Schiermonnikoog National Park

National Park in Schiermonnikoog

The entire island, except for its single town and surrounding polder, was designated the Netherlands' first national park in 1989. It's easy to lose yourself exploring its 54 sq km of beaches, dunes, salt marshes and woods. Those who desire a bit more organisation to their wanderings can join a variety of tours; for information and bookings pop into the Bezoekerscentrum Schiermonnikoog (park's visitor centre), located in an old power station at the foot of the white lighthouse in town.

To survey the surroundings, head for the Wassermann, the remains of a German bunker atop high wooded dunes north of town. For birders, bitterns may be spotted among the reeds of the Westerplas, a lake just west of town, while salt marshes are populated by herring gulls, terns and spoonbills.