The island of Schiermonnikoog can only be reached by boat, from the port of Lauwersoog. A scheduled ferry service sails several times a day between Lauwersoog and Schiermonnikoog. We suggest that you take the ferry times into account when booking your travel.
For information on rail travel in the Netherlands, see the NS web site (in English). (Update: the NS web site now also knows about buses.) The are no reservations on Dutch trains, and no special fares for buying in advance. Whatever type of ticket you are using, you need to check in at the beginning of your journey and check out at the end. You can buy a ticket online in advance and either print it out or use the mobile app. Single tickets are also available from ticket machines, though you will pay €1.00 extra for the privilege of using a physical ticket. Most locals travel using an “OV-chipcard”, which you can buy for €7.50 and then load up with cash. The chipcard is valid on all trains and buses in the Netherlands.
For information on all public transport in the Netherlands, including the buses to Lauwersoog, see the 9292 website. The OV-chipcard is also valid on buses, or you can pay the driver in cash.
If you're coming from elsewhere in Europe and don't want to fly, check out The Man in Seat 61 for train information. As of April 2018, there are two direct Eurostar trains per day from London to Amsterdam. (Sadly they do not yet run direct in the opposite direction.)
Getting to Lauwersoog
Lauwersoog is connected by bus to both Groningen and Leeuwarden, which are connected to the Dutch rail network and are each a little over two hours by train from Schiphol airport. There is not much to choose between the two routes, though if you have some time to waste then Groningen probably has more to offer. (Update: in 2018 Leeuwarden, together with the rest of Friesland, is European capital of culture.)
On arrival at Groningen, the quickest way to the bus stop is to walk towards the back of the train and go up the stairs to the footbridge. This will bring you straight to bus stop Z, from where the number 163 bus leaves for Lauwersoog. (If you leave the station by the front entrance, don't worry, just walk past all the other bus stops until you get to stop Z.) Get off at bus stop “Haven” in Lauwersoog.
Take the footbridge to the bus stop
Bus 163 to Lauwersoog departs Groningen from stop Z
On arrival at Leeuwarden, walk out of the front of the station and turn left. Bus number 155 to Lauwersoog leaves from bus stop C. Get off at bus stop “Haven” in Lauwersoog, which is the final stop.
Bus 155 to Lauwersoog departs Leeuwarden from stop C
The ferry from Lauwersoog
The ferry from Lauwersoog to Schiermonnikoog is operated by Wagenborg Passagiersdiensten, and full information is available on their web site. Ferries leave four times a day, at 9:30, 12:30, 15:30 and 18:30, with an extra ferry at 6:30 on weekdays. The crossing takes 45 minutes, and there is a (rather basic) cafeteria on board. You can buy a ticket at the ferry terminal in Lauwersoog; the price is €15.30 for a return ticket (which is the only type of ticket they sell). There is a baggage car into which you can load your baggage before you board the boat, so that you don't have to carry it around with you on board.
The ferry terminal in Lauwersoog
Boarding the ferry in Lauwersoog
For those arriving too late to catch the 18:30 ferry, there is also a “water taxi” operated by the same company; see their web site for details. The water taxi carries a maximum of 12 passengers. It is very expensive for one person, but becomes more reasonable as the number of passengers increases. We will be asking nearer the time whether any participants need to use the water taxi, so that we can make a group booking.
For those staying in the Hotel van der Werff, the hotel runs a shuttle bus from the ferry terminal on Schiermonnikoog to the hotel. There are several buses waiting when the ferry arrives; the correct bus has the name of the hotel on the side. Alternatively, Arriva bus number 2 will also take you from the ferry terminal to the centre of the village (€3.50 return). See here for further local bus information (in Dutch). If you prefer, you can walk it in about 40 minutes.
The hotel shuttle bus waiting as the ferry arrives on Schiermonnikoog