The Wadden Islands of the Netherlands offer a unique piece of nature and are even highly recommended by the Lonely Planet as a must-go in Europe. We totally get that. I myself spent several wonderful weekends on Texel, the largest Wadden island in Holland. It has a unique diverse landscape with high dunes, charming villages, meadow vistas over fields and beautiful forests. We will help you create the perfect weekend getaway in the island Texel in the Netherlands. What to do in Texel? How to get there? What is the best place to stay?
How to get to Texel?
The island Texel is located in the northwest of the Netherlands, in the same province as famous Amsterdam. From Amsterdam head north to Den Helder to find the ferry to Texel. You can easily get to Den Helder by train in about 75 minutes. It takes about the same time to get from Amsterdam to Den Helder with your (rental) car.
Things to know about the ferry to Texel:
- You can buy your tickets easily online af the official ferry website.
- You don’t need to make a reservation for a specific time, when booking your ticket online.
- Your ticket is always a return ticket, so no need to buy a new when when returning to the mainland.
- The ferry departs every hour. Check the ferry time table online.
- If traveling by train, take the Texel bound bus at the train station. It will bring you to the ferry, join you on the boat and bring you to the island villages as well.
Where to stay in Texel?
Texel has many hotels, but even more forest cabins, charming bed and breakfasts and stylish villas. These are our favorites.
- Waddenhof Villa | Prices and availability | Design villa accommodating up to six guests, has splendid panorama views and is close to the dunes.
- Sommel & Salt B&B | Prices and availability | Charming bed and breakfast in historic monument with high rating on Airbnb.
- Wooden cabin | Prices and availability | Wooden chalet with kitchen and front door deck, surrounded by trees and birds.
- Boutique Hotel Texel | Prices and availability | This beautiful hotel in De Cocksdorp is in the northern tip of the island. It has a Finnish sauna and swimming pool.
- B&B txl | Prices and availability | Charming and modern bed and breakfast in De Cocksdorp with a high rating on Booking.
- Studio Smidt | Prices and availability | Beautiful and modern studio, centrally located in the charming main town Den Burgh.
Top things to do in Texel
# 1 Pick your own strawberries in the picking garden
Website | During the summer months you are welcome at the Self Picking Garden for your favourite seasonal fruit and vegetables. You’ll first have to pick it yourself, which makes it even more fun. They use their own harvest also to make all kinds of products that you can buy in stores all over Texel, such as jam or syrup. The perfect souvenir!
# 2 Visit the cute villages
Texel is large enough to have not only one, but several villages. All the way in the northern tip is De Cockscorp, to the west at the beach is De Koog and the largest town is Den Burg. Then there’s also Oosterend, Oudeschild, De Waal and Den Hoorn and by now you get that there’s a lot to explore on the island. The three villages that I mentioned first are the most fun to visit. In De Cocksdorp you can visit a large lighthouse, De Koog has a nice sand beach and Den Burg has the most shops and restaurants in a picturesque center.
# 3 Relax or walk on the beach
It is said Texel has on of the largest beaches. Especially in the west of the island are beautiful sand dunes and immensely large sand beaches. Perfect for a nice beach walk to get a breath of fresh air or for an relaxed afternoon sunbathing on the beach. If the beach is the main goal of your trip, you should find a place to stay close to the beach in the coastal village of De Koog. This link gives you an overview of the best places to sleep in De Koog.
# 4 Cycle through the diverse landscape of forests and dunes
The island is crossed by endless cycle routes and that is actually the best way to explore the island. One moment you’re riding along the sand dunes and then you’re cycling between the meadows or forests. The local tourist office make your cycling trip easy for you and offers all kinds of cycling routes on Texel. You can buy their cycling map online or in the store.
Tip: leave the car at the mainland and explore the island by bike. From the train station in Den Helder on the mainland, you can take the bus directly – via the ferry of course – to the various villages on Texel. There you can easily rent a bike for your days on the island.
# 5 Go mudflat walking with a guide
This is still on our travel wishlist: walking on the mudflats (‘waddenlopen’ in Dutch) between the islands at low tide! The tides makes a huge difference at the Wadden Islands, as in many places the sea is not that deep. This means that you can walk on the seabed at low tide! Don’t do that without a guide, as some sea water remains in sort of channels. That makes the mudflats a kind of maze and a guide will be the one who knows how to bring you back to the island safely before the flood.
# 6 Taste a real Texel beer after a tour of the brewery
You can buy Texel beers throughout the country and especially the Skuumkoppe is a well-known specialty beer. So if you are on Texel, the brewery tasting room is a must-visit. You can take a tour around the brewery and do a tasting to get to know the other beers from the Texel brewery. They have a very unique taste, because the brewery uses a completely different type of yeast than other brewers.
Reading tip: taste more local beers around the Netherlands? Sebastiaan wrote an overview of his 30 favourite Dutch brewers.
# 7 Wander through the Juttersmuseum
Website | The most weird and unique items wash up almost every day on the Texel beachses. Often they are just pretty shells, branches and other natural things, but sometimes the find is a little more curious. The coolest finds have been collected in the Juttersmuseum (translated ‘Beachcombers Museum’) and you’ll be surprised at what the sea has revealed. Part of the colourful collection can be found in spaces that themselves are also made from beachcombed wood.
# 8 Climb the lighthouse on the northern tip
Website | This icon of Texel is a must-visit during your island visit. The old lighthouse is still in use after all these years and that gives it just that little bit more atmosphere. The spiral staircase with a total of 118 steps is still original and dates from 1864! The view from the top is beautiful.
# 9 Cuddle lambs on a sheep farm in the spring
Website | Many Dutch people know Texel as that island with vast meadows with sheep. You will see the animals on many Texel souvenirs. So if you want to have the best sheep experience on Texel, make sure to go in spring when the island is filled with cute lambs. On Schapenboerderij Texel you can also visit the stables to cuddle the lambs. That makes a great trip with children, but I am the proof that adults love to cuddle these babies as well. The entrance is € 5.50 for adults and € 4.50 for children.
# 10 Learn more about seals and the Wadden Sea in Ecomare
Website | All Texel beaches offer the opportunity to spot seals, but only at Ecomare you have a seal guarantee. Besides seals, you can sea porpoises, a sea aquarium and exhibitions about the Wadden Sea here. Ecomare is also in a beautiful location in the dunes. So from here you can take a walk through the Dune Park. You can take an audio guide with you, but in the summer there are also free tours by ral guides.
Tip: check the Ecomare website in advance to know when the seals are fed!