sunset

Castricum Travel Guide: A Hidden Gem in the Netherlands

Castricum is the ideal place to visit if you’re looking for a getaway near the sea, dunes, and forest. It’s not only a great location for nature lovers, but it’s also home to many good restaurants and cafes.

As Castricum is located only half an hour away from Amsterdam, it’s very conveniently situated as well. Therefore, I would highly recommend visiting Castricum during your trip in the Netherlands.

As I grew up in Castricum, I know where to find the best places to wander. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about what to do and where to dine in Castricum.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

cows in Castricum
Castricum

Where is Castricum located & how to get there?

As mentioned earlier, Castricum is only half an hour away from Amsterdam. The seaside village is located in the province North Holland. It’s home to around 35000 residents who live on 60 square kilometers.

It actually takes 25 minutes to reach Castricum from Amsterdam Central by a direct train, so it’s not far from the centre of Amsterdam. Trains mostly run every 15 minutes.

Castricum can also be reached very easily by train from other cities in the Netherlands, such as Haarlem and Alkmaar. From Haarlem it takes half an hour, while from Alkmaar it only takes 10 minutes to reach Castricum by train.

Train

As the train system is really good, I highly recommend using public transport to get to Castricum. Trains run frequently and they’re well connected.

When you get to Castricum, I recommend using a bike to get around. Especially if you want to visit the beach. You can rent bikes at the station or at Tuut Tuut verhuur. The latter is also located nearby the train station in the Dorpsstraat.

beautiful village netherlands

Is Castricum worth visiting?

Castricum is definitely worth visiting. Even though it’s so close to Amsterdam, Castricum feels like a world away. People are often surprised by its calmness.

At the same time, people are often amazed by the amount of restaurants and cafes that are here, as Castricum is just a village after all. To me, it feels more like a combination of a small village and a city. It’s small, yet there is still a lot going on here.

It’s especially a great destination for nature lovers, as you’ll be able to visit the dunes, the sea and the forest.

Castricum

How many days in Castricum?

Castricum is an ideal day trip from Amsterdam. However, to fully enjoy everything that Castricum has to offer, I highly recommend staying at least a few days.

Around 4 days in Castricum will be perfect to unwind. If you’re more into slow travel and you want to fully relax, I would recommend to stay here for at least a week.

Castricum

When to visit Castricum?

It’s best to visit Castricum when it’s a little sunnier outside. Especially because it’s a seaside village. Therefore, I would recommend visiting Castricum during May to September.

Of course you can also visit Castricum during the other months, but do keep in mind that it will be a lot colder here.

things to do in Castricum

Where to stay in Castricum?

There are a couple of great places to stay in Castricum. However, I highly recommend staying at one of the following places:

Hotel het Oude Raadhuis

If you want to stay in a unique place in Castricum, then definitely consider staying at Hotel het Oude Raadhuis. This hotel is located in a monumental building, which makes it very authentic.

The train station is only a 5-minute walk away and the beach is around 20 minutes away by bike. As the hotel is located in the centre of Castricum, there are many good restaurants nearby. Here you will find their latest prices.

Hotel Huize Koningsbosch

This beautiful hotel is conveniently located and is adult-only. If you’re looking for an authentic stay filled with luxury, then definitely opt for this hotel. It’s only 15 minutes from here by bike to the beach and dunes. Click here to view their latest prices.

Hotel Fase Fier Eten en Drinken

For a cosy stay in Castricum, stay at Hotel Fase Fier. This small hotel also has a restaurant downstairs. It’s located in a nice area in Bakkum (which is kind of like the old part of Castricum). It’s around a 15 minute bike ride from the beach.

Although it’s not as luxurious as other hotels here, it’s definitely one of the most affordable places to stay in Castricum. Click here to see view more information about this cosy hotel.

Fase Fier Castricum
Hotel Fase Fier

Strandhotel Zoomers

If you’re keen on staying on the beach, then this is the perfect hotel for you. Strandhotel Zoomers is located at the entrance of Castricum Aan Zee (the beach). The hotel has a bar and a restaurant as well and their rooms are really nicely designed.

Some rooms even have balconies with sea view. If you’re interested in more information about this beach hotel, click here.

Things to do in Castricum

There are a couple of great things to do in Castricum, some of them include the following:

Visit the Pluktuin in Bakkum

For €10,- you can handpick 25 flowers in this Pluktuin in Bakkum. There are loads of tulips here. You can get here by bicycle or by car. It’s a really nice way to get your own hand picked bouquet.

When you arrive you can simply scan the QR code or use cash to pay and you’ll get a bucket to collect your flowers. It’s definitely one of the best things to do here and takes place during Spring.

Danae picking tulips at the Pluktuin
Tulips in a bucket
Handpicking tulips at the Pluktuin in Bakkum

Visit Castricum aan Zee

One of the best places to visit in Castricum is the beach. This part is called Castricum aan Zee, also known as Bakkum aan Zee. It’s a place I’ve visited a million times. In summer it can get pretty busy here.

There are a couple of restaurants and facilities at the beach. If you want to have dinner or lunch at the beach, I would recommend eating at Restaurant Zeezicht. If you’re looking for a trendy place to have a drink, then I recommend visiting Restaurant Club Zand.

Restaurant Zoomers has just been renovated and the interior with its large windows looking out to the sea looks very nice as well.

It’s a sandy beach and it’s very accessible by car or by bike. In summer there is also a bus which brings you from Castricum Station to the beach.

Castricum aan Zee

You can park your car at the parking lot, which will cost you around 6.50 euros for the whole day.

If you go here by bike: when you reach a small ”hill” this is when you know you’re nearly there. I say hill, but it’s not actually a hill. For such a flat country as the Netherlands it does feel like it though.

Don’t forget to bring some water or drinks and a towel with you. The sea water might be a little cold, but it’s very swimmable.

castricum aan zee
castricum
Views from Club Zand

Go on a bike ride through the dunes & the forest

One of the best things to do in Castricum is to cycle through the dunes and the forest. The scenery is really beautiful and peaceful. It really makes you feel at ease.

You can hire a bike at the station (we call this OV-fiets) or you can hire a bike at a rental company called Tuut-Tuut, which is located only five minutes away from the train station.

man riding bike in forest

Do keep in mind that if you enter the dunes, you will need a ”Duinkaart” (translated: Dunes card). You can buy this here or you can for instance buy this at Bezoekerscentrum de Hoep, which is a visitors centre in Castricum.

dunes castricum

Visit Duincamping Bakkum

This camping is located in the dunes nearby the beach, which makes it a very peaceful place. A lot of famous Dutch people actually stay here for a couple of weeks or months a year to just relax.

Trees and a path at Camping Bakkum

This place is actually the oldest camping in the Netherlands and it’s highly popular, especially during the summer months. There are a couple of restaurants located on the camping as well. I would especially advise to get chicken and chips at ‘t Kippaleis.

Guy cycles in Camping Bakkum
Cycling at Camping Bakkum

Visit the market on Friday

If you want to visit a local market in Castricum, then make sure to visit the market on Friday. It starts at around 09:00 o’ clock in the morning and ends at around 16:00 o’ clock in the afternoon.

Here you can buy local cheeses, flowers, clothing and more. The market is located in the Dorpsstraat.

market in Castricum

Walk through the village

What is a better way to explore than to just wander through Castricum? Walk through its streets and feel the atmosphere. A very beautiful and green area to walk through is called Duin en Bosch / Koningsduin.

In this lush area you will find facilities for people with mental issues and a lot of lovely houses. It’s a nice place to walk around for a while and it’s located only 10 minutes away from the beach.

The area around the Hendrik Casimirstraat also has some pretty sights.

Castricum

Sit on a terrace

Castricum is home to many great terraces. When the weather is good, I would highly recommend to relax on a terrace.

Some beautiful little places to visit are ‘t Hof van Kijk Uit (located in the forest) and De Oude Keuken (located in Duin en Bosch). Both of these small restaurants offer work places to people with a labour market disadvantage, which I think is really important.

Another beautiful terrace to visit in the surroundings of Castricum is called Gasterij Kruisberg. Officially, this restaurant is located in Heemskerk. It’s around a 15 to 20 minute bike ride from Castricum to this lovely terrace.

If you’re looking for a restaurant with a terrace to have a nice lunch, then I would highly recommend visiting Het Ruiterhuys. This is one of my favorite places in Castricum.

girl sitting at Ruiterhuys in Castricum
Het Ruiterhuys

Visit the archeological centre Huis van Hilde

If you’re interested in archeology or the history of the province North-Holland, then you should visit Huis van Hilde. This is located across from the train station and is a two minute walk.

It’s an archaeology information centre, which was opened in Castricum in 2015. It’s named after a model and facial reconstruction that was made of a skeletal find from the 4th century. The reconstruction came to be known as Hilde.

The entrance ticket for an adult is 8,50 euros, whereas the entrance fee for a child (up to 17 years old) is 5 euros.

Huis van Hilde Castricum

Visit Corso Cinema

For a village, it’s quite surprising that it actually has a cinema. The Corso Cinema is only small, yet it’s charming and has two cinema halls. They also have a good amount of movies to choose from. A ticket to the cinema will cost around 13 euros per person. It’s located in the centre of Castricum.

Outside of Corso Cinema in Castricum

Visit Bezoekerscentrum De Hoep

Especially if you’re visiting Castricum with children, you should definitely visit Bezoekerscentrum (visitors centre) De Hoep. Here you can get information about the dune area and PWN.

You will learn everything about how the water is filtered, different flora and fauna in the area and about the dunes in the province North-Holland. It’s very educational, yet in a playful way.

Watch the sun set in the sea

Without a doubt one of the most unforgettable experiences in Castricum is to see the sun set in the sea. In summer, head to the beach in the evening and see the sun set in the sea at around 21.30 to 22.00 PM.

Take some drinks, a few snacks and something to sit on to make the experience even better. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

sunset castricum
sunset
sunset castricum

The best restaurants in Castricum

There are many restaurants in Castricum, so it can be hard to chose where to go. The following restaurants are among the best restaurants here:

Vesuvio: for delicious Italian cuisine

For the best Italian food in Castricum, definitely head to Vesuvio. This is a small Italian restaurant that serves amazing dinner. If you’re looking for pizza, this is not the place though, as they don’t serve pizzas.

Book your reservation in advance, as it’s becoming more and more popular. Their gorgonzola pasta and tiramisu are absolutely delicious. It’s without a doubt one of my favorite restaurants in Castricum. Hence, I highly recommend a visit.

Vesuvio in Castricum
restaurants in Castricum

‘t Eethuysje: for high-quality dinner

If you’re looking for high-quality food, then ‘t Eethuysje is the perfect place to have dinner. They serve various course meals, yet you can also order a la carte.

They also have a deal where you can get a free cinema ticket with your two course meal. The cinema is located around one minute away by foot.

Het Ruiterhuys: for a gorgeous lunch

One of the best restaurants in Castricum is Het Ruiterhuys. It’s especially a great place to visit for lunch. The beautiful restaurant is home to a large terrace and the indoor area is huge, yet it has a cosy atmosphere.

Even though the restaurant is pretty large, do make a reservation beforehand. Even on a Monday afternoon it can get very busy here, so it’s good to book a table in advance.

horse in greenery in Castricum
Scenery from the terrace @Ruiterhuys

You can also view their animals in the stables. Even though they serve high quality food, the prices are still quite affordable. You can park for free in their parking area nearby the restaurant. This is a one to two minute walk from the restaurant. There’s also a playground for children.

goat in Castricum
A goat at Het Ruiterhuys
playground at Ruiterhuys in Castricum
Playground at Het Ruiterhuys

Okawari: for sushi

For the best sushi in Castricum, make sure to visit Okawari. This cosy restaurant not only serves delicious sushi, but also tasty lamb chops and grilled zucchini.

They have a lot of different food options. Personally, the salmon with cream cheese sushi is my favorite.

You can order a la carte or you can order all you can eat for around 36,50 euros per person. It doesn’t feel like a typical all you can eat restaurant though, there is a very good atmosphere here.

If you want to be sure that there’s a table available for you, make a reservation in advance.

If you don’t want to eat in, you can also order their food. Tip: if you order before 17:00 o’clock and pick the food up yourself, you get a 30% discount!

Okawari Sushi restaurant in Castricum

Apicius*: for fine dining

Apicius is a 1* restaurant and is definitely worth all the praise they get. It’s actually the only 1* restaurant in Castricum. The only other restaurant in Castricum that is mentioned in the Michelin Guide is Le Moulin.

The food at Apicius is delicious, well presented and they serve just the right portion. The service is friendly and they provide information about every course and glass of wine. They also have a lot of vegetarian options.

Parking is free across the street. Again: make sure to book a table in advance.

Zeezicht: for lunch at the beach

For lunch with sea views, head over to restaurant Zeezicht. This literally translates to Seaview. They serve tasty food, but besides the food, especially the views make it worth visiting.

It’s also recently been completely renovated. So if you’re looking for lunch or dinner at the beach, consider going to Zeezicht. If you’re going here for lunch, you don’t necessarily have to make a reservation in advance!

Regarding the parking: you can park at the car park at the beach for around 6,50 euros for the whole day. It’s around a five minute walk from the parking lot to Zeezicht. You will find Zeezicht to the left at the end of the beach entrance.

For a more trendy place you can also consider going to Club Zand restaurant, which is located around a five minute walk to the left of the beach entrance. Sometimes they have live music going on in the summer, so this is worth checking out.

zeezicht
zeezicht
Zeezicht Restaurant

Final thoughts

Castricum is a beautiful little village located nearby the beach. Even though it’s small, there is a surprising amount of things to do here.

You can visit the archeological museum, the beach and go on a bike ride through the dunes and its forest. You can even visit its small cinema.

There are also lots of great restaurants in Castricum, such as Vesuvio and ‘t Eethuysje. When the weather is good, you can even visit its lovely terraces, such as Kruisberg or De Oude Keuken.

While you’re here, don’t forget to see the sun set in the sea.

Away with Danae

Castricum

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