You know that feeling when you book your holiday in the last minute, don’t really know what to expect from it and then when you arrive there, it just blows your mind? Well, this exactly happened to me with Texel Island.
I was reading about it before, saw some photos, but that was it.
I definitely wasn’t expecting that the island has it all, a beautiful nature, interesting sights, great food and that it is so children friendly (and I can’t stress enough this one).
How to get there
Texel is easily reachable from Amsterdam by train. You should take a train to Den Helder (it takes around 1,15 h to get there), and from there you can take a ferry to Texel. It is swift, so you are there in 20 minutes.
We took our bicycles with us, and it was effortless to do it, as well. You have to pay around 7 euros per bike on a train, and there is a particular part of it where you can leave them. We paid the return ticket for the ferry 5 euros per person (this is the price if you are taking your bicycle with you).
How to get around
Bicycle paths are everywhere, and the distance between the villages are not too big, so this is the best way to explore the island. You can rent bikes at many places on Texel, one is just next to the ferry when you arrive on the island.
The other ways to get around are by car or by the local bus (for more info about the public transport, take a look here).
We arrived at Texel around 11 AM, and went to the island’s ‘capital’, Den Burg, which is the biggest village on it. Tourist information office is here, as well as many restaurants, caffes and shops. It is definitely a good place to start exploring the island.
In its very centre, there is a cute little square where we had a coffee and a very good poffertjes (I would even say they were the best one I ever had) in Lindeboom Pofferglop. The weather was terrific, so it was a beautiful place to rest a bit. There are a nice open children playground and a park in front of the restaurant.
What really surprised me on Texel is, how children friendly the island is. Wherever we were, the restaurants had changing rooms and high chairs for kids. And what is even better, they had great playgrounds.
After the refreshment there we went to Ecomare, a seal shelter and a nature museum. I was so impressed with its story. The seal population is threatened in the North Sea by the flow of polluting waste materials and drowning in fish nets. To help them, Ecomare is taking care of sick animals by providing shelter and care for them. When they are healed, they are going back to their natural habitat, to the North Sea.
There is a small museum about it there together with aquarium and basins with seals. We came just in time to see the feeding, which was very informative as well. The cutest thing there was a room with baby seals with the names and dates of birth of little animals.
The Dunes of Texel National park
Ecomare is located in the Dunes of Texel National park, so after our visit, we rode through it. The trees there were much higher than the ones you can usually find in the Netherlands. It was a proper forest and riding a bicycle through it was a beautiful experience. It reminded me a lot to my home and nature there.
The variety of landscape is something really exceptional in Texel. The inner part of the island has a lot of fields and meadows. You will find a lot of sheep, cows and horses grazing there. On the western part of Texel, the national park is located, with a beautiful forest. And then, there are beaches and dunes at its borders.
We were fortunate because our hotel was located on a border of the National park. We stayed in Bos en Duin in the apartment with a beautiful view to the forest and fields. They also have a very nice restaurant where we had dinner. Once again, I was amazed at the attention they are giving to the youngest visitors. When we came, Karlo got some colouring paper and crayons, so we had time to enjoy our dinner. The food was also amazing, we had a three-course dinner, which was one of the best I had in the Netherlands, but the desert definitely won it! There is a great playground at the back with a lot of toys to play with. We just loved it!
After a peaceful and relaxing night (I know that this has been said from someone who lives in the city centre, but it was so dark and quiet during the night) the day two was reserved for the beach. It took us around 20 minutes to cycle there, and since we came very early (thanks to our early bird Karlo), we were completely alone there.
The beach was amazing! The combination of white sand and a dark blue sea gives it almost the surreal look. I could spend hours there just starring to the sea. Since it faces the open sea and the waves were huge, it must be the heaven for the surfers.
There are many restaurants there so you can easily spend the day at the beach.
We decided not to have a break there but to go back to the forest, which was only five minutes ride away. So there, we founded another beautiful place – Bospaviljoen ‘t Turfveld. It is located in the middle of the forest, but it has everything you need. We tried Taxel cake while Karlo was playing just next to us. Do I need to say that caffe had a changing room and high chairs for children?
After some more cycling and a picnic lunch at Den Burg we went to the ferry and left the Texel.
The best thing in Texel for me was the vast variety of landscapes combined with the feeling of isolation. You can really feel that you are on the island and that there are not so many people there. And then the smell of nature, the trees, meadows and the sea.
Texel Island is a great weekend trip, and we will definitely come back!