Schiermonnikoog: What to do on this beautiful Dutch Frisian or Wadden Island? There are plenty of things to do on Schiermonnikoog. This island is located in the North of The Netherlands. It’s completely understandable that you want to visit this island as its gorgeous and has a very relaxed atmosphere. That’s why here you will find a perfect itinerary to the things to do when spending one day on the Schiermonnikoog island, with plenty of other tips to extend your 24 hours in Schiermonnikoog to a full weekend.
Schiermonnikoog island: What to do and see in 24 hours or a weekend
General information about Schiermonnikoog
The name of Schiermonnikoog comes from the monks who lived on the island during the Middle Ages. The monks of Schiermonnikoog built dikes around the island for agricultural purposes while wearing grey cowls. Schier means grey and oog meant island. Schiermonnikoog means literally the island of the grey monks. But the current islanders also call Schiermonnikoog Lythe Pole, which means small island, or Schier.
On the Wadden Islands, or Dutch West Frisian Islands, there is less rain and more sunshine than in the rest of The Netherlands. The island of Schiermonnikoog is 199 square kilometer and only has one village called Schiermonnikoog. There are around 950 permanent inhabitants, which gives the island a very special atmosphere.
A fun fact of the Wadden Island of Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands, is the streets in the one villages were built from West to East. This way the wind had less influence on the village as opposed to the rest of the island. Another thing to know about this Dutch West Frisian island is that the island of Schiermonnikoog got voted the title of most beautiful place of The Netherlands by the Dutch population during a national tv show. I cannot disagree with them. The island is basically one, big national park and the beaches are some of the widest of Europe.
How to get to the Dutch Frisian Island of Schiermonnikoog
The island of Schiermonnikoog doesn’t allow cars from outsiders on the island. So if you want to visit Schiermonnikoog you’d have to leave your car (if you have one) behind. The permanent inhabitants are allowed to use their car on the island. If you’re wondering how you’re supposed to get around Schiermonnikoog island, there are bike rentals, busses and some taxis.
From Groningen to Schiermonnikoog, it’s best if you have a look at the website called 9292.nl. This will make it easy for you which route suits your timetable best. You have to get to the town of Lauwersoog. From Lauwersoog the ferries to Schiermonnikoog depart.
For more information on the ferries to Schiermonnikoog, including the timetables and tickets I can recommend you to click here.
The Wadden Islands are suffering after a very big cargo ship from MSC lost more than 345 containers during a storm on the World Unesco Heritage Site the Wadden Sea. Trash in the forms of very small plastics and big parts were washing up onto the shores of the Wadden Islands and the provinces of Friesland and Groningen in a bizarre amount. A big part of the containers are now on the bottom of the Wadden Sea and they are ticking time bombs. Because they will open up eventually.
There are even some toxics that were in some containers that fell into the sea. Some of the plastic parts are so small that they can barely be seen by the eye, so we are all hoping the animals won’t suffer as much as we think they will.
Whenever you find a piece of material such as plastic or styrofoam pick it up, UNLESS it’s a big white bag with a red warning symbol or batteries. Then you’ve found a bag with the toxic called benzoyl peroxide. Stay away from that and call the police or lifeguards immediately.
The biggest pieces have been cleaned up. People volunteered in an immense amount, the military got involved and the islanders all came together which was heartwarming to see. But please, keep your trash with you and when you see trash pick it up as well. We all can make this world better together. Trash doesn’t belong in our nature. So let’s keep it out of here. The worst part of this big disaster is that there are so many containers of the bottom of the sea floor and that they will be taken up North, to the North Pole area with the currents. This is a massive ecological disaster for the already very fragile ecosystem of the North Pole.
Local fishermen also pay the price. In the provinces of Friesland and Groningen they were catching big objects from the containers that completely destroyed their thousands of euros nets.
Best hotels of Schiermonnikoog
When you want to spend the night on Schiermonnikoog, you can discover the best hotels, B&B’s and more here.
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Best breakfast in Schiermonnikoog
Usually you have breakfast at your hotel. But if you arrived in the morning at Schiermonnikoog and are looking for breakfast I would recommend you to buy fresh bread from the bakery Schuthof, that is located at Middenstreek 12. As soon as you have your bread, you can go to the supermarket Spar to get the rest of your products.
Visit the national park of Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands
Schiermonnikoog is a very special Frisian island, mainly because it’s almost completely one of the best national parks of The Netherlands. The entire island of Schiermonnikoog is a national park, except for the one village on Schiermonnikoog, the area North of the village and the Banckspolder. It’s a national park since 1989 and a Unesco World Heritage Site in The Netherlands since 2009. The Schiermonnikoog National Park is 5400 hectares.
So no matter where you are walking or cycling to, your mind will be blown away by the natural beauty in this part of The Netherlands. But a beautiful area to walk in on Schiermonnikoog is de Kobbeduinen that can be found on the Eastern part of the Wadden Island. There are several walking paths that you can follow, which will bring you through dunes and marshes in the direction of the beach.
Another great place to visit in the nature reserves on Schiermonnikoog is the vogelkijkhut (bird watching hut) on the Westerplas. On the edge of the mudflat , next to the cycle path, you can find a watching hut that continues over the water. The birds come very close, so it’s a perfect way to watch them.
Things and rules to keep in mind when visiting national park Schiermonnikoog
- Keep in mind that there are in general no marked paths, unless it’s breeding season, but it’s very easy to choose directions.
- Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that you are not allowed to enter several areas during the breeding season. The breeding season on Schiermonnikoog is between the 15th of April and the 15th of July. The areas that you are not allowed to enter are the following:
- The area between the Prins Bernardweg and Kobbeduinen can only be visited on the paths that are marked with white poles
- Area of Westerplas
- The dunes and marsh area East of the Prins Bernardweg, and North and East of the Kooiweg, is completely closed off during breeding season
- The beach area from Paal 10 until the most Eastern point of the national park is completely closed off, unless you walk very close to the water
- The rest of the Eastern part of the national park is completely closed off
- The Oosterkwelder (Eastern marsh) is completely closed off, unless you go on an excursion with a guide from Natuurmonumenten (Dutch nature protection organisation)
- Always keep your distance to birds, seals and any other wildlife. If you’re bringing a dog, keep it on a leash at all times.
Take a walking tour with a local or do it yourself
Almost every Wednesday at 14:00 there’s a walking tour through the village of Schiermonnikoog. You will discover fun facts, the history and the special monuments. You can get tickets for the walking tour of Schiermonnikoog at the local tourist office, called VVV. Then you’d have to place this must do in Schiermonnikoog a bit later on this itinerary.
If you’re not here on a Wednesday, or am not interested in a tour, then I can recommend you to see the following things in Schiermonnikoog:
- The oldest house of Schiermonnikoog is Huis Marten and can be found at Middenstreek 60. It was built-in 1721
- The most beautiful streets of Schiermonnikoog are Middenstreek and Langestreek.
- Discover the other streets in the village and have a look at them. You will see that the houses are all build parallel in the Eastern and Western direction, this way the wind won’t blow as hard in the village as on the rest of the islands
- Got Tjark Church in the centre of the village dates back to 1866
- Whale jaw: You can find the bottom part of a jaw from a blue whale in the centre of the village. It’s 32 meters long and weighs around 1500 kilo. It was taken from the arctic in 1950.
- In the Willemshof you can find a statue of a monk, which refers to the monks that made a big impact on the island
- As of right now there’s a small monastery on the island of Schiermonnikoog, but they are not opened up for visitors or guests yet. You can find more information here.
Eat the best lunch of Schiermonnikoog
Get the best sandwiches, fresh nuts and other local products at Vrouwe Jakoba. This freshly prepared food is very tasty and it’s great when the weather on Schiermonnikoog is great. This way you can grab some food here and go for a picnic on the beach or in the dunes when you’re further exploring the island.
Visit the bunker museum of Schiermonnikoog
There are quite a few bunkers from the Second World War left on Schiermonnikoog. The bunkermuseum Schlei can be found when you follow the cycle path Scheepstrapad. It’s on the end of the Prins Bernhardweg, left of beachclub Marlijn. During the Second World War this bunker was actually a German communication centre and is turned into a museum about the history of the war on Schiermonnikoog.
This museum on Schiermonnikoog is opened on Sunday in the afternoon from 13:00 – 16:00 during the entire year. From the spring holiday of The Netherlands (dates differ) until the Christmas holidays (dates differ) it’s also opened on Wednesday afternoon from 13:00 – 16:00.
Cycle and walk along the island of Schiermonnikoog
Cycling and walking in Schiermonnikoog is the perfect way to explore the island. You can rent bicycles in Schiermonnikoog when you arrive on the island by ferry, but you can also reserve them. At Fietsenverhuur Schierfiets you have to reserve bikes during the low season, during high season you can reserve them or rent them when you arrive. Another great place to rent bikes is Fietsenverhuur Schiermonnikoog. You can expect to pay between around 6 euros and 15 euros for hiring a rental bike for a full day, depending on the kind of bike you are renting.
You can buy cycling or walking routes by the local tourist information or you can follow this route, or make your own.
When you pass the bunkermuseum you find yourself cycling further into the dune area and you will see another bunker, called Bunker Wassermann. This is also the highest point of Schiermonnikoog, so you’ll have a beautiful view of the island and the Wadden Sea. Bunker Wassermann was a part of the Atlantikwal and was made to be a surveilance bunker. From the bunker there’s a small path that will lead you to a cemetery called Vredenhof for victims of the war and drowned persons.
Then you will cycle out of the dune area and into the marshes. This kind of spectacular landscape is very rare in The Netherlands. Salt and sweet water is combined here which results in rare vegetation and you will see thousands of birds are breeding and eating their way around the island. Continue cycling to Kaap Kobbeduinen and enjoy this area. I would even recommend you to park your bike somewhere and to just enjoy the area while walking.
After that, you start cycling back to the ‘civilized’ part of the island. You will go from the Western part of the island to the Eastern part and have a look at the working lighthouse of Schiermonnikoog, called de Noordertoren. This red light house is one of the two lighthouses of Schiermonnikoog and is 37 meters high. The other light house is white, later turned into a water tower and as of now is a place for antennas. You cannot visit the lighthouses, but they’re a beautiful sight to see.
Then you will continue to De Bank van Banck. This is a bench that is located on the island. The reason for this bench is that the island was owned by John E. Banck from 1859 until 1878. He was the one who created a dyke to protect the island. And now, on his favourite spot on the island, there’s a stone bench called De Bank van Banck.
Go on an excursion with the Balgexpres on Schiermonnikoog
What else is there to do on Schiermonnikoog? Well, there’s this very cool excursion. This excursion takes you to the most Eastern part of the island that is normally not accessible. In closed of wagon that is placed behind a tractor you will go 15 kilometers to the area of the Balg. The best part of this excursion is that you will feel the immense mass of the beaches of Schiermonnikoog as well as get even a better understanding of how special the island is.
Go for dinner at one of the best restaurants of Schiermonnikoog
Duinzicht is a great restaurant on Schiermonnikoog and perfect for a nice dinner. What I mainly like about this restaurant is that their food is amazing and the atmosphere of the restaurant kind of feels like a typical Dutch brown cafe. I would recommend you to ask the waiters for the best local dishes, because when you’re on Schiermonnikoog you’d have to try the local Dutch food.
If you’re in a lazy mood, then I would recommend you to call or walk inside of the shop of Vrouwe Jakoba. This shop delivers food all over the island such as pastas, pizzas and more. You can walk into the shop during the day to order in advance or can order between 17:00 and 21:00. You can also get tapenades, fresh nuts, sandwiches and local products from the island in this shop during the day.
Van der Werff
This is one of the best and most authentic restaurants and hotels of Schiermonnikoog. I can assure you that’s it’s almost impossible to find such a great place with hospitality and great food somewhere else. Not to mention, it’s 80 euro cents for one coffee. The hotel and restaurant are very authentic, the food is wonderful and it’s not too expensive at all. I definitely recommend visiting Van der Werff at least once when you visit Schiermonnikoog.
Enjoy the widest beach of Europe in the evening
The beach of Schiermonnikoog is the widest or broadest beach of Europe, as well as the cleanest. As you walk over the beach it takes you surprisingly long to get to the Wadden Sea. Everywhere you look, you’ll see the beach. With only the Wadden Sea in the distance.
That makes this area perfect for a long, evening walk on the beach. Whether its autumn, spring, summer or winter on Schiermonnikoog, visiting the beach is always a great idea. Watch the sunset, see the boats on the sandbanks or look at the animals. It’s truly a relaxing and amazing thing to do on Schiermonnikoog. The widest beach of Schiermonnikoog can be found on the Eastern part of the island.
Other things to do on Schiermonnikoog
Go on an excursion to Engelsmanplaat
From the Wadden Island of Schiermonnikoog or from the town of Lauwersoog you can go on an excursion to the Engelsmanplaat. This is a sandbank between the Dutch Frisian Islands of Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. During the trip you will spot seals and more animals. The boat stops just before you arrive at the sandbank of Engelsmanplaat and then you can get off the boat and walk over the sandbank. Totally worth it and it’s such a unique place to visit in The Netherlands.
Cycle on the beach with a special bike
Are you more of the sporty type, than maybe cycling on the beaches of Schiermonnikoog is a perfect activity for you. You can rent a special bike that has extra thick tires so you can cycle on the sand. Not only is it a great way to be active, but it’s also very fun. Not to mention that it’s easier and faster to explore the beaches of Schiermonnikoog. For more information click here.
Fly with a kite
As Schiermonnikoog is an island, there’s almost always wind. This makes Schiermonnikoog the perfect location to fly a kite. And while that might sound boring to some, I can assure you it’s more fun than you will initially think it is. Go to Thijs’ Vliegerparadijs for workshops and kites. It’s opened daily from the 1st of April until the 31st of October.
Souvenirs and things to buy on Schiermonnikoog
One of the best shops to visit on Schiermonnikoog for local products and souvenirs is De Koffiekajuit. This shop sells great local products that are either from the island or region. Which means you won’t find much of these local products anywhere else in The Netherlands. Buy the wines from Schiermonnikoog, cookies, local bitters and plenty of more.
Another cute, little place is`t Peperhùsjen. This small candy store sells typical, and very tasty, old-fashioned Dutch candies which makes it very difficult to choose. And while the prices are a bit high at this shop, it’s completely worth it and it gives you a perfect Dutch and local souvenir. Keep in mind that you cannot pay by card, only by cash. The opening times are the following: Monday – Friday 14:00 – 16:30 and Saturday 11:00 – 12:30 & 13:30 – 16:30.
November walking month (wandelmaand)
As Schiermonnikoog is a beautiful island, it’s great to walk around the Wadden Island to explore the area. That’s why they made November a special walking month. There are a lot of fun walking routes and excursions, with or without a guide, that brings you to the most special parts of Schiermonnikoog. You can walk some of them yourself, but for the guided tours and excursions on Schiermonnikoog you’d have to bring a visit to the tourist information office of VVV.
One of the best things you can do when you’re in Friesland or on the Wadden Islands is mudflat walking. You will walk on the bottom of the Wadden Sea and experience the fragile and rare tidal system as well as learn about this ecosystem and why it’s so special. You can reserve an excursion at the VVV office or at the following link. The excursion of mudflat walking on Schiermonnikoog costs around 8 euros for an adult.
Visit galleries on Schiermonnikoog
There are many galleries and creatives places that you can visit on Schiermonnikoog. The island is actually known for its art scene. I can recommend you to visit Atelier Romy, Galerie Ogygia, Pottenbakkerij (pottery) Hjirre, Open Atelier KunstFaam, Stella van Acker and Atelier Schier.
I hope this article was useful for you. If you’re interested in seeing more of the Wadden Islands, then I can definitely recommend you to have a look at this itinerary for Ameland. The Dutch Frisian Islands are also the perfect place in The Netherlands for stargazing, have a look at great recommendations for seeing stars here.
If you’ve arrived to Schiermonnikoog from Groningen and are planning on spending a day or two in Groningen, then you will love this local itinerary for all the best things to do in Groningen. For something completely different, but still in the province Groningen and close to the city, you will love the best preserved fortress of The Netherlands named Bourtange.
To discover more of the next province of Friesland I can recommend you to look at the best Frisian cities and places to visit here. If you’re in The Netherlands during spring, then you’re hopefully in time for tulip season. So what better way to discover The Netherlands with the perfect one week spring road trip itinerary
If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them. Safe travels! Share this post!!