Hi, I’m Juliana, and I’m always on the lookout for new sights and experiences. I absolutely love discovering amazing new places in Germany, Along the way, I meet people who embody Germany’s huge diversity, and I’m fascinated by traditional crafts. I fall under the spell of history as I wander picturesque old town centres and soak up the incredible atmosphere of this country, with its kaleidoscope of scents, colours and tastes. Join me on a journey through the regions of Germany, as we take the road less travelled.
The Wadden Sea: an incredible sea in Germany’s north
My journey of discovery through Germany now takes me north. The Wadden Sea, which adjoins the North Sea, is the world's largest contiguous expanse of mudflats and completely different to any other sea that I’ve seen before. My trip to the coast takes me through the flatlands of northern Germany. The streets are lined with green meadows to the left and right; the little towns and villages we pass through are clusters of red-brick buildings. During a stop, some locals tell me that the red stone is thought to offer effective protection from the harsh seaside climate. When I arrive, I understand exactly what they meant: the vast Wadden Sea stretches out before me in all its austere, primeval glory, at once surreal and enticing.
A unique ecosystem
Fortunately, I won’t be exploring the Wadden Sea alone: mudflat ranger Dr Walther Petersen-Andresen is already here, waiting to show me this unique ecosystem. “Due to the ebb and flow of the tides and the very shallow water, the floor of the Wadden Sea is above water twice a day, so people can hike over the seabed and get to know and experience its remarkable symbiotic communities up close,” says Dr Petersen-Andresen. But first things first: shoes off. We actually do our mudflat hike barefoot, as the ground becomes more difficult underfoot; you wouldn’t be able to make much progress on the muddy ground wearing boots. And off we go to explore the habitat of a multitude of sea creatures …
Exploring the Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is heavily affected by the tides. Twice a day – when the tide is out – you can hike over it to explore this fascinating landscape. There are around 10,000 animal and plant species to discover here. On our journey, we also meet all sorts of creatures living in the mudflat, from crabs to cockles that bury themselves in the sand at lightning speed, and lots of different bird species. Our hike takes us to Hallig Gröde, a marsh island that partially floods during storm surges and has therefore developed a number of plant species that are particularly resistant to saltwater. “There are only eight people living on Hallig Gröde – it's Germany’s smallest municipality,” says Dr Petersen-Andresen. We spot a few cattle before heading for the mainland – after all, we want to be back before the tide comes in. Safe on dry land, I look back on a day packed with experiences. Ultimately, I’ve learned that the coast has far more to offer than just sandy beaches and dunes. I bid Dr. Petersen-Andresen a fond farewell. I’m excited to see what other surprises are in store for me on my journey to the lesser-known corners of Germany.
“Because of the specific dangers, you should never venture onto the mudflats alone. Visitors often lack the experience to recognise or foresee the dangers out there.”
North and Baltic: Germany’s seas
Germany has two sea coasts: the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. While the North Sea has a harsh climate, the weather on the Baltic Sea tends to be milder. The tides on the Baltic Sea are barely noticeable here, so the winds and waves are much gentler. If you like a wild, barren coast, then head to the North Sea; if it’s a relaxing holiday you’re after, then we recommend the Baltic Sea.
Experience Germany’s green side!
Germany has an astonishing array of landscapes: two seas, countless rivers, lowlands, uplands, and, of course, the Alps, offer endless opportunities for exploration.