Texel, the Largest Dutch Wadden island
Right off the coast of North-Holland is Texel, the largest of the five Dutch Wadden Islands. Due to its size and in particular its variedness, this island offers pure enjoyment. Firstly, there is the island’s enormous variety in natural beauty. It is not without a reason that a large part of the island has been declared a national park. However, Texel is also the right place in terms of atmosphere. The island is home to pleasant towns wherein you can stroll around, shop, relax on a café terrace and treat yourself in one of the many restaurants.
The island has seven towns, Den Burg being its ‘capital’. An extensive network of bicycle paths connects these towns to each other and traverses the many natural reserves. You can leave your car be during your stay, for the island is easy to explore by bike.
All of Texel’s beaches are situated on the western side of the eiland. In total, the beach is about 30 kilometres in length. Choose your favourite spot; there is the liveliness of De Koog and the peace and vastness of De Hors on the southern tip. The beaches are clean and have water suitable for swimming, are supervised and have excellent facilities. At many of Texel’s beach pavilions, you can rent beach chairs and loungers. Or are you looking for more sensation? The beach is the ideal spot for flying a kite, going wind and kite surfing or going land sailing.
The beach near De Koog is the most popular. The supervised portions of the beach near De Koog are at posts 17, 19, 20 and 21. Most pavilions and other facilities can be found in these areas. You are allowed to swim anywhere, except in the area between post 31 and 33. This area has a strong current. The beach near De Koog is easily reachable on foot. If you take the bus to the beach from Den Burg, you are able to get off close to the beach at De Koog. From the town, the beach is only two dune ridges away. On Texel, the sections of the beach are marked by numbered posts. The beach at post 20 is closest to the bus stop in De Koog.
Are you feeling like flying a kite? Then you should head to Den Hoorn, which is north of De Koog en near De Cocksdorp. In the summer, beach and cross country walks are organised weekly by the local sports clubs of De Koog, De Cocksdorp and Den Hoorn.
Are you looking for a nice atmosphere? For shopping, going out, hanging out or going to a restaurant? Texel has a varied landscape with towns like De Koog, De Cocksdorp, De Waal, Den Burg, Den Hoorn and Oosterend. In these towns you’ll find cozy cafes, restaurants, terraces and nice shops. In and around the towns are many hotels and holiday homes. The largest town is Den Burg, which could almost be called a small city. De Koog is a real, touristic seaside town, while the smallest town, De Waal, exudes a kindly peace. Oudeschild is a typical port town. Oosterend and Den Hoorn are downright quaint. And whatever you do, do not skip De Cocksdorp on your way to the lighthouse, as it has many shops and restaurants.
Texel’s entire system of dunes and the beaches at the southern and northern tips belong to the Duinen van Texel national park. The natural reserve has many hiking and bicycle paths that meander through the woods and dunes around De Koog. The nice hiking paths in the dunes are marked by yellow posts. Besides high dunes, you will also find dune lakes that are home to many birds and the vast, flat landscape of the Slufter. In the 19th century, a part of the dune system was destroyed, which causes the sea to encroach on the land in the form of creeks even today. In this natural reserve, you will encounter many birds and special plants. The dune lakes of the De Muy area form a nesting spot for spoonbills and cormorants, which is why it is closed to visitors from the first of March to mid-August.
Apart from the natural assets, perhaps the island’s most well-known attraction is the seal centre, EcoMare. Here, you can learn a myriad of things about the nature on Texel, the Wadden area and the North Sea, and about man’s influence on the area.
In terms of sightseeing, Texel also has other great things to offer, such as the Texel beer brewery and the Maritime and Beachcombing Museum in Oudeschild. Texel is also home to the Aviation and War Museum, which is highly interesting. On the northernmost tip of Texel stands the lighthouse Eierland. Texel’s Wadden Sea harbour at Oudeschild is also worth a trip, with its fishing ships and yachts.
Texel in numbers
Texel means hiking and cycling. You will find a great number of marked hiking trails, which will often lead you past the most beautiful pieces of nature. The 135 kilometre Texelpad, which will take you around the entire island, constitutes a challenge. Cycling is also an excellent way to explore the island. There are wonderful bike trails; the path along the Waddendijk, on the sea side, for example, is one that comes recommended.
The variedness of Texel’s natural surroundings is unmatched. Dunes, forests, moorlands, beaches, mudflats, hills; these can all be found here. Some unique locations are the Texel dune system, the immense sandy flats of De Hors, and the De Slufter dune valley, where many salt-loving plants grow because of the water from the North Sea that flows into it. These are all designated national parks.
Because of the enormous amount of migrant birds, Texel boasts one of the largest varieties of bird species in the world. The ‘tuinwallen’ are typical of Texel. These were originally building plots, and are now home to a large amount of protected plant and animal species. The large flocks of sheep are equally remarkable: in the spring, the island swarms with lambs.