Of the Frisian Island quartet, Ameland strikes the best balance. Its four peaceful villages – Buren, Nes, Ballum and Hollum – are less developed than those on Terschelling, but they provide enough social structure for most visitors. Although Mother Nature doesn't rule the roost as on Schiermonnikoog or Vlieland, it still retains generous swaths of untouched natural splendour. All in all, Ameland is an idyll that's just right.
Just 8km from the Frisian mainland, Ameland is a quick ferry ride, and some even choose to walk it, but only when accompanied by a trained guide. Its history may be the strangest of the four isles: it was an independent 'lordship' for almost three centuries until the ruling family died off in 1708. It is actually comprised of three islands that were fused together in the 19th century.