The Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park in the north of Germany surrounds a small group of islands located in the Elbe estuary just off the coast of Cuxhaven. The nature reserve encompasses around 12,000 hectares of mudflats.
Three islands just off the coast of Lower Saxony define the landscape of the smallest of Germany's three Wadden Sea National Parks. These are Neuwerk, which has a population of around 40, the dune island of Scharhörn and the man-made island of Nigehörn. When the tide is out, visitors can go for a hike or carriage ride on the mudflats and spot large colonies of sea birds as they explore the undisturbed nature on and between the islands. The area is rich in culture too and the history of the island of Neuwerk is particularly interesting since it has been linked to the city of Hamburg since 1299. The fortified tower in the Elbe estuary provides an insight into this fascinating past, as it would have once been used as part of the defence against pirates.