A few years ago, my then boyfriend and I settled on a weekend Zeeland for a mini trip. This Dutch coastal province bordering Belgium was only about a one and a half-hour drive from where we lived in Leuven.
My dad had recommended Zeeland to us besides the fact that his photos of the coast there looked amazing, we also wanted to go as we'd heard that it's much less crowded there than at the Belgian coast.
Weekend Zeeland: a relaxed itinerary
We started our Zeeland weekend in Middelburg, the province capital of Zeeland and a cute little city with beautiful old Dutch houses and a car-free historical center. We wandered around for about an hour or two before having lunch on the central market square and heading back to the car.
Lunch at Zanzi Bar
I want to mention Zanzi Bar, the cafe we had lunch at because our lunch was really good and reasonably priced given the large portions we got and the fact that we were sitting in the most touristy spot of the city. Boyfriend ordered tomato soup (€5,95), while I had the smoked salmon wrap (€7,95). Service was friendly (as everywhere in Zeeland, by the way) and Zanzi Bar's terrace was perfect for people watching.
From Middelburg, we drove to Dishoek where we'd booked a room at Duinlust Dishoek, a basic but nice restaurant and bed & breakfast. Our room had all we needed for the night, although it would have been nice if we'd had a bed with a double mattress and not two single mattresses as well as some toiletries beside the bar of soap in the bathroom.
We had dinner on the large terrace of the hotel's restaurant and agreed that the mussels and fries were good but not as good as we made them ourselves a week before. The breakfast buffet we enjoyed the next morning was elaborate and had everything we needed to kick start our day.
The beaches of Zeeland
After we'd checked in, we spent the rest of our day on the beach. We started walking along the shore and ended up doing 8 km there and back. “There” beach a beach bistro we reach at the point where we felt it was time to go back – but not before we'd had a drink and a snack.
The next day, we walked the beach in the other direction all the way to the center of Vlissingen and back, which turned out to be a 13 km walk. Not too shabby for a weekend of relaxing!
There weren't that many people at the beach the first day as it was clouded and even the second day, when the sky was clear and the sun burning, it was only crowded in some places and only in the afternoon. The places with a lot of people were those close to a beach bistro, so if you stayed away from those, you could pick a spot to crash with meters of empty sand around you. Bliss!
I also loved how there were practically no high-rise buildings along the coast here in the Netherlands. Only in Vlissingen, there was a boulevard with buildings along the beach. North from that, where our hotel was and where we did most of our walking, there were only dunes.
Oh, and there's actually a path that lets you walk over the dunes, alongside the beach. We did part of it but preferred the flat beach combined with a little sea breeze to the dune path going up and down and sheltered from the wind because of the high grasses.
As the center of Vlissingen was about 6-7 km walking from our hotel, we'd decided to make that our destination on our second day in Zeeland. We were going there more for the walk than for the town, as we'd seen on photos that it wasn't really attractive.
When we reached the edge of Vlissingen, we decided to go have a look anyway. It would be a shame to turn back without seeing it, wouldn't it? Well, that was probably the only “bad” call we made that weekend. Boyfriend and I agreed that Vlissingen really wasn't that nice. Now, we only saw the boulevard, the market square, and the harbor, but those didn't entice us to explore further.
And where I preferred the wide beaches with dunes north of Vlissingen, I do have to say our boulevards in Belgium are nicer than the one in Vlissingen.
Ah well, at least we checked it out, right?
Other beaches in Zeeland
While I've yet to visit some of the other beaches in Zeeland, my dad has visited a few on photography outings and told me about some of them, so I thought I'd share his tips with you.
3. Zeelandbrug between the islands of Schouwen-Duiveland and Noord-Beveland
Away from the laptop
Boyfriend and I are both quite attached to our electronics. He's often on his phone to read the news, check his Facebook feed or play games, while I almost always have my laptop on and find it hard not to keep up with my social media channels when I'm not at home.
While I did post some updates on my Facebook page during our weekend Zeeland, I didn't post as many as I normally would have and barely spent time online besides that. I'd even left my laptop at home because I didn't want to work while we were away.
Zeeland turned out to be the perfect place for us to log off for a while and I'm pretty sure we'll be back, for long walks on the beach and hours of talking.
By the way, did you know New Zealand was named after this Dutch province? It was!
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