If you walk through the quintessential cobbled streets of Hollum, Ballum, Nes and Buren, you will see houses that were once owned by sea captains. Many are now designated monuments and are reminiscent of the whaling industry of the past. The history of the island goes back hundreds of years. This gave Ameland its unique character. The many monumental buildings show the personality of the villages. You not hard to absorb the historical atmosphere, both literally and figuratively, as Ameland is an excellent dining experience. The many restaurants and bars would love to treat you to a freshly caught fish and various other unique island specialties.
The ferry docks in Nes. It is a pleasant village with many nice shops. Almost every week there's a market in high season. You'll find beautifully renovated captain houses in the village. Nes is the busiest village of Ameland, with many shops, restaurants and cafes with terraces. If you enjoy the crowds and nightlife, then this is the best place to find a hotel. Nes lies about 10 to 15 minutes from the beach.
The village was able to maintain its lovely character for the most part. Cafes, restaurants, hotels and boutiques are harmoniously woven between the ancient commander homes, and around the restored Kerkplein (Church Square) visitors are brought back a century in time - especially during the off season. To the contrary, in summer time Nes is busy and lively and filled with tourists who are wandering all night long through the Van Heeckerenstraat street, the nightlife scene street of Nes. If you want to relax and find a place to rest on a terrace for a snack, or feel like something to eat in a restaurant, there are plenty of choices in and around the Van Heeckerenstraat.
The village of Hollum is the largest village of Ameland. The townscape of Hollum has a protected status. The numerous houses from the 17th and 18th century show the wealth Ameland possessed in those times. The Sorgdrager Museum in Hollem can show you all about the history of the island. Also cultural and historical walks are organized by the village.
This large and most western situated village on the island rivals with the neighboring Ballum to see which one's the most beautiful of the island. The silhouette is dominated by the Dutch Reformed Church, which is surrounded by lovely, with lots of green surrounded houses and old paved roads. The old Hollum village on Ameland is a relaxed combination of rural tranquility and summer activity. The commander houses, with their unique characteristic double ledge in the front, have been around for centuries. Once the men shut the doors closed behind them to go on a whale hunt far from home. It's nice to stroll around the lovely green village, where the streets and houses are scattered around rather disorderly.
Hollum is aside from Nes the nicest place of Ameland. The cafes and restaurants are always busy, still the atmosphere of yesteryear dominates here. The most beautiful streets of the village are the with trees surrounded Oosterlaan and Burenlaan, where many quintessential 17th and 18th century commander houses are located. In the forest to the north-west of Hollum is the landmark of the village and the island, the red-white striped lighthouse, which is visible from all angles on the island, and is considered to be the most beautiful lighthouse of the islands.
The cast iron, red white lighthouse Bornrif (1880) is beautiful - and on top of it it's even more beautiful. Exactly 236 steps take you through the 14 floors to the top, which is about 50 meters high. The tower's light is insanely bright: it can be seen from 100 km afar. The tower is open to the public from the beginning of July till the end od August.
Ballum is a rather quiet village, and the smallest on Ameland. Here you can enjoy a delicious 'Nobeltje'. This is a typically Ballum liquor treat. It is rather quiet and cozy than crowded and touristy. On the main street lined by old trees, the Van Camminghastraat, are the two churches of the village and lies a beautiful square, surrounded by three roads and tall elms.
The street is named after the Lords of Ameland. The Camminghas (1425-1681) ruled strictly on the island, but did provide Ameland with glory. Ballum was once the most important town on the island. At the site of the demolished in 1829 'Van Camminghaslot' (Van Camminghs Castle) is now the town hall, with an exhibition devoted to the castle. Former commander homes, many of which have been placed under preservation, and cobbled streets ensure a cozy atmosphere. There is also a small airport where you can take a flight over the island in the summer.
Buren is a village that originally was inhabited by farmers and beachcombers. There are small shops, restaurants and a there's even a supermarket. In Buren you find the agriculture and beachcombers museum, which is a wonderful collection of objects that once washed up ashore. Furthermore Buren provides access to the nature reserve 'Het Oerd'. During the breeding season there are excursions to the gull colony.
The relatively young Buren cannot rival the other three villages on Ameland when it comes to charm and beauty. Traditionally Buren is dominated by farms, many of which are now converted into vacation rentals or group accommodations. Though a majority of the tourist stays in and around Buren, the bars and restaurants are hard to find. That has to do with the closeness of the much busier Nes (only 1 km). The village life revolves around the Hoofdweg and the Strandweg. In addition are restaurants, snack bars, hotels and a supermarket.