For a few years in a row we’ve chosen one place in Holland as a travel destination for winding down: Texel. It’s not hard to fall in love with this island that is rich in authentic local culture and natural beauty. Just like the other Wadden islands Texel is part of world heritage region the Wadden Sea. Outdoor activities galore as well as possibilities to enjoy the local cuisine and to blend in with the islanders. Add to that, Texel gets most sun-hours per year of all places in the Netherlands. Need we say more? 🙂
To us, the very best moment to hop on the ferry is definitely the winter season! Texel is extremely popular with national and international tourists (over 900,000 visitors annually), the majority of which flood the island in summer time. A brilliant move is to avoid the crowds and choose your better option. Because once the tourist crowds have left, a sense of space and relaxation will surround you right away.
Wow, where to begin describing what you shouldn’t miss on Texel?! Below are only few of the possibilities! Our strategy is therefore to drop by the tourist information office at Den Burg soon after our arrival, to hear what’s happening on the island during our stay. Their service is excellent and even in winter time there are plenty activities.
Best hiking locations
If you’re keen on hiking, there are numerous trails to choose from. We always love a combination of forest, beach and dunes, sea views and rural landscape. Find some examples of tracks on our Wikiloc page, Waddenwandelen or drop by the tourist office to get some inspiration.
Our absolute favourite hiking locations are De Slufter, where you may stroll through brackish creeks, adjacent reserve De Muy and National Park Dunes of Texel. Some corners of the island are protected areas for birds and other species. The state forest service organizes guided nature excursions about 2-3 times a week.
For a taste of cultural history and to meet the famous Texel sheep, head to landscape reserve De Hoge Berg. Along your way, you’ll encounter stalls selling local products like cheese or charming tea and coffee houses.
Bird Island Texel
Sheep are not the only animals characterizing the island. Thousands of migratory birds frequent Texel along their main flyway. Nature conservation organisations expand and protect areas where birds find food and rest. There is a utopic bird boulevard, birdwatching hotspots, observation huts, you name it. It is not surprising the Wadden island has been titled Bird Island.
A good starting point for birdwatchers is the Bird Information Center at De Cocksdorp. Here you’ll find everything you need for birdwatching on Texel. This interactive map shows all hotspots as well as locations where you can borrow binoculars (€50 deposit).
Adventure awaits for those who dare. Horse-riding isn’t for everyone, but as we see it, discovering a place from the back of a horse gives a totally new perspective. Advanced riders can cut loose during a beach ride, whereas beginners have the option to participate in a forest ride. We’ve had a very good experience doing a ride organized by riding school Kikkert. The lady accompanying us was super friendly and provided instructions along the way to improve our riding techniques. Just do it, don’t hold back.
Wheels and water
Perhaps cycling, stand up paddle surfing and boat tours are more enjoyable in the summer. But whoever can’t resist wheels or water – even in winter time you can arrange these activities. A compromise could be the 8 km long ATB track through forest and dunes, which is great under all meteorological circumstances. At the end of the day, warm up at Texel’s genuine whiskey bar or own brewery.
- Costs: ferry rates start at €2.20/return ticket for a foot passenger. Check the Teso ferry website for all rates and the timetable.
- Address: The ferry leaves from Havenplein 3, Den Helder (52.962216, 4.778014). Find the timetable and travel information on the Teso website. Plan your journey to the port here.
- More info: Out of the five inhabitated Dutch islands Texel is the one closest to the mainland and the most populated with nearly 14,000 inhabitants. All imaginable types of accommodation are available, from campsites to bungalows to luxurious hotels. There is an excellent public transportation service called Texelhopper, which will take you to every corner of the island. Alternatively, rent a bicycle for the whole period of your stay, immediately off the ferry or at one of the many other rental locations. More flexibility and fun but beware of strong winds!
- Bring: Camera, tripod, windproof/waterproof jacket, hiking shoes.
- Tracks: Rural walk around Oosterend, Texel, Guided hike through De Slufter creeks, Texel from the back of a horse.
Have you become enthusiastic about the Wadden Sea region? Then have a look at the following travel tips: