Schiermonnikoog - the isle of bikes
Published on 25 January 2017 by Hilary Staples
On Holland's smallest inhabited Wadden Island Schiermonnikoog only the locals are allowed to have a car, though most of them can't be bothered to bring their car over from the mainland. The bike is the main mode of transport on the island. Here's a photo impression we made in August 2016.
Only cars of locals are allowed on Schiermonnikoog. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com
National Park Schiermonnikoog
Schirmonnikoog might well be our favourite Wadden Island - not just because of all the bikes, though that's obviously a huge bonus. What makes Schiermonnikoog so special is that most of the island is a national park. The island might only be 16.4 km long and 4.3 km wide, but it's one of the most varied nature area's in Holland and home to an exceptionally high diversity of species. A true paradise for nature lovers!
A network of cycle paths and hiking trails allows you to explore the dunes, woodlands, lake, tidal marshes and sandy beaches in the western part of the national park. Few people make it all the way to the eastern part of the island, but if you're up for the adventure, it's well worth the effort. You can either go off road and cycle along the beach - not as easy as you might think - or take the cycle path as far as possible to Kaap Kobbeduinen and then walk the rest. Be warned, it may be a bit muddy!
On the north side of the island you have the North Sea with sandy beaches stretching for miles - the ideal place for a family day at the seaside. On the south side where the ferry lands, lies the Wadden Sea, the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world, earning it a place on the UNESCO Heritage List in 2009.
The food-rich waters are the ideal feeding ground for many species. If you cylce along the Wadden Sea dyke at low tide, you'll see a variety of birds foraging on the mud flats. In spring and autumn the numbers explode as millions of migratory birds visit the Wadden Sea. It's the best time of the year if you want to do some bird watching.
A couple of kilometres from the ferry lies the village of Schiermonnikoog. The village, which is home to around 950 locals, is the centre of the island. Here you'll find all the amenities and accommodation. It's all simple and civilised. If it's nightlife you're looking for, you're better off going to one of the larger Wadden Islands.
The island of Schiermonnikoof may not be featured in your guide book as it's not promoted much abroad. Don't let that put you off. The few cars and short distances make it ideal for a safe and relaxed family holiday. And if you want a short intermezzo while doing the North Sea Cycle Route, Schiermonnikoog should be on the top of your list. The island exceeded our high expectations. We hope you'll enjoy it too.
Here's a photo impression of Schiermonnikoog we made in August 2016.
Click on one of the photos to start the slide show.
Getting to ferry at Lauwersoog
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