News Column

Observer Magazine: TRAVEL: JOANNE O'CONNOR

June 22, 2014


Take me there Bergen, The Netherlands

Why go? It's been described as "the Hamptons with clogs" thanks to its popularity with rich Dutch and German visitors who buy up beach-front holiday homes and hang out in the seaside bars and cafEs. But this breezy resort on Holland'sNorth Sea coast is better known as an artists' retreat, its moody seascapes, endless dunes and extraordinary light attracting painters, writers and architects who have been leaving their mark on this laid-back and likable village since the 1900s.

What to do Get on your bike (this is Holland, after all) and cycle De Brede Duinen route, a 42km signposted loop which passes through Bergen, Alkmaar - famous for its historic cheese market - and the spectacular sand dunes at Schoorl and Camperduin. Admire the work of the "Bergen School" of painters at Museum Kranenburgh ( or take a stroll among the distinctive thatched "Amsterdam School" villas of the Park Meerwijk neighbourhood.

Where to stay In De Aap is a charming boutique B&B with just two stylish guest rooms and a sweet family cottage, all of which have kitchenettes that guests can use to prepare snacks or simple meals (from A130,

Where to eat All beach-hut chic and artfully mismatched furniture, Strandpaviljoen SB Noord is where Amsterdam's fashionable folk come to get a bit of sand between their toes while dining on Italian-inspired dishes ( Don't miss the poffertjes (traditional Dutch pancakes) at Duinvermaak, a cosy cafE situated near the dunes (

Insider tip Emile van den Bergh, owner of In de Aap, recommends De Jongens, a Mediterranean-style beach club ( "It's a cool place to hang out, there's a surf school and they have regular barbecues and beach parties." He also suggests a visit to the open-air art market which runs every Thursday evening in summer (beeldendekunstmarkt bergennh.

Give me a break

Camping in the New Forest

Sandy Balls holiday park in the New Forest (stop sniggering) has introduced a cheaper alternative to its woodland lodges and mobile homes for this summer: camping pods. The wooden pods come with pull-out beds, TVs, kettles and fridges. Guests get full use of on-site facilities including the swimming pools and cycle centre. Four nights in July starts from pounds 199 for four people (

Marrakech riad break

A new riad hotel has opened in the heart of Marrakech's medina offering bright, modern suites, a spa with hammam and a sun-trap roof terrace with views of the Atlas mountains. Riad Sapphire has a special 50% off introductory offer for stays of three nights or more, taken before 31 August, bringing the lead-in price this summer to pounds 140 per night for a suite sleeping up to four (


Sky high: the stunning sand dunes on Holland'sNorth Sea coast

For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel

Source: Observer (UK)

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