Nature at the water’s edge

Texel, the largest of the 5 Dutch Wadden Sea islands, is located just 1 hour 30 from Amsterdam. Popular, mainly frequented by Dutch and German travelers in search of the sun (Texel is one of the sunniest regions of the Netherlands), it is the destination for a breath of fresh air easily accessible.

More than a quarter of the island is set up as a nature reserve, the Dunes National Park. Crisscrossed by a multitude of hiking trails and cycle paths, interspersed with plains, dunes, small lakes, short and sometimes dense vegetation where you can see wild horses, this setting sometimes looks like the Mongolian steppes.

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From the ferry, although you can already see the green contours of the island, it is impossible to guess the treasures of Texel and in particular its 30km long beach which borders the west face of the island.

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The Wadden Sea

A UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve, the Wadden Sea is the world’s largest uninterrupted system of tidal mudflats and sandbanks. There are a multitude of transitional habitats and the area is home to many species of plants and animals, including marine mammals such as seals, gray seals and porpoises. The approximately 50 Wadden Islands form a sort of protective buffer between the North Sea and the Wadden region. The islands are constantly in motion: they “walk” slowly from west to east. On the eastern side, increasingly larger sandbars are forming and therefore more land, while on the western side, part of the island disappears into the sea.

We delight in long invigorating walks, stopping regularly at the various beach bars named strandpaviljoen, at any time of the day. Here, no simple straw huts but real cozy living spaces with neat decoration.

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The coastline of the island is raw, with verdigris vegetation, and the particular luminosity of the northern skies when the sun filters through their clouds. At the extreme south of the island, the landscapes become lunar. As far as the eye can see, the white sand, as fine as flour, dazzles even when the weather is gloomy. The cold, metallic light is splendid here.

One ​​of the specialties of the northern beaches are the beach cabins. They have been part of the charm of the seaside since the birth of seaside resorts in the 19th century. At the time, the modesty of bathers was such that it was necessary to create a space between the intimate and the public in order to change out of sight. In Texel, the photogenic cabins are set up as a true art of living.

The beach raiders

There are still active beach raiders, strandjutters all over the Dutch coast. In the Flora Museum between Den Burg and De Koog, beach raider Jan Uitgeest and his team present what they have found on the beaches of Texel over the past decades: countless beacons, shoes, bottles (with or without message ), toys and animal bones.

The beach raiders

There are still active beach raiders, strandjutters all over the Dutch coast. In the Flora Museum between Den Burg and De Koog, beach raider Jan Uitgeest and his team present what they have found on the beaches of Texel over the past decades: countless beacons, shoes, bottles (with or without message ), toys and animal bones.

The interior of the land is completely flat with a succession of vast agricultural plains on which a half-barn with a thatched roof or a mill sometimes punctuates the landscape. The island still lives from its traditional activities: sheep breeding (there are more on the island than inhabitants!), fishing, horticulture….

The island has seven villages, the largest of which is Den Burg. This is where the entertainment is concentrated, which is quickly said all the same ☺ Its alleys reflect the usual sobriety of Dutch architecture. Installed in their manicured gardens, the inhabitants regularly organize improvised garage sales in front of their doors.
All the red brick facades look like dollhouses. They are overflowing with flowers, plants and welcoming little benches.

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You don’t succumb to the charm of Texel as soon as you get off the ferry or along the long road that crosses it. It is an island that deserves time and curiosity. Relatively cool in the middle of summer, it is a real breath of fresh air for anyone who loves large expanses, calm, and bike rides. Texel offers itself to anyone who wants to understand it with one certainty: yes, it deserves to be seen!

Texel is

25 km long by 10 km wide

Accommodation capacity

Where is Texel? Texel is a Dutch island in the North Sea, separated from the mainland by the Wadden Sea. It is the largest, most populated and westernmost of the Frisian archipelago, which extends to Denmark.

How to get to Texel? By ferry from the port of Den Helder. The crossing takes about twenty minutes, cars are accepted. A train connects Den Helder to Amsterdam Central Station in 1 hour 15 minutes. Bus 33 which is just outside the station on arrival in Den Helder then goes to the port in 10 minutes. The schedules of the boats are mainly set on those of the trains. Long live flawless organization!

How to get around the island All vehicles are allowed on the island. With more than 135 km of cycle paths (accessible to bicycles and scooters), we discover sites not accessible by car with some quite amusing thematic routes: the Tasty Tour for gourmets, the Geheimen route for those who want to discover hidden corners from Texel or the Jan Wolkers route that follows in the footsteps of the Dutch writer, who loved the island. If you don’t have your own means of transport, no worries. There are many rental companies on the island right out of the ferry with the possibility of dropping them off at your place of residence.

Where to sleep and eat? We avoid the center of the village of De Koog, a seaside resort where fast food, souvenir shops and tasteless brasseries accumulate. The surroundings of De Koog are however pleasant with quick access to the large beach. The village of Den Burg is the liveliest with its main square, its garden and shopping streets. The other villages on the island are smaller and almost without shops. Some nice addresses spotted (but not all tested!):
Buytenplaats< em>, large villas for rent in the center of the island
Vakantiehuis Heidehof, a large villa near Den Hoorn
Op Oost , boutique hotel offering ten rooms and a very good restaurant
Just Texel, some suites in Den Burg
Landhuis Noorderhaecks, studio, lofts, suites and apartments in the south
Texel suites, 3 suites in the village of Oudeschild

BOSQ, a casual gastro in Den Horn
Lokaal 16, for lunch healthy in Den Burg, terrace in the patio
Verwennerij Bij Jef, l island star
Het Schoutenhuys</a >, the typical brewery in the village of Den Burg

The book to take in your suitcase? The sulfurous Turkish Delight by Jan Wolkers, adapted into a film in 1974 by Paul Verhoeven.

The song to include in your playlist? Here But I’m Gone by Curtis Mayfield.

And especially where to drink your Spritz? At < em>Gastro Pavillion XV, on the beach at Paal 15. A very pleasant beach restaurant with large terrace and cozy lounge with fireplace inside for the colder end of the day.

If I had known, …

I would have revised my few words of Dutch… and German. The practice of German is indeed much more common here than English. Ya wohl!

I would have planned a day or more on the neighboring island of Vlieland with the De Vriendschap, flat-bottomed boat typical of the Wadden Sea. So yes, the departure at 6 am is very stingy, but it is clearly worth it. On the program of the excursion: magical sunrise and sunset over Texel, observation of seals on their sandbank and tasting of the local Jutter alcohol casually on the deck of the boat on the way back.

I would have tried the Texel style spa: the woolbath! Half an hour of relaxation completely wrapped in sheep’s wool. Unique experience and surprising effects guaranteed.

I would have gone and picked my own fruits, vegetables and flowers from the fields of one of the farms on the island like this one.

I would have tasted the locally produced delicacies: Skuumkoppe brewed beer, award-winning cheese, slightly salty flavored Texel lamb, chocolate, ice cream and the famous Jutter liqueur.


The other islands

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Discover the other islands

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