North Sea - Adventure and Relaxation at the Wadden Sea
The North Sea is an all-rounder. The sensational natural landscape of the Wadden Sea and the bracing climate offer unique and wholesome natural holidays. Family-friendly attractions as well as various sporting and leisure activities promise an eventful time.
Geography - Of islands and Halligen
The North Sea is a shelf sea at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. It borders on the island of Great Britain and the states of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France. Its north-south expansion is about 1,120 kilometres and the maximum width 1,001 kilometres. The German Bight is part of the continental North Sea coast and runs along the federal states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. In addition, it includes parts of Hamburg and Bremen. There is a great number of islands and Halligen, most of which belong to the Frisian Islands. The North Frisian Islands are part of Schleswig-Holstein, while the East Frisian Islands belong to Lower Saxony. Other islands are Heligoland and Neuwerk Island. Significant cities along the German Bight are Emden, Wilhelmshaven, Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven, Sankt Peter-Ording and Husum. There is a mild to temperate bracing climate with maritime influences, which creates temperate to warm summers and mild winters.
Nature - Biodiversity in the Wadden Sea
You see fine, white sandy beaches, endless salt marshes, dunes and dykes here, which create a desert-like scenery. The landscape is characterised by the Wadden Sea, which is dominated by the tides of ebb and low. The Wadden Sea National Park has been part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage since 2009. It is divided into the protected areas of the Hamburg, Lower Saxon and Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea and the Halligen. The latter are an impressive natural spectacle. The author Theodor Storm did not call them "schwimmende Träume" ("swimming dreams") for no reason. The North Sea region is mostly flat and shapeless, which makes it seem barren but the Wadden Sea has an extraordinarily rich flora and fauna. It is the largest European wetland area at a stretch and the salt marshes are the greatest ones in Europe too. Almost 5,000 creatures have adjusted to these special living conditions, 250 of which are endemic. The abundance of insects, arachnids and birds is very fascinating. The best-known animals are mussels such as the blue mussel and the cockle, the sand crab, the seal and the lugworm. Seagrass and algae, especially green algae, are very common here.
Experience - Feeling the healing power of the North Sea
Besides culinary specialities which are made from algae, fish plays an important role in the North Sea cuisine. The ways in which you can enjoy freshly caught fish are unlimited. One thing is sure: every dish is a whole new taste adventure. The North Sea does not only offer culinary specialities but it is also good for your health because its bracing climate is very wholesome. The sea air contains iodine, which does not only have a recreational effect but also revives travellers' circulation and strengthens their immune system. Skin and respiratory diseases can be mitigated this way. A special treatment is Thalassotherapy ("thalasso" meaning "sea" in Greek), during which substances from the sea are used as remedies. In addition, the North Sea has a lot to offer to culture enthusiasts and families. Museums like the Dykhus in Borkum, the Fischereimuseum (a fishing museum) in Cuxhaven, the Ostfriesische Teemuseum ("East Frisian tea museum") in Norden and the German Emigration Centre in Bremerhaven are worth a visit. The region's many lighthouses, which have braved wind and weather for centuries, are important landmarks and popular photo scenes. The maritime events are complemented by cultural facilities and events. Holidaymakers can also go shopping at the North Sea. Popular souvenirs are small model ships, mussels, starfish and East Frisian tea.
Activities - Ideal winds for going sailing and kitesurfing
One experience travellers of the North Sea should not miss out on is the famous walk across the mudflats. You learn all about the features of this protected region and the animals who live in it on a guided barefoot walk. In addition, the North Sea is a popular location for going bathing and doing water sports. The high winds are excellently suited for going sailing, kitesurfing, fishing or diving (e.g. for wrecks). The beach is great for going camping, either at the dykes or with a view of the sea. A particularly romantic experience is a picnic at the beach during sunset. The dykes and dunes as well as the land behind them are best explored on foot, on the back of a horse or by bike. Travellers are surrounded by native nature and idyllic fishermen's villages on such trips. The region is also popular with golfers who want to pursue their hobby in a maritime ambience.
The cities along the North Sea coast can be reached by car or train. Some of them can also be reached by coach. Travellers who want to spend their holiday on one of the islands can cross the water in a car ferry or a passenger ship. The nearest international airports are those in Hamburg and Bremen and there is a small regional airport in Sylt. Depending on the region, the people speak German, Low German (Plattdeutsch), Frisian or Danish along the North Sea coast.
The North Sea is known for the Wadden Sea with the famous walks across the mudflats and for the healing effect of its bracing climate. Attractive bathing resorts, numerous sporting and leisure activities, the maritime cuisine and the range of cultural facilities and events create a wonderful holiday atmosphere.