Younger brother pulling big sister in the luggage trailer
Cycling with children Family cycle touring

Cycling holiday in the Netherlands: 4) Texel to Vlieland

This is the fourth post telling the story of our cycling holiday from Zeebrugge to Vlieland along the north sea cycle route (LF1). In part one, we cycled from Zeebrugge to Renesse and in part two we pedalled from Renesse to Delft. Part three saw us riding from Delft to Texel. Here, we island hop from Texel to Vlieland.

Cycling to the Northern Tip of Texel

The journey from Texel to Vlieland was not a difficult one in terms of cycling. An easy 20km journey through the Nationaal Park Duinen van Texel was followed by a boat over to the Island of Vlieland. Our key concern was not to miss the boat. This particular foot passenger ferry only runs three or four times a week in summer (less at other times of year).

Our boat was not until 4pm, but we set off around 11am. We were glad to be on our way, with plenty of wiggle time for any mishaps. The sun shone, the cycle paths were quiet, the dunes were beautiful.

We stopped for a picnic lunch, then supplemented our sandwiches with hot drinks and ice-cream from a nearby dune café. Our route took us along most of the length of the west side of the island to the most northern tip where the small landing and booking office for ‘De Vriendschap’ (The Friendship) boat is located. We were happily early and so rested on a bench in the shade. The view out to sea was delightful and it was also interesting to see the Vuurtoren Texel (Texel Lighthouse); the only one in the Netherlands with views to the sea on three sides.

De Vrendshapp

The experience of De Vriendschap boat was incredible; definitely more of an excursion than a simple method of transport. We wheeled our bikes along a rickety, wooden walkway onto the boat, where friendly staff helped us stash them. Sitting on the open deck under bright blue skies, with the wind in our hair was wonderful. Crossing the Waddenzee on this small vessel was a real highlight of the trip.

Bikes on De Vriendschap on our Netherlands cycling holiday
Bikes on De Vriendschap

The Waddenzee is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and is famous for its flora and fauna. It basically consists of tidal mud flats. “Wad” translates as “mud”. Vlieland itself has actually moved eastwards over centuries. As land slowly disappears on one side, it builds up on the other.

Vliehors Express

Vliehors Express from the land

As Vlieland came into sight, we could see the Vliehors Expres, waiting for us on a vast expanse of white sand. Again, we had to wheel our bikes across a narrow, rickety bridge in order to disembark and onto the 12-kilometer-long De Vliehors sandbar, sometimes nicknamed “the Sahara of the North”. This is the largest sand plain in North-Western Europe. The Vliehors Expres can only really be described as a passenger tank. It was a huge truck with wheels bigger than our son. Passengers sat on wooden benches inside the tank and there was also space inside for many bikes. The wheels of the Vliehors Expres were cut with words, so it left behind poetry in the sand as it carried out its journey across the beach.

Getting a lift from the Vliehors Expres on our cycling holiday

We bounced along the sandbar to the village of Oost-Vlieland. Jeremy kept one foot under a wheel of our bike trailer, fixing it firmly in position. We had rested the trailer arm on a pile of panniers in order to provide more protection. Even though the repair had been straightforward, we weren’t keen for it to snap again on this cycling holiday!


Excited to be arriving at our furthest point on the trip, we helped lift our bicycles down from the Vliehors Expres and set off on the last two kilometres to Camping Stortemelk. Our excitement grew as we cycled along the main street of the only village on the island. The island rules only allow residents to bring a car onto Vlieland and so this was a perfect destination for a family cycling holiday. The street was full of cafes with outdoor seating, music floating through the air, chatting people gathered in groups and enticing shops. Zeebrugge was now over 300km away. We had arrived.

Jem and Louise

Any post on this site may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products / services we personally use and love. Using them doesn't cost you anything but may earn us a small commission. Thanks.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.