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Texel island is my happy place in the Netherlands. Is the place where I celebrated my birthdays for the past few years and I would recommend it for a weekend away in any season, whenever you’re in the mood for nature and tranquillity. This spectacular island, the biggest of the Wadden Islands and the easiest to reach, is only a 20 minutes ferry ride from Den Helder.

There are seven villages on the island, and you can find accommodation in any of them. I prefer the western part of Texel: that’s where the wide beaches are (and the National Park Duinen van Texel). This part of the island is the best one for hiking trips.

What amazes me about Texel is the variety of landscape: on such a small island you have the beach, the dunes, fields and different types of forest.

If you start your walk on the beach, for example, and go towards the dunes, you’ll notice how the vegetation changes as you walk, from tall sea grass to small bushes and heather, then bigger bushes before moving into the forest, where you’ll see first coniferous and then deciduous forest. There are salt marshes and polders too. The nature on Texel is wonderful, from rare plants (I was fascinated by the wild honeysuckle growing everywhere, even in the forest) to birds and seals and the local Texel sheep (how I love their ugly faces!). Foraging while hiking in Texel can be a real treat: the forest and the dunes are rich in berries and all kinds of plants (don’t forget to only take a little from everything and leave enough for the animals that feed on them). I enjoy eating a few wild rose hips in my walks, they are flavourful and they give me some vitamin C.

On a hot summer day, hiking in the dunes might be a bit more difficult, but the forest is always close to provide coolness, and you can go for a swim in the sea at any time (just check for signs to indicate that the beach is safe). I can almost feel the salty breeze mixed with the pine scent…

Hiking in Texel

Texel is perfect for cycling trips as well. You can literally go from one end of the island to the next in one day, and there’s an easy road that you can take, along the eastern coast, and a more hilly ride through the dunes — the latest being more scenic. While cycling along the fields and the farms, you’ll come across points where you can stop for an improvised unmanned shop at the side of the road, to buy honey, cheese, eggs, jams, and other local goodies. You take what you need and leave the money in a box. Or you can stop to have lunch in one of the villages or at the beach bars, and have a swim in the sea before continuing your trip.

The only problem about Texel is that most of the time everything is fully booked and you have to plan your trip in advance. A hiking trip to Texel could be also a one day adventure: go there early in the morning, do the hike and catch the last ferry back to Den Helder (somewhere around 8 pm).

However you plan your trip, I think Texel should be that one place in the Netherlands that you visit at least once, if you like nature. It will give you beautiful memories!

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