The Wadden Island of Ameland is the perfect place for outdoor activities. With its beautiful sand dunes and wide sandy beaches, it is the ideal place to get a breath of fresh air and some wind through your hair. No matter the season or weather type, at Ameland you will always be able to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest.
Outdoor activities at Ameland
At Ameland Adventure they know how to organise fun activities for young, and a little less young... With over 25 different activities, there is plenty to do all year round. For example, think of beach sailing (also known as blocarting), power kiting, surf rafting, lacrosse, beach golf, bubble football, kite buggying, beach volleyball and archery to name a few. And good to know: their cozy and laidback beach bar is the ideal place to take a break during, or after your activity while enjoying the view.
I've tried beach sailing myself, but because of the lack of wind I needed a little push... And afterwards (albeit for a short time) I was sailing across the beach! I would love to come back during winter when it's more windy, so I can experience it even better.
We've decided to leave our car on the mainland, because Ameland is very easy to explore by bike. And it is actually more fun to experience the elements while cycling through the dunes on narrow winding paths (where cars are not allowed by the way). There are approximately 100km (62 miles) of cycling tracks across the island, so there is enough to discover.
During a 2,5 hour boat tour with 'Expedition Wadden Sea' you will sail over a beautiful piece of World Heritage in The Netherlands. The tour takes you along sandbanks where you can spot seals, enjoy sweeping views far as the eye can see, and learn a lot about marine life. It was a true pleasure to experience the enthusiasm of the crew, and to be enthralled by their stories and knowledge.
After adoring several sunbathing seals it was time to throw out the nets. It took only 15 minutes of sailing for the nets to be brought back in, so we could study the catch. Biologist Bernard showed us all the fish, crabs, shellfish, shrimp, starfish, seaweed and sea lettuce. He was able to tell us something unique and educational about every single little creature or plant. He handled them all very carefully, and after the tour they were (alive and kicking) released back into the sea.
During the tour you will get enough time to take in all the views while sitting or standing on the deck. Inside there is a cozy bar (the boat was constructed in 1928, and has a charming wooden interior) where you can order a drink or a little snack. For me, the experience of being on a boot, enjoying the outdoors and learning about what lives under the sea's surface was the highlight of our trip!
Don't forget to bring your hiking boots when visiting Ameland, because the island is perfect to discover on foot. In the shop of VVV Ameland in the town of Nes (or on their website) you will find maps of hiking trails. We had a lovely walk through the dunes and around the lighthouse.
The lighthouse, also known as 'Bornrif', stands 55 meters (180 ft) tall and was built in 1881. An absolute eye-catcher that you should not miss to visit.
Whizzing through the Ameland landscape in an electric buggy for 90 minutes was great fun! We truly enjoyed the 'EcoSafari beach pole 17' tour with an experienced guide who showed us divergent areas with different vegetation. Our guide knew a lot about the flora and fauna and explained some unique and medicinal properties of certain plants.
When we arrived at beach pole 17, we parked the buggy and walked to the top of the 'Bureblinkert', one of the tallest dunes on Ameland. From here you have a great view of the surrounding nature, and on clear days, you can easily see the mainland from up here.
Off course the dunes are all times of day beautiful to walk through, but for me sunset made it extra special. From the top of a dune you have a wonderful view over the island, the beach and the Wadden Sea. Experience how the brightness of the sunlight changes and how it softens the colours of your surroundings. For sure a very calming and relaxing way to end your day in the outdoors.
(Vegetarian) food and best coffee at Ameland
At Eetcafé De Boerderij Ballum you will be immersed in a cozy farm style atmosphere. For their lunch- and dinner menu they choose to use as many local products as possible, including some organic produce as well. We've enjoyed the creamy Amelander mustard soup and a tomato soup on their sunny outside terrace.
Located on the widest beach of Ameland, you will find Strandpaviljoen Ballum. From their outside terrace (but as well from inside) you will have a wonderful view over the dunes, beach and sea. Their lunch- and dinner menu contains several vegetarian/vegan options with some local products. We've had the tasty vegan avocado burger with delicious sweet potato fries.
In 2020, Strandpaviljoen Sjoerd was proclaimed the most sustainable beach pavilion of The Netherlands. For example, they have opted for solar panels, biodegradable packaging materials, LED lighting, local and seasonal products where possible, and a lot more. There are several options for vegetarians, like for example this delicious pizza and falafel wrap! A good place to sit back and relax while enjoying the wide view.
Restaurant StrAnders is known as the only seafood restaurant of Ameland. Since 2009 this is the place on the island to enjoy all kinds of fish, oysters, mussels, scallop, lobster and many types of crustaceans and shellfish. But there are also several options for meat lovers and vegetarians. Our dinner with vegan gyoza and vegetarian Yellow Curry of red lentils with aubergine, roasted vegetables and watercress was simply delicious! And besides the great food, the atmosphere here is really good too.
Without a doubt Amelander Koffiehuys en Branderij is the one and only place on Ameland for a good cup of specialty coffee. Their coffee beans are selected with great care and attention, and roasted on the spot in a lovely small-scale PROBAT roaster. Next to quality, owners Rudolf and Tia attach great importance to the fact that a fair price is paid to the coffee farmers. As it's because of their hard work and dedication that we can enjoy our beloved cup of coffee every single day. In my opinion, a must visit when you are in the town of Nes!
Hotel at Ameland
We have stayed in a comfortable, clean and spacious room with private balcony at Hotel Nes. The hotel is conveniently located nearby the beach and the cozy town of Nes, both are just a couple of minutes away by bike or on foot. In the morning, an extensive breakfast buffet is waiting for you from 8 a.m. so you are well prepared to start your day in the outdoors of Ameland.
How to get there and around at Ameland
Two types of ferries of Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten will take you to and from the island of Ameland. One is the regular Ferry which takes passengers and vehicles from Holwerd within 50 minutes to Ameland, and the other is the Fast Ferry which takes only passengers within 20 minutes to the island.
Good to know: a ticket for the ferry service is always a return ticket. For example, when you book a ticket for the Fast Ferry on your way to Ameland, a return ticket for the regular Ferry is included. If you want the Fast Ferry again on the way back to the mainland, you should pay a surcharge.
And on board of the Fast Ferries only hand luggage is allowed (similar as on an airplane). So if you want to bring bicycles and larger pieces of luggage, you should take the regular Ferry.
One of the first buildings you will see after getting off the boat is Bike rental Kiewiet. So it's very convenient to immediately hop on an electric bike or e-chopper after your arrival, and to start your journey from here. And don't worry about your luggage, free luggage transport to your hotel is included in the rental price. For those who are travelling with children there are additional accessories for rent, like for example child seats, kidcars (which will be attached behind your bike) and 'bolderwagens' (handcarts).
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