The Netherlands is synonymous with “water”. The country is a river delta, offering fantastic inshore and coastal cruising opportunities. Countless lakes and connecting canals mean you can get almost everywhere by boat. Unsurprisingly, the Dutch love water sports, so there are various charter boats and marinas. For instance, if you are eager to go Dinghy sailing in the Netherlands, you’ll find the perfect boat. 

Furthermore, historic towns dot the coast. They are typically built around the harbour, so you can often moor your boat in the heart of town. Pubs and restaurants have replaced yesteryear’s fishing and trade buzz, but a unique and cosy atmosphere remains. Some stunning nature reserves have been preserved, and new ones have been established. 

Keep reading to know about:

boat

Sportina 730 | El Sueno

Netherlands, Adelante Jachtcharter
from 52 € /day
boat

De Drait SloepCabin 750 | Drait 155

Netherlands, Jachtcharter Klompmaker marina
from 60 € /day
boat

De Drait SloepCabin 750 | Drait 154

8 Very good  |  1 Review
Netherlands, Jachthaven Drachten de Drait
from 60 € /day

Where to Go Sailing in the Netherlands

Regardless of your destination of origin, whether you want to go from London to Amsterdam or Croatia to Wadden or Friesland to experience a lavish city lifestyle while sailing through or marvel at the landscapes as you boat through the lakes and coastal areas the Netherlands has to offer, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Here are some of the best sailing regions in the Netherlands: 

1.) Friesland

If you are eager to sail in Friesland, Netherlands, you are in for a treat because this famous northern sailing province has much to offer. Thanks to its sheltered inshore lakes and canals, you can enjoy sailing here even when the conditions on the neighbouring IJsselmeer and sea are rough. 

Boats in canal in Harlingen, Friesland
Harlingen, Friesland

Its historic towns add to the charm, like Grou, where you can moor and enjoy the history and hospitality of the locals, such as in the lakeside restaurant Het Theehuis. Nature lovers will cherish the unique Marrekrite foundation, which tends to move away from the crowds. All you have to do to enjoy their stunning spots is purchase their banner. 

Lemstersluis lock in town of Lemmer, Friesland
Lemstersluis lock in town of Lemmer, Friesland

Another big plus of Friesland: locks in Lemmer, Stavoren and Workum give access to the IJsselmeer, and the sea lock in Harlingen opens up to the Wadden for more advanced sailing.

2.) IJsselmeer

The country’s largest lake used to be open sea until it was closed off with the gigantic Afsluitdijk in 1932. Nowadays, it is a beautiful sailing area where historic towns still breathe the atmosphere of bygone times. 

Urk Flevoland Netherlands sunset at the lighthouse and harbor of Urk Holland.

To get a feel of the history and culture of the area, visit the Zuiderzee Museum in picturesque Enkhuizen. Remnants of fishing and trade culture are also still palpable in Monnickendam, Marken, Volendam, Hoorn, and Medemblik. 

old church of Monnickendam
Old church of Monnickendam

On the Frisian side of the lake, historic towns like Lemmer, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum and Makkum are well worth a visit. Excellent marinas with full facilities can be found around the entire lake. 

Aerial view of boats at Prins Hendrikkade on a summer day, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Prins Hendrikkade, Amsterdam

City lovers can easily sail to Amsterdam via the IJsselmeer. From cosy Sixhaven to the larger Amsterdam Marina, you can easily reach the city centre on free ferries that frequently cross the IJ River. There’s nature, too: the area’s newest nature reserve is man-made Markerwadden, which can only be reached by boat. 

Watch tower in sand dunes and marshland on Marker Wadden island in Markermeer, Netherlands
Marker Wadden

Its sand dunes and countless birds and plants that thrive on the edge of land and water explain why the word “Wadden” was chosen.

3.) Wadden

A salty smell tickles your nostrils while sailing in the Wadden islands. The area is still sheltered from the fury of the North Sea, yet it takes some sailing experience to navigate these tidal waters safely. The many shallows make this an ideal sailing area for flat-bottomed boats. 

Beach and dunes Dutch coastline landscape seen from Wijk aan Zee over the North Sea at sunset, Netherlands

What could be more beautiful than drying out on a sandbank surrounded by curious birds and seals? Keel yachts better stay within the well-buoyed fairways. The islands Texel, Vlieland and Terschelling all have deep-water marinas. They can get crowded in the summer, so anchoring is a good alternative. Vlieland offers an excellent anchorage just beyond the ferry terminal.

Lighthouse on the Wadden Island of Texel, Netherlands.
Lighthouse on the Wadden Island of Texel, Netherlands.

When visiting these stunning islands, getting around is by bicycle. You can easily rent one and use the extensive network of cycle paths. At Texel, a visit to nature conservation and seal centre Ecomare is best followed by typical Dutch pancakes at Catharinahoeve. In Vlieland, the characteristic restaurant Posthuys offers excellent coffee, cake and meals. It’s also the starting point for the adventurous Vliehors express tours. 

While at Terschelling, ensure you don’t miss the unique nature reserve Boschplaat. The Wrakkenmuseum is a great place to learn how the life of the islanders has been intertwined with the sea and shipping throughout history. 

Terschelling island in the Waddensea
Terschelling island in the Waddensea

Did you know that cranberries once washed up on Terschelling’s shores? Check out this versatile local delicacy at the Bessenschuur. Restaurant De Walvis offers the best nachos in the Wadden, and you get stunning views for free. The equally beautiful eastern islands of Ameland and especially Schiermonnikoog are a bit more off the beaten track, as they are more challenging to reach for deep-draft yachts.

4.) Zeeland

The Deltawerken, a giant sea defence scheme, radically shaped the cruising area in this southern province. You won’t regret learning all about this at the visitor centre of Neeltje Jans. As a result, diverse estuaries and lakes, from the salty Oosterschelde to the small and sheltered Veerse Meer, offer many ecosystem diversity and mooring options. 

Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier (Oosterscheldekering) in the Dutch province of Zeeland.
Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier

Picturesque towns such as Zierikzee, Goes, Middelburg and Vlissingen are worth a visit. Zeeland is connected with the IJsselmeer via inland waterways. If you don’t mind motoring and crossing bridges and locks, the Staande Mast Route might be your choice. You can sail to and from Zeeland via the notorious North Sea if your sea legs are sturdy.

Historic ships in the museum harbour at the Old Harbour in Zierikzee. Provinz Zeeland in the Netherlands
Old Harbour in Zierikzee

5.) North Sea coast

During westerly storms, the sandy North Sea coast turns into a dangerous lee shore. Fortunately, such storms are rare in summer. 

Some deep-water ports along the coast give access to large marinas and city life in bustling Rotterdam, stately The Hague and cosmopolitan Amsterdam (via IJmuiden). Amsterdam sailing holidays are not for the faint-hearted since you’ll be in the company of large ships. 

However, regardless of the areas you choose to charter, chances are the Netherlands will captivate you. 

Best Charter Boat Options to Use While Sailing in the Netherlands 

If you want to sail through the Netherlands, here are some impeccable boating options to pick from:

boat

Sportina 730 | El Sueno

Netherlands, Adelante Jachtcharter
from 52 € /day
boat

De Drait SloepCabin 750 | Drait 155

Netherlands, Jachtcharter Klompmaker marina
from 60 € /day
boat

De Drait SloepCabin 750 | Drait 154

8 Very good  |  1 Review
Netherlands, Jachthaven Drachten de Drait
from 60 € /day

1.) Sailing Yacht

They are well-known for their ability to offer an authentic sailing experience, and Sailing Yachts are inexpensive. The rental price per day typically starts at €73 per day. 

What’s more? You can also choose to include various amenities, making your cruise comfortable.

2.) Catamaran

While this is a more expensive mode of transportation, its comfort is unmatched. You’ll have a generous living space, making it the best family option. 

The rental price begins at €339 per day.

3.) Houseboats

Houseboats are an excellent option if you want to enjoy a slow cruise while sailing in Amsterdam or your preferred region.

This is also a convenient option to boat through regions with lakes, such as Friesland.

The rental price begins at €56 per day. 

At Boataround, we offer value for your money. Our boating options ensure you have the best sailing holidays regardless of destination. Contact us today!

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