I was lucky to be able to revisit Vlieland this past April, after originally having written this Vlieland activity guide in 2020. Just like last time, we visited with my in-laws. My father in-law frequently visits this Dutch island and has almost become a local, so he was the perfect guide for Vlieland. What was different than last time is that Hugo was with us and because we visited in a different season, we were able to do some new activities. Our weekend on Vlieland was filled with fun activities which gave us the opportunity to fully get to know this beautiful island. Vlieland, for a large part, consists of a protected nature reserve and I am in love with the diversity of nature. Of the West Frisian Islands I had only visited Texel and I was much more impressed by Vlieland, as Texel’s landscape is a bit boring and you don’t get the island feels being there. This blogpost includes pictures and experiences from our two visits to Vlieland.

Practical information

The easiest way to get to Vlieland is to take the Ferry of Rederij Doeksen from Harlingen (€ 30 return for an adult). The regular ferry operates three times a day and it is advised to book tickets in advance. In Spring and Summer you can also take a fast ferry, which is a little more expensive and saves you a lot of time (especially with a baby we found this perfect). When you are a tourist you are not allowed to bring a car, unless there are special circumstances and you have received permission. During our time on Vlieland we hardly saw any cars, which I found added much value to the island feels. There are several car parks near the Ferry Terminal in Harlingen. We rented bicycles as everything on Vlieland is easily reachable with a short bike ride. When you book your bicycles online you receive a discount.

The boat passes “De Richel” which is a large sand bank on which you can regularly spot seals!
You cannot keep your large luggage with you on the boat, so you have to put it in these cars. The island also provides a luggage transport to the hotels and campings.

We stayed at group location “The Vliehorst”, as my father in law is the treasurer of this location, after having visited this location for many years when he was director of a primary school. There are all sorts of hotels and camping places at Vlieland as the main income of the island is tourism. Vlieland only has 1100 inhabitants and most of them work a tourism related job.

2020 group photo, when Hugo was not born yet

Oost Vlieland

Oost Vlieland is the only village on Vlieland. Most of the inhabitants live here and you will find many hotels nearby. Even though Oost Vlieland is not located directly at the beach, I would advise to stay near Oost Vlieland as you can easily rent a bike here and go to a restaurant or super market. The village consists of only a few streets of which the main street offers typical Dutch architecture, which I found super cute. As I personally live in a city I found the restaurants a bit conservative (pancake house and pizza), but I would recommend visiting Leut Coffeebar for lunch. They have a menu full of vegetarian and non vegetarian food, as well as vegan options, coffee with oak milk and (gluten free) cakes.


On Vlieland the beach is always close.. the island is super small and is fully surrounded by beach and dunes, so it is easy to cycle to the beach for a quick visit. Sunrise and sunset can be so magical and when you are on a small island there is usually a horizon closeby where you can watch it 😉

I loved the golden glow over the dunes and the marram grass

Hugo also loved visiting the beach, he wouldn’t stop digging and eating sand 😉


Within walking distance of Oost Vlieland you can find this little lake, which reflects beautifully on a sunshiny day.

Rug van t Veen

Pretty much all of Vlieland is a nature reserve and I think this one is called “Rug van t Veen”. It is a lovely spot to go for a hike, make sure to bring a skirt to take some contrasting pictures.

Beach bars

During summertime Vlieland has a few beach bars, but when visiting in the off season only ‘t Badhuys is open. The restaurant is quite large, but atmospheric and the portions were expensive but generous. Definitely a cozy place to snuggle up near the fireplace on a cold afternoon!

The lighthouse

Vlieland has a lighthouse. It is the smallest lighthouse of the West Frisian Islands, but it is just as high as it is located on a high dune. The lighthouse has limited opening times, but when we visited on a Saturday morning it was open from 10.30-12h. Please check this website for the opening times. The entrance fee is € 3 and I would recommend visiting for the wide views over the island. The kids in our party absolutely loved visiting the lighthouse and the views took their breath away! In early March I could already spot small yellow flowers near the lighthouse and I can imagine that there are lots of wildflowers in summertime.

Seal watching

We loved our seal watching excursion with “Zeehondentochten Vlieland”. It costs € 30 for adults and € 25 for kids and you will be able to spot so many seals! We ended up spotting the seals at Engelschhoek and were able to spot the Brandaris (the lighthouse of Terschelling) in the back.

The Vliehors

The Vliehors is the largest expanse of sand in Northern Europe. During the week it is used as a training area for the Royal Airforce, but in the weekends it is open for visitors. We visited this impressive sandy area by taking the Vliehors Express. The excursion with the Vliehors Express takes two hours and costs € 17,50 for adults. During the excursion you visit the “drenkelingenhuisje”, which is now used as a museum for beachcombers, but years ago the house helped stranded people survive. We were super lucky that some seals were just checking out the beach when we were at The Vliehors. This beautiful landscape does not feel like you are in the Netherlands at all!


The Noordwester is a mix of a museum and an aquarium. I particularly liked the taxidermy collection of all the birds. The Noordwester offers a good opportunity to learn more about Vlieland and it entertained the kids greatly. The entrance price is € 6,50 for adults.


The ferry terminal for ferries to Vlieland is located in Harlingen, Friesland. We made sure to be at the ferry terminal early, so we could take a walk around town. The historical city center of Harlingen surrounds two large canals, which made for the perfect photo opportunities.

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