Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cycling and Sailing Holiday in The Netherlands: Island Hopping Day 5

A tour around this island with its numerous cycle tracks is well worth the effort. The largest village on the island is Den Burg, which has a rural character with its circles of roads around the old church. You will find most of the shops on the island in this village. The local museum gives a good impression of island life and is housed in a building dating from 1599.
De Koog, one of the oldest villages, is the principal bathing resort and is only a stone's throw from the widest beach on the island. The nature centre nearby is a rescue centre for seals and gives a lot of information about the flora and fauna to be found on Texel.
De Cocksdorp, the northernmost village, is entered through a tunnel of interlocking tree branches, which gives it a unique character. If you cycle to the most extreme northerly tip of the island you may be able to see Vlieland, the next island making up the chain of Wadden islands. On the way up north you can pay a visit to the Slufter, a nature reserve open to the sea and the rhythm of the tides.
The villages of Den Hoorn, Oosterend and De Waal have escaped modern architectural influences and are all officially protected. In Den Hoorn some of the old 'Commandeurs' dwellings have been preserved. These were the houses belonging to the captains of the whaling ships that sailed from Texel. Texel's oldest church is situated in Oosterend. In an old barn in De Waal there is a farm museum called the Wagenmuseum (cart museum). De Waal already existed in the 12th century and was on the coastline until 1613. Then the Waalenburg Polder was drained and since then De Waal has been in the centre of the island.
Oudeschild used to be the main port of entry for Texel, but in 1962 a ferry connection was established between the mainland and the southernmost tip of the island ('t Horntje). Nowadays only fishing boats, sailing boats and boats working on marine engineering projects use the picturesque harbor of Oudeschild. Here too, the maritime museum is housed in two old granaries and next to this museum you can find the Juttersmuseum (Beachcombers' Museum) in a shed originally used for storing sea ware.

If the weather is fine you might like to combine a cycling tour of the island with a nice rest on one of the wide, clean and very peaceful beaches.


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