For my birthday this year, Robin surprised me by booking a hotel on Texel for a three-day-two-night weekend cycling getaway. It had been on our list of places to visit for some time.
We planned to make the trip on only three types of transport:
- The Dutch train system (Amsterdam Centraal to Den Helder and return).
- The TESO Ferry (Den Helder to Texel and return).
- Our own bikes for everything else.
Day 1: Amsterdam to De Koog
I took the Friday afternoon off work and we departed our house in Amsterdam just after 2:30 pm. I actually had both rear panniers filled and on my Santos Travelmaster for the first time.
Arriving at Amsterdam Centraal Station, we took our bikes up on to the platform and loaded them onto the Intercity train to Den Helder. The train was reasonably empty and we could sit close to the bikes for the entire one-hour journey.
We next had another short ride from the train station to the ferry terminal. As always, the Dutch cycling pathway system was well marked and we quickly made to the terminal to await the next ferry.
The ferry trip is a short one, only about 15 minutes of traveling time. Coming off the ferry in Het Horntje, we had a straightforward cycle to our hotel in De Koog. We followed the cycle path along the main road; it made for a quick if not spectacular ride.
Day 2: Texel – North and East Side
On our second day, our plan was to do a long loop around the north and east sides of the island. We had a perfect day for cycling, wind at our backs for most of the day. Cycling northeast out of De Koog, our first stop was a visit to de Slufter, a failed polder that has been allowed to reconnect to the North Sea. It is a restricted area to allow a wide range of birds to breed.
A little further on is the iconic lighthouse, the Eierland.
We stopped for a mid-morning Dutch treat: apple taart.
Afterwards, we locked up the bikes and walked on out to the massive beach at the north end of the island.
Robin even brought along our packable kite which we took turns flying.
After awhile, we returned to the bikes and started heading south along the east side of the island, along the edge of the Waddenzee. We passed a number of interesting scenes, including a classic Dutch windmill one.
Stomachs grumbling, we arrived at the port town of Oudeschild and decided to have some lunch, some nice fresh seafood eaten alfresco.
From Oudeschild, we headed north west, back to De Koog. Both Robin and I remarked how different the middle of the island felt compared to the edges that touch the sea.
After a short snack, we took a couple of seats at one of the seaside bars along the strand and once again watched the sun go down.
Day 3: De Koog to Amsterdam
Just a bit further on, we reached the Mokbaai, an area that cycles between being underwater at high tide, but uncovered at low tides.
A little while later, we made it back to the ferry dock for the trip back home.
We found the cycling great on Texel: excellent paths, interesting geography, and many options for drink and food. There are frequent NS trains between Den Helder and Amsterdam Centraal. The TESO ferry runs every 30 minutes in the spring, summer and fall months. We stayed at a hotel in De Koog, but camping is also possible in a number of locations.