After our adventure on the pristine island of Texel, we return to the mainland to embark on a ship bound for Terschelling.
While waiting for departure, we take a stroll in Harlingen, a port town in red bricks worthy of a delightful postcard. Within 2h with the Rederij Doeksen ferry we dock at the foot of the old lighthouse of Brandaris which welcomes visitors since 1594.
The island located west of the Frisians is large and dynamic with several small towns within it, as well as a favourite destination for summer holidays for teenagers on break from school. To cross it and explore it adequately, you need a bike and great biking skills. In the days we will spend here we will be able to explore uncontaminated places and small towns animated by restaurants, and shops and enjoy leisure activities for tourists. There are also options for shopping as the shops offer sophisticated home decor and trendy clothing with a Californian flavour.
Our Hotel De Walvisvaarder is located towards the end of the island, it is cosy and has a very nice restaurant. Dropped the luggage and rented the bikes, we set off to wander around and see as many things as possible. We pedal through the forest together with locals and tourists – even the elderly – in the direction of Midsland where we will order a fusion lunch at PuraVida Food Bar. After our break we get back on the saddle of our bike, skirting fields of wheat with grazing cows, the verdant forest of Hoornsebos and the adjoining beach that stretches for km.
The fresh late afternoon wind stirs the sand giving it a zebra-like appearance, the sun is covered by some clouds and we are ready to go even further to reach the grassy dunes of West aan Zee. The sun peeks out, the vegetation is tinged with the colours of the sunset and the sloping roofs of the houses point like mushrooms among the dunes. On the beach – not too far – there is a famous restaurant overlooking the sea, we order dessert and a refreshing drink and then leave before it gets too dark. We’ve cycled for hours, so much so that fatigue comes with the evening, so we take a long way back and collapse exhausted.
The following morning the sky is gray and the rain will keep us company for most of the day.
My legs are aching but, with the enthusiasm of one of the boys from Hawkins, we leave equipped with yellow and blue rain capes respectively.
We sight the centre when we notice yachts and small boats docked at the port, finally, we get a better look at the fate of Brandaris and we get lost around the shops that have such cute designs that we really want to buy everything. Going back in the pouring rain by bike will be a difficult task but our cosy bedroom and dinner in the hotel restaurant will be waiting for us.
Although we will gladly spend a few more days off the busyness of the big cities, the time has come to leave again to head towards Amsterdam. The last destination of this journey through The Netherlands.
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FERRY : There is an efficient service that ferries visitors and cars from Harlingen to Terschelling. In just 1h 30 minutes at a cost of around €100 (return) without a car. With a car, the cost is very high.
SLEEPING: We stayed at the Hotel De Walvisvaarder which is well-located and very welcoming. From the port, it can be reached in 10 minutes by bus.
MOVING AROUND: In addition to a few buses, the bicycle is the only real means of moving freely on the island. The hotel we stayed in rents out bicycles for €10 each per day.
FOOD: The budget remains quite high to eat on the island, especially if you are looking for full meals and not just a sandwich and a drink.