Getting around Holland by ferry

Visiting the Dutch Wadden Islands, island hopping or crossing the many rivers and canals: ferries are an important means of public transport in Holland. Taking your bicycle is never a problem, though there might be an extra charge.
There are numerous small ferries especially for cyclists and foot passengers. They can save you long detours and busy roads. Some of the crossings are such fun that they are specially incorporated in cycle routes. To plan your trip, it’s important to know where the ferries are and when they run. Otherwise you might get stuck.
Boarding a bicycle ferry over the River IJssel. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com

Boarding a bicycle ferry over the River IJssel. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com

Ferries - where and when they run

Ferry crossings are marked on all good cycle maps. However, the ferry service may be restricted to the summer or certain days of the week. To find out when each ferry runs, go to the website of Vrienden van de Voetveren, the association for ferry enthusiasts. If a ferry has its own website, it will be listed under ‘Op internet’.

How to search?

If you don’t understand Dutch, the easiest way is to click on the appropriate province - either on the list or the map. This will give you a map of the chosen province with all the ferries crossings. Click on the crossing you’re looking for. On the left - under ‘Vaarschema’ - you will find the timetable.

Signpost to a bicycle and foot passenger ferry.[br]Photo © Holland-Cycling.com

Signpost to a bicycle and foot passenger ferry.
Photo © Holland-Cycling.com

Useful terminology
dagelijks = daily
hele dag = all day round
alleen overdag = only in the daytime

hele jaar = all year round
in de zomer = in the summer

geen vaart = no crossing
niet bij ijsgang = not when there is ice

Ferries to the Wadden Sea Islands

The ferries to the Wadden Sea Islands run all year round. Crossings will be cancelled if the weather is too bad. In the holiday season it can be very busy. To avoid a long wait it is advisable to book in advance.

Wadden Sea Island Port of departure Ferry company
Texel Den Helder TESO
Vlieland Harlingen Rederij Doeksen
Terschelling Harlingen Rederij Doeksen
Ameland Holwerd Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten
Schiermonnikoog Lauwersoog Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten

Island hopping

Island hopping is a good way of combining several of the Wadden Sea Islands in one trip. Please note that the ferry between Texel and Vlieland only runs in the high season. Booking in advance is required.

Wadden Sea Island Ferry company
Texel - Vlieland Rederij De Vriendschap (in Dutch)
Vlieland - Terschelling Rederij Doeksen

Ferries - all the different types

Ferries come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s worth taking a look at this overview of all the types of ferries in use in Holland - also presented by the association for ferry enthusiasts. Scroll down to find the photos and descriptions (in Dutch). Below each photo there is a listing of all the services using that particular type of ferry. Some are well worth a detour!