The UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea, the largest unbroken area of mudflats in the world, is a fascinating landscape of sand dunes and beaches and a haven for all kinds of rare wildlife.
In this remarkable national park and UNESCO biosphere reserve in Germany's northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, the options for holidaymakers are as endless as the long sandy beaches.
A sea of possibilities
How about a walk across the salt marshes, a spot of bird-watching, a bike ride, a thalassotherapy treatment or a trip to the unique Hallig islands, which German author Theodor Storm referred to as "dreams floating on the sea"? At high tide, these small inhabited islands in the middle of the mudflats are surrounded – and sometimes even flooded – by the North Sea.
Walking on the seabed
A walk on the coastal mudflats is an absolute must. At low tide and in the company of an expert guide, you can walk on the seabed itself, either barefoot or in Wellington boots, depending on the weather. You can even watch seals on their resting places from an appropriate distance.
The 'big five' at the Wadden Sea
It is quite possible that you will catch sight of common seals, grey seals, porpoises or the rare white-tailed eagle on the coastal mudflats. The fifth member of the big five, the European sea sturgeon, has become extinct in the Wadden Sea, but you can still find it in the large aquarium at the Multimar Wattforum National Park Centre in Tönning. The Wadden Sea is home to more than 3,000 animal species including starfish, snails, molluscs and small organisms that live in the mud.
Boat trips into World Heritage waters
If you would like to observe marine wildlife in its natural habitat, then embark on one of the guided boat trips, where you'll have the chance to catch all kinds of sea creatures (and return them to the water) and go seal watching. The boat trips are run by the national park's shipping partners and depart from harbours such as Büsum, Nordstrand, Dagebüll, Schlüttsiel and from the islands of Föhr, Amrum and Sylt.
Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park
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