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Beaches, sailing, biking, hiking, and bird-watching are the big attractions on Texel, yet eating, drinking, and partying have a place, too. The main village, Den Burg, is a bustling settlement near the center of the island. For a glimpse of past island life, visit its moderately interesting, centrally located De Oudheidkamer, Koogerstraat 1 (tel. 0222/313-135). The house dates from 1599 and is the island's oldest, furnished in a style from around 1900. The museum is open April to October daily from 10am to 12:30pm and 1:30 to 3:30pm. Admission is 1.60€ ($2.55) for adults, 1.40€ ($2.25) for seniors, 0.90€ ($1.45) for children ages 4 to 13, and free for children 3 and under.

Areas of dune and forest belonging to the Staatsbosbeheer (State Forest Authority) may be freely visited so long as you stick to the marked trails. Guided tours of some of these areas are conducted by wildlife biologists from EcoMare, Ruijslaan 92 (tel. 0222/317-741; www.ecomare.nl), a Wadden Islands research center located amid the sand dunes just south of the main coastal village, De Koog. EcoMare's visitor center houses a small natural history museum that features the geology and plants of Texel, and its wildlife of land, sea, and air. The Wadden Sea is rich in seals, and EcoMare has a seal rehabilitation facility that cares for weak and injured seals until they are strong enough to be returned to the sea. An additional rehabilitation project cares for birds affected by pollution and other hazards. The center is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is 8.50€ ($14) for adults, and 5.50€ ($8.80) for children ages 4 to 13.

Some 300 bird species have been observed on Texel, of which around 100 breed on the island. Among the avian stars are oyster catchers, Bewicks swans, spoonbills, eider ducks, Brent geese, avocets, marsh harriers, snow buntings, ringed plovers, kestrels, short-eared owls, and bar-tailed godwits. You can observe these and more in De Schorren, De Bol, and Dijkmanshuizen, three protected nature reserves that may be entered only on tours conducted by guides from EcoMare.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.