Nestled behind a row of dunes on the west coast of Texel, De Koog is a former fishing village that is now the island’s main seaside resort. In addition to its long stretch of sand, it’s home to an engaging museum about the Wadden Sea and an eclectic collection of beach-combed findings.
Things to do in De Koog
Sprawling to the north and south of De Koog is Duinen van Texel National Park, a dune-dominated landscape traversed by hiking and cycling trails. Join a guided birdwatching tour to spot greylag geese, starlings and meadow pipits while keeping your eyes peeled for common and grey seals along the coastline. Porpoises are also regularly spotted in the waters of the North Sea.
Serving as a visitors’ centre for the national park is Ecomare, which originated as a sanctuary for injured seals. It has since evolved into an aquarium, bird sanctuary and nature museum, with exhibits about the fauna and flora of the Wadden Sea. Designed by Karres en Brands, Ecomare’s outdoor terrain includes life-size models of whales and seal basins where daily feedings take place.
One of De Koog’s most unique attractions is the Shipwreck and Beachcombing Museum where decades’ worth of flotsam and jetsam is exhibited. Everything from life buoys to old ropes and broken naval equipment is on display, together with an entire captain’s cabin. Stay to watch the films detailing Texel’s history of shipwrecks or listen in to one of the museum operators telling sailor yarns.
Getting around De Koog
Regular ferries connect to Texel from Den Helder, from where it’s just over an hour by train to Amsterdam. Public buses travel around the island and stop in De Koog or you can rent a bicycle to get around. The centre of De Koog is compact enough to explore on foot.