The Island of Texel, a Paradise for Birdwatching Lovers

By irenepaolinelli | Nov 30, 2021
Europe > Netherlands > Texel

The Island of Texel. Photo by Irene Paolinelli

The Island of Texel. Photo by Irene Paolinelli

The Island of Texel is one of the Wadden Islands located on the north side of the Netherlands coast. Between white beaches and nature reserves, you will be able to observe seals and a myriad of birds.

It is only 9 kilometres wide and 25 kilometres long, yet the largest of the Wadden islands. The island of Texel offers 30 km of long sandy beach, seven villages and unique nature reserves. It is very well known for its bird-rich dunes. You can reach it quickly and you will be on the island in only twenty minutes by ferry from Den Helder, that every hour! Discover the top 10 things to do on Texel!

1. Explore the Texel lighthouse

“Eierland lighthouse” is the name of the 19th-century Texel Lighthouse. It is located in the north of Texel, near De Cocksdorp on one of the widest beaches on the island. It is 35 meters high. Climb the 150 steps of the lighthouse and you will enjoy a panoramic view of the North Sea and the Wadden Sea. Ideal to combine a beach day with a visit to the lighthouse.

2. Have a Walk-in De Slufter and Duinen National Park

The nature area of De Slufter is the only area in the Netherlands where the North Sea can penetrate unchecked. Even the entire lagoon is flooded after a storm flood. This enabled a unique nature area to develop in De Slufter – with tideways and salt marshes full of blossoming purple sea lavender. Dunes are very variated in this landscape. The Dunes of Texel national park basically stretches along the entire west side of the island and the landscape is mesmerizing: heather, grass, swamps, woodlands, acres of berries and wildflowers. You can spot horses, wild cows and sheep. This is the perfect place for dozens of different birds. The highest dune is Bertusnol. There you can have a break and enjoy the charming view.

3. Visit the Nature Museum Ecomare

Ecomare is an aquarium and wildlife sanctuary for seals and birds. Here you will learn everything about the Wadden Sea and the North Sea. You can find many marine animals, like harbour seals, porpoises and grey seals which were found injured and nursed back to health. Seals are the popular inhabitants of both the Wadden Sea and the North Sea around Texel. Once the seals are well, they are released back into their natural habitat.

But the visiting centre is about much more than just watching the seal pups being fed. It is all about understanding what a unique ecosystem the Wadden Sea really is and why it is so important that it will be preserved. It is also a lot of fun to take a look at the aquariums to see all the different fish, including sharks, that live in the seas surrounding Texel island. At the end of the visit, you can also decide to adopt a seal by contributing with a monthly fee.

4. Don't Miss the Juttersmuseum Flora

In the Juttersmuseum Flora between Den Burg and De Koog, jutter Jan Uitgeest and his team display what they have found on the beaches of Texel over the decades; countless buoys, shoes, bottles (and messages in bottles too), toys, and animal bones. It is the nicest family museum in Texel. There is plenty to experience, inside and outside, for young and for old. You can dive into fascinating stories by experiencing the rich history of beachcombing in images and sound.

5. Go around the Cosy Villages of the Island

The main point of Texel is Den Burg, which is situated in the centre, making it the first point of contact of the island for many visitors. Good restaurants, pretty shops and the local tourist information office are all located in the historic centre of Den Burg. The northernmost island area is De Cocksdorp, located near the attractive lighthouse and the unique nature reserve for birds. The historic villages of Oosterend and De Waal are very charming and idyllic. The harbour of Oudeschild by the Wadden Sea is an attractive place, with fishing boats, windmills and the interesting Kaap Skil Museum. The southernmost village of Texel, Den Hoorn, is known for its romantic church, the surrounding tulip fields, and its arts events. Don't miss the following 7 villages:

  • Den Burg
  • Oudeschild
  • Den Hoorn
  • De Koog
  • Oosterend
  • De Waal
  • De Cocksdorp

6. Have a Local Dinner in Catharinahoeve and Taste the Texel Beer

Catharinahoeve is a family business, perfect for a cosy meal. It is a farm dating from 1684 and it has been a restaurant since 1965. It has kept the same interior almost all that time. Inside there is a cosy atmosphere, with a crackling fireplace and memories of grandma's time. The farmhouse is situated by the De Dennen forest. They serve an extensive menu of Texel specialities at an affordable price, like lamb and ribs. The children can enjoy themselves in the indoor and outdoor playground. 10 beers are brewed at Texelse bierbrouwerij and they are made from mainly local products. The beer is even brewed with water from the dunes of Texel, resulting in a very smooth and soft flavour.

7. Try out New Types of Sports

Jumping out of a plane with a parachute is a kind of island hobby on Texel. The less brave can view the island from the air with a round flight, or cut across the coast with a catamaran. However, riding, (kite)surfing, sailing, canoeing, flyboarding, golfing in the middle of stunning vast dunes or birdwatching tours. The beach at De Koog contains plenty of opportunities for water sports and other activities. The Wadden Sea is perfect for going for a tour on a sailboat. Moreover, Texel has an excellently constructed network of cycle paths.

8. Relax on the Best Beaches of Texel

The beaches of Texel are beautifully quiet and perfect for a long walk or flying a kite. There are lots of different beaches to choose from:

  • De Koof beach
  • De Hors beach
  • Strandbedrijf Noorderbad
  • Landal Beach
  • Beach Pavilion Twaalf
  • Onrust
  • Strandpaviljoen Paal 20 in de Koog
  • Waddenstrand ‘De Hornt'

9. Cheese and Wine Tasting

At the cheese farm Wezenspyk you can join a guided tour around the dairy farm, do a cheese tasting or buy some cheese to take home. Wine tasting in the Netherlands? Yes, there are some vineyards in the Netherlands and De Kroon van Texel is one of them. Thanks to Texel's unique ecosystem the island is actually quite the perfect place to grow grapes and make wine. Do not forget to have lunch in Van Der Star, you can choose the good quality fish to fry and enjoy a herring sandwich.

10. Island Hopping in the North Sea

The other North Sea islands are also worth visiting. The nearest island to Texel is Vlieland, which you can visit by taking a small ferry from the northernmost point of Texel. You can even ‘hop' from one island to the next. ‘Island hopping‘ means travelling from one North Sea Island to the next. You should also visit the islands of Ameland, Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog.

The Island of Texel. Photo by Irene Paolinelli

The Island of Texel. Photo by Irene Paolinelli

Take your binoculars with you and go on a wild adventure!

Birdwatching Europe Netherlands Texel Things to do Wildlife Birds

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Written by irenepaolinelli
Olà, I am Irene. I am Italian, I was born and raised on the Tuscan hills between Lucca and the Sea. Due to study purposes, I lived in Valladolid, Spain and in Lisbon, Portugal. A recent mind-opening journey to Brazil enlightened me about the social and environmental sustainability that our society needs. Since I was a child, I have been driven by discovering New Cultures and Mastering a variety of Foreign Languages. I am passionate about Sustainable Tourism, Marketing, and Social Impact Projects. "Who lives must be prepared for changes" (Goethe, Italian Journey).

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