This year I’m going on a holiday in the Netherlands for the first time in my life. Yes, you read it correctly, I’m going on holiday in my own country! Why go far away when there is so much beauty to discover in our own “little frog” country? Of course it also plays a role that we now have a 2 years old little girl hopping around, and that I am now 7 months pregnant with the second one. Besides that, I didn’t feel like visiting the heat of southern Europe this time. Just give me 20+ degrees with a little sun and my holiday can’t go wrong anymore.
So I went investigating on the web what beautiful places in the Netherlands are to visit with small children. For those who know me you know that I love luxury and comfort, and especially now with a little one you want to experience the same feeling at home with all conveniences at hand. On the internet I quickly came across the luxury holiday homes of Dutchen. I always wanted to go to one of the Frisian Islands and therefore we kick off this summer with a holiday to lake Lauwersmeer and the island of Schiermonnikoog!
Holiday at lake Lauwersmeer
The lake of Lauwersmeer is located in the province of Groningen on the border with the province of Friesland. It is a beautiful piece of nature with wild horses in the north of the Netherlands, and a good starting point to visit the Frisian Islands for example. Dutchen holiday parks have luxury Bay villas near Lauwersoog, right on the lake, suitable for 6 to 8 people.
The bay villas of Dutchen are located directly on the water with the marina within walking distance from where the boats depart towards the islands Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. Lauwersoog is only a few minutes walk away and here you will find a few fish restaurants.
At 3 minutes by bike at restaurant “Het Boze Wijf” you can sit outside and this is also the place for families, because they have a beautiful outdoor playground for children. The perfect place if you want to enjoy your own drink in the sun while the little ones enjoy themselves outside.
Bay villas from Dutchen
The luxury bay villas from Dutchen at lake Lauwersmeer are fully equipped. We immediately had a feeling of coming home, only better with the gorgeous view!
Our 6 person villa had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a luxury kitchen with all the trimmings. Upon arrival, the friendly park managers were already waiting for us.
The living room is very light through the large windows and the only thing you see and hear is the rippling water. Here you really come for your rest and the only “passers-by” are those typical Frisian skûtsje boats (Frisian for barge) that pass by.
The lake of Lauwersmeer is also the ideal place to learn how to sail. It is very cute to see when you see a row of about 10 small sailboats passing by in the morning, all containing small children who learn to sail while singing along.
Rent a bike at the Bay villas
If you book a holiday at Dutchen Bay villa’s , I advice your to book bicycles directly at their website. Within 5 minutes you are in the port of Lauwersoog, but you can also continue cycling southbound along the water and through the forest (5 km). Towards the direction of activity center “the Bosschuur”.
Here you can enter for free, and for children there is a kind of mini museum about all the animals that you can find at lake Lauwersmeer. This is also the beginning of the gnome path and a real must to do with small children.
Gnome path along lake Lauwersmeer
The gnome path (kabouterpad in Dutch) starts from the activity centre the “Bosschuur” and is about 2 km long. Super good to do for our daughter of 2 years old. Along the path you will find little gnomes to spot and in the forest they even live in small houses. If you look closely you even find their own laundry that is hung in the trees 😉
For children from 4 years old and little todlers you can also get a real knapsack and a gnome book and carry out all kinds of assignments, organized by “Staatsbosbeheer”. Recommended!
Trip to Dokkum, Friesland
Less than a 20 minutes car drive away, you can make a nice trip to the cute Frisian village of Dokkum. The road to Dokkum is flat and wide, but once you arrive in Dokkum you imagine yourself in a world of windmills, canals, bridges and cute little streets with the nicest boutiques.
In the center at the Vlasstraat 11 for example, you will find this nice children’s shop “NYNstyles the little ones”. A too cute shop with trendy children’s clothing, but also nice furniture and (wicker) accessories for the children’s room.
Dutch Frisian Islands, unique part of the Netherlands
Did you know that the “Wadden Sea” is a on the list of UNESCO world heritage? The Dutch islands that are inhabited consist of 1. Texel, 2. Vlieland (I wrote previous a blogpost about it), 3. Terschelling, 4. Ameland and 5. Schiermonnikoog.
By boat to the island of Schiermonnikoog
From your Dutchen bay villa it is only a 6 minute bike ride to the ferry port of Lauwersoog. From here the boats leave to Ameland (50 min) and Schiermonnikoog (45 min). I had already ordered the tickets online via “Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten” (WPD) so you don’t have to wait in line anymore.
If you want to be on time for the boat, I advise you to be present at least 45 minutes in advance. It is useful if you bring your bike with you so that you don’t have to rent it at the island anymore.
For €16 you already have a return ticket (normal ferry service) and for €10 extra you can bring your bike, but you can also take your car with you. However, you should buy a ticket on time to be assured of a spot with your vehicle on board of the the ferry ship.
For the little ones it is quite an experience to go by boat, and less than three quarters of an hour later you arrive at the Frisian Islands with one of the widest sandy beaches in Europe!
The island of Schiermonnikoog has the widest beach in Europe
Schiermonnikoog is the second smallest island of the Dutch Frisian Islands. Did you know that the island of Schiermonnikoog has one of the widest beaches in Europe? At its widest point, the beach here is almost one kilometre wide!
Furthermore, the beach at Schiermonnikoog has always been one of the cleanest beaches in the Netherlands. Partly because of the vastness you have the feeling that you are in a totally different world and that you are somewhere on a deserted beach abroad. I loved it here so much!
There is only one village on the island of Schiermonnikoog and with the same name as the island. The authentic village of Schiermonnikoog is a nice place to cycle through and relax on one of the many cosy terraces.
From here you can continue cycling to the northwest towards the red lighthouse the “Noordertoren”. This is also a great start from here to go into the dunes and explore the mega wide beach.
Did you know that the total length of the beach at Schiermonnikoog is 18 km long? Besides being one of the widest beaches, according to experts it is also one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and I do not blame them. Children also love this beach and I have to admit we secretly did too 🙂
On the beach of Schiermonnikoog there are a total of four beach pavilions that you can visit. Personally, I think these two are the best beach pavilions at Schiermonnikoog:
- Beach pavilion “Paal 3”
- Beach pavilion “De Marlijn”
Holidays with children in the Netherlands
I didn’t know that a holiday with children in my own country could be so much fun! Not only you do not have to spend hours in the car or on the plane, but it is also a fun way to discover our own country.
I had never been all the way to the north of the Netherlands before, and I found lake Lauwersmeer a nice starting point to visit both Groningen and Friesland, as well as one of the Frisian Islands. I continue to find this a unique piece of nature and I was secretly quite impressed by how special the Netherlands really is.
Besides the comfort and convenience of a luxury holiday home that we have experienced at Dutchen holiday parks, there are a number of tips that I want to give young parents that make your holiday with children and toddlers to a success.
A real “lifesaver” I find the sleeping tents of Deryan. We already had one for Sofie when she was a baby, but did you know that they have a toddler version up to 4 years? In this tent she could take a nap and like this we didn’t have to take the boat back to Lauwersoog in a hurry. I can recommend these tents to every parent.
Deryan Toddler Sleeping Tent
In no time at all, it will set itself up and, with a little skill, you can put it back together like a small package, which you can easily take with you as a shoulder bag. The mattress blows itself up, and the tent itself provides a lot of security. New in the assortment is the extra windbreak that you can order.
Very handy, if you want to go the whole day to the beach just like us. We have chosen the silver version because it is also sunproof, but you can also choose from other nice colors. Moreover, they have a good offer if you want to book extra accessories. Curious? Take a look at the latest collection here.
Where does our next holiday go?
This first mini holiday in our own country is so much appreciated that we immediately booked our next trip through Dutchen. Do you want to know where it is going? Keep an eye on my blog or Instagram (@stylishtravel) because then I’ll show you a new holiday spot that has only just opened!
If you have any tips or other nice places to visit with children please let me know below. And who knows, maybe your tip will pass here by next time 🙂