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Compared with Terschelling, VLIELAND is laid-back and low key. All but car free, it has just one settlement, OOST-VLIELAND – little more than a tree-lined street with a string of pavement cafés, bike-rental agencies and a few hotels and B&Bs. There's also a maritime centre geared towards children, the Centrum "De Noordwester", Dorpsstraat 150 (July & Aug Mon– Fri 10am–5pm, Sat 2–5pm & Sun 1–4pm; hours vary out of season; 2.50; Web: www.denoordwester.nl ), displaying an assortment of shells, an explanation of dune formation, a couple of aquariums with crabs and rays, and an unexpected elf forest. The village's Tromps Huys museum, Dorpsstraat 99 (May– Sept Tues– Sat 11am–5pm, Sun 2–5pm; Oct– April Tues– Sat 2–5pm; 2.50), has a collection of antiques and Vlieland bygones.
To explore the island's woods and dunes, follow one of the many bike routes that run the length of the island, crisscrossing a succession of wide sandy beaches on the northern shore. There are also plenty of marked walking trails. You can rent bikes, tandems and trailers all over town. A limited bus service travels along the southern shore from near the ferry terminus. Private operators organize day-trips to the northern tip of the neighbouring island of Texel by means of a tractor-like lorry, which crosses the great expanse of sand (the "Vliehors") on Vlieland's western extremity to connect with a boat (May– Sept; 20 for a round trip to Texel; Web: www.waddenveer.nl ).