Wide North Sea beaches, the Wadden Sea, beautiful beach restaurants, fantastic sunsets and cycling through the dunes – I experienced many moments of happiness on the Dutch island of Ameland. In September 2021 I was there with a friend for three days. Here I reveal my best Ameland tips and favorite sights for a wonderful holiday in Holland.

Holiday on Ameland – at the Wadden Sea and the North Sea

There are five inhabited islands in the West Frisian Wadden Sea. After falling in love with Terschelling in autumn 2020, I now went to the neighboring island of Ameland.

Holland beach vacation

By the way: Friesland was number 3 in Lonely Planet’s “Best in Europe 2018”. And the Frisian Islands reached number 30 in the New York Times’ “52 places to go in 2019”.

From Holwerd on the mainland our fast ferry only took 20 minutes to the island.

Hollum on AmelandIt is 27 kilometers long and up to four kilometers wide. Around 3,700 people live in the four villages, the main town is Nes. The beautiful houses in the picture can be found in Hollum.

With the ferry to Ameland

Lighthouse AmelandFrom where we live in Mönchengladbach (NRW) we went to Holwerd, around 320 kilometers away.

My friend Martina from the blog “Dogs travel more” picked me up. Our dogs Buddy and Raban spent the three days with our men.

When we arrived, we parked the car in parking lot P1 (parking fee per day: 6 euros). If this is full, you can take the more distant P2. From there, a bus will take you to the ferry terminal.

The fast ferry from “Wagenborg Passenger Services” took us across in no time. The other ferry takes 50 minutes. I love boat trips and would probably take the slower ferry on my next trip to Ameland. So you can arrive completely decelerated.

We traveled sustainably on the island. After leaving the car on the mainland, we hired e-bikes locally. With these we could drive through the dunes. Also, we went on an eco-safari with very quiet electric vehicles that do not disturb animals.

Sustainable on the go: rent an e-bike on the island

Netherlands cyclingOn the island we walked past sailing boats to the Kiewiet bike rental (Oude Steiger 1).

There we received our e-bikes with a short briefing. As we rode all over the island in the coming days, the additional drive provided by the e-bike was very welcome.

We left our suitcases at the Fietsverhuur. You were taken to our hotel and picked up again at the end of the trip.

By bike through the dunes and to the sea

Bike path in the dunesCycling on Ameland is a real dream! There are over ninety kilometers of cycle paths, separated from road traffic.

For example, we went to the red and white striped lighthouse, to the North Sea beaches or to the Wadden Sea. For me the perfect way to discover the island!

It’s not car-free, so cars keep coming by. But we saw many more other cyclists.

Autumn holiday with warm weather

House with thatched roofWe also had great weather: over 20 degrees, blue skies and mostly sunshine. We cycled past houses with thatched roofs, high dunes, fragrant pine trees, saw birds, butterflies and sheep.

By the way, the layered look has proven itself on our bike tours. I mostly wore a t-shirt. When it got cooler in the evening, I pulled my fleece jacket over it.

I had my camera and smartphone with me in my backpack.

Hotel Zee van Tijd (Nes) with delicious breakfast

Hotel NesOur Hotel Zee van Tijd (Rixt van Doniastraat 18) was a great starting point. It was centrally located in Nes, surrounded by nice little shops.

It is 1.7 kilometers to the beach, 7 minutes’ walk to Natuurcentrum Ameland and 10 kilometers to the lighthouse.

I really liked the stylish design: minimalist, with selected highlights. I slept soundly in the king-size bed.

And what I find particularly nice as a dog mum: pets are allowed by arrangement, there is a separate room for them.

We ate our breakfast on the terrace in the morning when the sun was shining. I really liked my vegan breakfast which you can order extra. There was fluffy bread and baguette with jam, blueberry yoghurt, melon and freshly squeezed orange juice.

If you feel like having a breakfast buffet, go to the WestCord Hotel Noordsee (Strandweg 42, Nes) like we did. There I also got my beloved latte with oat milk.

Endless North Sea beach

Holland vacation by the seaMy absolute highlight on Ameland is the beach. It stretches over 29 kilometers, is wide and has fine, white sand. Ameland Beach was voted the cleanest beach in the Netherlands.

The lifeguards look after the four beach pavilions from June to mid-September. At the ones in Nes and Hollum you can rent beach chairs and wind screens.

By the way, dogs are largely allowed to run freely on the beach. However, this is not allowed on the bathing beaches and in the dunes, where they must be leashed.

Dream beach at Nes

Beach vacation HollandI particularly liked a beach near Nes. You can reach it by taking the Westerpad.

We parked our bikes there, then walked up the dune and looked down over the beach from above. It was almost completely deserted.

Beautiful for long walks on the beach, looking for shells or sunbathing.

You have to experience sunrise and sunset!

Sunrise on AmelandSome of my most beautiful experiences on the island were sunrise and sunset. The sun bathed the beach in orange light while the sea roared and the seagulls called overhead.

I’m not an early riser at all, but I was happy to make an exception for that. Still a bit sleepy we drove to the beach in Nes, after that we had breakfast with lots of coffee to wake up to.

Beach Pavilions with Sea Views

Beach Pavilion AmelandWe visited three of the four beach pavilions on Ameland. All the interiors were nicely decorated, however we sat outside. We enjoyed coffee and cake or cocktails with a sea view.

I’m vegan, Martina omnivore. Beach pavilions and restaurants often featured vegan options on the menu. Otherwise, I had a vegetarian dish veganized, e.g. B. by omitting the cheese.

1) Beach restaurant Sjoerd, Nes

Sjoerd (Strandweg 70) is a popular, large beach restaurant. In 2019 it was voted the best beach pavilion on the Wadden Islands.

It has two levels: downstairs you can get cool drinks at the beach bar. And sit down in the deckchairs with your feet in the fine sand. Or would you rather relax in one of the hammocks?

We sat upstairs, had a great view and a cute dog as a neighbor. A pane of glass protects against a too fresh breeze in cooler weather.

The menu included a falafel wrap with hummus, Thai curry and Beyond Burger.

2) Strandpaviljoen Ballum

I also really liked this beach pavilion (Strandweg 24). Because there are vegetarian and vegan dishes here, e.g. B. Hummus, a Tosti or Bitterballen. I ordered an all plant based brownie and iced coffee with oat milk.

The atmosphere was relaxed and cordial, we felt completely at ease. Again, we saw dogs that were there with us.

3) The Sunset Beach Club, Hollum

At this beach club (Oranjeweg 61) we watched the sun go down from the beach. After the sunset we sat outside and had a cocktail. At the inner seats there were small table fires, which seemed very cozy.

There were a few vegan and vegetarian dishes on the menu. Thai salad and curry, Lebanese wrap or oriental stir-fried vegetables were purely plant-based.

The lighthouse of Ameland

Ameland LighthouseWe spent most of the time in the village of Hollum. The most beautiful way to get there from Nes led parallel to the North Sea through the dunes. Great for cycling!

We stopped at the lighthouse (Oranjeweg 57), which was visible from afar. It was built in 1880, has red and white stripes and is 55 meters high.

You can take the stairs up, then you have a magnificent view of the island. The lighthouse is quite rightly one of the most popular destinations on the island.

Watt hike through the World Natural Heritage

mudflat hikeWith Harmen Wijnberg we visited the Wadden Sea near Hollum. Did you know that it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage?

Harmen told us during the 1.5-hour mudflat excursion that he came here with his father when he was a child to look for something to eat. “It wasn’t so much about saving money as it was about the adventure,” he said.

try samphireI tried samphire – also known by names such as sea asparagus, sea fennel or sea beans. It blooms from June to September and reminded me a little of Erika in appearance.

It tasted salty and crunchy. According to Harmen, it goes great with pasta with tomato sauce and (soy) mince. I have to try that!

Our guide told us a lot of interesting things. For example, he gave us B. a tip for sudden fog. Then the wind, direction of the seaweed and wave patterns in the sand all point back to the beach.

Or that lugworms absorb sand, filter out what is nutritious and excrete the sand again. This creates the characteristic traces.

And cockles bury themselves in again once they’re flushed out of the ground.

Definitely wear rubber boots on the tour, otherwise you will get your feet wet. Unfortunately, you cannot walk barefoot because of sharp-edged stones and shells.

I really enjoyed walking through the mud flats while the water glistened and birds chirped all around us. Spoonbills with their long beaks or the black and white oystercatchers live here. In total, more than 50 bird species breed on the island.

Eco safari into nature

Eco Safari AmelandA nice way to see more of the island besides cycling and exploring the mudflats was the Kooiduinen eco-safari . The tour started at 10 a.m. and lasted around 1.5 hours.

From the Natuurcentrum Ameland (Strandweg 38, Nes) we traveled in two electric vehicles. One was steered by our guide Valentin, the other by a Dutch participant. Martina and I sat in the back seat with her and her companion.

As quiet as a whisper, we passed the Nes windmill, a stork’s nest and sunflowers. To the green fields where horses or cows grazed. We drove to the dike and looked around there. Then we went to the dunes on the other side of the island.

Valentin Pöchmüller is an Austrian who has lived on the island for 5 years. Through our headphones he explained everything first in Dutch and then in German – lively, interesting and detailed. With the binoculars, we were also able to zoom in on things that were far away.

rosehipsWe stopped at the “Bureblinkert”, one of the highest dunes on the islands. Valentin told us that sea buckthorn, rose hips and cranberries grow on the island. And 150 to 200 deer are at home here.

Tour: Forest, Beach and Lighthouse by Night

night tour

This two-hour tour from the Natuurcentrum Ameland was also a really nice experience . Valentin was our guide again, Martina and I met him at dusk at the lighthouse. From there we walked through the forest and over the dunes to the North Sea beach.

We learned that the forests were planted around the villages at that time. Because the conifers protect against the wind, which brings a lot of salt and sand.

Sunset tourThen from the beach and dunes we watched the sky change color as the sun went down.

It gets really dark on Ameland at night because there are very few light sources. You can see the stars twinkle above you.

It was a great experience for me to feel nature intensively on this tour. Due to the lack of light, I heard the sound of the waves louder and the crickets chirping in the dunes. I felt the wind and smelled the sea breeze.

Lighthouse Ameland at nightThe lighthouse shone in the night, it could be seen from afar.

When we got back there, of course, we also had to experience the view from above. 236 steps spiraled up. The climb is worth it! For example, we saw the lighthouse on the neighboring island of Terschelling.

Swartwoude Museum in Buren

Museum SwartwoudeWe visited the agricultural and beach collectors’ museum “Swartwoude” (Hoofdweg 1).

In times past, most farmers also fished, hunted and worked as beach gatherers. That is why the museum consists of two parts.

Life around 1900 is remembered in the farm. For example, we saw a peasant couple sitting in their living room.

In the beach collector museum we looked at what was washed up on the beach over time. Among them were e.g. E.g. amber, vases and message in a bottle. The Podolski figures of the well-known footballer were funny.

Good restaurants on Ameland

go veganYou want to go out to eat after visiting the beach or excursions? And looking for good restaurants for lunch or dinner? I have a few tips for that too.

1) Eeterij Tante A’n, Hollum

At the nice restaurant (Oranjeweg 1) we sat down outside, in one of the places in the small alley. Here I ate very tasty vegan spaghetti made from zucchini with pesto, tomato salsa, soybeans, dried tomatoes, pistachios and spinach salad.

2) De Griffel, Hollum

This restaurant (Burenlaan 41) is located in a former school. It is on a street with pretty houses.

Inside, you are greeted by a blackboard that says: “Welcome to the most beautiful school in the Netherlands!”. Below that are arithmetic problems that you can solve using the slide rule.

However, given the great weather, we sat outside. I took the “Studiebol”: tagliatelle with pumpkin pesto sauce, cashew nuts, basil and various vegetables.

3) Neighbors Restaurant, Buren


I really liked the Neighbors (Strandweg 65B) because of the furnishings. Since the sun was shining again, we sat outside under one of the umbrellas. I ate the very good vegan burger with fries.

My conclusion

Our holiday on Ameland was just what I liked: exploring the island by bike at my own pace, driving to my favorite beach at sunrise or visiting the beach pavilions in the afternoon and evening. The three tours were also great as we learned more about Ameland. In the museum, what I found particularly exciting was what the beach collectors discovered. And in the restaurants we ate very well and relaxed before we stayed in the cozy hotel. Since we saw a lot of people with dogs, I can well imagine going on holiday here with a dog.