What is there to do in West-Terschelling

West-Terschelling is the largest village on this Wadden island of the same name and is recognisable bythe striking lighthouse that stands out above everything else.

The harbour where time seems to have stood still is full of authentic sailing ships of all sizes and the many shrimp fishermen give West-Terschelling a special atmosphere. You can stroll along the harbour or watch the tides take possession of the bay from one of the cosy terraces.

The Groene strand [Green beach] at West-Terschelling

One of the widest beaches on the island can be found at West-Terschelling. Here you can see the many ships sailing in from the Wadden Sea or falling dry on the beach. On a clear day you can even see the island of Vlieland in the distance.

If you have seen the hustle and bustle of this village, it is not far before you only imagine yourself surrounded by birds and nature. From this village you can be in the vast dunes in no time and make the most beautiful cycling or walking tours.

The notorious history of West-Terschelling

No matter how cosy, fun and even innocent, the centre of West-Terschelling is, this place has a fierce history. Not only did it take a long time before the lighthouse, as we know it today, finally stopped falling over after several attempts.

West’, as the village is popularly called, was also the scene of a heated battle during the Second English War in the 17th century.

Holmes’ bonfire or the English Furie

In a warm August night in 1666, in the middle of the second English war, an English fleet led byrear admiral Robert Holmes sailed into the sea between Vlieland and Terschelling.

They attacked more than 150 merchant ships moored there and stolen millions of Dutch guilders. Then they also invaded the village of West-Terschelling because it was on the route. Everything went up in flames.

Nearly all the houses in the village were reduced to ashes and many residents lost their lives. Miraculously, the brand-new church, which had just been built, and the Brandaris remained unharmed.

What is there to do in West-Terschelling

No matter how you visit Terschelling, your stay always starts in West-Terschelling. Here is the dock of the ferry arriving from the port of Harlingen. If you’re here during a sailing holiday you get off board in front of the village, where special piers have been laid out for traditional sailing ships.

If you would like to discover West-Terschelling for yourself before you travel further across the island, the following are some of the nicest things to do on this side of the island.

1. The Bunker Museum

The Bunker museum consists of 4 bunkers left over from the Second World War. In total there were 85 bunkers, as part of the Atlantic Wall. This was a prestigious defence plan by the German army which had to defend the coast all the way from Denmark to Spain against an invasion from the sea.

The plan was never completed. But in the meantime you can still take a look at the impressive bunkers that were already finished on Terschelling.

2. Centre for Nature and Landscape

This may sound very boring to some people’s ears. But in the centre for nature and landscape you will not only learn everything about the special nature areas and the effect of the tides on the island and the Wadden area.

The sea aquarium is also part of this museum. So if biology really doesn’t interest you, you can always pet rays in the aquarium.

3. Outdoor activities on the beach

If you need some more outdoor action, it is best to contact the people of Mooiweer Terschelling. Here you can book spectacular yet accessible activities on the Beach of West Terschelling.

From wad kayaking to off road driving on the beach in a 4×4 jeep. It’s all possible and not only for a bachelor party, but also for the best company outings.

Eating and Drinking on West Terschelling

Of course you don’t have to look long for cosy pubs and tasty restaurants in West Terschelling. We would like to share a few of our personal favourites.

Cafe ‘t Zwaantje

The smallest cafe at stumbling distance from the harbour iscafe ‘t Zwaantje. Here you can taste the cozy atmosphere where the locals also like to come. Enjoy a locally brewed beer and a snack on the terrace. Or let yourself be wiped out at the end of a pub crawl.

Check the website for opening hours, specials, and events.

Grand café Het Raadhuis

Less than 50 metres from the harbour you will find this former town hall, the cosy Grand Café in the middle of the village of West-Terschelling. Here you can enjoy a nice glass of wine by the fireplace or a multi-course dinner with your whole group of friends. Everything is possible, from breakfast, lunch to dinner and always in a beautiful classic setting.

Beach pavilion the Walvis

Not far from the ferry terminal is the beach pavilion ‘de Walvis‘ which is open all year round overlooking the wide beach. Scraped against the dunes, you can enjoy the salty air and majestic views in the wind or behind glass. The menu offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and everything in between. Dogs are also welcome here and children can have fun in front of the door.

Fotocredit Marleen Zorgdrager


How to get to West-Terschelling

From Harlingen harbour the ferry to West-Terschelling goes several times a day. Terschelling is also easy to reach from Vlieland.

Visit West-Terschelling and the other Wadden Islands with an authentic sailing ship during a day- or multi-day sailing trip on the Wadden Sea.

For more information please visit our homepage or contact us.