Schiermonnikoog is one of the most pristine Islands of the Dutch Wadden Sea: a dynamic island with endless beaches, high sand dunes, intertidal flats and cute villages! Besides, there are no cars allowed on this island! This makes a trip to Schiermonnikoog a very special experience! We show you what to do on Schiermonnikoog in 3 days.
Schiermonnikoog a short history
Schiermonnikoog is an island situated in the Dutch Wadden Sea, which is one of the most important intertidal areas in the world. Where does the name come from? During the middle ages, monks from the mainland possessed farms on the island. The monks (monnik in Dutch) wore grey clothes. “Schier” means grey and “oog” is etymologically similar as “ei” in “eiland” (island). When you combine this, you get Schier-monnik-oog. There is only one town on the island, also called Schiermonnikoog. Next to the town, there is some farmland. However, the island mostly consists of nature!
What makes Schiermonnikoog amazing?
There are hardly any cars on the island. Only the inhabitants are allowed to drive cars here! This is one of the only places in the Netherlands, where you do not have the background noise of a busy road. However, there is public transport to get around. Almost the entire island is a National Park, which you can explore on foot or by bike. The island has a whopping 18 km of beaches and they are on many places 1 km wide! During low tide, you can easily bike on the beach. This is truly amazing.
Next to the beach, you find dunes, which can be up to 20 m in height. The sea, the endless beaches combined with the dunes makes a spectacular landscape. It is possible to hike through the dunes. On the south and southeast side of the island, you find salt marshes and mudflats. The mudflats are submerged during high tide and when the water retreats during low tide, the mudflats emerge. It is possible to book a guide and explore the magical world of the intertidal.
In the town, you can find many shops and restaurant. Here, you can enjoy fish and other dishes. Next to town, you can also explore the forest.
Schiermonnikoog in 3 days: where to go?
We were multiple times on Schiermonnikoog and loved it every second! It is possible to book a hotel, but it is also possible to camp in the dunes (on a camping)!
The first part of the journey does not take place on the island, but on the ferry! The ferry departs from Lauwersoog. You travel with Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten. You can book a normal ferry (45 min), a fast ferry (20 min) or a water taxi (15 min). The faster, the more expensive. From the ferry, you can spot many birds and even seals if you are lucky.
When you arrive on the island, the first thing to do is to rent a bike! How else can you explore Schiermonnikoog in 3 days? This way it is easier to move around and it takes up considerably less time.
You can bring a small tent (remember no car), book a spot on the camping Seedune, and camp in the dunes. We truly loved this.
On the first day, you can explore the eastern part of the island. This part consists of dunes and very wide beaches. Here, you also have a lake, where you can observe birds. At the end of the day, you can enjoy a cold beer in the village or at Paviljoen paal 3 (restaurant at the sea).
On the second day, you can bike through the forest and the dunes towards “Strandpaviljoen de Marlijn” and get a cup of coffee (orange route). From here the journey truly starts. Head east towards the “Oosterstrand”. During this trip, you follow a sand dike. On the right-hand side, you have a large marsh. At the Oosterstrand, the island becomes more natural. You can climb the dunes for a breath-taking view of a so-called washover. Here, the sea can enter the land during exceptionally high water.
If you walk/bike towards the sea, you may notice that you are almost alone! If you have time, you can travel further east towards the “balg”. As most Dutch Wadden Islands, Schiermonnikoog is “walking” towards the east. On the west side, the island is eroding, while on the east side, the island grows. Here, nature shapes the “new” Schiermonnikoog. With low tide, you can cycle along the coast back to the village. Why? Because the sand is moist and is firm. On dry sand, you need a fatbike.
You arrive exhausted, but fulfilled at the town. However, the day is not over. You either get some nice food at a restaurant or make yourself a nice meal. In the evening, you buy a few good beers or wine and make yourself comfortable in the dunes. The first dune row! From here, you can enjoy your drink and watch the sunset!
On the last day, you can book a tour to spot seals. They are especially visible during low tide, because then they relax in the sun on sandbanks in the Wadden Sea. Such a tour takes up to 3.5 hours. If you want, you can also explore the southern part of the island (red route). For instance, you can bike towards the Kobbeduinen and hike. Lastly, you can settle on the beach and take a nice swim in the refreshing waters of the North Sea.
When to go?
During summer is the best time to visit the Schiermonnikoog in 3 days. Watch out that you do not visit the island during Dutch summer holidays, because then the island is especially busy (July – August). However, it is also possible to visit the island year round. Make sure to pack windproof clothes, as it can get windy!
We truly love this island, because of its stunning nature, epic beaches and watching sunsets in the dunes. The fact that there are no cars makes it especially awesome.