What to do on Texel
It finally came about. During the Easter holidays we usually travel to a distant and sunny destination, but this time we chose the beautiful bird island of Texel. Texel is best known to bird watchers and peace seekers. More than 300 bird species have been sighted on the island. Texel has an area of 170 km², the average length is 20 km long and 8 km wide. During the spring, some 80 bird species breed in the dunes and forests. Because we like destinations with a lot of nature, we chose the island of Texel this year. We have not regretted it, on the contrary!
Island of Texel
Texel (Tessel) is a beautiful natural island with 40 nature reserves. You can spot rare birds all year round. The island is therefore on an important route for migratory birds. We walked and cycled a lot, but there are also other activities you can do there. For us, the highlight was the “National Park Dunes of Texel”, a continuous nature reserve along the entire west side of Texel. Since the weather was nice that week, we mainly did outdoor activities. A midweek or week is ideal to explore the island, but longer would be possible for me too.
How to get to Texel
Texel is a relatively small island and you need a transfer to get there. You can do that all year through Den Helder. The price there and back with a normal car was 37 €. You can arrange the ticket via the website of the ferry. You need to print the ticket with QR code at home and before you can drive on the ferry, you just need to scan the QR code on a machine. You do not have to do anything else. You can also buy the ticket at the ferry port. The same procedure applies on the return trip towards Den Helder.
Via a detour to our destination
We actually drove to Texel via a small detour (the Efteling at Kaatsheuvel). We had booked a weekend in the Efteling from Friday to Monday. On Monday we did some of the best attractions in Efteling and after lunch we drove to Texel at 13:00 PM. That day there was a lot of traffic jam on the N9, because part was closed by work. We took the ferry in Den Helder at 16u00 and arrived at our destination at 17u15. Unload and go swimming! On the way back we drove faster and the travel time to East Flanders (Ghent) included the ferry 4,5u.
Our place of stay on Texel was Holiday park De Krim. De Krim is a large holiday park by Texel standards and is located in the north of the island. You can choose from different accommodations, from standard bungalows and luxury chalets to larger family villas for 20 people with 10 bedrooms. Our Last minute chalet had 2 bedrooms and even a sauna. We did not use the sauna, because the weather was nice and everyone had enough with the subtropical swimming pool. The mattresses are soft and good for sleeping.
Subtropical swimming pool !
The swimming pool is new from 07/2017 and was proclaimed the most beautiful swimming pool in the Netherlands in 2017. The complex has several slides, one with tires, a fun whitewater course, a large swimming pool, a jacuzzi and a bar. You can also swim outside. Our children had never seen the slide where you can choose a theme anywhere else and they liked that the most. You can choose a music theme at the touch of a button, with different effects for each theme in the slide.
There is also a small fitness room overlooking the pool (for a fee). For the little ones, there is a water playground next to the large swimming pool. Inside it was pleasantly warm every day. The water itself was certainly not cold, but I thought it could be a bit warmer. Our children thought it was a great pool and we did not see them much on our deck chairs.
special about this pool is that no use is made of chlorine in the swimming water and other chemicals to clean the pool. Wristbands with a key for the wardrobe are not needed anymore, because closing the boxes is done by an electronic lock with a code.
There is plenty to do at the park such as indoor mini golf, bowling, laser gaming from 8 years and there is also an outdoor and indoor playground. Golf course De Texelse with 18 holes is located next to Vakantiepark De Krim. On the site is a climbing park, Klimmenenzo. Climbing is possible from 12,50 € pp.
There is also a riding school with horses and ponies, a hairdresser and there are several restaurants at the park. The nearest village, De Cocksdorp, is about 1km from the holiday park. There are also restaurants there. They usually open at 17u00. The snack bar across the church of De Cocksdorp is open earlier. We have eaten fries and a veggie burger on our last day. Friendly staff.
What to do on Texel:
One of the nicest activities on Texel, with or without children, is to visit Ecomare. Ecomare is a seal and bird rescue center with a museum with exhibitions and educational games inside the building. Adjacent to the museum there is also a sea aquarium with fish and starfish. When we were there, starfish were fed with pieces of fish. Outside there are several baths with temporary and permanent seals and porpoises. Most seals are prepared there to be expelled back into nature. You can see at several times how the animals are fed together with a word of explanation from the caretakers. The feeding times for porpoises and seals when we were there (see under the picture).
At Ecomare there is also a permanent group of seals and porpoises that can no longer be released. The 2 porpoises that stay there from small onwards are fed several times with (dead) fish throughout the day. Dead fish, because they are actually afraid of live fish or play with them and therefore can not catch themselves. The porpoises would probably starve in the wild according to the Ecomare staff. The care of these porpoises costs a lot of money, but you can help by adopting a porpoise or seal. That can be from 4 € per month for a seal and 6 € per month for a porpoise. The form to adopt here..
Extra video what to do on Texel: Ecomare
You can make a nice walk at Ecomare. This is best done with a visit to ecomare, because the walking route is on the grounds of ecomare itself. There is a short and longer walk. We did the shorter of 2 km, because we wanted to be back in time for the feeding moment of the seals. There are some to do moments for children on the walking route. The walk goes via a paved path and is also accessible for wheelchair users.
Prices: Adult 13 € Child (4-13) 9 € Audio tour: 1 €
Walk from the EcoMare car park
On tuesday it was beautiful sunny weather and we were looking forward to it. After the visit to Ecomare we decided to take another walk from the parking lot. We made the walk "Nature Trail The Alloo" with a distance of 4.5 km. We adapted the route a bit by walking back along the beach. This path is also suitable for wheelchair users, the blind and visually impaired. At Ecomare you can borrow a brochure in Braille, large print and audio. At the starting point of the walk there is a map in Braille (see photo). The route runs through the nature reserve Het Alloo along dunes, through forests and grasslands. It is a beautiful and varied walk.
In the woods we saw squirrels and many species of birds, from titmice and wagtails to the spotted woodpecker. About halfway the walk we went for a drink at beach pavilion pole 19. You will find the poles everywhere along the coast on Texel and the count starts in the south of Texel and goes up to the north. Ecomare is located at pole 17, De Koog at pole 20 / 21 and the lighthouse at 31 / 32. It was sunny weather and we could enjoy the sun outside on the terrace.
Texel has 140 km of cycle paths. At holiday park De Krim we rented bicycles for a day. The rents are the same everywhere. You will also not find discount vouchers for Ecomare, the museum or for renting bicycles anywhere. Even the poster with the bicycle rental prices is the same at De Krim as at the bicycle rental shop in De Koog. We started our journey on Wednesday morning with a ride from our holiday park to the lighthouse. The route winds from bicycle point number 24 through and past the Krimbos. At number 30 to the left and at number 29 to the right. Occasionally you can see the lighthouse in the distance. Here you continue on a beautifully landscaped cycle path, between dunes and fields until cycling point number 31.
On to the lighthouse
At point 31 turn left, direction lighthouse. It was nice and sunny on Tuesday morning and there was almost no wind. After half an hour of cycling you are at the lighthouse. We have put our bicycle aside and we stepped to the lighthouse. The price to go up is 4.5 € pp. If you want to go to the toilet before you cycle on, you can do so in the café-restaurant near the lighthouse. Here we had to take the road back to bike point 31 and 29. You get a free bike card when renting the bikes. All bike points are well marked on it.
The road is located at bird observation point Renvogelveld at 500 meters from the lighthouse on the left (before bike point 31). The viewpoint where you can see birds is at a distance from the viewing platform. If you want to see the birds well, you need binoculars. You can buy one at the bird information center in the Kikkerstraat 42 in De Cocksdorp. There is another wooden observation site along the walking path. That one is located closer to the creeks at about 200 meters from the road.
Once past bike points 31 and 29 you cycle further through the Eierlandsche Duinen, past De Slufter and the Bol van Dordrecht to point 27. We stopped on the way at the origin road, because there is a vantage point. Just cycle along the side, cross a piece of dune and you have a breathtaking view of the entire Slufter valley. That day you could get an explanation from local birders and you could search for waterfowl through good binoculars. Our daughter picked up her pen with great pleasure to check out some birds from her bird checklist that she received at the reception of Vakantiepark De Krim.
At point 27 there is another lookout point with a view of De Slufter and the opening in the dunes by the sea. From this point you can take a very nice walk (see below). We enjoyed the wide view on top of a bench and ate our lunch there. From then on the wind started to blow stronger and it became less fun cycling. We have cycled through to 64 via the town "Oost" to bike point 35 via nature reserve Vogelspottets to point 34. The children started to ask how long it would still take before we were back, because they wanted to go swimming. Well, at that moment we had already covered 19 km and it was still 8 km cycling.
When it started raining we went to drink a hot chocolate milk Hotel / Restaurant Prins Hendrik Texel. It is actually a restaurant, but we were also allowed to drink something. Very friendly staff. Once back rested and when it stopped raining we cycled with new forces through weather and (north) wind back to our chalet. The first part through the nature reserve "The Dunes of Texel" is the most beautiful. Had the sun during the 2de part seemed a bit sharper and the wind was a little less hard, then that piece was certainly better than expected.
The bird connoisseurs in De Slufter told us that the "De Bol" and "De Putten" on the east side are certainly worth it and that Tess would certainly see birds there to cross from her list. The weather has decided differently that day, but that is another reason to come back to Texel.
Extra video what to do on Texel: Bike tour on Texel
Seal boat trip
On Thursday we sailed to a dry sandbank with a small fast motorboat to see seals. You can also do that with a larger fishing boat, but that trip took 3u and the day before we had cycled almost 30 km. The children felt less for a long outdoor activity. Eli wanted to swim this afternoon. With the small boat you are faster on the sandbanks, where the seals rest and you can observe them well. The trip to it took half an hour. Because of the shallow water near the sandbank, you can not get close to the seals, but they are certainly good to see. As the water rises and the sandbanks are flooded, the seals swim back to the sea.
The seals stay as long as possible, because it will take until the tide is low until they can relax on the sandbank again.
On the way back the boat slowed down and the children were given a bowl of bread to feed the gulls. On the Belgian coast where the discussion is now about giving gulls the pill against reproduction, I don't think they would appreciate this very much. However, all the children on board loved throwing bread at the seagulls and seeing them catch the bread in a bird's eye view. Once the bread was gone, the captain gave full throttle back to the jetty in Oudeschild. The entire seal trip took 1h20 min.
Shopping in Den Burg
On the way back to our stay in De Krim, we wanted to "stop" in Den Burg to visit this city and then go chilling in the swimmingpool. That was counted without Tess. There were quite a few stores in Den Burg and Tess absolutely wanted to go shopping in the town. She felt that she needed clothes. So we had to make a deal with Eli because he wanted to go swimming and the pool closed at 19u00. He was to be persuaded with an ice cream and later a drink before dinner.
Walking in the De Slufter nature reserve
On Texel you can walk endlessly, but one of the most beautiful walks we made was in nature reserve De Slufter. On Friday, the last day already, we had to leave 10u00 out of our chalet, but we were ready at 9u00 and drove directly to De Slufter (bike point 27). It is only 10 min drive and are as good as completely alone on the walk started.
There were only 2 bird spotters walking in front of us, who quickly went into the dunes to spot birds. De Slufter is an unspoilt nature reserve that becomes more beautiful with every step.
A few times a year the area is flooded and can not be accessed on foot. From the steps at the parking lot (crossing Zanddijk and Slufterweg) it is 2 km up to the sea. The total distance of the walk was 4.2 km and is definitely worth it. The view of the coastline and the Wadden Sea from the dunes is very beautiful. This area is still the only area on Texel that has an open connection with the sea. At high tide, part of the Slufter runs under water and at low tide the seawater runs back to the sea.
In the summer months, the area turns purple, because many salt-loving plants grow there, such as sea lavender and sea aster. Even without making the walk, this place is interesting, because you have a good lookout point at the top of the stairs. There are also some benches for resting. You come up via a steep staircase or along the slope suitable for wheelchair users. Bring good binoculars yourself. Above you can see the opening to the sea in the distance. If you can not join the walk, there is Café "De Slufter" (how could it be otherwise) on the corner of the Slufterweg, where you can possibly wait for the walkers.
Parking on Texel
Not unimportant. On Texel you have to pay almost anywhere from Monday to Sunday from 8u00 to 20u00 to be able to park at the important places, such as Ecomare. That can be done per hour, but then it costs 2.5 € per hour. We chose to purchase the E-vignette via the website at 15 € per week. Even though we only stayed 5 days on Texel, I am sure that it would have cost us double, without a vignette. With the E-vignette you have no stress having to check every time the time to pay extra.
For example, there was someone at the car park of Ecomare who had not bought such an E-vignette in advance and had no bank contact / maestro card with him. With cash you can not pay at the vending machines and therefore had to look for his payment cards ... his wife was already inside, so ... The E-vignette works via the license plate of the car and you do not have to put a ticket on the dashboard . Actually, an E-vignette for a midweek should come to 10 € per midweek. Here you will find the website to purchase the E-vignette.
Finally, I would recommend everyone to go to Texel to enjoy nature and tranquility. It is absolutely worth it. We will definitely go back to discover other parts of the island.