Goeree-Overflakkee is an island in the Dutch province of South Holland. It’s situated in the delta of the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt rivers and has a rich history with evidence of human habitation dating back to prehistoric times.
The island also played an important role in Dutch maritime history, serving as a hub for fishing, shipping, and trade. Today, people flock to Goeree-Overflakkee for its beautiful natural landscapes, including beaches, dunes, forests, and wetlands. Please read below for our recommendations on what to see and do on this picturesque island.
The Most Popular Attractions in Goeree-Overflakkee
#1 Beningerslikken Nature Reserve
The Beningerslikken Nature Reserve is a vast wetland on the eastern side of Goeree-Overflakkee. The reserve covers an area of approximately 200 hectares and consists of various habitats, including marshes, meadows, reed beds, and open water areas.
The reserve is home to various plant and animal species, including many rare and endangered species. It’s mainly known for its birdlife, with over 150 species recorded in the area. Some of the bird species that can be seen in the reserve include great egrets, purple herons, spoonbills, and marsh harriers.
The Beningerslikken Nature Reserve is also a popular spot for fishing, with several species of fish found in the reserve’s open water areas. (Note: Fishing is allowed in some areas, but a permit is required.)
If a day at the beach sounds idyllic, then head to Ouddorp. It’s a charming seaside village popular among sunbathers, swimmers, surfers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts.
Ouddorp is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the Netherlands, with long stretches of soft, white sand and clear, turquoise waters. The beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and sailing.
If you’ve had enough of the beach, then know that Ouddorp is surrounded by several nature reserves, including the Duinen van Goeree, a large dune area with a wide variety of flora and fauna. The area is perfect for hiking and cycling, and visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the North Sea and the surrounding landscape.
Ouddorp has a rich cultural heritage, with several historic buildings and landmarks that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The town is also known for its traditional Dutch architecture and beautiful church, which features a unique tower and a collection of historic bells.
Middelharnis is a picturesque town located on the eastern side of Goeree-Overflakkee. It’s famous for its charming streets and historic buildings, many dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries! It also has a bustling harbor home to several fishing boats and pleasure crafts. Visitors can walk along the harbor and watch the boats come and go or enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the waterfront cafes and restaurants.
#4 Streekmuseum Goeree-Overflakkee
Streekmuseum Goeree-Overflakkee showcases the island’s history and culture. The museum is housed in a historic building that was once a town hall and features a collection of exhibits spanning several centuries. Exhibits include artifacts, photographs, traditional costumes from different regions of the island, historic agricultural tools and machinery, and documents that illustrate the island’s rich cultural heritage, from its agricultural roots to its maritime history.
#5 Kwade Hoek Nature Reserve
Kwade Hoek Nature Reserve is popular with nature lovers, hikers, and bird watchers. It offers breathtaking views of the North Sea and an opportunity to observe rare and protected bird species, such as the Eurasian spoonbill, common tern, and western marsh harrier.
The landscape of Kwade Hoek is constantly changing. Because of the forces of wind and water, a dynamic environment is now home to various plant species, including sea buckthorn, beach grass, and sand sedge. The reserve is also home to several rare and endangered plant species, such as the dune pansy and the sand catchfly.
Visitors can explore the reserve on foot, following one of the many hiking trails that wind through the dunes and salt marshes. Several observation points and bird hides throughout the reserve offer visitors an opportunity to observe the local wildlife.
#6 A Seal
A Seal in Stellendam is a rehabilitation center for seals found sick or injured along the Dutch coast. The center is located on the Haringvliet waterfront and is open to visitors, who can learn about the center’s work and see the seals that are being cared for.
In addition to its rehabilitation efforts, A Seal has an exhibition area where visitors can learn about the different types of seals and their habitats. Interactive exhibits about marine life in the Haringvliet area are also featured. There is also a gift shop and a café on site.
The Haringvlietdam is a dam spanning the Haringvliet estuary, which is part of the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. The dam was completed in 1971 as part of a larger plan to protect the Netherlands from flooding and to provide freshwater resources for agriculture and industry.
The dam is an impressive engineering feat that stretches over 18 kilometers and 14 meters in height. It comprises several sections, including a navigation lock that allows ships to pass through the dam and into the Haringvliet estuary.
Visitors to the Haringvlietdam can enjoy scenic views of the estuary and the surrounding landscape and learn about the dam’s history and significance through informative exhibits and displays. Several recreational activities are also available in the area, including fishing, boating, and hiking.
Spring in the Netherlands only means tulip season! The most popular destination is undoubtedly Keukenhof. However, if you want to see rows and rows of tulips for free, then Goeree-Overflakkee will not disappoint.
The Tulip Route on Goeree-Overflakkee is a scenic driving or cycling route that takes visitors through the tulip fields in the area around Oude-Tonge. This route is usually open mid-April to early May, depending on weather conditions. The route is marked by signs and maps that will guide you along the most scenic and interesting parts of the route. There are also tulip farms along the route that offer guided tours and allow visitors to walk through the fields and take photos. Some of these farms also have shops where visitors can buy tulip bulbs, souvenirs, and other local products.
How to Get to Goeree-Overflakkee
By Public Transport
From wherever you are in the country, take the train to Rotterdam Central Station. Once there, you can take another train toward Middelharnis or Ouddorp. (Note, though, that there are only a few trains per day to these destinations.) An alternative is to take a bus from Rotterdam Central Station to Middelharnis and then take another bus ride to Goeree-Overflakkee.
From Amsterdam, you can take the A10 ring road and head south towards Utrecht (A2). At the junction with the A12, follow the signs for Den Haag/Rotterdam, and then take the A20 towards Rotterdam. Take Exit 18 towards Brielle/Oostvoorne, and then follow the signs for Goeree-Overflakkeee. (Note: Some parts of the journey involve toll roads, so bring cash or a credit card to pay the tolls.)
If you’re traveling from elsewhere in the country, it’s best to use Google Maps or any GPS system.
How to Get Around in Goeree-Overflakkee
Goeree-Overflakkee has a range of walking and hiking routes to suit every interest and ability level, from easy strolls through historic towns to more challenging hikes through natural areas and along the coastline. Some popular routes include the Kwade Hoek Nature Reserve, Kabbelaarsbank Nature Reserve, Middelharnis Route, Polders and Mills Route, Ouddorp Dunes Route, and the Haringvliet Route.
Goeree-Overflakkee is an excellent destination for biking or cycling enthusiasts, with many scenic routes that showcase the island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Some popular biking or cycling routes include the Kustroute, Flakkeese Routes, Ouddorpse Duinen Route, Deltaroute, Watersnoodroute, and Grevelingenroute.
Since Goeree-Overflakkee is an island, it’s no surprise that boat tours are popular. EcoBoats is a company that offers boat tours and rental services in the Haringvliet area. The Tiengemeten ferry is a popular way to explore the nearby island of Tiengemeten, a nature reserve with various wildlife and flora.
Several companies also offer seal tours in the area, which take you to spots where you can see seals in their natural habitat. One popular option is Sealarium, which offers tours from Stellendam.
If you’re interested in fishing, Sportvisserij Haringvliet is a tour operator offering half-day and full-day fishing tours.
Accommodations in Goeree-Overflakkee
There are plenty of accommodations in Goeree-Overflakkee, ranging from hotels to bed and breakfasts to holiday homes. Here are a few options: Fletcher Hotel-Restaurant Duinzicht, Bed and Breakfast De Luthier, Park Zeedijk (holiday park), and Camping de Grevelingen (camp park).