Snorkeling in the Grevelingen, The Netherlands

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Map of the Grevelingen

Description of the site

The Grevelingen is the largest salt water lake in Western Europe. Due to the absense of strong water currents, the water is amazingly clear. Therefore the Grevelingen is a very popular place for scuba diving. Thanks to the fact that lake has large areas with shallow water, the lake offers unique snorkeling possibilities.

On the west side it is bounded by the Brouwersdam and on the east side by the Grevelingendam. The lake is situated on the boundary between Zuid-Holland and Zeeland, between the islands Goeree-Overflakkee and Schouwen-Duiveland.

After the closing off of the Grevelingen in 1971, a salt water lake of some 11.000 hectare was born. A couple of sandbanks permanently came above the water surface and the salt marshes and a large part of the mud flats along the edges of the Grevelingen became dry land. The mud flats of Flakkee and the mud flats of Bommenede are examples of this. Nature has free play here. In the shore areas there has been a gradual transition from salt to fresh. Because of their unique location and the many areas that are washed over with salt water, some very special plants grow in these regions. Some areas are closed off to the public in connection to the vulnerability of the special plants that can be found there and/or brooding birds. Check out

The shores of the Grevelingen are covered with oysters. That implies a dangerous situation, since these shells are rough and sharp. Don't lean on them with your bare hands, and don't try to pick one up. And use proper footwear whenever you get into the water without flippers.

Snorkeling character:

Of course you can find places with clearer water and more colourful fish, but this is still great. When you approach the water you will notice the clearness of the water: no other salt water in the Netherlands is this clear.
We only explored the beach directly east of Den Osse.
Once you are in the water, you will undoubtedly notice the huge numbers of crabs. You will probably see dozens of them. And of course the oysters. The largest oyster we saw was some 50 cm!

Another remarkable trait are the bright red and green colours of the plants. The self made pictures you see here give you a good idea.

Travel suggestions

This spot is not very easy to find. Coming from the main land, follow the signs towards Zierikzee, using the N59.
Some 4 km from Zierikzee you will see a signpost saying "Dreischor". Turn right towards Dreischor, and follow the signposts 'Brouwershaven'. You will pass through Dreischor and then Brouwershaven. In Brouwershaven, follow the signs "Doorgaand verkeer" (=main stream traffic) and Den Osse. Less than 1 km from Brouwershaven you will see a bungalowpark on your left: Port Greve. Turn right, drive up the dike towards the "Standpaviljoen" (=beach restaurant).
The restaurant has good parking facilities.
Very close to the restaurant you will find the small official beach of Port Greve. Walk east from here (to the right in the picture). This will bring you on a meadow between some holiday houses and the water. This is not an official beach, but is offers an easy entrance to the water. And a less crowdy atmosphere.

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