If you look at a map of the Netherlands, you'll notice a chain of North Sea islands that extends from north of the mainland town of Van Helder and runs in a flowing line towards Denmark. These are the Wadden islands. The largest and westernmost of these is called Texel (pronounced "Tessel"). Texel is a living paradise, full of sea and surf life. Low tides expose vast amounts of the sea floor, and you can take a tour to marvel at the exposed sea life.
Getting Around Texel Island
Walking and cycling are popular on the island. You can get around the island by bus, but extensive bike paths make getting around on two wheels easy. The southern cycling route takes you to De Petten Lake, home to shelducks, oystercatchers, lapwings, avocets and black-headed gulls.
For avid wildlife fans, winter is a fine time to travel to Texel Island. About a third of Texel is protected nature preserve, and Texel is a winter home to birds of prey and geese.
Don't miss EcoMare, a visitor center in De Koog that will give you context for all the nature you're seeing. It also has a bird shelter, dune park and wildlife museum; you can watch seals being fed at 11 am and 3 pm.
You can buy a combination ticket at EcoMare that includes the Maritime & Beachcombers Museum in Oudeschild and the Historical Chamber in Den Burg.
There are only seven villages on Texel Island:
- De Cocksdorp
- De Koog
- De Waal
- Den Burg (The largest town on the island)
- Den Hoorn
This makes Texel seem smaller than it is, but there are plenty of tourism resources. The tourism board offers a good, interactive map of the island you can populate with the tourist resources you're interested in.
How to Get to Texel Island
Texel island is about two and a half hours from Amsterdam.
You can take the train to Den Helder in Noord-Holland, where there is a bus that takes you to the ferry every 12 minutes after the hour. To see routes, times, and costs, see: Amsterdam to Texel. You can change the starting city to whatever you like to see how to get to Texel from anywhere.
Where to Stay on Texel Island
There are many historic hotels on Texel Island in the towns below (book direct):
If you search the internet, you'll find many small bed and breakfasts as well.