Sustainable Public TransportThe Texelhopper bus is unique as well. There are two routes available, one permanent that connects two significant villages and ferry point and the bus is available at every hour. The other route is covered by a van, used by the people living in the village and is available only at calls, hence no energy is wasted unnecessarily at all!
Rainy Bike Rides
We explored Texel extensively for two full days, though we had initially intended for four considering the time needed for train travel. We explored the whole of Texel on electric bikes, which was the best decision we took. We biked the whole of the island from the southern tip of Den Hoorn to the northern regions of De Cocksdorp Vuurtoren. The experience couldn't be described in words. While visiting the place during summers would have been great, but exploring the region in Autumn was undoubtedly a unique experience. We were literally chased by rain, we gained speed and biked away. But yeah, rain outdid us at times and we had to wait till it subsided, a couple times.
Texel itself is an environment-friendly destination and has cycling tracks throughout the island. It has a dedicated cycling path that extends to140km! An extensive map is available in the tourism office. This concept is called Fietsknooppunten (Bicycle Junction Nodes). These nodes have numbers at road junctions, and you can just go from one point to another, following these numbers. Fietdknooppunten is indeed a fantastic concept because you could just note down these numbers, looking at the map before you start, and go cycling even without GPS or internet on your phone. Every street is well marked, and every junction has directions with these numbers. You'll not get lost!
Bike Rides in TexelThe best part of cycling around Texel is we could stop at a gazillion places on the way to enjoy nature and click photographs! We had two cycles, one with a child seat at the back. Earlier, we tried to use the one with a front carriage due to the weather, but that scared my daughter way too much, and she let out a bloodcurdling scream to sit alone in that. The bikes that we used were electric bikes that had an overnight charging ability and hence even after riding for more than 40km a day we didn't have to charge them.
Day 1We spent the first day gazing at the rain from our hotel window, and star-gazed at night! On day two, we started soon after breakfast, and our first route was from the hotel to De Cocksdorp on the main road (nodes 48-23-24-30). In the last bit, we took a slight diversion, and I'll tell you more about that later. Though called highway, we were still on a tiny island, apart from occasional cars and rare Texelhopper buses, the road was almost empty. There were fields on either side with sheep, horses and cows! It was so pleasing to just 'be' there!
This main road (nodes 23-24) has a few interesting sights. Our first stop was this road-side picnic bench where we stopped for snacks. Yeah, we had packed our lunches from the hotel on this island-wide cycling trip. There was also this painted beacon here which got Atyudarini pretty excited. She wanted to roll it like a merry-go-round and got a bit upset when it didn't move!
Our next pit-stop was at Texel Airport. While this was used by small aircraft and helicopters, there are two primary activities - one was for the rescue helicopters, and another was for skydiving aircraft via Paracentrum Texel. Just here is the Aviation and War Museum as well, which we didn't visit due to time constrain.
At node 30, we took a slight diversion from the highway and went into the Fietspad (cycle path) via nodes 28, 29. This Fietspad is a fantastic concept where there is a small paved pathway in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by all greenery, forests and a few occasional farmhouses! This is where I had an unforgettable experience. As I stopped to click a few pictures, I saw, it was raining on the flowers that I was photographing, like 20ft away. I mean, I SAW! But it was NOT raining on me! Before I knew, in a fraction of a second, it WAS raining on me! That's the most surreal, unforgettable experience of my Texel trip. At the end was Vuurtoren (node 30) and after that, we walked on the beach. But it was a bit too cold for venturing into the sea, and we headed back.
For the return, we chose the Fietspad (nodes 29-28-27-22-21-20-17-16-46), instead of the highway, to get back to the hotel. Unlike the previous road, this gave a more real feel of being in Texel with the varying landscapes of grasslands, shrubs, marshes, plateaus and more. Going along the wetlands, we stopped at De Stufter viewpoint as again it rained, and there emerged a rainbow! Past this on the way was the Duinen van Texel (Dunes of Texel National Park) where Ecomare, a sealife sanctuary and De Jager observatory are also located!
On the next day, our first stop was at the Texel Sheep Farm, and from there we biked to Fort de Schans. From there, a northward ride towards De Schorren (nodes 40-38-37-36-35-34), along the sea was quite an experience. Many times, there was no other soul on the road, and at times we could enjoy the perfect solitude, with just the sea beside us!!! In this route, are Wadden Sea Harbour (node 40) and Molen Het Noorden (nodes 35-34) as well. While the east shore is cycle-able, the west shore is where the marshes and beaches are.
Later that day, we went for a ride in a few of the villages on the island! With the weather getting stormy on Day 4, we skipped the planned activities. But what I wanted to do was to head to Fonteinsnol which has a viewpoint which was very close to the hotel and further ahead was Strandpaviljoen, which hold undoubtedly the best beach, filled with beach huts. Unfortunately, these huts can only be rented weeklong and not just for a day.
Overall, Texel is a place where you could spend at least 3-4 days. We had so many activities, and sightseeings planned that included trails, beaches, Ecomare, Cheese factory and more but due to limited time we weren't able to complete the list! No matter what you call it - a relaxing vacation, ecotourist and sustainable travel destination, if you're in Europe, then Texel should be on your list as it is your personal slice of paradise!
Where To Stay:
Several camping grounds & beach huts are also available if you're a bit adventurous.
Check out my Bos en Duin Appartmentenhotel review where we stayed.
How to get there:
Den Helder railway station to Ferry point: Bus 33
On Google Maps: Rijwielverhuur Veerhaven, Texel Hopper Bus Stand
Prices begin at EUR 11 for regular bikes (with 7 gears), EUR 22 for tandem bikes, EUR 21.50 for electric bikes per day. Works out cheaper for multiple days. For 3 or more days rental, the bikes are delivered & picked-up from the hotel.
While there's an abundance availability of regular bikes, for other types its advisable to pre-book. Can be done online on their website.
Tickets & Timings:
TESO Ferry: EUR 2.50 for pedestrian return journey; First ferry at 6:00AM (7:00 on Sundays) from Texel and 6:30AM (7:30AM on Sundays) from Den Helder. Last ferry at 9:00PM from Texel and 9:30PM from Den Helder. Leaves every hour with extra services every half hour on Sundays from 9:30AM to 4:00PM.
Texel Hopper: EUR 3 for 1 ride, EUR 7.50 for a day ticket, EUR 17.50 for a week ticket. While Line 28 is a regular service, mini-bus needs to be booked half-an-hour prior by calling +31-222-784000 or through their app.
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