Exploring Texel Island: The Ultimate Cycle Trip through the Dutch Countryside
Texel Island is probably the most diverse and beautiful place I’ve ever seen in the Netherlands – and still very much undiscovered by a lot of people. After spending a weekend on Texel Island I completely fell in love with it. It’s the perfect place for a weekend of cycling and discovering the Netherlands off the beaten track. This is how you get the most out of this ultimate cycle trip through the Dutch countryside.
The best way to explore the island is on a bicycle. You can bring your own bicycle with you; Dutch trains have dedicated areas for bicycles and you can take your bike with you for 6,10 euros per day. However, you can also rent bicycles when on Texel – there are bike rental shops right next to the ferry port.
Bike lanes run all around the island and the distances between the places are not that far. It’s not just that cycling is easy, but you will have the best possible views from your bike.
Your only issue cycling around Texel Island could be the wind, but hey, you’re in the country of windmills after all! Look at the struggle against the wind as part of your cultural experience.
Exploring Texel’s diverse scenery
Probably the most beautiful thing about Texel Island is the diverse scenery. We tend to see the Netherlands as a very monotonous country in terms of its landscape, but Texel Island will prove you wrong.
Parts of the island are beautiful valleys and meadows, covered in flowers and wheat fields. But then, all of a sudden, the scenery will change drastically and you will find yourself in a proper forest. I haven’t seen trees that tall anywhere else in the Netherlands!
As you get closer to the seashore, you will see more and more sand dunes and finally, a beach with picture-perfect white sand.
Cycling through this ever-changing landscape really made me feel strongly connected with nature. Beautiful scents filling my nostrils, a fresh breeze in my hair, colorful flowers and wheat fields along the road and sheep dotting the landscape… It was like the definition of ‘countryside’.
Texel Island is a great destination for anyone interested in responsible travel. Not only because you get around on eco-friendly bicycles, but also because most of the guest houses and restaurants are owned by the local families.
One of my favorite places on the island was the seal shelter Ecomare, home to animals that were rescued from the North Sea. Many of them are in danger because of sea pollution. So, people at the shelter rescue them and take care of them until they’re ready to go back to the sea. Ecomare organizes many educational demonstrations and I promise you will leave the place with much better knowledge of seals and their environment.
Food, glorious food
Finding food during your cycle trip around Texel Island is easy – there are great cafes and restaurants all over the island! Some of them can be found directly on the beaches, while others are hidden away in the forest. Whenever you feel tired, you will find a perfect place for a break close by.
And the best thing is, I have not come across a single place where the food was not delicious! On Texel island I ate some of the best poffertjes (small Dutch pancakes) and loved sampling the local specialty, Texel cake.
How to get to Texel Island | Take the train to Den Helder and from there hop onto the ferry to Texel Island. A return ticket for the ferry is €5 per person including a bicycle.
The weather on Texel Island | The island is located in the north of the Netherlands, so the weather might change rapidly. If you are flexible, I would recommend waiting for a sunny day as it turns the island into the most beautiful place on Earth – in my opinion.
Visiting Texel Island with kids | I went to Texel Island with my son who was 1.5 years old at the time and it was one of the most child friendly places I had ever visited! All the cafes had changing stations, high chairs and a beautiful playgrounds for even the smallest kids to play.
Explore Den Burg | Den Burg is the largest village on the island and is located quite centrally, close to all the places you are likely to have on your itinerary. You’ll also find a lot of restaurants, cafés and a supermarket there.
The local tourist info office | Texel Island’s tourist info office is located in Den Burg. They have many brochures with things to see, opening hours and cycling routes. It’s a good place to get more specific info about the places you could visit.
Texel Island makes for a brilliant day trip in the Netherlands, whether you love eco-tourism, cycle holidays or simply immersing yourself in the local culture off the beaten track! The mix of nature, great food and cycling should be a recipe for a perfect weekend in the Dutch countryside.
This is a guest post by Tea Gudek Snajdar.
Tea Gudek Snajdar is an Amsterdam based travel blogger and an art guide. She’s writing about art and culture of destinations around the Europe on her travel blog Culture Tourist.