Summer seems to finally be here, and you may be tired of the big cities that constantly remind you of all the responsibilities when all you want to do is spend these few days of summer bliss on a beach or lost in the greenery of a Dutch forest. If so: pack your backpack and get ready to explore the north.
Big blue skies, never-ending silver sand beaches and the sound of birds singing are some of the components of the beautiful archipelago floating only 5km from the north of the Netherlands.
The islands of the Wadden Sea are one of the most famous destinations for locals, internationals and tourists who are brave enough to explore the beauty the Dutch countryside has to offer. You just need to pack snacks, sunscreen, your bathing suit, and your loved ones to start your trip to the breathtaking destinations.
Arriving on Texel, the largest of the Frisian islands, you will be hypnotized by its 30 km of sandy beaches and its iconic red lighthouse. The 150-year-old building will give you a perfect view of the island’s surroundings and the chance to take some incredible photos. Also don’t forget to visit the seal sanctuary Ecomare, where you can see wounded seals nurtured back to health.
If you prefer the second largest island, Terschelling, visit the oldest lighthouse in the Netherlands: the Brandaris, built in 1594, and enjoy the combination of the sandy beaches and the forest.
If you’re looking for the perfect destination to enjoy the privilege of a peaceful and quiet atmosphere, then Vlieland is the island for you. The most remote of the Wadden Islands has only one village and 12 km of beautiful beaches.
Ameland, the third largest Frisian island, is covered by sand dunes and unique flora and fauna, with different plants and over 60 different species of birds visiting it every year.
Schiermonnikoog, the smallest of the islands, has its own beauty. The island combines dunes, woods, mudflats, and polders, making it one of the most popular destinations for the internationals in the north.
The five islands can be easily reached from the provinces of Friesland and Groningen in a couple of hours. You just need to take the train or the bus to reach the harbor of Den Helder, and you can take the ferry that will take you to the island of Texel.
If you prefer Terschelling, Vlieland, and Ameland you have to cross the province of Friesland and reach the harbors of Harlingen and Holwerd. And if you live in Groningen Schiermonnikoog is just one bus ride away. Just get off at the port of Lauwersoog, take the ferry to the island and all your effort will be rewarded by the beautiful landscape.
Lauwersmeer national park
Lauwersmeer is one of the most iconic destinations in the north of the Netherlands. The unique landscape, the scenery of the region, and the diverse flora and fauna have made this unspoiled region one of the most famous attractions in the country. The National Park is right on the border of Groningen and Friesland. It was created by the building of a dike in 1969 to protect the area from floods; however, it transformed into a home to over 100 species of migrating birds and to flora, such as orchids, and fauna, such as foxes, Scottish Highland cattle and wild Konik horses.
Visiting Lauwersmeer you won’t only have the chance to observe the birds and the horses, you can also surf, sail, kitesurf, swim, cycle and explore the park. Lauwersmeer is easily reached by train, bus or car from the provinces of Groningen and Friesland.
This small village of 430 inhabitants, located in the municipality of Westerwolde near the German border, is one of the most picturesque destinations in the Netherlands. The fortress was built in 1593, during the Eighty Years’ War. The fort was destroyed during the war, but it has been restored to its original state, and the visitors can enjoy the green scenery and the old houses. If you find yourself there, you’ll learn a lot about Dutch history, and you’ll have the chance to explore the old school, the church and the mill that is located in the village.
If you have children and you want to combine history with fun, Nienoord is the place to be.
Nienoord has a rich history of 5 centuries, its castle was built in the 16th century, and for centuries it belonged to one of the noblest families of the north, the Van Ewsum family. Now the property belongs to the municipality of Leek, and it was first transformed in the National Carriage Museum. Since 2003 the museum was renamed to Museum Nienoord.
After learning about Dutch history in the museum, you can visit the adjacent Nienoord Family Park, the Nienoord Swimming Castle, the campsite and an open-air theater located in the heart of the forest.
Nienoord is easily accessed by train, bus, and car.
Wildlands Adventure Zoo Emmen
The park opened its doors in 2016 and introduced to the visitors three themed climate zones: Jungola, Serenga, and Nortica with animal species that represented each zone. In the Jungola zone, you will see monkeys, snakes, elephants, and more. While in the Serenga zone you will see lions, giraffes, camels, and other animals. And lastly, in the Nortica zone, you will see polar bears, penguins snow owls, and other species.
The park is different from any other zoo you have visited as it’s a combination of an animal and an amusement park with attractions such as rollercoasters grasping the attention of the visitor.
Photo copyrights: www.visitgroningen.nl