As some of you might know, The Netherlands is not a very big country. You can cross it from North to South in less than four hours and from East to West just shy of two. I live in one of the most densely populated areas, which is great to easily reach the airport and to have the benefits of a lively city on your doorstep (or a bike ride away). But sometimes this city-girl wants to have some quiet time, and an escape to one of the Dutch islands is the perfect spot for this! And I don’t mean our islands in the Caribbean…
We have five small island directly North of the country, which are called the Wadden Island, located in the Wadden Sea, a short ferry transfer away from the mainland.
They are not big, some don’t even allow cars on them, but they are beautiful! My favorite is Terschelling, the 3rd one on this pic. (number 6, 7 and 8 are not inhabited).
So far for the geography lesson. The Island of Terschelling offers the perfect balance of peace and quiet and things to do: empty beaches for the times you want to be alone, but still enough liveliness if you want to be amongst other people.
If you want to go out for some food or drinks, you’ll have places to choose from, there even is some nightlife. Yet you can do endless walks (or runs) on deserted beaches, look for seashells, or just enjoy the sunset without seeing a soul.
We weren’t very lucky with the weather as it was quite cold, but the islands do get more hours of sunshine than the mainland.
One thing I love to do most in the entire world is see animals in their natural habitat and if you like that too, a seal tour on ‘Talisman’ to meet these amazing little fellas is a must. Loads of seals live in the Wadden sea, so it’s a lovely experience to see them sunbathing on the sandbanks, waving their little backflippers at you.
They’re just hanging around, chillin’ like a villain, with no care in the world.
There are several tours on offer, but what I like about Talisman is that they stay just long enough near the colonies for you to take piccies of this cuteness overload, yet they leave soon enough for the seals not to get disturbed by our presence.
If you want to get a bit more active yourself, it’s also possible to do horse rides on the beach, rent bikes and explore a bit more of the island, or go kite surfing, for instance.
If you choose the bike option, don’t forget to stop for coffee at this typical Dutch coffee mill. It’s near a village called Lies, but they do a well deserved coffee or hot chocolate, and that’s no lie. 😉
Exploring the island by bike is lovely anyway; you’ll bike through pretty little villages, nature reserves which are ornithologist’s heaven, and steep sand dunes. Along the way, you can stop and have a walk on the beach, or even a refreshing swim if it’s warm enough. Plus, like anywhere in NL, there are cycle paths everywhere!
When you’ve toured around the island by bike (or just find any other excuse to go if biking is not your thing), you might want to reward yourself with a cold drink at ‘De Walvis’; a lovely restaurant with a comfortable veranda overlooking the beach. If you stay long enough to see the Golden Hour, you might get treated to a beautiful sunset that will even turn the restaurant into gold.
We stayed in West-Terschelling, the ‘capital’ of Terschelling, where the ferry docks, where the famous lighthouse Brandaris is, and where you’ll find the majority of shops and restaurants on the island.
The cute house we rented was on a quiet street close to the dunes and it was just perfect for the two of us.
It’s a very new house, finished in 2015 so it’s very comfortable and everything is up to the latest standards. Fun fact: the owners tried to source as much as possible locally.
When building the house, they wanted to make the house self-sufficient as possible, just like the island itself wants to be fully self-sufficient in 2020. So the water comes directly from a spring in the dunes on the island, there are solar panels installed for energy, cleaning products are organic and they went as far as putting mountain crystals in the ground to create a good and clean atmosphere.
With this level of attention to detail, you know you will have a nice and comfortable stay and that you will sleep soundly at night. The house is called Frihus, and if you are considering a stay on the island, I would recommend staying here if it’s just two of you. And if it’s more of you, there are nice small hotels close by for your friends to stay at, while you enjoy the comfort of this nice house. 😉 If you want to know more about it, click here. (This post is not sponsored, the place is just too good not to share).
I’ve been to Terschelling quite a few times now, I went here on my first holiday without my parents. I will always have fond memories of the place, and I hope to be adding many more.
Have you ever been to one of the Dutch islands? If so, which one do you like most?
If not; I hope this helps deciding on your next holiday destination. I know it’s not a tropical island, but it’s not any less pretty…