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Unique Coastal Hike in the Netherlands: Discovering WW2 Bunker Route in Ijmuiden

Are you an adventurer at heart, always on the lookout for unique experiences that go beyond the ordinary? Or perhaps you're a history buff, eager to walk the paths that echo with stories from the past? Maybe you're a nature lover, seeking serene landscapes that soothe the soul. If you answered 'yes' to any of these, then this article is for you!


Welcome to a journey that's a blend of history, adventure, and breathtaking natural beauty. This isn't just about hiking in the Netherlands, a country already renowned for its fantastic walking trails. This is about a unique hike that takes you along a World War II bunker route in Ijmuiden, adding an extra layer of adventure and thrill to your experience.


In this article, I'll take you through my personal journey of discovering and exploring this unique and fascinating route. From the moment I set foot in Ijmuiden, to the thrill of walking through historical bunkers, and the serene beauty of the surrounding areas, I'll share it all. You'll get a first-hand account of what to expect, tips to make your own journey smoother, and insights that I gathered along the way.


To truly capture the essence of this unique adventure, I've also created a video that takes you along on this journey. You'll get to see the stunning landscapes, and the hidden bunkers, and experience the thrill of the hike as if you were there. So, not only will you be reading about this unique hike, but you'll also get to experience it through the video:



But if you'd rather read through and get all the information written down, then keep reading!


Getting to Ijmuiden


Let's start our journey by heading to the town of Ijmuiden, the starting point of our unique hiking adventure. Nestled in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands, Ijmuiden is a coastal town known for its serene landscapes and rich history. It's a popular spot for windsurfers and water sports enthusiasts!


Ijmuiden is located at the mouth of the North Sea Canal, which connects Amsterdam to the sea. This strategic location has shaped the town's history and its present, making it a hub of important maritime activities. From its bustling port to the tranquil beaches, Ijmuiden is a town of contrasts that never fails to draw in more visitors.


Now, how do we get to this coastal town from Amsterdam? It's quite simple and convenient. From Amsterdam, you can take a bus that leaves from Sloterdijk station and heads straight to Ijmuiden. As you travel from the bustling city of Amsterdam to the calm and serene town of Ijmuiden, you'll notice the landscape changing, setting the perfect mood for the adventure that awaits.



The Bunker Museum


Before I set off on my hike, I decided to explore a bit the Bunker Museum. Found close to the dunes of Ijmuiden, the Bunker Museum was a testament to the town's past. It housed a collection of bunkers that were part of the 'Atlantikwall', a massive line of coastal fortifications built by Germany during World War II.


I only got to explore the outside area as the museum itself was closed. They are only open once a week: Sundays. Sometimes, they do open to the public on special days and events, so make sure to check out Bunker Museum website for more information.


The Bunker Route Netherlands Hike


The Bunker Route is a 2.5km unique trail that takes you through remnants of World War II. What's cool is that you can scan a QR code with your phone, find out important information for each bunker, and you can follow along the easy trails.


Here are some photos of the bunkers on this hike:

Artillery bunkers of Coastal Battery Heerenduin
One of two artillery bunkers

Hidden bunker of Coastal Battery Heerenduin
Hidden bunker that leads to a stairway underneath

Artillery bunker Coastal Battery Heerenduin
You may step inside to see the remains of the gun carriage

Some of these bunkers are massive and easy to spot! And there are some as you go further on the trail hiding in plain sight!


Just remember, the sandy dunes can make the hike a bit challenging, so make sure you're wearing proper shoes.


Can you go inside the bunkers?


Easy answer, yes. Some of them are big enough to explore the inside of the bunkers. However, they are not well-maintained, meaning it can be littered with all sorts of trash. There are some hidden and smaller bunkers that are not advisable to venture out on your own - but you can book a guided tour that brings you inside and can get a first-hand experience how soldiers used to live in these bunkers!


Important note: I don't really advise hopping inside tight spaces especially if you are alone! 😄


Exploring the Beach and Surrounding Areas


After finishing the bunker route and exploring most of the "hidden" bunkers, I decided to do a little exploration of the Ijmuiden beach and its surrounding area. There's a fun little walk through a small forest leads you to the beach, a popular spot for water sports due to the strong winds. But beware, the sea might be too windy for a swim!


Once again, you can check out the video on The Travelling Foxes channel to see it all in action!


Conclusion


Hiking in the Netherlands, especially the WW2 Bunker Route in Ijmuiden, was a fun adventure. I highly recommend this one if you're looking for a unique experience that combines history, adventure, and nature. It's a reminder of our past and an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the present.


So, are you ready for your own adventure?


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