In his latest cruising feature, Peter Cumberlidge picks out the best remote island destinations you can easily reach from the UK by boat

Vlieland - harbourVlieland, Netherlands

Size: 10nm long
Population:
1,100

Watering holes: In Oost-Vlieland village, Café de Zeevaert is the biz for a beer and a bite by day, and livelier life at night

On a chart, the low islands off the Dutch coast look unpromising for boating, with plenty of drying sand.

Yet the tidal channels behind the Frisians provide a fascinating cruising ground – the Waddenzee – protected from the open sea.

Vlieland has an atmosphere not so much of remoteness but out-of-the-wayness. Because its west end is just above sea-level, the population huddles in the east, around Oost-Vlieland village.

Carefully planted woods break the worst northerlies and help hold the island together. The harbour approach leads past a beach backed by dunes and you enter between two jutting piers.

Inside there are snug pontoons, friendly vibes and good visitor facilities. From the dyke you look out across the Waddenzee where on summer days colourful flotillas of sailing barges thread the tidal channels.

Vlieland - sailing bargeIt’s a half-hour stroll to the village, whose neat shops and cafés are ranged along a single main street.

You can walk or cycle peaceful tracks paved with shells. The woods have a Mediterranean feel as the wind sighs through tall Corsican pines.

Don’t miss: Climbing the island lighthouse for amazing views of Vlieland, the Waddenzee channels and North Sea shipping lanes

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Sark, Channel Islands
  3. 3. Yeu, The Vendée
  4. 4. St. Martin’s, Isles of Scilly
  5. 5. Skomer, Wales
  6. 6. Cape Clear Island, Ireland
  7. 7. Île De Sein, Brittany
  8. 8. Île de Groix, Brittany
  9. 9. Coll, Scotland
  10. 10. Houat, Brittany
  11. 11. Vlieland, Netherlands
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