Located just a hop, skip, and a jump from the mainland of the Netherlands, the island of Texel offers wide open vistas and a glimpse at a more relaxed, small town way of life.
The hop, skip, and a jump is actually a ferry ride from the harbour of the Dutch city Den Helder, aboard either the Dokter Wagemaker or the Schulpengat. With the exception of flying by private plane, a ferry is the only way to reach the island. The ferry company, TESO, has been transporting passengers for over 100 years and provides transportation for cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and foot passengers. The outdoor viewing decks onboard their two vessels offer a refreshing opportunity to savour the salty tang of the sea air and listen to the ship slicing through the Wadden Sea.
For those more interested in admiring the beautiful sea view from inside, you can easily pass the short journey with a hot coffee and a pastry from the café on board, or a more hearty soup and sandwich. The traditional Dutch apple pie is a delectable balance of sweet cinnamon and tart apples, and crunchy hazelnuts add texture to the creamy sweetness of the soft hazelnut crème pastry.
Beyond the ferry dock at ‘t Horntje on Texel, there are endless opportunities to enjoy the island and far more sights and activities than can be packed into a day trip.
If you’re travelling by car, then head to the northern part of the island and the village of de Cocksdorp. It is the youngest village on Texel, established in 1835, and most well known for the striking red lighthouse situated three kilometres to the north. The lighthouse was built in 1864 and stands 35 metres tall. There are 153 steps on the way to the top, but the wealth of historical information along the way up and stunning views once you reach the top make it well worth the effort.
For those using two-wheeled transport, the gentle, rolling landscape surrounding the village of Oudeschild and its proximity to the harbour at ‘t Horntje make it a perfect destination to explore by bicycle. Small roads wind their way past farms and through green fields dotted with sheep, and there are countless opportunities to stop and enjoy the picturesque countryside.
Oudeschild itself is the home harbour of the Texel fishing fleet, and one of the best places to taste the hard work of the Texel fishermen is at de Texelse Visspecialist. This seafood shop has a wide selection of fresh, smoked, and fried fish from both the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, together with fish soups, paella, and a mouth-watering salmon and spinach quiche.
For a small island, Texel packs a big punch, and you’ll always wish you had more time to discover it all.