Cruise Port IJmuiden is situated in a beautiful region that offers numerous exciting places to visit and plenty of things to do. Most cruise passengers opt for organized tours booked on the ship, which is comfortable but -in most cases- a bit more expensive. However, it’s the easiest way to explore the Low Lands in a short time.
For the more adventurous ones, there are plenty of options to explore on your own. Biking is of course a great choice, but a leisurely walk or a longer hike is also a wonderful way to discover the neighborhood. The Felison Terminal is close to the old heart of IJmuiden and near the famous ship locks.
The port of IJmuiden came into existence when the shiplocks were built, and the North Sea Canal was dug (mostly by hand!). The village itself is relatively young compared to others in the area.
During World War II, IJmuiden played a role in the infamous German “Atlantik Wall”, and many parts of the inner city were deliberately destroyed by the German occupiers. Today you can still walk around bunkers and other remnants from that time. The Bunker Museum, only a short distance away from the Felison Cruise Terminal, showcases this dark period with an impressive collection of objects.
Close to the Felison Terminal, you’ll find IJmuidense Rondvaart, a local company offering very nice trips around the port and along the coast on their ship, Koningin Emma. In the summer, they also organize trips to Forteiland (a UNESCO World Heritage site) which was part of Amsterdam’s defense line and later used by German occupiers. A (guided) walk around this island and through its immense fortifications is also a very nice outing!
Almost adjacent to the Felison Terminal is the world’s largest complex of ship locks. Over 15,000 ships, from small sailing boats to massive tankers and bulk carriers, pass through each year. The recently constructed largest ship lock in the world (500 meters long, 70 meters wide, and 18 meters deep) allows even the largest ships to reach the port of Amsterdam, one of Europe’s most important harbors. The ship lock complex is a great destination for a longer walk from the Felison Terminal, offering a constant stream of maritime activity.
Just a short distance from the Felison Cruise Terminal, you’ll find the South Pier or Southern Breakwater, and here, you can walk out into the sea as the pier extends almost three kilometers into the North Sea! On both sides of the pier, you can spot numerous coastal birds. It’s no wonder the South Pier is a popular spot for bird watchers. Birds you might see here include gannets, guillemots, and goldeneyes. Sometimes, even songbirds and owls make an appearance on the pier. With a bit of luck, you will also see one of the seals sunbathing or a porpoise surface!
On the stretch of beach near the pier, various types of shorebirds and waders search for food, such as the black-tailed godwit and the grey plover. The constant coming and going of ships adds to the attraction, providing opportunities for some of the most beautiful photos!
Our favorite remains a (long) walk along IJmuiden’s wide beach, at any time of the year and in any weather, this has its charm!