We just returned back from 6 night stay on Vlieland. Well, it’s been a week, but it took me a few days to write this with the kids out of school, kids sleeping over, the time slipped by – anyway, it is a long post with a brief summery of our time on the island.
Rederij Doeksen Ferry
After our night in Harlingen, on Saturday morning, our kids made it a point to be the FIRST person onboard the 9 am ferry to Vlieland to secure great seat. To them this means a booth in the rear of the boat with excellent views! Funny that on the way back, we were nearly the last onboard (two stragglers came after us who nearly missed the boat) but we didn’t care where we sat!
Our hotel – the Westcord Strandhotel Seeyduyn
After doing some thinking and searching, we decided that it was best for our family to stay in a hotel. During Sinterklaas weekend, we stayed at Vlierijk, so we wanted something different but didn’t need a house like other families wanted. Instead, we got a really great deal at the Westcord Strandhotel Seeyduyn on Expedia.nl. We booked a two-bedroom family suite including a full, amazing hot buffet breakfast for €1,200. I think €200 a night in a beach-side hotel on Vlieland is a very good deal – especially summer time.
The hotel has a spa & wellness centre (which we didn’t use), a small gym, outdoor tennis courts [which need to be resurfaced] indoor pool [with a retractable roof] and the horse stables just next door.
OUR ROOM – #556
We had room #556 – the last room on the right – so we looked out over the tennis courts and horse stables. (I am sure you are thinking that same thing I did when I first got our keys but there was NOT a horrible smell of horse poop, thankfully!) We did have some nice sunrises (peeking through between the clouds and over the bunkers and some mornings you could see the lighthouse beacon of Terschelling . Sadly, I must point out that not once did we see the sunset! I had such high hopes growing up and living on the East Coast my ENTIRE life – I never get to see the sunset.
The kids had a separate room with two twin beds – which was great – but no window. In an ideal room, they would have had a window to get some air in that room but I left the door open and it was fine. We didn’t have a full kitchen with a cooking surface with pots & pans but we knew that going in. It did, however, have a fridge so I could keep cold milk for my coffee in the morning (and any additional foods I wanted to put in there). A Nespresso coffee maker (which they supplied coffee but I also brought some from home) and a hot water kettle. There was free wifi and a tv – but we didn’t use it at all. The bathroom had hair dryer, stand up shower cabin, a bathtub and the separate toilet.
From the balcony you could see glimpses of the sea over the dunes – but we didn’t use the balcony at all only to dry our towels and swimsuits after our time in the indoor pool.
The hotel offers family apartments (medium or large) both with full kitchens but we chose not to get that on purpose – we didn’t want to cook each day/night. We wanted to be able to have a big breakfast and be able to do something for our lunch and/or dinner out. We felt we were on vacation and didn’t want to cook ourselves each night. Plus we don’t have small kids who need to go home to nap nor dietary restrictions, etc.
The kids used the pool quite a bit too. Part of choosing this hotel was the indoor pool – as I said before, we find it a key booking requirement to book hotels with pools. At 9 & 11, they love pools on our vacations! They did use the pool at Flidunen too. Once for the afternoon as we drove by the went in for a couple hours and one night for the disco swim with two cousins.
We saw an old photo of the hotel with an open pool in the hallway as you cross over to the other building. A worker in the bar told us that they put the retractable roof on not that long ago which is great in the Winter and rain, but then it broke and so now it’s stuck in the closed position. When they inquired to get it repaired apparently the company who made it, went out of business and now they are stuck. It will €1 million to fix – so it remains stuck. I’d personally LOVE to see it repaired so you can have the sunlight in there. … or even add a second seasonal pool but I know that is a lot of money for the little warm season you have in such a place so not realistic.
The staff were all so friendly and helpful! I highly recommend this hotel & would definitely stay again. Oh and one more thing before I forget – when you get off the ferry there are some vans waiting – one is specifically for the Westcord. Complimentary luggage service is included so no need to lug your suitcase to your hotel – they will bring it for you and same on the return to the boat. Just go pick up your bikes and your suitcases will be at the baggage area in a bit.
From our living room, you could see Nils’ sister’s holiday rental house – it’s a dark brown with orange roof Dutch gambrel style (looks like a barn) – immediately right of the white triangle house. It’s called Paddenstoel – lovely home which suited their family’s needs.
His other sister, rented Kwikstaart – which is behind it, but you cannot see it from our room. And with us so close at Westcord it was so easy to get back and forth to see each other.
Other family members, who came last minute, stayed at Stortemelk camping, so we spent some time there. We ate dinner at the Bolder one night and drinks one night. We only had pizza but others got the Wok dinner and it tasted yummy – HUGE portions. Look at this pizza and the amount of toppings!!
While I personally didn’t find myself longing to stay on the camping – some of the tents were cozy. But of all tents there, I like the tenthuijs the best, which were sent up for the entire season – so they bring in more sturdy furniture like real beds, have electricty, proper chairs and tables. I might be talked into stay here for two weeks – but I’d have to bring a portable (pee only) toilet for the middle of the night 🙂
As you can see in these photos – some are very shabby chic – I love the Leeuwerik the best, but no matter how you wrap it up and put pretty paint in it, you are still walking to the toilet in the middle of the night with you paper roll 🙂 But at €400 – €500 a week it’s a bargain!
But they do have 6 duinhuisjes available which I could also do.
One day the kids played in a football match in the field organized by the camping – so you can still go hang out there if you want. Many families who stay in the houses of the dunes will go over and visit the camping. Soren brought his ball and played with other kids (and some dads) in the court and Maebh in the sandy playground.
Our hotel had organized kids club where our kids played bingo one evening and Soren won THREE times. He won one prize, gave one to Maebh and one to the youngest boy playing. Once they went to cake decorating, one event Maebh did was baking cookies which she brought Bobbi her 4 year old cousin to join. It was still early in the season so kids in northern parts of the country were still in school so the kids that were there were only from the South. We met kids from Tilburg and Drunen…. But kids from the South don’t typically go to Vlieland, they head to France so I’ve been told.
Netherlands vs USA Women’s World Cup Game
As we had a pub in our hotel, the family came together and watched the match in our hotel. With 2 America adults, six kids being 1/2 Dutch & 1/2 American and a bunch of full Dutch, we were not sure where the loyalty was going to go but it was clear, we were all rooting for the Netherlands. Sadly, they were out played but the US deserved to win.
Part of the atmosphere I love about Dutch beaches are the beach cafes. While there are not many on this small island. You can choose from Badhuys which is next to our hotel and we love it and went there a lot! But I loved Oost which is fairly new – and our first time was during this trip. Oh and there is de Dining marina – so not on the beach but the harbor. I didn’t eat there, but had a drink.
The day we went it was starting to drizzle, so we sat indoors. We played Pesten, my 11 year old & I split oysters and the vis plank – both were very yummy!
You do have other choices like the Bolder at the camping, Posthuys, various places in the Dorp. And two places which have both in & outside seeing near the water and by the ferry terminal are Zeezicht and Gestrand. Though I have to say that I prefer Gestrand as they have a nicer beachy vibe and I prefer their menu.
We ate here a few times during our stay. The oysters, salad, sashimi, fish soup and dim sum all were delicious, but clearly they put way too many black seasame seeds on this salad – I was afraid to smile. The boys both ordered the schnitzel one day for dinner and it was like Moses’ slipper – terrible idea!
Sea Glass & Shell Collecting
Like the sunshine, the tides were not in my favor for most of the week, but I did get two days when I was able to collect a bit of shells and sea glass for crafts. Two is better than zero!
ONE BEACH DAY
Earlier I used the term “summer time” loosely though as it’s a Wadden Island in early July – the weather didn’t exactly cooperate as we had hoped. We had one day of really good beach weather – so we rented two beach beds and a windscreen but the other days – let’s just say not the best. I spent every day wearing jeans and apart from the one day with beach weather providing you were protected by the windscreen, I didn’t touch my shorts. Nils has had some summers on the island with high 20 degree weather and other summers where it was very cold and wet – so you never know. As I type this – we are about to begin a heatwave in our area – so next week would be a great time to be at the seaside.
The kids and I headed to the beach with their newly purchased schepnet and bucket – but the water was freezing and the tides were off so he was not catching anything. We ended up donating it to the kids club on the day we left with the hopes that some kids will get some use of out it. The bucket I packed in my suitcase.
Three families spent a morning playing miniature golf at Midgetgolfbaan De Oude Vuurtoren. It was a lot of fun to see the kids play, loads of different levels of competition between the parents in each group – will say our family had fun – the adults some how “tied” at 51 each. We didn’t take ourselves too serious!
Maebh’s two oldest cousins were booked to take a horse riding lesson/trek on the trails so we booked her in with them next door at Manege de Seeruyter She was psyched! It was also great as it was just three of them. At first I was very nervous as they were on these three huge horses (yes there are bigger ones) but they explained that the bigger horses are the friendlier and more easy-going ones. Apparently, the smaller ones are nippy and fresh. Also these guys do not go down the beach – in fact, they are not allowed on the beach. The horses that go down the beach are fast and are for experienced riders only – which these kids are not. So once they set off, the instructor did it in English. I was certain all three fully understand ever word and nothing was lost in translation.
We ended up renting our bikes at the same place as we did last summer, Fietsverhuur Vlieland Zeeland. They have a deal online 7 days for the price of 5! I had been toying with the idea of getting Nils (and maybe me) and e-bike but didn’t. I honestly did’t think there would be so much wind on the island in the summer – but guess what – there was! Next time, e-bikes!! Soren got a mountain bike with 27 gears and Maebh a 3 gear bike with both hand and peddle breaks so both kids were happy!
BEST PHOTO OF THE TRIP
and the best photo of the trip is one of the photo of the group photo at the end when our family was leaving on the boat. Our 11 year old, out of the blue, decides to break out into a Fortnite dance in the middle. It’s so funny and so him! Of course there are “serious” photos of the group too where he was “normal” but this photo takes the cake!
One of the grandkids only!
and that was it – our trip was over. The rest had one extra night left over but saw us off at the ferry!
We had a great time but I think I’d enjoy staying longer next time! I think a two-week trip would be better! I would even entertain a house – I would still eat out a fair share and cook a bit. I think of all the houses I saw online, I would prefer Notenkracker or Klaproos based on interior and location. While we won’t go that long in the fall or winter, but I’m already thinking about a return trip for a long-weekend! Though I would like to visit the other Wadden Islands too.
Our Maebh was sad to leave her favorite cousin behind.. she was crying as we sailed away! She’s looking forward to seeing her again soon! Then again when we left Vlieland at Sinterklaas she also shed a tear – I think she LOVES Vlieland! We love the island so much, we are already planning our return trips!