Visit the tidal flats and wetlands of Holland’s The Frisian Islands

  • Things to do
  • The Netherlands
  • 5 min read
Visit the tidal flats and wetlands of Holland’s The Frisian Islands

Discover the Frisian Islands, a low-lying chain of islands off the northern Europe coast filled with folklore, with LeShuttle.

Forming an archipelago around the north-western part of the Netherlands, the Frisian Islands are a magical place to visit throughout the year.

Visit the tidal flats and wetlands of Holland’s The Frisian Islands

A UNESCO heritage site that hovers over the top of the Netherlands, the West Frisian Islands are some of the region’s most beautiful and least crowded spots. 

Currently waiting to be explored by you, learn more about the island chain and start planning your trip with LeShuttle.

Where are the Frisian Islands?

Sometimes known as the Wadden Sea Islands, the Frisian Islands stretch from the northwest of the Netherlands through to the west of Denmark. The chain itself ranges from between 5 and 32km off the northern European mainland.

Driving to the area from Calais

Driving to the Netherlands is easier than many people realise and is a fantastic way to maximise the amount of the country you see during your trip. 

If you want to break up your journey or extend your trip, planning a few nights in some of the Eurocamp sites located in the Dutch countryside is a good option to maximise your time while keeping costs down.

Driving to Den Helder

The drive from Calais to Den Helder will take just over 5 hours. The route includes toll roads and will take you across Belgium and through The Hague and Amsterdam. When you reach Den Helder, you can then take either a bus or a ferry across to Ameland and then onto the rest of the Frisian Islands.

Driving to Leeuwarden

Taking 5 and a half hours, the drive to Leeuwarden from Calais brings you across more of the beautiful Dutch countryside, and into the vicinity of  De Hoge Veluwe National Park. If you have time to spare, the park is stunning and worth visiting no matter what time of year you’re there. 

The journey includes some toll roads, but when you will arrive at Leeuwarden you will be able to reach Texel via car ferry and travel on to the other islands from there.

Exploring the Frisian Islands

With so many islands filled to explore and plenty of nature reserves, hikes and their unique mudflats available, make sure you pack your wellies and plenty of all-wear clothing options.

Ameland’s iconic lighthouse

Path leading through the dunes towards vuurtoren, lighthouse of Ameland

Located on the islands’ west end, the emblematic white and red banded lighthouse is the only lighthouse in the island chain which is open to the public. Standing at 55m high, visitors to the lighthouse can climb the 236 steps up to the top, where you’ll be rewarded with expansive vires over the entire island and beyond. 

On the way up, you’ll be able to enjoy exhibits that explain the lighthouse’s history and listen to stories told by lighthouse keepers themselves.

The nature museum at Natuurcentrum Ameland

Included in the museum is a North Sea aquarium, a landscape experience, and a display that offers a 360-degree view of the origins of the Wadden sea. You can also take a 2.2km walk through the Nesserbos forest and visit the dedicated knowledge centre on nature and energy, and renewable energy. A visit to the nature museum is a brilliant opportunity to discover more about Ameland or to enjoy an organised excursion like net-fishing or beach walking.

Schiermonnikoog National Park

Beacon on Kobbeduin dunes of Frisian island Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands

It’s easy to lose yourself in the 54 square km of the Netherlands first designated national park. In Schiermonnikoog island’s national park, you’ll be able to walk across beaches, dunes, and hike through salt marshes and woods. Keep your eyes peeled for bitterns which can be spotted near the wasterplas, and herring gulls, terns and spoonbills which populate the salt marshes. If you want any extra information or to join one of several tours, the park also has a visitor centre located at the foot of the lighthouse in the island’s only town.

The Bunker Museum near West-Terschelling

Free to visit, the Bunker Museum consists of a WW2 bunker complex. Four of the bunkers are open to the public and show how they were used by the German troops. One of the bunkers (which acted as a canteen) is now a designated visitor centre with a dedicated exhibition about the history of the Atlantic wall. The other bunkers in the complex include a prison and a command centre, and you can do a guided tour of the terrain during your visit.

Museum Tromp's Huys in Oost-Vlieland

Oost-Vlieland is the only village on the island of Vlieland. The Museum Tromp’s Huys is housed in the areas oldest building and displays paintings by Betzy Akersloot-Berg, a sea painter who captured, among other things, life in Vlieland from over a century ago. Other exhibitions include work capturing maritime past, and the work of Jan Jacob Skauerhoff, a poet, writer and ship-doctor. For children, there is a treasure hunt you can try during your tour around the museum.

De Boschplaat nature reserve

Dunes with long grass and north sea in the backround and beach of nature reserve Boschplaat on Terschelling, Netherlands

Located on the eastern side of Terschelling, De Boschplaat nature reserve has been recognised by the European Council since 1970. The public has almost unrestricted access to the whole property, and there are 8 locations within the park that have been specially designated for stargazing.

Mudflat walking

Wadlopen or mudflat walking is one of the best ways to explore the Wadden sea. Although it can be quite tough physically, the activity is so popular locally that there are plenty of experienced guides to take you. Many of the walks start from either Friesland or Groningen and you’ll be able to select which kind of route you’re after.

Cycling & hiking trails

The Frisian Islands have numerous cycling routes. Texel in particular is a cyclist’s paradise, with 300km of segregated and well-built cycle routes going across the island. There are also plenty of cycle-hire firms, which offer plenty of different options including electric bikes. 

If you prefer exploring on foot, the numerous nature reserves have plenty of hiking trails, which take in all the wildlife native to the area.

Explore the Frisian Islands with LeShuttle

If you’re excited to discover the natural beauty and explore the Frisian Islands with LeShuttle, start planning your journey now.

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