Waddeneilanden, islands in the northern part of the Netherlands
There are still some of these secret hidden treasures in Europe, and one of these treasures are the islands in the north of the Netherlands!
Imagine wide beaches to play on, cute lighthouses, kilometers and kilometers of cycle paths suitable for children, and some islands even without cars at all! The islands are called Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. Texel is the biggest island and easiest to reach from Amsterdam. It is about an hour’s drive to the port, and then about 15 minutes on a ferry to cross. You can take your car on the ferry, or immediately rent a bicylce at arrival. The island has 140 km’s of cycle paths and more sheep than inhabitants. A real good place to relax and enjoy family time together if you ask us!
What to do on Texel?
On Texel, there is loads of things to do! The bike rental places are everywhere and they have all kinds of bikes for families. Children’s bikes for those who can cycle on their own, or otherwise cargo bikes to transport smaller kids. Some cycle paths take you right through a nature reserve, like De Slufter. You can stop along the way to go to the beach, walk in the dunes or to observe birds.
Another way to observe nature and a fun way for your children is by a visit to seal conservation center Ecomare. At Ecomare they take care of injured seals and there is loads to learn for children about the animals. There are also aquariums to observe fish, 2 dolphins that are permanent inhabitants since they were too young when they were found, and injured birds. Ecomare aims to heal animals to put them back into nature. Sometimes, the animals will not survive in nature, and that’s when they stay at Ecomare permanently.
Website of Ecomare: click here
Another nice place to visit on Texel is the Ship Wreck and Beachcombing museum Kaap Skil in the town of Oudeschild. At this museum, which is partly inside and partly in open air, you can visit old fishermen’s houses, an old bakery and see all the objects that beachcombers have found for years and years on the island. The part of the museum called ‘archeology under water’ shows you all the beautiful and historical objects that were found in shipwrecks.
Their website: https://www.kaapskil.nl/en/
The port of Oudeschild is also nice, and, depending on the season, you can go along with a shrimps fishing boat to learn all about shrimps fishing!
Texel’s lighthouse is of course a must-see on the island. The lighthouse can be visited and gives you a very nice view on Texel, and when the skies are clear, you could see the next island, Vlieland as well.
Texel has great local products. Products made of sheep wool, local cheeses and beer. A lot of restaurants can be found on the island. Our favorites were restaurant Topido in de Cocksdorp, and the restaurant on the beach at ‘Paal 33’ called Kaap Noord. For both restaurants we recommend you to reserve in advance!
The pole numbers are the indicators of which part of the beach you are on at Texel. We also liked to walk around in the area of ‘Paal 19’ and had lunch in the beach pavillion there which was good as well!
The biggest town of Texel is Den Burg, which has a lot of shops and restaurants. Most known shops in the Netherlands also have a shop in Texel, so if you would like to go shopping, you can surely find what you are looking for in Den Burg.
There are plenty of accomodation options on the island, from bed & breakfasts to bigger holiday parks with swimming pools. We stayed in a really cute Bed & Breakfast where the children slept in an old style cupboardbed! The breakfast was amazing as well, an entire basket with local products delivered every morning!
B&B recommendation: Or a Holiday park:
Our other posts on the Netherlands: