We are looking forward to a few days of complete relaxation among dunes, sea, woods, lakes, avocets and harriers. To stroll around, get a breath of fresh air, discover terraces and enjoy the beaches, but also to dive into the whale and beachcomber's past. So on to Ameland, one of the purest Wadden Islands.
We leave the car at the car park in Holwerd, so we walk to the ferry. The island of Ameland is one of the youngest in the Netherlands and has its own culture and dialect. The local dialect is still widely spoken among the Ameland people. After a crossing of about 50 minutes, we step onto the island. Bicycles have been reserved in advance and are ready and waiting for us when we step ashore, we leave our luggage behind and it is brought to the hotel by the bicycle rental company. As we cycle leisurely from Nes towards Ballum, we immediately feel relaxed and in holiday mode. Here, nothing is compulsory but everything is possible, so this will be a weekend of enjoyment.
"Hotel Nobel, the hotel on Ameland for the epicurean". Of course, we would like to experience this ourselves, so we book a room there. At the reception, there is a cosy atmosphere and we receive a very warm welcome. Ameland Hotel has 19 rooms, a restaurant and a café. We chose to stay in one of the hotel's luxurious lofts.
What a lovely place and so tastefully decorated. Our loft has a living room with kitchen. A bedroom on the mezzanine, with a hanging net where you can relax with a book. A fantastic bathroom with freestanding bath and double shower. The kitchen is equipped with a Jura coffee machine (and real Illy coffee beans), dishwasher and the basic necessities for cooking and eating. The lofts are completely self-sufficient, but if you want to pamper yourself to the max, you can make use of the housekeeping and breakfast in the hotel. The perfect combination of a self-sufficient stay with the service, luxury and cosiness of a hotel.
Ever slept in a church and wanted to immerse yourself in luxury? At Nobel it is possible! The former church opposite the hotel has been converted into two incredibly beautiful church suites for 6 people. Both suites can also be rented for groups of 12 people. Although the church has been completely renovated and rebuilt on the inside, the existing façade has remained intact. This is why the church still has its authentic character.
Because of the hotel's location in the middle of the island in the small quiet village of Ballum, it is a perfect base. By bike, car or bus you can go anywhere. The beach is just around the corner and there are beautiful cycling and walking routes. Don't feel like thinking about what you want to do yourself? Then use the hotel's concierge service to put together a varied programme.
What to do on Ameland? Enough and actually too much to mention!
Ameland is the fourth inhabited Dutch Wadden Sea island and belongs to the province of Friesland. The island consists mainly of sand dunes. People already lived here in the 8th century, although the island was much larger then. The sea swept away whole sections, and old villages such as Sier and Oerd disappeared completely. By reinforcing and connecting the dikes, the present-day Ameland was able to continue to exist. The well-organised Ameland has four villages: Hollum, Ballum, Nes and Buren, and about 25 kilometres of beach. You can go cycling, walking, enjoy nature and there is a very wide choice of terraces and fine places to eat.
Whether you like birds or not, in nature reserve The Oerd and the Hôn You really cannot miss it. Especially in autumn, tens of thousands of birds, such as oystercatchers, black-tailed godwits, curlews, redshanks and dunlins are present. In the spring, thousands of brent geese migrate over. They pass by East Ameland on their way to their breeding grounds in the Polar region. With so much natural beauty and a beach that is 27 kilometres long, it should come as no surprise that Ameland is also a very nice island to visit. hiking. There are marked walking routes for every level of ability, or you can map out your own route using a walking map. Walking route 't Oerd is the perfect walk if you really enjoy peace and quiet. It takes you away from civilisation into the tidal area of the island. We enjoyed it!
A Noble Drinking belongs to your visit to the island. Ameland's best-kept secret is a sweet and powerful liqueur that great-grandfather Nobel brewed himself. We are fans! Drink your first Nobel while waiting for the boat, plop down on the terrace of Hotel Nobel or step inside Nobel Café and enjoy this liqueur. Or two, three, four. Café Nobel is a household name. When you enter the café you immediately feel it. This is the coziest café of Ameland. A nice place where we will stay for the time being. Maybe it's that delicious Nobeltje that keeps us here or the tall tales that have been told there since 1902. It doesn't matter. A lot of tall tales have been told over the bar, but most of the time the stories don't get any further than the pub. Nobel has done something about this by having the pub stories written down and collected in a booklet entitled: The strongest stories of Ameland. Curious about the backstory of Nobeltje? Read here the story.
The most popular activity on Ameland is without a doubt bicycles. Ameland has some 100 kilometres of cycle paths, allowing you to explore all corners of the island. You cycle over shell paths through villages, woods and dunes. The fresh air from the sea is never far away and the quality of the cycle paths is good. Our electric bikes work overtime and the wind clears our heads.
Enjoy a mini-tasting session with three beers and some Amelander cheese or Amelander dry sausage in the tasting room of the Amelander Brewery with wood-burning stove, billiards and real "beerwall". Highly recommended! Fancy a loose beer or a soft drink? That is also possible of course.
The island is 25 kilometres long and about 5 kilometres wide. The most famous beaches You will find them at Buren, Nes and Hollum. These all have a Blue Flag; an award that is given every year to clean and safe beaches. The beach of Hollum is often considered the most beautiful. It is nice and wide and you can enjoy the sunset here. The beach at Ballum is the roughest, which attracts birds that are here in large numbers.
Beach pavilion Sjoerd serves a combination of street food, classics and Mediterranean. Sjoerd loves honest, sustainable and local products. And in 2016, 2017 and 2020 it was voted the most sustainable beach pavilion in the Netherlands. We go here for the poke bowl.
For the best view over Ameland, you can take the lighthouse climb. After 236 steps, you can enjoy the same wide view of the island and the sea that the lighthouse keepers once had. Small exhibitions are displayed on the mezzanine floors. The cast-iron lighthouse is located on the west side of Ameland and was built in 1880, commissioned by King Willem III. On 10 May 1881 the light was lit for the first time to warn sailors, and this continued until 2004.
Time for some adventure? Ameland Adventure is the destination on Ameland for tough beach sports! Go rafting, supping, kiting or beach sailing. For small and large groups alike.
Besides relaxation, however, there is much more to do on Ameland! Ameland has a few very nice museums. Get to know the centuries-old history of Ameland, for example, with stories about fierce whalers. Or learn about the natural world of the island and the Wadden Sea in the Nature Centre Ameland.
In need of a treat? At The Harbour Ameland They have delicious sushi and crackling fresh oysters from the Amelander fishmonger. Take a seat on one of the many lounge sofas, stare at the fireplace or marvel at the view of the Wadden Sea, listen to a nice beat from the speakers and enjoy the food and a cold beer or homemade sangria with lots of fruit.
On 14 August 1979, a German yacht was in distress and the rescue boat from Ameland came to the rescue. During the launch, the cart with the lifeboat on it slid into a deep gully, as a result of which the horses could not be disconnected from the undercarriage in time. All eight horses drowned, a terrible tragedy for the whole of Ameland. To keep the tradition alive, the horse rescue boat is still launched several times a year. During the demonstration of the horse rescue boat 10 big horses pull the lifeboat with thundering violence over the beach and through the surf into the sea. A special and impressive sight to see. The demonstration starts from the boathouse at the Maritime Centre "Abraham Fock" at Oranjeweg 18 in Hollum. If you are on the island during one of the demonstrations, then this is highly recommended.
Haven't done enough yet? Go on a beach express, book a boat trip to the seal colony on a nearby sandbank, climb the dune De Oerdblinkert, discover all that the Wadden Sea area has to offer under the guidance of a mudflat guide, view the commander's houses, go fishing and catch a mackerel, go on an eco-safari.... Weather or no weather. There is always something to do on Ameland. You'll enjoy the special atmosphere on the island, the heart-warming hospitality, the beautiful nature, the great company and of course the best-kept secret on Ameland, the Nobeltje!
And oh yes; it's true Hotel Nobel is "the hotel on Ameland for the epicurean". In one of the oldest family-run businesses in the Netherlands, in the village of Ballum on Ameland, it's all right and it's a Listed gem on the Wadden Islands, as far as we are concerned! Curious? Get inspired at this page.