You have to know it’s there to find it. And it takes some effort to get here. But the reward is the most secluded urban beach you can possibly imagine on a spot like no other. The Quarantine on the Heijplaat, an architectural monument, has a dark history. It was built in the 30’s for sailors with dangerous tropical diseases. Before WWII it housed Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, followed by the German Navy during the occupation years and later elderly psychiatric patients. Today its home to a lively artists’ community, that together with the schoolchildren of Heijplaat neighbourhood take care of the beach.
Sure, its not like its the Cote d’Azur, but the view is unrivaled. In the summer you can sunbathe on the sand as the whole harbour life floats past you, and in any weather you can explore the historical grounds, or feed the horses grazing on the field. Children love it here, though do watch them as the passing ship generate serious waves and the currents in the Maas can be treacherous. Officially, swimming is prohibited, but no one seems to ever mind it at this remote spot.
I find cycling the best way to get here, the route being an attraction of its own. Alternatively you can take the Aqualiner ferry from the Erasmus bridge to Heijplaat and walk.