The island measures 4,052 hectare, of which the largest part is a desert-like area in the west, the Vliehors. There is one village on the island, Oost-Vlieland. On the empty plain on the west used to be another village, West-Vlieland, but it was taken by the sea in 1736. The plain is now used for military exercises. The island has a population of approximately 1100 people and is well known for the beautiful landscape, the large and various bird population and the peacefulness. In summer, many tourists come to visit the island.
Vlieland was divided from the mainland of Friesland in a flood in 1287, which formed the Waddenzee. It used to count two villages, West- and Oost-Vlieland, but the former was evacuated after repeatedly being flooded.
Vlieland is an island of dunes. It has the North Sea to the north and the Waddenzee to the south. The north coast has beautiful, peaceful beaches.
To get into Vlieland, you'll have to take the ferry from Harlingen. The average travel time for this route is 1½ hr for the normal ferry or 45 min for the fast service. Both are operated by rederij Doeksen, which has times and prices are available on their website. Usually, there are at least 3 daily regular ferries and an additional 1 to 3 fast ferries, but always check shortly before as the schedule can change subject to season, weather and number of passengers. A one way ticket (adult) will cost around €25, with an additional €7 for the fast service. Vlieland is in principle car-free, so although the ferries can transport cars (from €140 single trip), usually only residents will get the special permit.
People planning a return tour by train from Leeuwarden can buy a "Waddenretour" (€28 in 2011) ticket that is inclusive of the train ticket (Leeuwarden - Harlingen Haven trajectory) and the ferry ticket. This is a cheaper option than the normal ticket.
If you happen to be on Terschelling, there are a few daily ferries between the two island, operated by the same company.
- Vlieland is a small island, you can if you choose walk from one end of the island and back in a day.
- You can choose to rent a bicycle. Three major rental shops on the island provide a selection of bicycles from city bikes, mountain bikes to "bakfiets".
- There is a bus service on the island and it touches almost all the major landmarks on the island. You can catch the bus from the ferry drop off point.
- The Vlieland lighthouse. €2.50 to visit inside, timings restricted.
- Birds. The island is known for its bird life, and if you have any interest at all, make sure to bring you binoculars.
- Tromp's Huys Museum, Dorpsstraat 99, ☏ . This is the oldest building of the island, originating shortly after 1575 and since the 1950s home to this little museum. It has a collection of art works on display, mostly from the hand of local artist Betzy Akersloot-Berg, who was Nordic by birth but lived in this house from the end of the 19th century. The museum also has a range of silver works and other collectibles. €4.
The village has a bunch of restaurants, varying romantic restaurants to snack bars.
- C'est la Vie, Dorpsstraat 118, ☏ . This place is a good choice for lunch, with simple, tasty dishes and fine coffee.
- De Lickebaert, Dorpsstraat 4-6, ☏ . Everyone loves a pancake, and this is the local place to go when you're looking to get one. Their speciality, however, are the typical Dutch "poffertjes", fluffy mini-pancakes served with sugar.
- [formerly dead link] Zuiver, Willem de Vlaminghweg 2, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This modern restaurant gets good reviews, both for food and service. They have a love for regional, biological produce and modern twists for traditional dishes. In high season, they also serve lunch. It's best to make reservations in advance. €34.50 for a 3-course surprise menu.
- 1 Het Posthuys, Postweg 4, ☏ . 18 Feb–27 Nov and 30 Dec–8 Jan: daily 10:00 – 17:00 (kitchen 11:30 – 16:00). Dutch food
- 2 Armhuis, Kerkpkein 6, ☏ . daily. One of the better restaurants in town, and the closest thing to fine dining. Good service, nice food and a proper restaurant-style atmosphere. If you're looking for a romantic evening, try their private dining rooms. Make sure to call ahead though, especially in high-season, as this place fills up quickly. €40 for a menu.
- 3 Badhotel Bruin, Dorpsstraat 88, ☏ .
There are plenty of places to stay. Apart from a few hotels and camp sites, there's a wide range of holiday houses available, many of them privately owned but rented out via the Tourist Information Office, which can be of great help when finding a place to stay. Some of them are right on the beaches.
- Studio Arma. A family-run studio, quiet and comfortable for 2 people. It is about 500 m from the ferry drop off point.
- Hotel Seeduyn, Badweg 3, ☏ . This large, 4-star hotel belongs to the Westcord chain and offers a good range of facilities, including free WiFi and a wellness area. It sits right on the beach, less than a kilometer from the village centre. Most rooms have lovely views. From €75.
- 1 Torenzicht, Dorpsstraat 182, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 Natural Campsite Lange Paal, Postweg 1a, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 1 Apr – 31 Oct.
- 3 Camping Stortemelk, Kampweg 1, ☏ . A very popular and nice place: in the dunes, very close to the sea
Hop on the ferry to Terschelling, or make your way to one of the other West Frisian Islands. Texel is the largest one, with most attractions. Alternatively, head back to charming Franeker and explore the often overlooked destinations in the Northern Netherlands, including Leeuwarden and Groningen.