Terschelling, Pearl of the Wadden Sea


Terschelling is one of the biggest Wadden Islands, and the third inhabited island. It is seen as the island of cycling among the Wadden Islands, with 70 kilometres of bicycle paths. Terschelling is also home to the natural reserve of De Noordvaarder, which possesses great natural beauty, quiet, and space. From a great distance, the lighthouse De Brandaris welcomes visitors to the island. This 400 year old eye-catcher is the herald of an amazing vacation.


Terschelling buzzes. If the many nice restaurants, cafes and pubs aren’t alive, then the events that are hosted all year round surely are. Terschelling is certainly an excellent nightlife destination. However, those looking for peace and quiet can cherish their ‘secret’, because 80% of Terschelling consists of beautiful natural scenery. The highlight is the European natural reserve of De Boschplaat. There is something for everyone on Terschelling.



Thirty kilometres of extensive sandy beaches await you on Terschelling, which are sometimes up to 500 metres wide. With so much space, there is bound to be a favourite spot for everybody. Stop on one of the many terrific recreational beaches and enjoy some ice cream or even a complete meal at one of the beach pavilions. Or you could choose to enjoy the silence of the more remote beaches. One can wander along the waterline for hours without encountering anyone.


Terschelling’s beaches are primarily located along the island’s north side. This is an excellent area for horse-riding, surfing or kite flying. The most popular beaches are those near West aan Zee, Midsland aan Zee and Formerum. Many beach pavilions can be found here. The beach has a very gentle slope and is therefore a good place for children to play. Are you looking for absolute peace? Then visit the beach at post 18.


The Wadden Islands boast beautiful beaches and the waves are higher than in other parts of the Dutch coast, particularly off Terschelling and Vlieland. Between post 8 and post 12 and near Midsland aan Zee, the beach is supervised. Near West is the Groene Strand. Here, you can go windsurfing without a permit. You can go kitesurfing between post 9 and post 11.


The main towns on Terschelling are West-Terschelling, Hoorn, West aan Zee, Lies and Oosterend. Especially the larger towns of West-Terschelling and Midsland are very dynamic in the summer months, with their eateries, restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs. During the day, you can indulge in the cozy streets and their many shops. The towns on Terschelling have preserved much of their history. And many establishments will gladly let you try out their specialties, such as cranberry compote, pastries, limonium honey, ‘pondkoek’, fresh sea bass and samphire.


The capital of Terschelling is West-Terschelling, which is also where the main attractions can be found. There are a number of nice museums on Terschelling. ’t Behouden Huys provides a nice overview of the island’s history and that of seafarer Willem Barentsz. The shipwreck museum De Boerderij displays the variety of things divers have found off the island’s coast, from cups to an ejection seat. And of course, a visit to the famed lighthouse Brandaris should not be left out.

Kite flying, surfing, kitesurfing, land sailing, taking a wagon ride together: all of it is possible on the beaches of Terschelling. But above all, do not forget to take your hiking shoes, for the island boasts 250 kilometres of wonderful hiking paths and unpaved roads. People who want maximum action can opt for the bicycle. This is the way to not miss anything. The bicycle path outside the dyke comes recommended. It will allow you to explore the entire coastline, from east to west, on the bicycle.

The Oerol

The Oerol Festival is Terschelling’s biggest event. This theatre festival takes place in June, lasts 10 days and attracts more than 55,000 visitors. Theatre productions are performed all across the island. Theatre and music shows take place in the streets, on the festival grounds and on the Groene Strand (near the town of West-Terschelling). It gets very busy on Terschelling during the Oerol, so if you want to spend the night here, it is a good idea to book a hotel, hostel or campsite early on.

Lighthouse Brandaris Terschelling

The Brandaris is a lighthouse on Terschelling, and is also the oldest lighthouse in the Netherlands. The name is a derivation of St. Brandarius, a saint to which the present village of West-Terschelling was named in the middle ages. Some people think that the name is derived from St. ...

Brandarisstraat 2, West-Terschelling
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Terschelling in numbers

90 km²
Length max.:
28,6 km
Width max.:
4,4 km
Highest point:
NAP +31,4 m; Kaapsduin
Beach length:
30 km
Biking Trails:
83 km



In addition to the plentiful attractions, many people visit the island because of its natural beauty. Over half of the island is covered in greenery. Much of this can be seen on a hiking or cycling trip. There are many routes that lead you past the best spots.


On Terschelling, you will find many bicycle paths that wind through the dunes and forests. These are often made of crushed shells, but asphalted bicycle paths also exist. Cars cannot access these paths. Thus, the bicycle is the most convenient method of transportation on the island. You can rent bicycles and tandem bicycles in every town. For example, two large rental places are located near the marina in West-Terschelling. If you rent a bicycle immediately upon arrival by ferry, the rental shop can take your luggage to your accommodation address for you (and return it later).

The southern slopes of Terschelling’s dune hollows have a desert climate, which one would not expect to find in the Netherlands. Many plants cannot grow here, but that very fact makes this area unique. It embodies the scenic variation of Terschelling. You will find beaches, forests, dunes, moorlands, polders, mudflats and marshes, salt water and freshwater. The island boasts the largest variety of bird and butterfly species in the country, not to mention the nine species of orchid that grow here. Add to this the vastness of the landscape and you’re sold.