Best Things to See in the Netherlands Besides Amsterdam

Millions of tourists come to the Netherlands every year, and most of them limit their visit to Amsterdam and perhaps Keukenhof tulip garden. But there are so many things to see in the Netherlands besides Amsterdam!

I have lived in the Netherlands for three years and travelled a lot around the country during this time. There are so many things to see and experience in the Netherlands. Its cities, numerous museums and galleries, castles, parks, food, architecture, tulips, windmills, canals and boats.

So if you have a few days to spend in the Netherlands, here is the list from a local (well, almost a local) of the best things to see in the Netherlands besides Amsterdam.

See also: Best Things to Do on Texel, Netherlands (Including Where to Stay and What to Eat)

Large vibrant cities in the Netherlands

Besides Amsterdam, the Netherlands has other large cities worth visiting such as Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands. Spend a day walking in the city to see some of the major landmarks such as Market Hall, Cube Houses, Witte Huis, Erasmus bridge, City Hall and others.

Make sure to visit Oude Haven (Old Harbour) with its old basin and restored boats. Get to the viewing platform of Euromast – the tallest building in the Netherlands. Take a boat tour to see the city from the water and to have a look at Europort – the largest seaport in Europe.

Related tour: Rotterdam: River Cruise and Euromast Entrance Ticket

Things to see in the Netherlands - the cube houses of Rotterdam
Cube houses of Rotterdam

The Hague

The Hague city is not only the home of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, but also the home of Dutch government and Dutch royal family. When in the Hague, check out the Dutch parliament building complex – Binnenhof – with its inner yard and huge pond in front of the complex.

See paintings by the world famous artists in Mauritshuis museum. Visit Madurodam – a park of miniatures with replicas of Dutch cities and landmarks, outdoor exhibitions and activities for the whole family. Take a tram to Scheveningen – the Hague’s famous beach and promenade with many cafes and restaurants.

See also: Things to Do in The Hague: A Local’s Guide

Binnenhof of The Hague in the Netherlands
Binnenhof of The Hague

Utrecht

Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands and famous for its medieval city center, old canals and the tallest church tower in the country – Domtoren. Walk the old streets of Utrecht downtown, stroll along the Oudegracht and dine in one of the many restaurants by the water.

Admire cathedral tower of Domtoren, gothic-style cathedral of Domkerk and cosy old garden of Pandhof. Visit museum Speelklok with its large collection of self-playing musical instruments or Spoorwegmuseum – an awesome railway museum, especially if travelling with children.

Oudegracht (Old Canal) of Utrecht among the places to see in the Netherlands
Oudegracht (Old Canal) of Utrecht

Small cosy towns to visit in the Netherlands

Do not underestimate the smaller cities in the Netherlands. Small Dutch towns have some of the most interesting attractions in the country. Because they are small and compact, it’s easy to visit the smaller towns as a day trip from Amsterdam. Here are some of the small towns in the Netherlands I would recommend visiting.

Delft

City of Delft is famous for its Delftware – Delft blue pottery. You can visit a Delftware factory and learn about the history and process of the Delftware production. Back in the 15th and 16th centuries Delft was actually one of the major cities in the Netherlands and the residence of Dutch prince of Orange.

Even though nowadays the city is small, it is still rich on Dutch history and has many historical monuments and museums worth visiting. Delft was also a home to the famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (‘The Milkmaid’ and ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ are just a few of his works that you might know).

Making Delftware at Royal Delft museum as part of the things to do in the Netherlands
Making Delftware at Royal Delft museum

Maastricht 

Though Maastricht is about 2 hours away from all the major cities of the Netherlands (which is considered far in this small country), I would still recommend visiting it. Maastricht is well known in Europe as the birthplace of the European Union and ‘euro’ currency.

In the Netherlands it’s known as one of the oldest cities and places to go for great food and restaurants. You will find here the oldest bridge and the oldest city gate in the Netherlands. An iconic bookshop – Dominicanenkerk – located in the historical building of the 13th century church. Historical squares with many fine cafes and restaurants. These are just some of the things to see in Maastricht.

Markt square of Maastricht
Markt square of Maastricht

Haarlem

Haarlem is a city located 15 minutes away from Amsterdam. It’s small and cosy and full of charm. Walk to Grote Markt – central city square and admire the gothic-style Cathedral of St. Bavo. Visit some of Haarlem’s Hofjes – small enclosed courtyard gardens with nice green spaces. Explore narrow streets of Haarlem’s old town. Check out Windmill De Adriaan – a museum located in the 18th-century windmill.

Related tour: Haarlem: 50-Minute Sightseeing Canal Cruise

Cathedral of St. Bavo at Haarlem
Cathedral of St. Bavo at Haarlem

Leiden

Leiden is a small Dutch town located between Amsterdam and The Hague. If you like visiting museums Leiden is a must see when travelling in the Netherlands.

  • Visit the National Museum of Ethnology with exhibitions from around the world.
  • National Museum of Antiquities – an archaeology museum with beautiful collections of Egyptian, Greek & Roman artefacts.
  • Naturalis Biodiversity Center – a natural history museum with one of the largest natural history collections in the world.

After visiting a museum, head to Beestenmarkt square to enjoy some food in one of the cafes or to take a boat tour through the canals of Leiden.

The boats at Leiden are among the best things to see in the Netherlands
Boats at Leiden

Cheese markets in the Netherlands

One of the things the Netherlands is most famous for is cheese. World known types of cheese – Gouda and Edam – originate from the Netherlands.

So, where else if not in this country to experience cheese markets, shops and cheese-related events?

The most popular cheese markets in the Netherlands happen between April and September in Alkmaar and Gouda. Visit a cheese market to see people dressed in traditional Dutch clothes, horse-drawn carts loaded with rolls of cheese and the old-fashioned way to bargain cheese price by clapping hands.

If you’re travelling to the Netherlands outside of the season for cheese markets, don’t worry – there are still many ways to experience Dutch cheese making and selling traditions. Visit a cheese museum in Amsterdam, Alkmaar or Gouda. Go to a farmers market – they happen on various days all over the Netherlands and always have cheese stalls with a big selection of Dutch cheese for you to taste and/or buy. Or simply pop into one of the many cheese stores in the country. 

Cheese stall at one of the Dutch markets
Cheese stall at one of the Dutch markets

Windmills in the Netherlands

Another thing the Netherlands is famous for is its Windmills. There are hundreds of windmills in the Netherlands and you are bound to see at least few of them. Many windmills are still operational, some of them are open to the public and some were converted into museums.

There are several places to see windmills up close in the Netherlands.

There are hundreds of windmills in the Netherlands
There are hundreds of windmills in the Netherlands

Zaanse Schans

A beautiful Dutch village of Zaanse Schans is located only half an hour away from Amsterdam. Zaanse Schans has typical 18th-19th century Dutch wooden houses, workshops and lots of windmills. Most of the windmills in Zaanse Schans are fully operational and open for visitors. There is a windmill for making oil, a wood saw windmill, a windmill to mill flour and spices, and even a windmill for making paint! 

Related tour: From Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans Windmills Half-Day Tour

Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk is an iconic Dutch village with 18th-century windmills located not far from Rotterdam. There are 19 windmills in Kinderdijk, and 2 of them have museums inside. You can explore the windmills of Kinderdijk by renting a bike and riding around, or alternatively by taking a boat tour (or a water taxi from Rotterdam).

Related tour: Rotterdam: Kinderdijk Windmill Village Entry Ticket

Windmills in the cities

There are also many windmills in Dutch cities all over the country. Take a free tour of Molen de Ster in Utrecht – a working windmill that is open to the public every Saturday afternoon.

Visit Molen De Put in Leiden and buy flour made right there on the windmill; or also in Leiden visit Molen De Valk – the 18th century windmill that is now a museum.

If you want to see some of the highest windmills in the world then make sure to go to Schiedam near Rotterdam, it has not one but 8 windmills in the city. Visit a windmill-museum Molen de Adriaan in Haarlem to learn about windmills and their history in the Netherlands. These are just some of the windmills in Dutch cities you can visit.

Museums in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has many museums of different kinds. There are art and history museums, science museums, cheese museums, museums in former windmills, tulip museums and many more other museums.

If you are visiting the Netherlands and plan on visiting several museums I would advise buying Dutch Museum Card – it is valid for a year and gives you free access to hundreds of museums across the country. Here are some of the museums in the Netherlands I’d recommend visiting:

Whatever your interests are and whether you are travelling solo, with a group or with children it’s absolutely worth visiting some of the museums the Netherlands has to offer.

Visit museums when in the Netherlands
Visit museums when in the Netherlands

Tulip fields in the Netherlands

If you are travelling to the Netherlands in spring make sure to visit tulip fields and gardens. There are many places to see blooming flowers in the Netherlands.

Best things to see in the Netherlands - Tulips
Best things to see in the Netherlands – Tulips

Lisse

Lisse is the most popular place to see blooming tulips in the Netherlands. There are quite a few fields of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils around Lisse. Best way to experience it is to rent a bike and cycle around to see the flower fields.

Keukenhof

Also located at Lisse, the famous Keukenhof is the largest tulip garden in the world. With millions of blooming flowers and hundreds of different types of tulips, it’s no surprise that Keukenhof is so popular with not only tourists but locals too.

Flevoland

The biggest area of the tulip bulbs industry in the Netherlands is Noordoostpolder, the province of Flevoland. You will find many fields with all sorts of tulips over there. Besides the fields you can visit tulip gardens, such as Pegasushof Gardens or Goldhoorn Gardens, or even a tulip picking farm – Hanneke’s Pluktuin.

North Holland

Another area to visit during the tulip blooming season is North Holland. Area between Alkmaar and Den Helder has hundreds of flower fields, and they are usually less crowded than fields around Lisse. There are tulip fields around Alkmaar, Nieuwe Niedorp, Schagen, Anna Paulowna and Julianadorp. You can also visit Bloemendagen (Flower Days) in Anna Paulowna or tulip picking farm in Julianadorp.

When enjoying tulip fields in the Netherlands, please keep in mind that picking tulips in the fields is not allowed! For that you are more than welcome to visit one of the dedicated tulip picking farms.

I hope my list of the best things to see in the Netherlands besides Amsterdam has inspired you to see more of this beautiful country. You will find a lot of information on travelling in the Netherlands and other countries in my blog – Travel By Example.


Reasons to Visit Netherlands in the Spring

Are you looking for a European escape in the spring? Look no further than the Netherlands in the spring! 

You can expect Netherlands spring flowers to bloom, as well as cycling tours, new sun rays, cheese markets and King’s Day, the national holiday on 27 April.

And what could possibly be better than visiting an Amsterdam tulip festival in full bloom?

Related read: A Weekend in Amsterdam: Places to See

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting to the Netherlands in the spring. 

Holland tulip fields 

Seeing fields of blooming flowers during spring in Holland might be on your bucket list!

If so, you can expect to find the Netherlands spring flowers from mid-March to mid-May. You’ll spot crocus, daffodil and hyacinth flowers. Finally, the Holland tulip fields reveal themselves from mid-April until early May. 

When travelling to the Netherlands, it’s definitely worth seeing the tulips in April. You will find massive fields filled with beautiful colours all over.

Tulip fields in the Netherlands in Spring
Windmill with tulip field in Holland – depositphotos.com

Where can I see the Netherlands’ spring flowers?

Many places around the country will give you the chance to see Netherlands spring flowers.

Flevoland 

A large majority of the Holland tulip fields are located in the province of Flevoland, to the east of Amsterdam. Flevoland boasts over 5000 hectares of tulips, many different flower festivals and other great activities every year when spring in Holland comes around. 

Many gardens in this region will allow visitors year-round. This is one of the country’s significant flower-producing areas.  

Keukenhof 

If you want to see the largest Holland tulip fields, then this is the place for you. Keukenhof is the world’s most extensive flower exhibition, and it is famous for its unique tulips of all colours.  

It’s known as the main Amsterdam tulip festival, as it is only 40 minutes from Amsterdam and 15 minutes from Leiden. At the Keukenhof, you can find over 7 million blooming flowers on display. Keukenhof is open from 24 March – 15 May 2022, from 8:00 AM until 7:30 PM. 

Get skip-the-line tickets before you go! Or join one of the below Keukenhof tours:

Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands
Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands – depositphotos.com

Kop van Noord-Holland 

Another great place to see Netherlands spring flowers is the Kop van Noord-Holland area in the North of the Netherlands. This region is between Petten, Den Helder, Nieuwe Niedorp and Wieringerwerf – and is totally unique compared to other cities in the country. 

It offers the largest single-bulb flower field ever while surrounded by the northern coast. There are many seaside towns to visit along the North Sea coast while you’re here. 

The Kop van Noord-Holland tour starts in Amsterdam, and you can expect to see a rural area full of Holland tulip fields, windmills and coastal dunes. You will find massive rows of bright flowers blooming to signal the beginning of spring in Holland. 

Other parts of the country that offer spring flowers are the fields along with The Hague and Leiden, all the way to Alkmaar in the northern part of the country. There are plenty of great places to see flowers when visiting the Netherlands in the spring!

Other things to do while visiting the Netherlands in the spring

Aside from looking at the Amsterdam tulip festival, there are plenty of other things to do during Spring in Holland.

If you enjoy walking, cycling, hiking or having a more lazy day, then this is what you might expect from the Netherlands in the spring.

Related read: The Most Charming Day Trips from Amsterdam

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Visit an Amusement Park. Spring in Holland offers the perfect sunny weather to do this. There are plenty of different amusement parks all over the country, including Efteling, Duinrell, Madurodam and Toverland. 
  1. Take a boat ride down the canal. The Netherlands in the spring is perfect for boat tours! Boating is big here, and you can easily find boats to rent. Spring in Holland is the ideal time to enjoy a calm trip down the canals of Amsterdam. 

Related tour: Amsterdam: City Canal Cruise

  1. Visit one of many windmills. This is about as traditional as it gets! Two of the most popular windmills are located at Kinderdijk and Zaanse Schans. It’s a great place to see the traditions of the Netherlands in spring, complete with a beer or warm drink.

Related tour: Amsterdam: Volendam, Edam, & Zaanse Schans Day Trip

  1. Explore at an art market. In early March, one of Amsterdam’s most important art markets reopens for the year. You’ll find many ceramics, sculptures, paintings, and drawings by Dutch and international artists at Amsterdam’s open-air Spui Art Market. Many modern galleries are located throughout Amsterdam if you prefer to browse quietly with a larger crowd. 
  1. Discover Vondelpark. Vondelpark is one of the most popular parks globally, with millions of visitors every year. This park is around 47 acres and includes food facilities, an open-air theatre and a playground within its facilities. It’s an excellent place for families to visit when coming to the Netherlands in the spring. 
  1. Go to the IJ-Hallen. If you’re a fan of thrifting, you will love the IJ-Hallen, one of the biggest flea markets ever. You can find many bargains here, and it’s open for one weekend per month. Most of the vendors are artisans with a massive variety of items, from jeans to homeware and rare vinyl records. 
  1. Celebrate King’s Day. If you happen to be in the country on 27 April, you can’t skip King’s Day celebrations! It’s a full day that takes over Amsterdam, and you’ll find everyone dressed in orange on the streets while they drink, party and have fun all day. It offers a truly unique atmosphere that you will love. 
Celebrating King's Day in Holland
Celebrating King’s Day in Holland

Ready for Spring in the Netherlands?

There are so many things to do when enjoying Spring in Holland. 

Fancy an Amsterdam tulip festival, Netherlands spring flowers and festivals throughout the country? Want to simply walk in the city and enjoy the many windmills and parks? Regardless of your choice, we’re sure there is something you will love when you visit.

Whether you’re there to discover the Holland tulip fields or cycle throughout Amsterdam, we hope you enjoy visiting the Netherlands in the spring! This country has so much to offer when the weather starts to warm up after a cold winter.


Best Things to Do on Texel, Netherlands (Including Where to Stay and What to Eat)

Looking for things to do on Texel Netherlands? I recently visited this island in the Netherlands and found many great things to do and eat on Texel!

The below post dives into how to get to Texel, how to get around Texel, things to do on Texel, restaurants in Texel and places to stay – it’s a pretty complete guide to Texel!

Here’s how my trip to Texel started:

I missed the ferry by 3 minutes!

If I had arrived 3 minutes earlier, I would have caught the ferry to Texel. And a journey to Texel is definitely a good choice! 

Missing the ferry was no problem, which gets us straight to the first useful info when you want to spend your vacation on Texel…

How to get to Texel

Texel is an island, two hours North of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. You can easily reach it by car or via train to Den Helder. When you arrive in Den Helder, there is a ferry crossing every 30 – 60 minutes. At the moment they expect more travelers, so they operate the short route with two ferries.

It’s easy to just drive there and see which ferry you’ll make, especially if you already bought your ferry ticket online. With your online ticket you don’t need to wait in line to buy one on arrival. You can even register the license plate, which opens the barriers quicker for you via a video identifying system. 

And the tickets bought are return tickets. So you only need to buy one.

Ferry ticket prices to Texel:

  • Passenger car: ~€25 (traveling to Texel on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday)
  • Passenger car: ~€37 (traveling to Texel on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday)
  • Motorcycle: ~€8.20 – €11
  • Pedestrians: ~€2.50 (3 years of age & younger travel for free)
  • Cyclists: ~€5

Find more info online at teso.nl.

If you should come by train, there is a bus shuttle from Den Helder train station to the ferry. And when leaving the ferry on Texel, there is also a nicely timed bus on arrival.

Getting around Texel

Texel is a relatively big island, compared to others in the region, which is good, as it provides lots of activities and variety. Still, it’s small enough that you can reach the different parts of the island easily and quickly by car, bicycle or public transport.

The island of Texel is 23.7 km long and 9.6 km wide and it’s flat, making cycling a great option. You might want to rent an e-bike though, as the winds can get strong. Texel provides great cycling infrastructure with cycling paths everywhere, and the hotels usually provide safe parking spaces, too.

Exploring Texel with your own car

If you want to be really flexible and free, you most probably will decide to arrive by car. You have your luggage problem solved and can travel any time you prefer. On the opposite, you have to expect to stand in line when leaving the island with the many other cars. Plus, you have to fuel up your car, find parking spaces and pay for those.

There is not a crazy amount of traffic in the shoulder season, so finding parking spaces won’t be an issue. But I could imagine that it looks different in high season and that’s where it might be smarter to come by train, or at least park your car for good while exploring the island. 

Texel provides their guests with a parking vignet. You get that one online and it costs €2.50 per hour, €10 per day, €20 per week (8 days valid) and €30 for the annual card. At some spots you are only allowed to park for two hours. There you need to add the parking disc.

You enter your number plate when purchasing the e-vignet and the rest is taken care of automatically. Your number plate becomes the parking permit.

Get your Texel parking vignet here texelevignet.com.

Electric cars are becoming more and more popular in Europe. If you arrive or rent an e-Car, then the VVV Google map with EV charging stations will be very helpful.

And you’ll get regular fuel here:

Exploring Texel by bicycle

There are around 145 km of cycling paths on Texel. So bring your own bike or rent one in one of the many bicycle renting shops, which you’ll find on arrival at the ferry or in the towns and villages. The VVV Texel provides a good overview list here. Friends chose the “van der Linde” store in Den Burg and were very happy with the quality of their e-bikes and service. There are also e-bike tours of the island.

Texel has a great cycling route network. There are 57 cycling junctions and each has easy to read and understandable signs, which lead you where you want to go. At each junction you can choose your direction and route, which you could also set up on your own before.

The VVV Texel also recommends four bike and 10 hiking trails, where you’ll see the highlights of Texel.

When planning your own route, simply add up the kilometers between junction points from the scanned map and make sure to end where you have started.

Or, you can also hire an e-scooter for the day!

Exploring Texel by public transport

Using public transport is another great way to explore the island, even for families!

There are two options:

  • The regular bus, which takes you without reservation from the ferry to Den Burg & to De Koog at fixed times.
  • The smaller Texelhopper bus goes pretty much everywhere else with 130 possible stops. Use their app (android / ios) or website to book & pay your route (minimum 30 minutes before you would like to depart). You could also pay in the bus or in a store.

They operate between 5am and 10pm.

Let’s get to the Texel public transport prices:

  • Single ride: €3
  • Day ticket: €7.50
  • Family ticket: €17.50 (2 adults, max. 3 children (4-11)) per day
  • Week ticket: €37.50

Pretty cool, right?

Good to know about transport in Texel

If you arrive by train in Den Elder, the bus journey to the ferry costs €3 and it includes the return journey back to the train station after your holiday.

Make sure to enter & leave the ferry always on the right side, so that you can catch the buses on time!

Things to do on Texel

There are many exciting things to do on Texel. You already know that it’s a very cycling-friendly island. So it makes sense to combine cycling with visiting the local sights.

I personally love to get lost and explore a destination with a bit of luck. Usually you’ll stumble upon many popular points of interest like that as well, but also find many others.

Cycling is a great way to do this, as you are closer to your surroundings and you hear, smell and find more little travel gems. Plus, it’s easier to stop or do a little detour (and, you’ll cover more ground than walking).

Lighthouse Texel

The Texel Lighthouse is a must-see… hey, it’s a lighthouse! And people love lighthouses.

If you do as well, then head to the far North of the Island and make sure to have enough time so that you can climb the 118 stairs to the top of the lighthouse. From the top you’ll get a great view towards the North Sea and Vlieland. In the South you’ll see the Wadden Sea. And with a bit of luck, you might even see the dozens of windmills in the South-East, which stand in the IJsselmeer.

But there is more to explore than ‘only’ the great panorama view. The lighthouse is full of history. It was under heavy fire in World War 2, even after it ended. To keep the lighthouse, they had to build a second outer wall. At one part you can walk between the two walls around the tower. There you’ll be able to spot several bullet holes in the wall.

Climbing the historical and riveted steel stairs to catch the wind at the top is worth it!

Entrance: €5
Location: Vuurtorenweg 184, 1795 LN De Cocksdorp, Netherlands
Plus code: 5VJ4+V5

Ecomare – Seal Sanctuary & Nature Museum – Seal Feeding

With a bit of luck, you might be able to spot seals when visiting Texel. But remember, you are on a North Sea Island.  😉  If you are not that lucky, then no worries, as you can visit Ecomar.

Ecomar is the oldest seal sanctuary in Europe and it lies beautifully hidden between the dunes.

They have several outdoor pools where you can see the seals. There are even two pools, where you watch the swimming skills of the seals from underneath the water. Pretty impressive!

Ecomare takes care of injured seals and they help the seals return to the wild when they’re ready. The smaller ones get fed in an extra area, which you can see through a window.

Apart from the seals, you can see birds, fish and other marine animals up close at Ecomare.

Outside is a bird care center, where sick, injured, weakened and oil-polluted birds can regain their strength, before they get released into nature again.

If it should rain in between, there is a Nature Museum inside, where you can discover everything about the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea, the North Sea and Texel.

And there are also several aquariums on the lower level, which contain different species of fish, shellfish, mussels and starfish. You can walk around those nicely and observe the different animals.

Make sure to be there at 11 am or 3 pm, as that’s when you can see how the seals get fed. This is definitely a highlight for kids and adults.

There is also a cool “ebb-and-flow” playground, where the kids can play with the tides. Or you can head into the dunes. You can decide between a fun and challenging children’s hike or a 1.5 km round hike.

Entrance: €14 adults; €10 children (4-13 years)
Location: Ruijslaan 92, 1796 AZ De Koog, Netherlands
Plus code: 3PHW+54

Schapenboerderij Texel

When did you last get to cuddle a lamb? 

I loved getting to spend time with these little guys at the Schapenboerderij Texel Sheep Farm in the Netherlands. The farm is home to more than 25 different breeds of sheep – before visiting I didn’t know that many existed!

Before going, my expectations were quite low. I mean, what can you expect when someone invites you to stroke lambs?

When I arrived, there were already a few cars in the parking space. At that moment I expected a pretty touristy attraction where you’ll find a few lambs behind fences and with a few chosen ones, which kids can touch a bit.

And I was so wrong!

A chicken welcomed us at the entrance, which hopped onto the front desk. Actually, there were several hens and roosters running around. And I thought it’s only about the sheep here.

When you walk further, you have to make sure not to stumble over sheep as well. There are quite a few running around freely. Others take it more relaxed in their stables, which you can go to. You can stroke the different sheep and lambs.

Outside you’ll also find 2-3 ponies, which the kids can ride on. There is also a pretty cool area for kids, where they can run around and play, even on a tractor and forklift. Another highlight are the demonstrations of herding the sheep with the Australian Kelpie Sheepdogs.

And maybe the best is the cafe, where you can sit down, drink a coffee and eat some cake – while the kids are having a fun time outside!

It’s a superb activity for kids and parents!

Entrance: €6 adults; kids: €5 (2-12 years)
Location: Schapenboerderij Texel, Pontweg 77, 1791 LA Den Burg
Plus code: 2QRW+G6

Shrimp boat tour

Who fancies a delicious shrimp cocktail? Have you ever made your own? It’s easier than you think, right? Unless you also have to catch your own shrimps.

Well, now you get an excellent opportunity to do this, or at least stand right next to the experts on the TX 10 Emmie or TX 20 Walrus (shrimp cutters).

Soon after leaving the harbor in Oudeschild, you’ll see how the crew cast the nets into the water to catch the shrimps.

The vessel is an original fishing vessel, so not a tourist attraction. Though they changed it slightly, so that there are enough seating areas to rest safely. 

The vessel slows down in the Wadden Sea and the two nets slowly roll over the ground. The bigger and quicker fish will flee away, but others will land in the net. Apart from the shrimps, you’ll be able to catch starfish, crabs, flatfish, gurnards, petrels and it could even happen that the crew catches a sand shark.

After a couple of minutes, the nets are pulled in and you’ll be able to see what the catch of the day is.

The whole catch gets sorted, while the crew explains a bit more about the different animals. The fish, crabs and starfish go back into the water alive and the kids can help the crew here. But the shrimps get boiled in hot water while you are on board. And after 10 minutes they are ready to be peeled and eaten by you. You can’t get them fresher than that!

And if you have caught enough, you can take some home. So you can create your own shrimp cocktail.

This activity is actually also a fun one when the weather isn’t bright and sunny. A proper fisherman doesn’t mind getting a little wet. So bring the right clothes and go for it no matter what the weather looks like!

Tickets: €20 adults; €15 children (3-12 years)
Times: 10:30 am and 2 pm; make sure to be there 15-20 minutes earlier; 2 hour boat ride;
Location: Haven 8, 1792 AE Oudeschild, Netherlands
Plus code: 2RQX+PW Oudeschild, Netherlands

National Park Dunes – De Slufter

The Dutch found their way to live with the sea. Huge parts of the Netherlands are beneath sea level and people can only live there because of a pumping and dam system, which pushes and keeps the water out.

It’s the same for Texel. There are seven pumps on the island which make the island ‘livable’.

There is one spot in the entire Netherlands coast, which has an open connection to the sea and that’s De Slufter.

Okay, there you will also find a dam behind it, but they have a relatively large open sea gate. When there are storms or spring floods, the creek system of De Slufter gets flooded, which happens regularly in the year.

The largest part is a breeding and resting area for birds. But there is also a big part, which is open for visitors and where you can freely stroll around. Just make sure that you don’t cross into the protected zones.

There is a lookout and several paths, even one which is wheelchair accessible.

Take a walk and see which plants and animals you can spot. Watch out for sea lavender, marsh samphire, saltmarsh, eider duck, shelduck, avocet and maybe even a seal near the gully.

Make sure to wear waterproof shoes, as it can get muddy and wet and maybe you also have binoculars.

One highlight is to see De Slufter in July and August, when the beach lilac and grass carnations are in bloom and turn the whole area purple-pink.

Also the Flora Beach Property Museum has a nice outdoor area. As there are quite a few buildings, I would place it in the list with…

Weather changes quickly at the coast and especially on islands. It’s no different on Texel. 

So it’s good to be well prepared with different activities. The sheep farm, Ecomare and the lighthouse are fun things to do on Texel which combine the inside and the outside areas.

And then there are still other points-of-interests, which I would recommend for rainy days. Here are a few things to do on Texel on rainy days.

Flora beach property museum

I can’t remember when I last jumped into an oil rig escape pod. That’s because I’ve never done that and I guess you haven’t either.

If you’re interested in what it looks like in one of those escape pods, then make sure to visit the Maritiem-en Juttersmuseum Flora

It’s only one of the highlights, as there is sooooo much more to explore!

I was stunned by all the different beach finds, which have been collected over the last 80+ years. Apart from a lot of “trash”, there are quite a few gems you’ll spot. 

I’m pretty sure that the owners Judith and André will be angry with me now, as I called some of their collected items “trash”. And I apologize right away, as it’s not really trash in the way we know it. Apart from the really interesting items, it’s just sad to see how much stuff gets washed ashore.

There is a “tree” with used rubber gloves and a complete wall decorated with working helmets for example.

The museum is like a different world, a world of beachcombers and ship strandings.

The rooms are filled from top to bottom with incredible and unbelievable items, like signs, dollies (even for sex), fenders, rescue rings, swimming fins, flip flops, flags, toboggans…  And yes, even an escape pod from an oil rig was found at the beach.

It’s a great place for young and old. The younger ones can do a scavenger hunt, play some games and there is a great playground outside.

And if you are hungry or thirsty, there is also a cafe inside.

Tickets: €6.50 adults; €5.25 children (4-11 years)
Location: Pontweg 141A, 1796 MA De Koog, Netherlands

Wezenspyk cheese farm

Love goes through the stomach, right? So make sure to visit the Wezenspyk Cheese Farm.

The Wezenspyk family has produced cheese for over 35 years now and you can choose from over 13 different varieties. Some examples would be cheese in combination with nettle, mustard, caraway, sambal, Jalapeno, salt aster and I chose to buy one with garlic. 

Their cheese is made with the milk from local cows, mostly their own, and sheep from other Texel farmers. And they also produce one cheese with mainland goat milk.

When you enter, you can watch how the experts produce the cheese in their dairy through a big window. In a room behind the dairy, the cheese is stored, before you can try and buy it in their little shop.

There are 2-3 different flavors you can taste right away or you simply buy several pieces and make your own cheese tasting at home. There are also smaller cheese versions, which are great as gifts.

If you have some extra time, make sure to visit their Cheese Cafe. I haven’t tried it, but friends recommended their cheese fondue. I chose a cheese biscuit kind of cake, which was really good as well.

But it’s not just about eating and trying out different cheese forms. You can also get smarter here, as they have their own little Sheep museum, which you’ll find after a short walk via their sheep-landscape-trail. If you walk the whole trail, it’s 3 km long and includes a fun rope ferry, so that you can cross the canal. 

That trail and museum is free and fun for small and big.

Location: Hoornderweg 29, 1791 PM Den Burg, Netherlands
Plus code: 2QMQ+84

“Texels” brewery

No matter where you’ll go, you’ll find Texel’s Special Beers. There are 12 different tastes to choose from, but not a single Pils, as that’s what enough other brew masters focus on.

If you visit Texel more than once, make sure to visit in the different seasons, as you’ll then be able to drink a different Texel beer each time. And if you’re lucky, you might be able to drink their “Secret” beer. That’s a completely new one then, which might find its way into bigger production. But this also depends a bit on you. You won’t find out the name or anything else, but your honest feedback is appreciated.

The most popular one is the Texels Skuumkoppe. That one is a top-fermented dark wheat beer. And of course it’s brewed from natural ingredients such as barley from Texel. The name ‘Skuumkoppe’ is from the white foam crowns on the waves… and yes, a proper beer needs a good cover of foam, which keeps the beer fresh and tasty.

Like I said, there are various ones to taste. One good way to taste a few different ones is by joining a brewery tour, which includes a tasting at the end. That way, you’ll find out more about the history of the brewery, which was actually a milk factory before. The tasting itself includes the pairing with a few different snacks in the tasting room. That’s obviously the highlight, but looking over the shoulders of the brew masters and finding out more about the history and background of Texel beer was also really interesting.

Fun fact: There isn’t enough freshwater on the island of Texel to brew so much beer. So the brewery has their own pipeline through the sea, which delivers them with fresh dune water from the mainland. 

The grain, which gets used to brew the beer, grows on several farms on Texel. In the brewing process, you’ll get the leftover treber. And that treber gets eaten by the Texel sheep again.

Brewery Tour Tickets: €12.50 per person (kids 5 years and younger are free of charge)
Location: Schilderweg 214 b, 1792 CK Oudeschild, Netherlands
Plus code: 2RVH+P3

Great restaurants on Texel

To be honest, the Dutch cuisine isn’t really popular. Well, I have experienced it differently now and it was really yummy. Not just that, it was a great experience and in great locations!

Let’s start with…

Drank- en Spijslokaal ‘t Schoutenhuys

The Schoutenhuys restaurant is centrally located in Den Burg and you won’t find a standard menu here. You’ll experience Texel tapas in Asian style. Yes, what a funky combination, right? But I think this explains the six courses best, unless you choose a smaller menu or a la carte. Each course includes a kind of “tapas”, which the chef prepares with local ingredients and which gets presented in an Asian style, which could then look like sushi rolls, Asian noodles or dumplings.

Pair these six different courses with five fitting wines. Oh… you think one wine is missing for the desert? No, just order the local Schnapps and you’ll have the perfect nightcap.

The owner is not just a wine expert, but he also loves beers. So instead of a wine pairing, you also have the option to go for a beer pairing. With each course you’ll be served a matching beer.

You will also love the interior of the restaurant, as you actually breathe in history here. The ‘t Schoutenuys dates back to the year 1652 and it’s the oldest stone house of Texel. The richly decorated entrance door stands out as well and is its own highlight.

You can’t choose wrong and you’ll receive an unforgettable culinary evening!

Location: Vismarkt 1, 1791 CD Den Burg, Netherlands
Plus code: 3Q3W+MR

Paal 17 Aan Zee

Texel is an island and islands are about beach life. And it won’t get better if you can pair a sunset at the beach with an amazing dinner experience.

You’ll find Paal 17 Aan Zee on the West Coast and right on the beach, which is 30 kilometer long. Strolling along the beach to get there could take some time and make you feel hungry.

There are several seating options. If the weather is good, go for a table outside. There is also a nice seating area inside, which includes big windows so that you can view the sea.

You’ll get a great sunset view on the first level, which is cozy and also has a small terrace.

The restaurant on the first level serves you a culinary multi-course dinner experience, paired with quality wines. You can choose between the four, five or six meal menu (or a la carte) and it’s a tough decision. The chefs are using mostly local ingredients from Texel, including local caught fish.

I really liked the tuna tartare (obviously not local, but still really good). The beef tenderloin, which followed, was also excellent.

Though all the restaurants we visited were outstanding, this one was my favorite.

Location: Ruijslaan 94, 1796 AZ De Koog, Netherlands
Plus code: 3PJP+8F

Gastropaviljoen XV – Paal 15

When you have had one lunch or dinner at the beach, you will want a second one!

The Gastropaviljoen XV – Paal 15 is another excellent choice, as it welcomes you with a very special atmosphere.

It reminded me a bit of a modern ski hut, as the interior has a lot of wood, clean design, cozy couches, a welcoming fireplace, but… huge windows to watch the waves. A great place to relax and enjoy a tasty meal, especially after a walk along the shore.

There is also a nice terrace to sit outside.

With the open kitchen you can see how the team prepares all those really tasty dishes, like shrimp cocktail or sous-vide venison steak. While I normally prefer starters more than desserts, my favorite dish was the cheesecake with mango, black sesame, lime sorbet and chili jam. What a combination of flavors! And so yummy!

If you want to enjoy some fine dining at the sea, this is another good choice.

Location: Westerslag 4, 1791 PP Den Burg, Netherlands
Plus code: 3P7F+VJ

Strandpavillon Paal 9

When you have had two lunches or dinners at the beach, you will want a third one!

And what a surprise, with Paal 9 I can recommend you another good beach location to satisfy your hunger. 

But let’s start with the arrival. You have to cycle or drive through the dunes to get here. Such a beautiful landscape. You might also see some Scottish Highlanders strolling around.

Paal 9 is a beach pavilion how you would expect it. Not especially chick, but with cozy elements and of course the beautiful seaview.

The staff is super friendly and to support them, you can order your drinks and meals via QR code.

I decided to go for the Hamburger, which is made with their own Black Angus beef and gets served with homemade pickles. The sandwiches also looked really good.

A nice extra touch is that they have taken extra care of the ecological footprint when they reopened their pavilion. Guess, for example, where they get their cheese from? If you have no idea, read the activities and things to do section further up in this post and lookout for the cheese.

Location: Hoornderslag 8, 1797 RT Den Hoorn Texel, Netherlands
Plus code: 2PC6+FF

Where to stay on Texel

There is a huge variety of different accommodation types on Texel.

We stayed at the…

Hotel De Lindeboom

The Hotel De Lindeboom is centrally located on the island and in the center of Den Burg. The old building is from 1891 and it’s also where you’ll find breakfast in the morning and where you can have lunch or dinner or simply drinks in the evening. Their second restaurant is the excellent Schoutenhuys. See the section further above.

They also have a nice sunny terrace.

I stayed in the newer building in one of their modern Deluxe Rooms. The bed was welcoming and soft, perfect after a day full of fun activities. The bath had a tub and a rainshower. The only thing I missed was a second choice of pillow, but I’m sure I could have gotten one if I asked.

They have a wide variety of different room types. There are even rooms where you have your own private sauna.

The breakfast had everything to offer what I was looking for. A good choice of bread, cereals, fruits, bread toppings and drinks.

The location makes it a good hub to explore Den Burg, as you just have to step outside and you are in the center of the town. You can wander through the alleys with all the different shops and cafes. 

And if you should arrive by car, let them know in advance, as they have a few parking places behind the hotel.

Den Burg is in the center of the island and it’s easy to reach, also from the ferry, which makes Hotel De Lindeboom a great choice to explore the whole island.

Location: Groeneplaats 14, 1791 CC Den Burg, Netherlands
Plus code: 3Q3W+MQ

Book your stay at Hotel De Lindeboom

For more Texel accommodation options, search below:

If you’re looking for more travel tips for the Netherlands, check out these posts:


Curacao

Nice Beaches of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

 

Curaçao’s beaches are concentrated on the southern coast, especially the western side.

Find these from Kaap St. Marie up to Westpunt.

– Playa Grote Kenapa, also known as Big Knip is a large sand beach west of the town of Lagun.

– Playa Kalki, also know as Alice in Wonderland, is located at the far west end of the island past the town of Westpunt. Kura Hulanda Lodge has a restaurant at the beach and Ocean Encounters West which is a full service dive shop. For a small fee, you have use of a dive locker for storage of personal items while diving/snorkeling and use of fresh water showers and equipment cleaning area.

– Westpunt Beach

– Playa Kleine Kenapa, also known as Little Knip is another beach past the town of Lagun. It is a nice secluded beach with plenty of shade trees if you desire to stay out of the direct sun. The bar/restaurant on this site operates on a sporadic schedule, so visit prepared.

– Playa Jeremi is a small secluded beach slightly north of Lagun. There are no facilities here.

– Playa Lagun, is a secluded bay towards the western end of the island in the town of Lagun. It is a small sandy beach on a rectangular shaped bay with tall cliffs on each side. The waters adjacent to the cliffs is excellent place for snorkeling. Both sides of the bay along the cliffs are teaming with a wide variety of marine life and corals. The left side of the bay has a greater variety of underwater structure for a better experience. The beach has the Discover Diving Curaçao dive shop which also has a small restaurant.

– Playa Porto Mari is a large beach with a full service restaurant, and a complete dive dive shop including fresh water showers and restrooms operated by Porto Mari Sports

– Cas Abao is a beach on a plantation. It is a long stretched sandy beach with lots of facilities including huts, beach chairs, restaurant, fresh water showers and bathrooms.

– Hook’s Hut is located on the Piscadera Bay. The location is a short drive a few miles west of downtown Willemstad near The Marriott and Hilton hotels. It has many beach amenities including showers/bathrooms, Hook’s dive center and an excellent full service restaurant.

– Kontiki Beach is is about a ten minute drive east from downtown Willemstad near Breezes hotel. Kontiki is a full service beach offering watersports, shops, beachbar and a restaurant.It is also serviced by Ocean Encounters dive center.

– Mambo Beach is next door to Kontiki beach and is the place where locals and tourists alike visit for the nightlife partying here.

– Seaquarium Beach

– Jan Thiel Beach

– Caracasbaai

– Barbara Beach

 

Curacao

Sights and Things to Do on Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

 

A travel tip about things you might like to do and see on Curacao.

– Queen Juliana Bridge, Willemstad. At 185 feet, this is highest bridge in the Caribbean (and one of the tallest bridges in the world.) The bridge overlooks St. Anna Bay as well as Willemstad. Note: The observation platform has been closed to pedestrian traffic.

– Queen Emma Bridge (a.k.a “The Swinging Old Lady”), Willemstad. A floating pontoon bridge that links the “Punda” (Point Side) and the “Otrobanda” (Other Side) of the Willemstad across the Sint Annabaai Channel. You get to see the bridge open and close to away marine traffic into St. Anna Bay. (In the event the bridge is open for a prolonged time, there is a ferry service across the channel as well.)

– Christoffel National Park, A national park that is run by the by the Carmabi Foundation. Christoffel National Park is home to Boca Grandi, Indian caves where you can see paintings left by the Arawak Indians and Mount Christoffel. (At 1292 feet high, Mount Christoffel is the highest point in Curacao.) Address: West Point , Tel: +(5999)/864-0363,

– Shete Boka National Park, A national park also run by the by the Carmabi Foundation, Shete Boka is home to the “7 boca’s” including Boca Tabla and Boca Pistol (also known as “The Shooting Pistol”) In season, some of the boca’s serve as sea turtle breeding grounds. Address: West Point, Tel: +(5999)/864-0444,

– Curacao Sea Aquarium, Home of the Dolphin Academy. This is one of the most popular attractions in Curacao. If you wish to do a Dolphin activity book as early as possible! $entry price (depends on activity you choose BUT paying for an activity (such as something at the Dolphin Academy) gets you entry to all of the Aquarium. Address: Bapor Kibra Z/N, Tel: +(5999)/461-6666,

– Hato Caves, Open 7 days a week, with tours 2 times a day. Coral and limestone caves that was carved out below the sea and born when the sea level dropped. There are beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as water pools and a waterfall. The cave is also home to a colony long nose fruit bats. (Because of the colony, photography is limited and not allowed in certain chambers.) Address: F.D. Rooseveltweg Z/N, Tel: +(5999)/868-0379.

– Curacao Ostrich & Game Farm, Santa Catharina. The Curacao Ostrich Farm is one of the biggest Ostrich farms outside Africa. The tour takes you around the ostrich pens and incubator. Meat from this farm is shipped to Aruba (Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat.) Address: Tel: +(5999)/747-2777.

– Fort Amsterdam, The seat of the Netherlands Antilles, Fort Amsterdam sits at the mouth of the harbor at the end of the Sint Annabaai Channel on the point. The complex has restaurants, shops as well as the Governors Palace. Address: Punda Side, Willemstad.

– Fort Nassau, was built on the hill to defend both St. Anna Bay as well as part of the city of Willemstad. The fort is open for tours and there is also a restaurant that overlooks the bay. Address: Willemstad

– The Floating Market, the “floating market” is actually a mini boat fleet that comes in from Venezuela and sells ultra fresh fish and fruit at the best prices. Address: Punda Side, Willemstad.

– Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere, with a sand floor and museum containing ancient artifacts Address: Tel: 599-9-4611067,

– Museum Kura Hulanda, open Daily from 10:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. This anthropological museum chronicles the African slave trade as well as the cultures of Curacao. Entry: $9 Address: Willemstad. Phone: +5999 434 7765

– Postal Museum, Willemstad.

– Maritime Museum, Willemstad.