Top things to do in Texel island
The island is only 9 kilometres wide and 25 kilometres long, yet the largest of the Wadden islands, which separate the North Sea from the inshore waters of Wadden Sea. The latter is a UNESCO world heritage site, due to its unique ecosystem. During low tide sandbanks form which attracts loads of different birds and if you get close enough, you will definitely see a seal or two sunning themselves. Texel makes for an excellent weekend escape from Amsterdam and there is lots and lots to do.
- From Amsterdam, take the direct train to Den Helder. From the station hop on a bus to the ferry. As a foot passenger, simply buy your ticket at the ticket office. Ferries run every hour. On Texel, getting around on bus no. 28 is easy, but I also recommend renting a bike. Take your OV Chip Card, which you can charge as you go, to travel on public transport in The Netherlands.
- If you decide to rent a car and get to Texel, no problem. Just book your ferry ticket in advance so you don’t have to wait in line.
- Spending your time in Amsterdam and want to take a day trip to Texel? You can, this day trip is specially tailored to see the loveliest parts of the island in just a few hours time.
Just Texel Suites & Apartments
Just Texel Suites and Apartments is designed for just one thing: ultimate relaxation. Stay in suites Just Relax, Just Married or Just Watching or opt for the Just Like Heaven Apartment. And heavenly all accommodation surely is. The rooms are stylishly decorated, with fabulous beds, pretty fabrics and lush outdoor space. Sit down with a glass of (locally produced!) and just enjoy.
Texel has many lovely options to stay, like cosy and traditionally styled B&B’s or even a proper boutique hotel. I stayed at a cottage at Landal Sluftervallei and, even though I hardly ever stay in holiday parks, I was pretty impressed.
First of all, Landal Sluftervallei has tried hard (and succeeded, I think) not to disrupt nature too much when building the park and the cottages are set in the dunes, giving you the feeling that you really belong to the island. The trees, shrubs and flowers are all typical ‘dune’ flora. It’s only a short walk to the beach, though I recommend renting a bike to explore the island a little more. It’s only a short stroll to the lighthouse and the shops and restaurants of De Cocksdorp are a stone’s throw away. The park has an indoor pool, lots of playgrounds for the kids, a small supermarket and a (pretty impressive) restaurant.
If you’re looking for a peaceful place to stay, but not too far from a lively place, Kustpark Texel is the best of both worlds. The dreamy cottages have recently been restyled and have large gardens. It’s a fun holiday park for kids, as there is a large indoor swimming pool. Kustpark Texel is also close to the beach and near the lively village of The Koog where you’ll find shops, bars and restaurants.
Studio Hoge Berg
If you’re looking for a holiday house or some special accommodation Airbnb is also the place to look on Texel. I stumbled onto the Studio in Hoge Berg and my jaw simply dropped. The luxurious studio overlooks a spacious garden that you will have to yourself with views over the precious Texel landscape. The studio has a fine bed, beautiful bathroom and a small kitchenette.
Beaches of Texel
The beaches of Texel are beautifully widespread, quiet and perfect for a long walk or flying a kite. With 30 kilometres of coastline, there are lots of different beaches to choose from. Like the beach at De Koof where most holidaymakers spend a sunny afternoon and enjoy a local beer at one of the beach clubs or you can visit the beach near De Hors in the south of Texel, where you’ll be all by yourself.
The lighthouse of Texel
The Texel lighthouse is called Eierland lighthouse and can’t be missed in the northern tip of the island, near De Cocksdorp. It was built at the end of the 19th century and is 35 meters high. Climb the 150 steps of the lighthouse to enjoy a marvellous view from the top over the island and the North Sea, you can see all the way to neighbouring island Vlieland.
Explore Dunes of Texel national park
I had no idea dunes could be so variated until I visited Texel. The Dunes of Texel national park basically stretches along the entire west side of the island and the landscape is mesmerizing: heather, grass, swamps, woodlands, acres of berries and wildflowers. Don’t be surprised to spot horses, wild cows and sheep. The dunes are brooding spot for dozens of birds, so if you’re a bird watcher, better take your binoculars with you.
Pick your own fruit and flowers
When I was little I spent many afternoons in Cornwall picking my own strawberries. I absolutely adored that. So when I found out there was a garden to pick your own fruit, vegetables and flowers on Texel, I simply had to go there. De Zelfpluktuin is near Oudeschild, one of the prettiest villages in Texel. On entrance, a sign tells you which fruit, vegetables and flowers are ready to be picked. The prices are really fair. If you don’t feel like venturing out to pick strawberries, simply take a seat in the café and order a coffee and some cake or buy some homemade jams and lemonades.
Seals are the popular inhabitants of both the Wadden Sea and the North Sea around Texel and when seals get hurt and wash up on the beach, Ecomare is where they are taken to. At Ecomare the seals are taken care off and after they’re patched up, they’re released back into the sea.
But the visiting centre is about much more than just watching the seal pups being fed (too cute), but is now all about understanding what a unique ecosystem the Wadden Sea really is and why it’s so important that it will be preserved (there’s a big bubble of oil underneath the Wadden Sea, so you can only imagine the corporate vultures who’d like to get their filthy little paws on this beautiful nature reserve). It’s also a lot of fun to take a look at the aquariums to see all the different fish, including sharks, that live in the seas surrounding Texel island.
So, us Dutch know Texel for the wool and for the beer. And for the cheese. Cheese from Texel is, apparently, quite the delicacy and they make it best at Cheese farm Wezenspyk where you can join a guided tour around the dairy farm, do a cheese tasting or buy some cheese to take home.
Den Burg is Texel’s unofficial capital and the largest village on the island. The small, winding street, flanked by traditional white and wooden houses are picture-perfect. Den Burgh has a museum, cinema, several supermarkets, nice shopping opportunities and many lovely cafés and restaurants. It’s a good idea to spend at least one afternoon or one morning discovering Den Burgh.
Oudeschild is maybe the prettiest village on Texel island. It’s located directly by the sea and is the perfect place to go for a seal spotting boat tour and discover the amazing ecosystem that is de Dutch Waddenzee. In the harbour, you’ll find the most amazing seafood restaurants. Don’t skip the Kaap Skil Museum.
Wine tasting at De Kroon
Wine tasting in The Netherlands? Yes, there are some vineyards in The Netherlands and De Kroon van Texel is one of them. Thanks to Texel’s unique ecosystem the island is actually quite the perfect place to grow grapes and make wine. The vineyard is set at the edge of the national park, in the dunes, and you should really go and taste their dry white, which is a lot like a Riesling.
What used to be your average craft brewery has turned into one of the most popular breweries in The Netherlands. 10 beers are brew at Texelse bierbrouwerij and they’re made from mainly local produce. The beer is even brewed with water from the dunes of Texel, resulting in a very smooth and soft flavour. You can buy beers at the brewery shop or go on a brewery tour.
If you’re after something a tad more modern, Den Burg has plenty more to offer. I personally really loved Lokaal 16, on the edge of the city centre set in one of Texel’s traditional houses, painted a soft blue. It doesn’t really matter when you visit Lokaal 16, as long as you do. They serve lovely breakfasts, scrumptious salads and rolls for lunch and nice wine and beers in the afternoon. Or go for some organic lemonade.
Coffee and cake at Timmer
First stop is always a coffee stop! And this one is in Den Burg, the unofficial capital of Texel right in the heart of the island. Bakker Timmer is right in the cosy city centre of Den Burg and as the name suggests it’s a bakery, but as soon as you walk in, you want to grab one of the few seats in the back and roam the glass cases as there are simply too many cakes and tarts to choose from. And it’s cheap, I mean…. really cheap. And good. So, maybe you might as well take two.
With Texel being an island, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of amazing fish to be had. If you’d like some fresh fish for lunch or buy some fish and seafood to prepare yourself at night, visiting Oude Vismarkt in Oudeschild is the best place for it. This brand new fish shop is set in the old fish exchange, which has been completely renovated. Both locals and tourists make their way to Oude Vismarkt to have lunch at one of the wooden tables. What’s been caught that morning, is on your plate just a few hours later.
Now, I’m not in the habit of forcing my readers to do anything. But I really feel you’ve not visited Texel properly if you haven’t had lunch or dinner at ‘t Pakhuus. First of all, the setting is just amazing, in a completely renovated old warehouse along the Oudeschild harbour. Whilst eating you can watch the ships come in and sail out.
Second of all, because ‘t Pakhuus probably offers the best seafood that’s on offer in Texel. Because of the unique situation between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, all sorts of beautiful fish and shellfish are caught and these are all beautifully served up at ‘t Pakhuus. Husband and I went there for a three-course lunch and were simply elated. We had locally grown oysters, a lobster bisque and salads made with freshly caught tuna and salmon. Even though the restaurant looks a little posh, we were more than welcome with our baby in the pram, who slept the whole way through lunch.
You can’t go to Texel island without visiting one of the lovely beach clubs. And Gastropaviljoen XV is a wonderful beach club, which only opens in summer. The interior design, with lots of wood, vintage and plants, is just so cosy and the menu is very interesting as well.
Paal 17 is without a doubt one of the most famous beach clubs on Texel island. It’s the perfect place for lunch or for a glass of Texel beer and some snacks after a long walk on the beach. There’s a large terrace, but if it’s a little chillier inside is just as cosy.
Kaap Noord is a beach club situated at the most northern tip of Texel island and it’s the perfect spot for a sundowner. Order a chilled wine, a local beer or a cocktail and just watch the beach. On a clear day, you can even see neighbouring island Vlieland.