Vlieland for Sinterklaas Weekend

DUTCH WADDEN ISLANDS

The Dutch Wadden Islands are located in the the north of country in the North Sea. There are 5 inhabited Wadden Islands.  Texel, lies in the province North Holland and the other four are located in the province of Friesland. The Islands are popular tourist destinations, they offer a great place to relax and enjoy a beautiful and unique piece of nature. Each is different and this time we visited Vlieland.

VLIELAND

Historically the most isolated of the islands, and the least visited, Vlieland is a windswept and wild place, but this is part of its charm.

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Our friends were heading to Vlieland for two nights as part of their tradition of visiting one of the Wadden Islands during Sinterklaas weekend and suggested we join them.  We decided that as our kids had an extra day off of school, we decided to go up on Thursday a day and a half earlier than them, so we could have some extra family time exploring the island.  We are coming back in the summer for a week with family, so it was great to be able to visit before hand and in the winter.  While Nils hasn’t been there in 25 years, he has visited the island year after year in his youth (many times multiple time sin one year), it was a first for me and the kids.

GETING TO THE ISLAND

The Rederij Doeksen ferry left from Harlingen at 2:00 pm so we left our house just after 9:30 am to give enough time to drop off something to a friend on the way, account for traffic going through Amsterdam etc.   After a brief stop, it was smooth sailing up – no traffic, thankfully!

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DE AFSLUITDYKE

We drove the Afsluitdyke – which was pretty cool – considering it’s history over past 80 years and the upcoming improvements which will be done – all can be read if you click the link.

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We stopped briefly at the visitor centre/cafe/monument so M could use the bathroom and there the three of them could climb the tower  – NO WAY was I going up.    I took a few photos from below and while it’s not that high, I’ve no interest in heights.  And of course, we always get one of those souvenir flattened 5 p coins.

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We arrived at the ferry terminal with plenty of time to spare and printed out our tickets at the machine, so that was great.   Not sure if it was required, but we did it anyway.  Later we saw that you can scan your barcode from your phone, but it is faster with the tickets for sure going through the turnstile.

As for parking, we parked in the underground lot though you have options to park a bit further away and can save a bit more – but the difference between €35. and €48 for the three days Nils was not great enough of a savings for the walk to the parking lot with the bags and kids in the rain.   In the summer, I suspect the rates go up and for the week, we’ll park in the nearby lots.  Inside the ferry terminal there is a restaurant/bar along with a small shop which you can pick up items to bring on the boat like drinks, snacks, a book/magazine, etc.  though onboard you can buy things too.   Our friends told us about a snack bar nearby the terminal in Harlingen which had great quality food, but I didn’t get the name of it but they always stop there before going onboard.   Next time maybe.

Once onboard the boat, we immediately went to the family area but it was ONLY our family so the kids didn’t have to be too quiet (not like they are loud at 8 & 10) but I don’t want to have to keep saying sssshhhh to them if they are talking or laughing – just being kids, etc.  There was a cafe onboard, but we didn’t get anything except two portion fries onboard and ate them as I wanted a bit of a distraction from the motion and sitting by the window helped.  The sailing was actually quiet smooth – but to be safe, both M and I took motion sickness pills.   We went up on the deck on the way in and saw some baby seals and got blow away.

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On the way back I forgot to take them but we were both okay despite some big waves but thankfully none of us were sick.    I didn’t out outside at all! We had all three tabes at the front with the huge window – perfect seats for us!

VLIERIJK HOTEL – OUR ACCOMMODATION

As for our accommodations:  We stayed where our friends suggested in a two-bedroom apartment (ours was #409) at the Vlierijck hotel.

Here are some photos from our apartment #409 and the hotel:

The pool while small, was great for individual families to use and our kids swam each day.  If you want a bigger pool, you can visit the Sportcentrum Flidunen pool the camping.  But this was fine for our needs at the time.

Here is my review for Tripadvisor.

We just returned home from a 3 night break and it was great. The staff was friendly the hotel was a in a great location (5 minutes walk from the ferry so easy to rent bikes and pick up groceries in the morning for breakfast for evening for dinner.) We rented bikes and explored the island and ate out in the evenings and had breakfast in our room in the fully-equipped kitchen. They have small nespresso machine in the kitchen so you can bring suitable pods from home or buy them at the service desk or local Spar or Coop. Our apartment (#409) was recently updated so it was modern, clean and well-equipped. Two toilets, two showers, two bedrooms, large living room, kitchen with dining area, tv, outdoor seating area, lovely view of light house, etc. Our friends stayed in #304 and it was equally as great. You can’t go wrong with either of those two rooms!! Our kids swam in the pool every day . While it was small it was great for them and kept them entertained when we just wanted to relax a bit at the hotel. There is a small kids room with ping pong, a play area for smaller kids and a chalk board. A work out room for those interested with some equipment overlooking the pool. The hotel has a laundry area. We didn’t use it but it is very convenient in the event you were staying longer and your clothes are in need of a wash or a dry the option is there. We didn’t use the restaurant as they only had a 5 course meal but the reviews we read looked great and would give it a try if we were without the kids. We have already booked accommodations for this summer when we return, but for our next trip after that, we will surely be back and will stay here again.

We paid €355 for our 3-night stay on Booking.com which was the least expensive option I could find at the time and allowed us to book online and pay at the hotel later.  Be sure to check with the hotel directly as they offer deals too – but Booking.com often has the best deals to me. 

With Nils as our tour guide, as he spent over 15 years visiting the island multiple times per year, the first day we walked around the village a bit which was tiny but quaint.  He showed us the stores and cafes he visited as a kid – many still there.  Some changes but you could tell it was very nostalgic for him.We climbed up to the top of the Vuurtoren (lighthouse) hill which had a really nice view over the island.  Only ‘issue’ was that it was under maintenance so it was covered with scaffolding and closed.   Even though I’m not a fan of heights, because you can go inside,  so I do hope to do this on our return to the island.  The Belgian Military was supposed to be dropping live bombs on the deserted area of West Vlieland on Friday, we were hoping to see some but I suspect the weather cancelled their plans.

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This photo is on the wall at the hotel, so you can see what it is like with out the construction.  With some luck, it will be finished when we return in July.

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The next day we rented bikes from Zeeland Fietshuur and rode our bikes around the island – with our tour guide N showing us the pool, mini golf, tennis courts, football field. We rode first to the camping area – lovely but nothing for us.  Then we drove by the houses where his sisters and their families will stay this summer – one was very nice.  And just around the bend and up the hill is our hotel (or a walk down the beach).  Super close – and easy to visit daily at our or theirs, etc

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I found this flyer for activities for the kids – which our kids want to go every day! 🙂  Not sure if we will do it every day but they will certainly go a few days (if the weather is good and the kids want to do it).

There are so many things we didn’t do (nor did we want to do this time around) but we will do this summer.

The activity center is located on same beach, where we will stay this summer at the Seeduyn WestCord Hotel.  It looks great – ON the beach and has a pool.  It has a tiny two lane bowling alley – I doubt we’ll use it, but might be something fun with the family.  We saw is only a short bike ride from the town and a quick bike or walk to where two of N’s sisters and their families are staying.  Plus the Badhuys Strandpaviljoen – my favorite place to eat on the island – check out their menu.   We opted for a large family room which has a fridge and coffee maker, tea kettle but no kitchen.  It does, however, include breakfast.  As we are there for 6 nights – we don’t want to cook each night and as our kids will be 9 & 11 they do not nap so we don’t need the quietness of a home in the dunes.   In fact, now that we saw how you’d have buy groceries each day at the shop and bring them to your house each day via bike, we totally agree this hotel is the way to go for us.   We stayed near the grocery store and had a fully-equipped kitchen for 3 nights and we didn’t cook.  I did get cornflakes, milk, coffee, and bananas so the kids could eat and we could have coffee each morning, but I am just not interested in preparing meals each night on my short vacation.

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On Saturday our friends rented bikes and we set out on a day trip to explore the island.  The plan was that we’d ride out bikes INTO THE WIND for the 8 KM to the Posthuys where we’d have a drink and then cycle along the dunes and go from there.  Well we set off into the wind and it got harder and harder.  It was quite comical actually.  S, the mom and two boys were so a far ahead.  M was being pushed along by our friend who is a fitness buff and avid cyclist so was okay with this and N was in agony with his knee in the back.  Every now and then had to stop get off his bike, walk it, stretch and do his best from crying.   HE MUST RENT AN E-BIKE when we return this summer.  No question about it.   I myself was struggling a bit but managed.  We finally arrived at the Posthuys only to find out it was CLOSED!  Their website said it was open but nonetheless it was not.  So we got back on our bikes, drove into the wind (see the kids with their eyes shut with sand whipping in their faces) for a short distance then let the wind blow us from behind over and through the dunes.

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We arrived at the Badhuys, had a lovely lunch, loads of laughs and before we set off had a walk on the windy beach. I put my bike key in my pocket when we went outside, but it must have fell out when I took out my gloves/phone as it was not there when I went to get on my bike.  Had to leave my bike behind and tell the bike rental place that I lost the key on the beach and they had to go pick it up later.  Oh and as expected, we had to pay a €7.50 fee but at least I didn’t lose the bike.    In the video, you’ll see how windy it was – no way was I finding the key 🙂

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Even though it was chilly and windy, it was very peaceful.   So much of Vlieland was like a mix of Cape Cod – Welfleet, Truo and Provincetown, as well as, Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard – so beautiful!   We had a terrific time and we are all so looking forward to returning this Summer!   In fact, when we were on the ferry, M was crying she didn’t want to leave Vlieland.Before we left the island, I bought myself some Cranberry Thee, come Cranberry Jam and some Zeekral zalt.

YBrAcUgeTPS%OJU2kZxKgw.jpgBefore we left, I spend a few minutes down by the town where there is a tiny pebble beach with some seaglass.  Most of it needs more time to “cook” but I did get a few pieces.

Can’t wait to see the sunset into the ocean! Growing up and always living by the ocean on the East Coast of US, UK and Ireland, we never get to witness sunsetting in the water.

westcord-strandhotel

Once onboard the boat, we immediately went to the family area but it was ONLY our family so the kids didn’t have to be too quiet (not like they are loud at 8 & 10) but I don’t want to have to keep saying sssshhhh to them if they are talking or laughing – just being kids, etc.  There was a cafe onboard, but we didn’t get anything except two portion fries onboard and ate them as I wanted a bit of a distraction from the motion and sitting by the window helped.  The sailing was actually quiet smooth – but to be safe, both M and I took motion sickness pills.   We went up on the deck on the way in and saw some baby seals and got blow away.

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On the way back I forgot to take them but we were both okay despite some big waves but thankfully none of us were sick.    I didn’t out outside at all! We had all three tabes at the front with the huge window – perfect seats for us!

As for our accommodations:  We stayed where our friends suggested in a two-bedroom apartment (ours was #409) at the Vlierijck hotel.  Here is my review for Tripadvisor.

We just returned home from a 3 night break and it was great. The staff was friendly the hotel was a in a great location (5 minutes walk from the ferry so easy to rent bikes and pick up groceries in the morning for breakfast for evening for dinner.) We rented bikes and explored the island and ate out in the evenings and had breakfast in our room in the fully-equipped kitchen. They have small nespresso machine in the kitchen so you can bring suitable pods from home or buy them at the service desk or local Spar or Coop. Our apartment (#409) was recently updated so it was modern, clean and well-equipped. Two toilets, two showers, two bedrooms, large living room, kitchen with dining area, tv, outdoor seating area, lovely view of light house, etc. Our friends stayed in #304 and it was equally as great. You can’t go wrong with either of those two rooms!! Our kids swam in the pool every day . While it was small it was great for them and kept them entertained when we just wanted to relax a bit at the hotel. There is a small kids room with ping pong, a play area for smaller kids and a chalk board. A work out room for those interested with some equipment overlooking the pool. The hotel has a laundry area. We didn’t use it but it is very convenient in the event you were staying longer and your clothes are in need of a wash or a dry the option is there. We didn’t use the restaurant as they only had a 5 course meal but the reviews we read looked great and would give it a try if we were without the kids. We have already booked accommodations for this summer when we return, but for our next trip after that, we will surely be back and will stay here again.

We booked on booking.com but next time, I will check the hotel directly as they offer a 10% discount on their site – it might come out cheaper – will definitely check!

Here are some photos from our apartment (409) and the hotel:

The pool while small, was great for individual families to use and our kids swam each day.  If you want a bigger pool, you can visit the community center pool near the camping.

With N as our tour guide, the first day we walked around the village a bit which was tiny but quaint.  He showed us the stores and cafes he visited as a kid – many still there.  Some changes but you could tell it was very nostalgic for him.We climbed up to the top of the Vuurtoren (lighthouse) hill which had a really nice view over the island.  Only ‘issue’ was that it was under maintenance so it was covered with scaffolding and closed.   Even though I’m not a fan of heights, because you can go inside, I’m going to do this on our return trip.  The Belgian Military was supposed to be dropping live bombs on the deserted area of West Vlieland on Friday, we were hoping to see some but I suspect the weather cancelled their plans.

This photo is on the wall at the hotel, so you an see what it is like with out the construction.  With some luck, it will be finished when we return in July.fullsizeoutput_16d0.jpegThe next day we rented bikes from Zeeland Fietshuur and rode our bikes around the island – with our tour guide N showing us the pool, mini golf, tennis courts, football field. We rode first to the camping area – lovely but nothing for us.  Then we drove by the houses where his sisters and their families will stay this summer – very nice.   And just around the bend and up the hill is our hotel (or a walk down the beach).  Super close – and easy to visit daily at our or theirs, etc

I found this flyer for activities for the kids – which our kids want to go every day! 🙂  Not sure if we will do it every day but they will certainly go a few days.

There are so many things we didn’t do (nor did we want to do this time around) but we will do this summer.

The activity center is located on same beach, where we will stay this summer at the Seeduyn WestCord Hotel.  It looks great – ON the beach and has a pool.  It has a tiny two lane bowling alley – I doubt we’ll use it, but might be something fun with the family.  We saw is only a short bike ride from the town and a quick bike or walk to where two of N’s sisters and their families are staying.  Plus the Badhuys Strandpaviljoen – my favorite place on the island is there.   We opted for a large family room which has a fridge and coffee maker, tea kettle but no kitchen.  It does, however, include breakfast.  As we are there for 6 nights – we don’t want to cook each night and as our kids will be 9 & 11 they do not nap so we don’t need the quietness of a home in the dunes.   In fact, now that we saw how you’d have buy groceries each day at the shop and bring them to your house each day via bike, we totally agree this hotel is the way to go for us.   We stayed near the grocery store and had a fully-equipped kitchen for 3 nights and we didn’t cook.  I did get cornflakes, milk, coffee, and bananas so the kids could eat and we could have coffee each morning, but I am just not interested in preparing meals each night on my short vacation.

zVg8WA%eR3yH4Umol9pz4QOn Satuday our friends rented bikes and we set out on a day trip to explore the island.  The plan was that we’d ride out bikes INTO THE WIND for the 8 KM to the Posthuys where we’d have a drink and then cycle along the dunes and go from there.  Well we set off into the wind and it got harder and harder.  It was quite comical actually.  S, the mom and two boys were so a far ahead.  M was being pushed along by our friend who is a fitness buff and avid cyclist so was okay with this and N was in agony with his knee in the back.  Every now and then had to stop get off his bike, walk it, stretch and do his best from crying.   HE MUST RENT AN E-BIKE when we return this summer.  No question about it.   I myself was struggling a bit but managed.  We finally arrived at the Posthuys only to find out it was CLOSED!  Their website said it was open but nonetheless it was not.  So we got back on our bikes, drove into the wind (see the kids with their eyes shut with sand whipping in their faces) for a short distance then let the wind blow us from behind over and through the dunes.

We arrived at the Badhuys, had a lovely lunch, loads of laughs and before we set off had a walk on the windy beach. I put my bike key in my pocket when we went outside, but it must have fell out when I took out my gloves/phone as it was not there when I went to get on my bike.  Had to leave my bike behind and tell the bike rental place that I lost the key on the beach and they had to go pick it up later.  Oh and as expected, we had to pay a €7.50 fee but at least I didn’t loose the bike.    Here you’ll see how windy it was – no way was I finding the key 🙂

Even though it was chilly and windy, it was very peaceful.   So much of Vlieland was like a mix of Cape Cod – Welfleet, Truo and Provincetown, as well as, Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard – so beautiful!   We had a terrific time and we are all so looking forward to returning this Summer!   In fact, when we were on the ferry, M was crying she didn’t want to leave Vlieland.Before we left the island, I bought myself some Cranberry Thee, come Cranberry Jam and some Zeekral zalt.

YBrAcUgeTPS%OJU2kZxKgw.jpg

Before we left, I spend a few minutes down by the town where there is a tiny pebble beach with some seaglass.   Most of it needs more time to “cook” but I did get a few pieces. Can’t wait to see the sunset into the ocean!  Growing up and always living by the ocean on the East Coast of US, UK and Ireland, we never get to witness sunsetting in the water.

westcord-strandhotel

I am SOOO looking forward to returning for a week in the summer – I hope we have great weather!!

UDPATE:  See our post from the Summer – WE 🖤 VLIELAND!!

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