Three islands on the coast of Lower Saxony, off Cuxhaven and just beyond the Elbe estuary, are the focal points of the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, the smallest of the three Wadden Sea parks. They are the lush, green island of Neuwerk (population approx. 40), the dune island of Scharhörn and the artificial island of Nigehörn. On fascinating excursions through the mudflats, visitors can search for amber and see large colonies of little, common, sandwich and Arctic terns. In addition to the marvellous natural sights of the wetlands, the region also offers many cultural attractions. The history of Neuwerk Island is particularly intriguing, with records linking it to the city of Hamburg going back as far as 1299. The island paths lead through verdant scenery to a fortified tower in the Elbe estuary, a relic from the days of the Hanseatic League. This bastion was an outpost in the battle against piracy. Feature attractions include horse-drawn carriage rides through the mudflats from Sahlenburg to the car-free island of Neuwerk and cruises from Cuxhaven to Neuwerk, which offers guided bird-watching tours and excursions through the salt marshes and the coastal mudflats. There is also a delightful exhibition of amber. The way from Neuwerk to Scharhörn leads across seemingly endless stretches of mudflats. Scharhörn, originally a sandbank, is popular with visitors for its colonies of sea birds. Just like the bird island of Nigehörn, which is closed to the public, Scharhörn has large, impressive expanses of unspoilt natural scenery.