On the Wadden Island of Ameland, The Netherlands, there are plenty of things to do. It’s very easy to spend one full day, a weekend or even a week on Ameland.
Ameland is the Wadden Island that is located between Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog. There are four villages on the island of Ameland: Nes, Buren, Hollum and Ballum. Every village has their own character and is protected. Ameland is only 25 km long and has around 100 km of cycle paths. Offseason the island of Ameland has around 3500 inhabitants. But during high season, you will find plenty of more people who enjoy Ameland. No matter what season you arrive, Ameland is one of the places you have to visit in The Netherlands.
Ameland is the fourth inhabited island of the Wadden Islands in The Netherlands. While Ameland is part of the province of Friesland, Amelanders generally don’t feel Frisian. And they rarely speak Frisian as a language.
The island of Ameland mainly exists out of dunes. People first started living on the island of Ameland in the 8th century. But, the island was much bigger back then. The tides of the Unesco World Heritage Site the Wadden Sea have swept away a big part of the island. Old villages, such as Sier and Oerd have completely disappeared. By connecting the dunes with dykes, Ameland is the way it is today.
The Wadden island of Ameland is not big but has a lot of things to offer. Ameland has 27 kilometres of beaches, forests, meadows, swamps, heather, birds and plants. Of the 1400 plant species in The Netherlands, you will find around 500 here, on Ameland. Most of them can be found at the North side of the Wadden Island of Ameland.
On Ameland, you can find one of the longest and most beautiful sandy beaches of Europe. Whether you want to be alone, or not, there’s always space. The beach at Ballum is incredibly wide and has very white sand. The beaches also belong to the cleanest and safest beaches in the world. At the beaches of Ameland, there are four beach clubs that are open year-round, which is not usual for The Netherlands. Usually, they open from March until October.
Last updated 10th of June 2022
At Ameland, the weather is oftentimes very good. The sun shines a lot and on Ameland, there isn’t much rain compared to other parts of The Netherlands. There are plenty of things to do on Ameland, The Netherlands. From going on the most perfect walk on the beach to trying the regional food. And from enjoying the best view of Ameland to mud walking. It’s easy to spend one day on Ameland, a weekend on Ameland or even a week on Ameland.
From the Frisian city of Holwerd, it’s around 45- 60 minutes by ferry Ameland. You will arrive with the ferry at the village of Nes on the Frisian Wadden Island. The time changes because of the ever-changing tides in the Unesco World Heritage Site the Wadden Sea. Often you can spot seals from the ferry, so that’s a nice little preview of Ameland. The Wadden Sea has the world’s biggest contiguous mudflats, sandbars and islands and is part of the Unesco World Heritage list since 2009.
For the real Dutch island feeling, you have to visit Ameland. Visit the island of Ameland for a day, a weekend or even a week. There are plenty of things to do at Ameland so you won’t be bored anytime soon.
It’s very hard to get lost on Ameland as you will find directions everywhere. The Wadden island of Ameland has many things to do, activities to take part in and great restaurants to eat at. Here you will find an itinerary to spending one day in Ameland, The Netherlands. You will also find some of the best restaurants on Ameland, great hotels and accommodation options on Ameland and plenty of more.
Things to do on the Wadden Island of Ameland, The Netherlands
Best breakfast of Ameland
For a great breakfast you should head to the village of Ballum, The Netherlands.
At Hotel Nobel you can get some tasty breakfast, even though it is actually a hotel and a restaurant. Even if you don’t stay at Hotel Nobel you can go here to get breakfast between 08:00 and 10:30.
Rent a bike and explore the island of Ameland
As the ferry to Ameland arrives in the village of Nes, you can best rent your bikes in this village. There are plenty of options for renting bicycles in Nes and on Ameland. You can rent bikes in Ameland at fietsverhuur Ameland or you can head to Kiewiet Fietsverhuur.
Visit the villages of Ameland
What else is there to do on the Frisian Island of Ameland? As I’ve said before, Ameland has four villages that are all protected by law. You will arrive on the island in the village of Nes. This is also, in my opinion, the most lively and nicest village. The atmosphere of Nes is completely different than the other three remaining villages. A lot more relaxed and authentic. And ‘gezellig’. Nes is one of those picture-perfect villages. You can find most of the terraces and shops in Nes and Hollum.
The village of Hollum which is the biggest village of Ameland, with 1200 inhabitants. Hollum is also the most visited village of the island. Hollum, Ameland, is mainly known for its 55-metres high lighthouse. In the 17th and 18th century the centre of Hollum was called ‘on the dune’. It was the highest part of Hollum and it’s the location where houses were first built as they were protected from floods.
Ballum is the smallest village of Ameland and has around 350 inhabitants. That’s the same amount of the village where I’m from so it felt like home. In Ballum you won’t find many shops, but there is a small airport at Ballum in Ameland. However, if you’re thinking that there are big airlines flying to Ameland, think again. You can take flights around the islands and even skydive from here.
The village of Buren is located in the middle of the island. Ballum, The Netherlands, is also the most Eastern village on Ameland, The Netherlands. Buren used to be what we call a ‘lintdorp’. This means that the houses were only built along the road or river, without any extra streets. The village was one street.
Every village on Ameland has nice terraces and shops so you can find everything you need in any of the four villages.
Discover the mustard mill in Hollum
In Hollum you can find a mustard mill, called De Verwachting. The current mill is located on the location of a previous mill. This windmill on Ameland has been rebuilt in 1988 and on several dates, you can see how they create Amelander mustard and flour. The workers in the mill often give demonstrations and explain how the products are made. You will also find a little shop in the mill where you can buy the most delicious local products that were freshly made in this windmill in Hollum, Ameland.
It is generally opened from the beginning of April until the end of October from Monday to Saturday from 10:00- 17:00. Then in November it depends, because then the event Kunstmaand Ameland takes place, but it’s definitely opened pretty often. Then from the beginning of December until the beginning of April the mill is opened from Tuesday until Saturday from 13:00- 17:00.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from 13:00- 17:00, you can witness millers grind grain. If you want to witness the mustard grinding in person (which I also recommend you do), then I would recommend you to have a look at their website and check the dates at ‘Mosterd malen’.
Adults: 3,50 euros
Kids until 12: 3 euros
9161 AW, Hollum
Get the best view of Ameland at the light house in Hollum
The next thing you should do on Ameland and in Hollum is visiting the lighthouse. This is the only lighthouse on Ameland. And from here you will have the best view of Ameland and the Unesco World Heritage Site the Wadden Sea.
The lighthouse is the symbol of Ameland and it takes you 236 stairs before you reach the dreamy view. As you get closer to the top of the lighthouse you will read information about lighthouses, until you reach the end of the stairs and will enjoy a beautiful panorama of Ameland.
Opening times lighthouse
The lighthouse of Ameland is open for visitors from the beginning of April until the end of October from Monday until Sunday from 10:00- 20:00. In November the opening times depend, due to the yearly month-long event called Kunstmaand Ameland. From the first of December until the beginning of April it is opened on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 13:00- 17:00.
Adults: 5,75 euros
Kids until 12: 4,25 euros
9161 CB Hollum
Eat the best pancakes of Ameland for lunch
For the best lunch, you’d have to descent and get your feet on the soil again. You can get the best pancakes of Ameland at a pancake restaurant near the lighthouse in Hollum. Pannenkoekenhuis Onder De Vuurtoren is located right below the lighthouse.
9161 CC Hollum
Visit the brewery of Ameland
Close to Ballum, you will find the beer brewery of Ameland. Not only can you do a tasting here of some incredible locally brewed beers on one of the Dutch islands, but you can also add some local snacks into the mix. And, on Thursday and Sunday at 13:00 you can get a tour of the new brewery (during high season these tours are on Thursday, Friday and Sunday) if you reserve a spot in advance. Also, when you’re trying out some beers, don’t forget to try their own brewed liqueur made with the most delicious cranberries from the island of Ameland itself.
9162 EC Ballum
Go mudflat walking to or on Ameland
Mudflat walking is a true highlight to your visit of The Netherlands. This is an adventurous activity in The Netherlands that you won’t find in many places in the world. ‘What is mudflat walking or hiking exactly?’, you might ask. Well, it is essentially walking on the bottom of one of the worlds largest tidal systems: the Wadden Sea. The Wadden Sea stretches from The Netherlands until Denmark and is a Unesco world heritage site, for good reasons.
And to explore the flora and fauna that this area has to offer, one of the things you need to do on Ameland is to go mudflat hiking. Now, you cannot go mudflat hiking in The Netherlands alone: this is forbidden and actually very, very dangerous. There are trenches and only certified guides know this tidal system and how to work around it, which is why only a few companies are allowed to give guided mudflat walking tours in The Netherlands. I can highly recommend you to go mudflat walking in Ameland via, for instance, Wadloopcentrum Pieterburen or Dijkstra Wadlooptochten (I listed another provider down below). Most of these tours start from the ferry at Holwerd.
Explore the nature reserve of Oerd and Hôn on Ameland
The nature reserve of Oerd and Hôn can be found in the Eastern part of Ameland and are internationally known for the high dunes with valleys and lakes. It’s easy to get to these nature reserves by bike. From the high dunes, it’s a breathtaking sight to the thousands of birds you will see during high tide. At the same time, you will have an incredible view of the North Sea and the Wadden Sea. This nature park on Ameland is a perfect spot to enjoy the view and nature.
Get on a boat and go on a look out for seals
One of the other things you have to do when you’re spending one day on Ameland is to go on a seal tour. You will go by boat from the harbour of Nes and spot seals. The seals are some of the funniest animals of The Netherlands. They are very curious and love sunbathing. There are a few companies that offer these seal tours, the price is around 15 euros. I would definitely recommend you to take one of these tours. Not to only look at the seals, but also to get a better idea of the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea and why this region is so special. Click this link for more information.
Buy regional Amelander drinks
Buy the Amelander Nobeltje and Amelander Commandeur at liquor store De Jong in Nes. These region products should be bought in Ameland as the best souvenirs. The Amelander Nobeltje is a herbal liqueur that originates from Ameland. Nowadays the Nobeltje is brewed in Schiedam, but the Ameland Commandeur is brewed on Ameland.
Rixt van Doniastraat 1
Eat dinner at one of the best restaurants of Ameland
At Ameland you will find plenty of great restaurants. There is no restaurant on Ameland that is terrible and the reason for that is because Ameland is a small island. And as we all know, news travels fast in small communities. If there was a terrible restaurant, it simply wouldn’t succeed on this beautiful Wadden Island of Ameland.
One of the best restaurants on Ameland is Proeflokaal Rixt. This restaurant on Ameland is one of my favourites with a good reason. Wonderful staff, great food and the most perfect atmosphere. There is no better place to get the final, big meal of the day than here.
Rixt van Doniastraat 6,
9163 GR Nes
Another great restaurant to get your dinner in Ameland is Restaurant Hotel Nobel, they use a lot of locally grown products in their meals.
Watch the sunset on the beaches of Ameland
Ameland is renowned for its beaches. You can find more than 27 kilometres of beaches on Ameland. And because the beaches in this part of The Netherlands are so long and wide, there is always a spot for you to enjoy a beautiful sunset. The sunset on Ameland must be watched from one of the many beaches. Whether you want to watch the sunset of Ameland on the beach, or from a beach club, you cannot go wrong with either of those choices.
The way the sun slowly gives the entire island a beautiful orange light. The way that nature calms down. The smiles and sighs of people who cannot understand that something so beautiful exists. And that it is free. We’re Dutch after all. Anyway, it’s the best way to finish one day exploring the Wadden Island of Ameland, The Netherlands.
Best accommodation on Ameland
If you’re looking for a hotel or B&B on the island of Ameland, look no more. Here you will find the best hotels and accommodation on Ameland, The Netherlands.
Hotel Dolores: check availability and prices
Antares-Ameland: check availability and prices
Hotel Nobel: check availability and prices
Sier aan Zee: check availability and prices
Pension Bakema: check availability and prices
Rose Cottage: check availability and prices
How to get to Ameland
There are a few different ways to get to Ameland. The first one is mud walking to Ameland, or as we call it, wadlopen. You will walk in a few hours from Holwerd to Ameland on the unique soil of the Dutch Wadden Sea. This area is well known for its tides and is a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2009. Walking from Holwerd to Ameland is not an easy task. If you are not active, I wouldn’t recommend doing this walk as you will have to walk through thigh-high water, through thick, slippery mud and much more. However, if you have a good stamina, go for it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Most tours include a return ticket on the ferry and luggage transfers. Click here for one of the mud walking providers.
The most common way to get to Ameland is by taking the ferry from Holwerd to Nes, Ameland. The ferry from Holwerd to Ameland takes around 45-minutes, but it can always happen that the ferries are delayed because of the tides. You often see seals sunbathing on your way to Ameland, so that’s a nice little welcome.
In the high season, you will see that the ferry is crowded on the weekends and during the holidays. Pedestrians go via another entrance on the ferry than people who bring their bicycles. Remember, it’s very easy to rent bicycles on Ameland.
Always use 9292.nl/en to plan your public transportation journeys within The Netherlands
From Amsterdam: To get from Amsterdam to Ameland you should take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Utrecht Centraal. From here take the train in the direction of Leeuwarden. Get out at Leeuwarden. Take bus 60 in the direction of Dokkum via Holwerd. Get out at Molenreed, Holwerd. From here it’s a few minutes to the ferry walking. This will take you around 3 hours and 15 minutes. That’s why I would definitely recommend you to spend the night on Ameland. This way you will be able to really explore Ameland.
From Utrecht: To get from Utrecht to Ameland you have to take the train from Utrecht Centraal in the direction of Leeuwarden. Get out at Leeuwarden. Take bus 60 in the direction of Dokkum via Holwerd. Get out at Molenreed, Holwerd. From here it’s a few minutes to the ferry walking. This will take you around 2,5 hours.
From Groningen: To get from Groningen to Ameland you have to take the train from station Groningen to Leeuwarden. From Leeuwarden you have to take bus 60 in the direction of Dokkum via Holwerd. Get out at Molenreed, Holwerd. From here it’s a few minutes to the ferry walking. This will take you around 1,5 hours.
From Leeuwarden: To get to Ameland from Leeuwarden there are many busses you can take. Have a look at 9292.nl for the current timetables. The bus ride from Leeuwarden to Holwerd shouldn’t take more than 50 minutes.
I hope this gave you the motivation to visit one of the beautiful Wadden Islands in The Netherlands. Now you know how much Ameland has to offer, there’s only one thing that you have to do next. Get your butt over here. It’ll be worth it. With Ameland having so many things to do, top restaurants to eat at and great hotels to stay in, it’s impossible to resist the magic. Click here for all my articles. For the best daytrips from Leeuwarden within Friesland, click here.