Texel is an island located just five kilometres north of Den Helder across the Wadden Sea. It has seven villages, is home to about 13,500 people, and over a quarter of it is made up by the Dunes of Texel National Park.
With lots of beautiful nature, countless cycling paths, and, of course, the sea, Texel is the perfect place for a Dutch summer escape. Texel has the most sunshine hours in the whole of the Netherlands, so if you want to escape the dark and dreary weather, this is your safest bet.
The traffic on the island is minimal, which — together with the numerous cycling paths across the island — makes it the perfect place for a relaxing bike ride.
If you aren’t keen on taking your own bike, there are bike rental shops located all over the island. One of them is right across from the ferry port, so renting a bike on Texel involves minimal effort. If bikes aren’t your thing at all, make use of the bus service that runs over the island or simply take your legs for a long stretch.
Taking the TESO ferry to Texel
To reach Texel, there is an hourly ferry from Den Helder. A return ticket costs only €2,50 for pedestrians and €5 if you take your bike or moped. To take your car across the Wadden Sea, you’ll pay €25 for a return ticket if you travel on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and €37 if you travel on one of the other days of the week.
The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes. There’s a café on board which sells all the best Dutch snacks you can think of (like appeltaart). There are also a couple of gift shops as well as a lovely outside deck to enjoy to views. We have to warn you though — if you venture out on the deck, you’ll be sharing it with hungry seagulls that like to tag along for the ride too.
Oudeschild port harbour
One of the most popular bike routes on Texel is 23 kilometres long and it takes you along the coast of the island all the way to the famous lighthouse in De Cocksdorp. You’ll cycle past pretty beaches where you can stop, sit down, and really take it all in.
Less than halfway along this route, you come to one of seven of Texel’s villages: Oudeschild. Its picturesque harbor has lots of nice little boutique shops, bars, and restaurants, with plenty of outside space to enjoy your beverage. If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous than a classic bike ride, you can rent Tuk Tuks for €99 per day.
Once you reach the other end of the island, you get to the Eierland lighthouse. This lighthouse is a massive tourist attraction on the island and you’ll immediately see why. Just below it, you’ll find vast sandy beaches and beautiful restaurants overlooking the sea. You can also go inside the lighthouse for a small fee of €4.
Vuurtorenweg Texel beach
Vuurtorenweg Texel beach is a beautiful beach that stretches along the north of the island. Located just below the lighthouse, it is the perfect photo spot. The sand dunes that are part of the Dunes of Texel National Park also begin here. They stretch for miles, so no matter how busy it is, there is always ample space for you to enjoy.
The north of the island tends to be windier, which makes it great for kite flying. However, beware — the wind can also pose a challenge when you cycle back to the ferry port and a “quick” cycle back from the beach can take you three times as long as you expected.
Anything else to see and do in Texel?
There are many other things to do on the island, including visiting an array of museums (such as the Shipwreck and Beachcombing Museum Flora) or checking out the Ecomare — an aquarium filled with adorable seals, porpoises, birds, and fish. To savour a relaxing afternoon after a long cycle, there are also wineries, chocolatiers, breweries, and plenty of good food.
Have you visited this beautiful Dutch island? What’s your favourite spot in Texel? Let us know in the comments!
Feature Image: Joppe Spaa/Unsplash
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated in June 2021 for your reading pleasure.