I was born in The Netherlands (nickname: Holland), did not travel a lot when I was young and at the age of 25 I just decided I wanted to leave my home country to go travelling. I felt like I had some catching up to do. I went to Australia (and visited some countries along the way) for a year, before ending up in Greece for almost 14 years. I returned to my home country in 2010 (do the math and you know how old I am 😉 Ever since I came back, I make it my mission to get to know my own country better. Since I love being by the sea, the Waddeneilanden were first on my Dutch Bucket List. The Waddeneilanden is a group of islands (most of them Frisian) in the north and each and every one of them is stunning! The islands have beautiful beaches, amazing flora and fauna and locals living the good island life… My kind of place!
An island that I visited a few times is Texel (we pronounce it as Tassle). It is the one island that belongs to North Holland province and it can easily be reached by a quick ferry boat ride. The ferry boat leaves from Den Helder, one a hour or in high season every half hour. I always take my little car across, but you can also go to Den Helder by public transport to take the ferry. On the island itself you can use public transport, but this is limited. The better option is to rent a bicycle; an electric one if you want to get around the island a bit faster and there are many more ways of transport for hire on Texel! When you take your car, you pay the ferry boat fee in Den Helder and when going back to main land you just hop on the ferry without paying. Basicly you pay once to go both ways. The island is big enough, you can go for a long weekend or a midweek as we say (Monday to Friday), but I can easily spend a week and still not get bored.
During my visits to Texel I have never written a travel blog, but of course I have kept myself busy on the island, exploring as much as I could, but always saving something for a next visit. I have taken 100’s if not 1000’s of photographs. Every visit I made sure I went some place new, did an activity I had not done before and tried out “new” restaurants or bars. So instead of taking you on a new travel adventure, what I try to do in this travel blog, I will write down a top 10 of my favourite places to see and/or things to do on Texel and I will let you have your own adventure… Apart from my top 10 there is a lot more to see. I mostly visited Texel off season, but during summer season there is so much to do. I will give you a link to the tourist office so you can discover what is on the agenda, but first my top 10:
Number 1: Beach walks!
Many people come to Texel to enjoy the beaches and so do I. From north to south, there is about 30 kilometres of beach (at the west coast of the island)! Because of the tides the beach is never the same, especially in the north where the elements are more of influence than anywhere else on the beach. So when you go to the beach, make sure you know when tide is coming up. Especially when walking at the north part of the island, you can get surprised by the water. For sure you will get wet feet, but the way the water will flow can be tricky (especially off season). At the west coast you will find beach clubs, most of them at The Koog, for when you feel like chilling out, grab a drink or something to eat! And make sure you are there when the sun goes down. The sunsets at Texel are amazing; I never get enough!
Number 2: visit the Lighthouse
The lighthouse is round, red and beautiful and can be found in the north just beyond De Cocksdorp (yeah I know… in English the name of this village/dorp may sound a bit weird). The lighthouse is almost 35 meters high, a real monument and located between the Wadden Sea and the North Sea, surrounded by former worker homes. The lighthouse dates from 1864 and was built after many ships shipwrecked in front of the coast not having enough guidance from the lighthouses of Den Helder and Terschelling. You can climb up to the 6th level of the lighthouse from March till November and during school holidays (also in winter). From here you have an amazing 360 view of the island and the sea!
Number 3: with Jan Plezier to Slufter
The Jan Plezier has been famous for its (covered ) wagon rides on Texel since 1928. Starting point is at De Koog (the number 1 touristic resort on the island). From here the wagon rides to The Slufter, the most famous nature area on Texel which lies between the Muy and the Eierlandse Dunes. It is a large salt marsh plain positioned between two sand dikes. The Slufter is dissected by a creek system which extends far inland. During heavy north westerly winds and spring tide, the seawater penetrates deep into the marsh, creating a stunning landscape (go back to The Slufter for a long walk, you can go all the way to the beach). During the ride you really get to enjoy the beautiful nature and the healthy Texel fresh air. The wagon is pulled by beautiful Belgian draft horses and halfway the tour there is a break for a (warm) drink.
Number 4: Texel beer brewery
Texel has its own beer brewery and believe me: they make really tasty beer! You can visit the brewery, go on a guided tour and the best part come after the tour when you get to taste the various beers :). They have 12 different beers and my favourite is Schuumkoppe. It is not just known on the island, but sold throughout the country. Apart from my favourite, the other beers taste just as good. And of course you can buy some beer before you go. To take home or enjoy while staying on Texel!
Number 5: Shrimp fishing on the Wadden Sea
From Texel you can do various boat trips, but the most fun one is shrimp fishing with the TX10 or TX20. On the east coast you find the little port of Oudeschild; from this port the boats leave. They fish for shrimp, but many other animals will end up in the net as well. Crabs, starfish, gurnards, weevers, flatfish and maybe even a dogfish. The crew puts the catch into a through and explains what is what, so at the same time you get some education. The by-catch goes back into the sea and the shrimps… go straight into a big cooking pot. The captain will show you how to peel them and then you can taste shrimp yourself. Seriously, you will not get any fresher shrimp and they taste amazing. If you are lucky you get to take some with you! Even you are even more lucky you get to see seals during the trip. The seal however rest on sandbanks who are a located further from the coast, but yo never know. And you can always go for a seal spotting tour.
Number 6: Ecomare
And since I am talking about seals… Ecomare is also a must visit while being on Texel. Ecomare is a sanctuary, which cares for about 100 young, sick, weakened or wounded seals. When they are healthy, they go back to the sea. Those who are not able go back (blind seals or seals without teeth) are living a good life in Ecomare. But the sanctuary has more animals to see: porpoise, (sea) birds and they have aquariums and insects. So apart from the educational part that Ecomare offers, the entrance fees support the sanctuary. Kids love it, but adults do too!
Number 7: Beachcomber and shipwreck museum Flora
When going beach combing you think you will find shells, wood, bottles or plastic on the beach… But this museum has a collection of finds that will surprise you (and make you laugh now and then). Over 75 years of beach finds are displayed in this museum. There are expositions, movies you can watch about life on Texel; they have a museum café and there is a playground for kids.
Number 8: Fruit garden
In Oudeschild there is a “Pick your own fruit” garden. If you feel like having fresh strawberries or raspberries or snack veggies, then you have to visit this garden where you can pick your own. You pay for what you pick and if you are lazy, you can buy some without doing the work. The garden has a farm shop with delicious home made products and a tea garden to relax and have a cup of tea with a piece of strawberry cake.
Number 9: lamb cuddling
Texel has a lot of sheep, a special kind of sheep. They define the landscape; they are everywhere! They produce of course wool and meat. There are probably more sheep then inhabitants on the island (OK, I am not sure, but probably). In spring there is an birth explosion and there are lots of lamb and you can visit one of the farm to cuddle with a lamb and to experience life on a farm. It is very therapeutic!
Number 10: Wezenspyk
A Texel beer goes really well with a piece of cheese. I seriouly love cheese, with of without a drink (although a beer or glass of wine make a good combination). Almost every day, Texel cheese is made in the Wezenspyk “cheese factory”. From where the shop is, you can see the cheese making process. You can also see (and smell) the cheese storage, where apparantly more than 25,000 kilograms of cheese is maturing. Yum! And ofcourse you can taste the various cheese and for sure you have to buy some!
Well… that is my top 10 for Texel. But believe me: so many more places are worth a visit. You can go skydiving, jump with a parachute, go bird watching (Texel is famous for bird watching), wadlopen (now how do I explain what that means… wadlopen is walking on the Wadden Sea when there is low tide), you can shop and of course eat and drink in the many restaurant and bars Texel has to offer.
Have a look at the website of the VVV/Tourist Office of Texel. For sure there is much more information about Texel, tips and their agenda of activities and festivals, which are plenty! . I know for sure that I will keep on going back to Texel!
Texel Top 10 by Elisabeth, One Lucky Traveller
Last visit: October 16, 2015