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Fun activities you can do on Ameland and Schiermonnikoog (Wadden Island series)

Date:17 April 2024
Hylke enjoying the sun on one of the Wadden Islands!
Hylke enjoying the sun on one of the Wadden Islands!

It’s slowly getting warmer and sunnier! So, what’s better than to get away from Groningen for a while to get some well-deserved relaxation and to catch some sunshine? The Wadden Islands are the perfect destination for such a (day) trip! Even though they’re part of the Netherlands, when you’re there, it feels like you’re somewhere else. In today’s blog, we give you tips for activities to do on Ameland and Schiermonnikoog! Read our blog about Terschelling, Texel and Vlieland if you’re curious about those islands.

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Lovely beaches on the Wadden Islands!

General activities

On all islands you can find beautiful beaches perfect for walking, getting some fresh air, swimming, picnicking, and horse riding. Unsurprisingly (the islands are part of the Netherlands after all), you can also rent bikes and cycle around or across the islands, which is what most visitors do. It’s the best way to explore each island. Apart from these obvious activities, each island also offers mudflat walking (Dutch: wadlopen) excursions on which you can walk on the bottom of the sea with a guide during low tide. It’s an amazing experience, which I highly recommend!

Now, let’s get started with specific activities you can do on each island!

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Ameland's lighthouse! Image by sedaris from Pixabay.


Ameland is the third major island of the Wadden Islands and mostly consists of dunes. Compared to Terschelling, there are not that many things to do apart from the obvious things like hiking, biking and swimming. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely island to visit and, if you’re interested, there's a lot to learn about the island’s history and nature.

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Nes, Ameland. Photo: Hans Brasz on Flickr.

Let’s start with Nes, the village you arrive at when taking the ferry from Harlingen to Ameland. Because this is the place of arrival, there are loads of good restaurants, lovely shops, and cosy terraces for you to visit. Also, don’t forget the 50 national monuments you can view, which are mainly beautiful, typical Dutch houses. All in all, you can easily spend an entire day there!

Nobels Nostalgisch Museum

Tjeerd Nobel’s beautiful collection of old cars and motorbikes, historical shop interiors, fashion, bikes, musical instruments and household items can be admired in this museum. Tjeerd was a well-known Amelander with a love for history. His museum is basically a miniature village. An interesting experience, to say the least!

Landbouw-juttersmuseum Swartwoude

Here, you can learn more about the life and history of farmers on Ameland. Slowly but surely, you’ll discover more about Ameland’s customs and traditions regarding agriculture. The museum also functions as a wool factory with its 10 wool machines. In the attached gift shop, you can buy several wool products. This might be a perfect excuse to pick up a new hobby: knitting!

Indoor Adventure Golfing Ameland

Looking for an activity to do when it rains? At Indoor Avonturengolf Ameland, you can do glow-in-the-dark midget golf! The theme is “underwater”, which might be the closest you will ever get to walking on the bottom of the sea (apart from mudflat walking, of course). ;)

Cultuurhistorisch museum Sorgdrager

This museum might be similar to the Landbouw-juttersmuseum Swartwoude, but this one is completely focused on the history and culture of Ameland whereas the other museum was mainly focused on the life of Ameland’s farmers. You can view Amelander furniture and on certain dates, you can go on a guided tour through Hollum, the village where the museum is located. On the tour, you’ll view historical buildings and hear lovely stories about the village!

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Parachuting. Image by Skica911 from Pixabay.
Go parachuting

One of the most exciting activities you can do on Ameland is parachuting at the little airport in Ballum, the smallest village of Ameland! There you’ll find small aeroplanes that will take you up in the air. You can also go on a sightseeing flight, which will give you amazing views of Ameland, the other Wadden Islands and the sea.

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Watch out over the beach at the beach club.
Beachclub The Sunset

Would you rather relax and enjoy the view with both feet on the ground? Then, I would recommend visiting the beach club. It’s one of the many lovely beach clubs where you can enjoy a delicious meal and some drinks, like an Aperol Spritz. ;) 

Natuurcentrum Ameland

Learn more about Ameland’s nature and sea life at the nature centre. Since the summer of 2023, they have had an interesting exhibition about climate change on Ameland, which takes you 40.000 years back but also gives you a look into the future. The centre also has a cool tower with a viewing platform on top on which you can get a panoramic view of Ameland, the other Wadden Islands and the sea.

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Beautiful Schiermonnikoog! Image by klaas huizenga from Pixabay.


And now, the last Wadden Island on the list: Schiermonnikoog! Because it’s so small (although, apparently bigger than Vlieland) and close to Groningen, this is the perfect place to go on a little day trip adventure. You can easily take the bus to Lauwersoog and, from there, a ferry to the island. They even offer an express service which means that you can be on the island within 20 minutes. A trip to this lovely part of the world is definitely on my bucket list!

Bike around the whole island within a day

Although I recommend biking on every island, this is a must-do on Schiermonnikoog because it’s so small that you can bike around the whole island within a day, maybe even within one morning or afternoon. You could take your bike with you on the ferry, or you could rent a bike. That might be the best option because they offer electric bikes that make biking feel like a breeze.

The Kobbeduinen

The Kobbeduinen is a nature reserve with nice viewpoints and a salt marsh, which is a coastal wetland that is drained and flooded by salt water brought in by the tides. Outside breeding season, when the salt marsh is drained, you’re allowed to walk there. Be careful, however, it’s one of the few places in the Netherlands where you can easily get lost.

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Kite-buggying on the beach. Image by Carina from Pixabay.
Go kite-buggying or sail a blokart

If it’s windy, you can go kite-flying or, if you’re up for something more adventurous, go kite-buggying! A kite buggy is a light vehicle that is powered by a traction kite. These vehicles can go up to 110 km/h. Another great option is to sail a blokart, which is a compact land yacht. If you’re good at it and enjoy doing it, consider changing professions because blokart racing has become a competitive international sport!

The Eilander Balgexpres

The Eilander Balgexpres is an exclusive excursion on which you go to the most eastern parts of the island by bus. You’re not allowed to go to these pristine parts of the island, so this truly is a unique experience! It’s a beautiful nature reserve, where you can spot seals if you’re lucky and find the most extraordinary shells.

Hotel van der Werff

This hotel is located in the village of Schiermonnikoog and is known by every local. Staying or eating there is a whole experience as the waiters have to wear tuxedos. Most people, however, go there for the cheap cups of coffee costing only 80 cents. I’m not sure if that’s still the case because of inflation but I’m sure the coffee is still quite cheap! Perfect for the poor students that we are.

Dance at the Tox Bar

Want to go out? Visit the only “disco” on Schiermonnikoog: the Tox Bar! It’s a place where the younger and older generations mix. You can eat well there and have some drinks before dancing the night away. 

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The impressive Whale Jaw! Photo: Henk Binnendijk on Flickr.

The Whale Jaw in Schiermonnikoog

In the village of Schiermonnikoog, you can also admire a real whale jaw which was donated to the island by Captain K. Visser. It’s the jaw of a blue whale that was shot during a hunting mission with the ship Willem Barentsz on the 6th of March in 1950. Standing near it lets you realise how immense these magnificent creatures are.

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Lovely shells.

Shell Museum Paal 14

At the Schelpenmuseum Paal 14, you can learn more about the wonderful world of molluscs. Did you know that there are more than 100.000 different molluscs on land and water combined? At the museum, you can admire more than 1500 shells, all found by the family that runs the museum. No shells have been traded, bought or donated. That makes it a whole lot more special, doesn’t it?

Vogelkijkhut Westerplas (bird-watch cabin Westerplas)

If you love birds, this one's for you! Near the village of Schiermonnikoog, there’s the Westerplas which is a freshwater area where many birds reside. The cabin out of which you can spot the birds is located in the middle of the area, on the water. From there, you’ll have a lovely view of everything that is flying by.

Hopefully, you can use these tips on your next trip to one of these Wadden Islands. What is your favourite activity? Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author


Hiya! I’m Hylke, a Dutch MA English Literature student. People often ask me if I’m Frisian, but sadly I’m not; I just have a Frisian name. I love reading, writing, meeting with friends, and the colour yellow, so much so that I take pictures of every yellow wall I can find!


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