine, you do not have to go to southern Europe. Zeeuws-Vlaanderen has seaside resorts with corresponding beaches. The coastal strip of Breskens through Nieuwvliet to Cadzand-Bad consists almost entirely of fine beaches and every few hundred meters a staircase takes you up the dune / dyke and there is a bicycle / footpath along the entire length. Ideal for a nice view of Vlissingen on the other side. Also check out the black and white striped lighthouse in Breskens and the colorful fishing port!
On the beach itself is a good place, with many beach pavilions, beach houses (to stay overnight and smaller ones to store your stuff). There are also plenty of parking spaces and the beaches are also easy to reach by public transport. A day at the beach here is a must! And eeh, you can find shark teeth and razors (shells) here 😉
The most beautiful town on Lake Veere. From afar you can see the Great Church and once in Veere, this church is a good landmark. Not that you get lost quickly though, in Veere. It is not big here but very charming. The activity and bustle in Veere is concentrated around the small harbor at the Campveerse toren. From the city walls (with cannons) at this tower you look out over the Veerse Meer with its many sailing boats and water sports enthusiasts.
On the left is the harbor, with a number of terraces on the quay attached to beautiful old buildings with wharf cellars. It’s worth walking in for a moment because these old homes are truly magnificent. Is the harbor too busy? The little streets behind it are quieter, shady and equally photogenic.
Zeeland is of course beautiful. Both along the water and on the water, but don’t forget the underwater world! There are several popular diving spots in the province. Including Tholen and the Oosterschelde. The largest diving area, however, is the Grevelingenmeer. Diving here is possible from various places. The lake is located between Schouwen-Duiveland and Goeree-Overflakkee and is the largest saltwater lake in Europe.
Would you rather stay above water? Along the lake are several recreational beaches with opportunities for water sports, fishing, catching crabs (there are many!) or with your own or rented boat on the water. From such Bruinisse, Port Zélande and the port of Den Osse depart daily tour boats. The seagulls sail along happily.
16. Highest dune of Zeeland – Zoutelande
Zoutelande, a small but cozy village near Vlissingen, was not very well known until a year or two ago. And then came BLØF … Nowadays the tourists have discovered the village en masse, but with plenty of large parking lots and a wide beach it is still good to stay in this favorite seaside resort of yours truly.
Are you tired of lying on the beach here, or have you eaten your fill in the little street just behind the dike? Then walk from the village on the dike towards Vlissingen. Soon you will walk across the dunes and you will see it already: the highest dune in Zeeland. From the dike you already have a magnificent view of the sea and the hinterland, but once on top of the dune it seems as if the world is at your feet. Thirsty from all that climbing? Then a fine beach pavilion and the fresh sea await you downstairs (there are stairs).
17. Zeeland Bridge
A familiar bridge if you follow the traffic information, because in high winds you may not with a caravan on. The Zeelandbrug is also a big bridge, just over 5 kilometers long. Guaranteed for a brisk walk, a nice route by car, or a stiff game of counter-rotation cycling on windy days.
The bridge was built as a faster connection between the cities of Zierikzee and Goes and forms a beautiful spot to look out over the Oosterschelde. Are you staying near the bridge on a vacation park? Then walk towards the water at sunset and see how the setting sun puts the bridge in a beautiful light.
18. Boulevard Vlissingen
Boulevard Bankert is the place to be in Vlissingen. The 1.7 kilometer long boulevard leads you along the beach, terraces and hotels of the famous city. For the best walking route, park your car (or get off the bus) at Nolle Beach and walk first to the wind organ, for a wide view of the boulevard. Then you walk back to the beginning of Boulevard Bankert, which you follow until the Michiel de Ruijter statue. Along the way you have several places for a snack or drink (tip: the terraces that hang over the sea, very cool) and you end at the passage to the inner harbor, where you can walk on the walls while the boats pass under you, or visit the Arsenal. If the weather is clear you can see Zeeuws-Vlaanderen and even the port of Zeebrugge on the other side.