The long beach at Scheveningen, pronounced – if possible – as s'CHay-fuh-ningen, attracts nine million visitors per year. It's heavily developed, with numerous cafes elbowing each other for space on tiers of promenades by the beach.

This beach won't be to everyone's taste, but you might just find pleasure in the carnival atmosphere, or the waves themselves. Aloha Surf rents boards and wetsuits and runs lessons.

Better yet, you can escape to wide-open beaches and nature with just a bit of effort, especially to the south, where the hype tapers off as you pass the harbour.

Most Den Haag streets heading west reach Scheveningen, 4km away, or take trams 1 or 11 from Hollands Spoor station (HS).

Worth a Trip: Escape to the Dunes

Open sand, endless beach, hillocks of dunes and the sounds of seagulls and shore are all easily accessible from Den Haag and Scheveningen.

To the south, a mere 1km past the harbour puts you in the heart of nature. From here you can continue along the coast for pretty much as long as you have the fortitude, with only the odd simple beach cafe for relief. Take tram 11 from Hollands Spoor station (HS) to the end of the line right in the heart of the dunes.

Heading north, follow the beach past the end of tram line 1. Here the dunes are pristine and the further you walk or cycle, the greater the rewards. You'll also pass a series of WWII bunkers, part of the Nazi Atlantic Wall defence system and an eerie reminder of the Netherlands' place in European history.