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Fun activities you can do on Texel, Vlieland and Terschelling (Wadden Island series)

Date:10 April 2024
Hylke enjoying the sun on Terschelling!
Hylke enjoying the sun on Terschelling!

It’s slowly getting warmer and sunnier! And now that the exam period is almost over, 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 really somewhere else. In today’s blog, we give you tips for activities to do on the Wadden Islands. Starting with Texel, Vlieland, and Terschelling!

Stay tuned for part two which will feature Ameland and Schiermonnikoog!

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 where 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 cracking with specific activities you can do on each island!

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Texel lighthouse. Image by congerdesign from Pixabay.


Starting with Texel, which is the biggest Wadden Island. It’s a popular destination for people living in the province of North-Holland because the only way to get there from the mainland is by taking the ferry departing from Den Helder. That’s why it's not a good island for a day trip. A longer stay will make up for the long travel to get there. Luckily, there are loads of things to do so you’ll not be bored!


Ecomare is a sea aquarium and seal centre in one. There, you can learn about the Wadden Sea World Heritage, the North Sea and Texel, and see seals up close. These seals are young, sick, weakened or wounded and are well taken care of until they are healthy enough to return to the sea. At Ecomare you can see them swimming, playing and sunbathing. You can also watch how they get fed. Who doesn’t want to look at cute seals? ;)

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Den Burg. Photo: Paul van de Velde on Flickr.
Den Burg

Den Burg is the largest village on Texel, where most of the Texelaars live. The traditional white and wooden houses make the village picture-perfect. There are cute shops, lovely places to eat and even a cinema, which is good to keep in mind when it rains. In July and August, there’s a summer market every Wednesday. Definitely spend at least one morning or afternoon exploring Den Burg.


Oudeschild is one of the prettiest villages on Texel. If you’re looking for a good place to eat some good seafood, look no further because it’s located by the sea and, consequently, a real fishing village. The town has a VOC (Dutch East India Company) history, which you can learn more about at the Museum Kaap Kil. Definitely worth a visit (both the museum and the town in general)!

De Zelfpluktuin

Near Oudeschild you can find the Zelfpluktuin, which is a garden where you can pick fruit, vegetables and flowers. At the entrance, a sign tells you which fruits, vegetables and flowers are ready to be picked. If you don’t feel like wandering around the gardens, you can sit at the little café to enjoy a drink and a treat. 

Rent scooters or cruisers

As I said before, the best way to get by on the island is by bicycle. However, if you want to spice things up, you can also rent a scooter or cruiser and go around the whole island in a day. It’s an adventurous way to see a lot of Texel’s highlights in a short time.

Texel Bierbrouwerij (Texel Brewery)

This brewery is one of the most popular breweries in the Netherlands. The brewery brews 10 different beers, which are mainly made from local produce. The beer is even brewed with water from the dunes of Texel making the flavour of the beer very soft and smooth. You can book a tour and get to know the brewery’s history while tasting some of its beers. 

Shipwreck and beachcombing museum Flora

Have you always wanted to see what things wash up on the shore after a shipwreck? At Museum Flora, you can find out and admire all the treasures that have been found. You can also learn more about the history surrounding shipwrecks and beachcombing. A good option for when it rains.

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Cuddle with alpacas
Hike or date with alpacas

This is a unique activity on Texel: hiking and dating with alpacas! During your date, you can give alpacas some food, take pictures with them and learn more about them. If you choose to go on a hike, you’ll enjoy some nice Texel nature and alpaca cuddles. Who would have known that alpacas are such lovely creatures?

Texel Sheep Farm

Sticking with the animal-themed activities, you can also visit the sheep farm on Texel. Throughout the year, you can cuddle with little lambs (and even witness a birth, if you’re lucky). Not only do they have 25 different breeds of sheep, but they also have guinea pigs, chickens, goats, pigs, calves and ponies. Fun fact: the farm itself dates back to the 18th century so it has a rich history!

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Drenkelingenhuisje on Vlieland! Image by Nikki Luijpers from Pixabay.


From the biggest Wadden Island, we go to the smallest but with the highest dunes. Although the island is small, there are loads of cool activities you can do!

Bunker museum

The Wadden Islands played a role in World War II as German soldiers built bunkers there to defend their territory and to spot English planes on their way to bomb German cities. By visiting the museum, you can learn more about this part of history and view Vlieland’s bunkers and trenches. You can even see an old canon! 


Oost-Vlieland is the only village on Vlieland! Can you believe it? Once, there was another village called West-Vlieland but this village was sadly flooded in 1736. Now, most inhabitants live in Oost-Vlieland and this is also the place where most accommodation is located. It’s a typical Dutch village with cute houses and streets, restaurants and a museum.

Museum Tromp’s Huys

This museum is located in Oost-Vlieland. It’s a museum that displays the cultural and maritime history of Vlieland. The collection contains many paintings, letters, clocks, maps, drawings and photographs. You can even view loads of tiles that were made in Harlingen, Friesland. Worth a visit if you want to know more about the smallest Wadden Island!

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Spot cute seals!
Spot seals

Although you can go on boat tours on many islands, I want to highlight one of the tours here. Near Vlieland there’s a large sandbank called “De Richel” where loads of seals rest. You can spot these seals when going on one of the offered boat tours. It makes for a cute sight!

The Vliehors

The Vliehors is the largest expanse of sand in Northern Europe and, therefore, very impressive. It’s used as a training ground for the Royal Air Force during the week, but you can visit it during the weekends. You can just walk there on your own, but you can also go on a tour with the Vliehors Express that will take you across the plains and stop at the ‘drenkelingenhuisje’, which serves as a museum for beachcombing but was once a little house where stranded people (Dutch: drenkelingen) could seek refuge.

Rug van ‘t Veen

Last but not least, another bit of nature. This time, it is a nature reserve where you can find Vlieland’s highest dunes. Did you know that Vlieland has the highest dune of all the Wadden Islands? It’s 43 metres high. It makes for interesting hikes and lovely views!


In my opinion, Terschelling is the most popular and fun island of all the Wadden Islands. There’s so much diversity in what you can do and so much to see. It’s also very easy to get to as you can take the ferry from Harlingen, which is only a train ride away. So, Terschelling is a perfect destination for students who want to get away for a while or just a weekend.

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De Brandaris lighthouse. Photo by Wim van 't Einde on Unsplash.
West-Terschelling + De Brandaris lighthouse

You arrive in West-Terschelling where you can find many cute streets and typical Dutch houses, lovely restaurants and, of course, shops. The Brandaris lighthouse might also catch your eye, which is situated in the middle of the village. It was built in 1594 and is the oldest, still functioning lighthouse in the Netherlands. Although it’s not possible to see the lighthouse from the inside, it’s possible to get married there. So… you have to pop the question to find out about the lighthouse’s interior, I guess.

Museum ‘t Behouden Huys

In West-Terschelling you can also find a museum called ‘t Behouden Huys, which is a museum about Terschelling’s history. You can view unique objects and paintings, listen to interesting stories about lost treasures, and more.

Dark Sky Park the Boschplaat

In 2015, the nature reserve the Boschplaat got the title Dark Sky Park because of its clean air. The air is so clean that you can view the Milky Way from there, which is pretty amazing if you ask me. A view worth staying up late for!

Visit the highest dune of Terschelling

Although Vlieland has the highest dune of all the Wadden Islands, Terschelling also has quite high dunes. Kaapsduin West is the highest viewpoint of Terschelling at 31,4 metres above sea level. You can even see Vlieland from there!

Oerol Festival

Every year, in June, the Oerol Festival takes place. It’s a ten-day cultural festival which contains theatrical, musical, and artistic performances. Since its creation in 1982, it’s been one of the most important festivals of the year with more than 100.000 visitors making the island the cultural heart of the country during that time!

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Photo by Malin K. on Unsplash.
Eat cranberries

The cranberry is Terschelling’s most popular product. From September to November, you can pick cranberries at the Bessenschuur where you can also learn more about the cranberry’s history on the island and how it is used in products. Throughout the year, you can taste cranberries in many of the local products and treats. Terschelling is heaven if you love cranberries, it’s hell if you don’t. Just kidding! ;)

Klimbos Klimdaris

Want to get active? Visit the climbing park Klimdaris! There, you can complete different routes on different heights while you’re secured. A nice way to let off some steam.


This little dune lake has a ghost story attached to it. A princess would bury the bodies of castaways there. It’s an idyllic and picturesque place for a picnic or a walk, but don’t go wandering there at night.

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 we should know? Let us know in the comments below!

Stay tuned for part 2 featuring Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, which will be posted next week!

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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