Most likely the first stop you will make on the island is at the village of Schiermonnikoog. A comfortable way to get here is by taking the bus that waits in front of the ferry. The bus times are adjusted to the ferry times, so there is no waiting involved. It's only about 10 minutes by bus to the village.
The village itself is small but rather picturesque with lots of old houses, like the ones you can see in the photo. The village of Schiermonnikoog dates back to around 1760 and the house on the photo must have been one of the first because it dates back to 1759. There is not so much to do and see here, but nice for a lazy stroll. There are some shops scattered around in the little streets, mainly little tourist shops where you can buy postcards, some gifts or everything you need for your kids to have a great time on the beach.
Schiermonnikoog, or sometimes also called 'Schier' by the Dutch people, is a beautiful little island. The "Wadden islands" are at the north of The Netherlands and are a series of small islands in a row in front of the coast. Schiermonnikoog is the smallest inhabited Wadden Island. It is only 16 kilometres long an 4 kilometres wide and it has one village (which is also called Schiermonnikoog)
The photo you see here is taken from the ferry and you can see the island and the village of Schiermonnikoog. We are almost there! So grab your things and get ready to set foot on land! It's time to discover a bit more about this lovely little island.
Good morning everyone! It is still early morning, hahaha, hence the sleepy look on my face. So why am I up so early, and a more important question, why am I telling you all this to you? The answer is quite easy, today I am going on a nice daytrip to the island of Schiermonnikoog and I wondered if you would care to join me on my trip :-)
I see this confused look on your face and see you wonder "Schiermonnikoog"? What's that?? Schiermonnikoog is an island in front of the Dutch coast and it is one of my favourite daytrips in the Netherlands. It is a popular destination for the Dutch but I feel it is rather unknown abroad. So on this page I would love to show you a bit more of this little island and show you why it is worth the trip going here. So hop on the ferry! We are leaving in a few minutes......
The absolute best way to explore this island is by bicycle. The places I've shown you so far (the village, lighthouse and watertower) are quite close to each other and easily reached by foot. But if you would like to see more of Schiermonnikoog, the bicycle is your best option.
Everywhere on the island are little bicycle paths which lead you through the beautiful dunes and landscapes of the island. Don't worry about bringing a bike yourself, as you can rent a bicycle on the island (see my transportation tips). But if your not in the mood for an active vacation, you can also be lazy and lay down on the beautiful and huge beach :-)
So how did the island get its name? To most the name sounds strange: Schiermonnikoog, hahaha, and yes, I know.... it's impossible to pronounce! It's even difficult to describe how to pronounce it, so I skip giving that a try. So let me focus on the easy part and tell you how this island got its name.
In the fifteenth century the island was administered by Cistercian monks and these.monks wore grey clothing. And the island is named after these monks: 'schier' means 'grey', 'monnik' means 'monk', and 'oog' means 'island', so together it forms "Schier-monnik-oog" or "Grey-monks-island".
In the photo you can see the statue in the village centre of a Cistercian monk.
It's very easy to get to the lighthouse itself. I think it's best if you buy yourself a map of the island so you can navigate around and see all the bicycle paths.
The lighthouse is not far from the village, just head towards the beach and you'll find it. The bicycle path is a dead end, but it does end at the beach, hahaha, so that's not a bad stop to make :-) It's only a slight detour from the main road to get here. The street name (photo 2) is appropriately called "Vuurtorenpad" which means "lighthouse path" :-)
The ferry crossing is a very enjoyable one and that alone is almost worth making this daytrip. It only takes 45 minutes to make the crossing from the mainland to Schiermonnikoog but the views are so nice and it is such a relaxing trip. You can sit inside, nice and cosy and warm and enjoy a cup of coffee and look through the windows enjoying the views.
But you can also go to the top deck, out in the open air, and enjoy the views from here. It's much colder out here, with the fresh sea breeze, but it is so much more enjoyable, hahaha, that's what I think anyway :-) Bring a nice thick sweater though, you might need it! Especially if you are travelling so early in the season like I did (early April). The sun is nice and warm already this time of year, but the winds are still quite cold.
scattered between the trees are seven crosses, old islanders told that 7 Swedish sailers lay buried here.
The official graveyard, Vredenburg, is some 500 metres away but these men are buried randomly as it seems. Very peaceful!
Since there are no cars allowed on the island (except for residents) the only way to get a round is by bicycle. We had a lovely day cycling around the island, its flat so you can go for miles. There are many places on the island where you can hire them.
I always bring home shells from beaches I visited.
Still haven't found something to do with them but back home they always bring back the happy feeling from being on the beach.
I have never seen such a huge beach. We began walking towards the water and decided we wouldn't have time when we were only about halfway there after 10 minutes walk.