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One step after the other. Feet sinking into the hot sand, crunching little sea shells under their weight, enduring the heat and the stinging.

“Are we there yet?”

“No, we only walked half the distance.”

“This beach will never end!”, I half complained, tired and amazed at the same time.

Struggling with the sand, somewhat pleasantly, I was making my way to the North Sea, on the beach at the Strandpaviljoen Faro 2 — the beach near the Texel Lighthouse. This was the widest beach I’d ever seen: about 120 metres of white sand. Following hours in the hot sun, it seemed like a long distance to walk; when we finally reached the water, we took a well-deserved break, having cycled 12 km through the dunes. We cooled our feet in the ice-cold waves, but swimming was not possible because of the strong currents. Laying on the beach, I was thinking how happy I was: who would have thought that I would be spending my birthday on a hot beach right here, in the Netherlands? It must have been my gift from the Weather Lords 😀

Texel Lighthouse as seen from the dunes

This was my first time in Texel, the biggest of the Wadden Islands, a group of islands in the north of the Netherlands. After almost eight years living here, I finally visited and wasn’t dissapointed. It charmed me with its long beaches, the dunes, the forests and the laid-back atmosphere. The wonderful weather was a bonus — Texel is a very windy place at most times.

We were there for two days and stayed in De Koog. I chose this place because I wanted to be close to the beach. On the first day, we rented bikes (the best way to move around the island) and headed north, towards the lighthouse. The dunes are a beautiful view: golden-reddish or purple colours all over, giving them an alien landscape look. They are covered in shrubs, including the purple heather which looks amazing. We stopped here and there for pictures, or for checking out a farm to see the curious-looking Texel sheep. They were a bit shy and didn’t want to be photographed, turning their faces away from the camera, to my annoyance. Here and there, on the side of the roads, there were improvised little shops with strawberries, jam, soap or eggs. There was no one there — you could just take a product and leave the money in a box.

The evening found us admiring the sunset on the beach in De Koog, enjoying a few local Texel beers while watching the darkness fall over the water. Around midnight, the sky was covered in stars, much more visible than in a city. You could even see the light from the lighthouse. It was pure magic!

We spent the next day in the Duinen van Texel National Park, walking in the forest, then swimming. I would have stayed there for a whole week, but even the two days felt longer than that and helped me disconnect from everything. The island of Texel is all about relaxation and outdoor activities. The beach is quiet, without the loud music you find elsewhere, the villages are picturesque, farms welcome their visitors. I will go back for sure, and I have in plan to visit the other islands as well, they must be wilder and more isolated, therefore even more beautiful.

 

Useful tips

 

How to get to Texel: take a train or car to Den Helder. From the train station there is a bus taking you to the ferry, or you can just walk for about 20 minutes. The Teso Ferry to Texel runs every 30 minutes and the ride takes about 20 minutes.

Biking: You can bring your own bike with you if you want or rent one when you get there. There are enough bike rental places on the island. If you’re not used to biking for long distances over mixed terrain, rent an e-bike and your body will thank you.

 

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2 Comments

  1. It looks so peaceful! I’ve only been to Ouddorp and it looks so similar! What I was impressed to hear was that you walked through a forest?! I didn’t think I’d find forests there. My day became sunnier knowing that I won’t miss that part as much when I move. I can’t wait to visit Texel (next year) to finally run my kite on the beach!

    • It is peaceful. And yes, there are forests on the dunes, not only in Texel but also in other national parks in the country. For the kite, every beach in NL is perfect – there’s a lot of wind 😉

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