The holiday season has started in The Netherlands and since the amount of COVID-19 cases was heavily falling my family and I went on a holiday. We did stay within our own country, we went to Texel, one of the Dutch islands. That feels safe because of COVID-19 but going on a holiday nearby can also be quite sustainable. That’s why I am writing a full post about the island today. I want to show you that a sustainable holiday can be a lot of fun!
Texel is one the Dutch islands. It’s the first one in line and so it’s most nearby from the mainland. There are six island in total. Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. More than enough choice! I’ve been to most of the island now and this was the second time I visited Texel. The last time I went to Texel was 5 years ago, in 2016. And even though this was the second time, I had a lot of fun and visited new places. The island is quite big, the biggest of all six.
If you want to visit Texel in a sustainable way, you go by boat, the TESO. The island also has an airport, but as you know I personally don’t fly since it’s not sustainable. The boat leaves from the mainland in Den Helder. Den Helder is accessible by train, bus or car. The boat travels every 30 minutes and it takes about 20 minutes to get to the island. You can go alone (2,50 per person for the outward journey ánd return), with your bike (5 euros), motor (price unknown) and car (25 or 37 euros, depending on which day you leave). I would not recommend going by car or motor, as I never do since public transportation, biking and walking is most sustainable. I went by bus and train to Den Helder and then by boat to Texel. My family went by car since they do want to take the car with them on the island. I think that’s fine, as long as we don’t fly I’m fine with everything.
On the island itself you can rent a bike or travel by public transportation. They have a bus which can bring you anywhere. However, we rented some bikes because we like the autonomy of having a bike all week. We didn’t travel too much, a maximum of 30 km each day. From north to south is much farther so we didn’t bike through the whole island all at once. It’s most fun to spread this over multiple days.
Paal 9, Hoornderslag 8, Den Hoorn
This was the only restaurant that I found that actually mentions vegan options on the menu. At other restaurants on the island you can probably eat vegan too, you just have to call and ask. Since I personally prefer restaurants that have vegan options on the menu I only listed this one. I just don’t always like having to call and discuss everything. It’s wonderful to just walk in and see on the menu what is vegan and what is not. Paal 9 is therefore the only option (for now). I ordered the green peppers as a starter, the Jamaican curry as a main and the superfood salad as a side. The Jamaican curry was a bit of a disappointment, I thought it was too plain. The salad however was amazing and made up for that. The food therefore was okay for me. The restaurant is located at the beach so the view is great and they decorated the restaurant really cozy. The staff was friendly and I would visit this place again.
Accessible to wheelchairs: yes.
I have to say, the whole island is one big sight-seeing hotspot. The Dutch islands are just lovely and very unique too. Just biking around the island is amazing and so I would recommend you to do so. The animals, the calm flow, the view, it’s all there. Conclusion: the whole island is great. But! I do want to point out two things here that we visited and were really great.
The Texelse Lighthouse, Vuurtorenweg 184, Cocksdorp
This lighthouse is located on the very tip of the island on the north side. The area around it is great. There is a lovely beach where we took a big walk. The tower itself is really pretty but I recon the view from the top is most special. Unfortunately, we didn’t know we had to reserve tickets upfront and so we didn’t get to go up. I don’t know if that rule is because of COVID-19 or if it’s always there. Just beware that you might have to reserve a ticket to go up, this costs 5 euros per person.
Accessible for wheelchairs: unknown.
National Park Duinen van Texel, no specific address
I thought that this was actually a small park. When we visited it, I thought it was a reasonable size. Turns out that the whole west-coast from Texel is covered by this national park. We visited it partly, an area between De Koog and De Cocksdorp. I thought it was really great. There was a hill that led to a higher point so you could overlook a really big nature area. We walked through that area and the sereneness and noice from insects and birds was amazing.
Accessible to wheelchairs: yes.
Local shopping is something to do in every city. It creates way more jobs than big supermarkets like Albert Heijn. Supporting the local economy is crucial for local employment but it’s also very sustainable. It’s seasonal food that doesn’t travel far. On Texel you can buy a lot of local animals products because there are a lot of livestock farmers on the island. I would avoid those since eating vegan is always more sustainable, even if the food comes from the other side of the world or something. I found only one specific local shop which sells vegan food. Besides that, there are multiple local stores in every city. In the Cocksdorp we got bread at a bakery for example.
De Reuzenaardbei, Schorrenweg 32, Oosterend
This company sells local strawberries. The address that I just mentioned is their actual farm but they also have multiple selling points on the island. The strawberries are delicious! Besides the strawberries they also sell strawberry jam, which is great for bread.
Flee Market (Only on Mondays from 11AM till 4PM), Witteweg, Den Hoorn
Every Monday there is a flee market in Den Hoorn. I didn’t know what to expect since Texel is an island and I figured people don’t have that much stuff. Well, I was wrong. The flee market was actually quite big and I bought some great things for little money. I bought sunglasses, a decorative can, an umbrella and a pan! All that for about 5 euros.
Accessible for wheelchairs: Unfortunately I would say no, the areas between the shelves were quite small.
Ecomare, Ruijslaan 92, De Koog
Ecomare is a museum and a rescue center for seals and birds! I was really excited to visit this place. They rescue baby seals and birds and then heal them. They give them medicine, train them to hunt for food, feed them and then free them again. That last one thing is what made me visit. They do not keep animals captive for no reason, like zoos. They actually do a good thing, they save animals which otherwise would have died. Only if a seal or bird can’t make it in the wild they won’t release them and so Ecomare is also partly a sanctuary for a small group of birds and seals to grow old. They’ve also adopted two seals which were previously in a Dutch zoo which no longer wanted them. I don’t like animals in a tank, never. But in some cases there’s just no other option.
Then the museum. It’s great on the one hand. It’s highly informational in a fun way. They exhibition a lot of stuffed animals. I think stuffed animals are a great way of showing and learning more about animals. When the animals die a natural death, then you use the body for education. That’s great! Then alive animals don’t have to suffer in small cages their whole life (like in a zoo). However, there is one big downside of this museum. They have an aquarium. They have about 5 tanks with sea-snails, crabs, fish and more sea-life which also can be found in the North-Sea. As I said, I hate keeping animals in cages for no reasons and so I hated this part of Ecomare.
Because of this aquarium I doubted whether I should share Ecomore. They do such an amazing job on the one side, saving seals and birds and releasing them back into nature. They also do great in the museum, it’s educational and fun. But that aquarium … I hate it. In the end I have decided to share Ecomare so you could make up your mind about it yourself. I would personally visit again but I will send them an e-mail about the aquarium just so that they know that I would like to see that change. One ticket costs 14 euros.
Accessible to wheelchairs: yes.
That’s it for now! As you might know: my hotspots lists are never finished. Whenever I visit a city or in this case an island again I’ll see new things and add them to the list. On Texel for example there is a food forrest. It seemed great but I didn’t get to visit it unfortunately. Maybe next time! Anyway, I hope you can use this list when visiting Texel.