Nice weather, sunny but still to cold to swim in the sea. May. It’s the perfect time to take the van visiting new places. The North Sea and the Wadden Sea. We have never done a walk in the mud of the wetlands before so we have a plan. We must do this!
Our tour: Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Butjadingen, Tossens, Wilhelmshaven, Horumersiel, Carolinensiel, Bensersiel, and Dornumersiel.
When we arrived at our first destination Cuxhaven, we parked the van and went straight to the beach. Tiger, our Labrador dog already smelt the water and was ready for a swim. And here we go, we arrived at the North Sea and there is no water! Low tide!
It was great. We took our shoes off and went for a long walk through the mud flats. You must do this. It’s a great experience; it feels very good and certainly is very healthy. You can also join guided tours walking or by horse carriage. Some of the tours even take to the small islands off shore. We are telling you more about the Wadden Sea later. You can also visit websites of the Wadden Sea with an in depth descriptions on the various areas, the fauna and flora, and things you find in the mud or animals that can be spotted.
Important: if you go on a walk by yourself you should know the time schedules of low and high tide. You must be back on the beach before the high tide returns!
Cuxhaven is a very nice city. Visit the port with its fisher boats and small fish markets. It’s good to crap a fish sandwich with soused herring. You can also take a ferry to Helgoland, the most western German island in the North Sea with its red cliffs.
Next day we left Cuxhaven to Bremerhaven, took the ferry to Nordenham and continued on small roads behind the dikes to Butjadingen. Green landscapes, fields with cows and many, many sheep. The night we spend behind the dike in Tossens. We loved it to wake up in the morning hearing the sheep close by the van.
We took a walk on the dike. It gives you a good view on the sea, wetlands or the wonderful green landscapes. Or take your bike, visiting the smaller towns with its farms, cafés and small churches.
Wilhelmshaven was on the list for the following day visiting the navy museum with old battle ships and the old navy port. If you want to spend the night, there is a nice parking spot on higher ground for your camper with a great view on the Jedebusen (the bay).
Hooksiel! We left Wilhelmshaven to a nice little town, named Hooksiel. Don’t miss it. It has a small port, cafés, restaurants, nice little shops, and a museum for mussel and shell.
We continue on smaller roads behind the dikes and again green, green landscapes, sheep, cows and little towns. Time to find a campground for our last two nights in this region. We looked at Horumsiel, Schilling, Carolinensiel, Bensersiel, and found a site in Dornumersiel.
It’s time for a last walk in the mud and shallow waters before heading to the Island of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea.
One important advice! From May to September the campgrounds are packed. You should plan your tour; especially check the sites in advance where you want to stay overnight. Our plan was no plan like always and to just go, explore the region, and camp where it’s nice or when it gets dark.
You can’t camp or park your motor van on a parking lot a long the road or behind the dikes. It’s not allowed.
Check your apps for campgrounds in the area. There are many alternatives, however the sites count up to more than 800 and 1200 parking positions. Long-term campers and caravans already have many positions on these sites. The bigger sites also offer water sport activities and playgrounds for kids.
You better check before you visit if dogs are allowed on the campground and or the beach. This was indeed difficult and not very nice. Often, there was just a very small area on the beach that allowed dogs with an additional charge for dogs. Some of the campsites just offer very view positions for vans with dogs.
Here are the sites where we parked:
- Cuxhaven/Duhnen: Campingplatz Nordsee. Duhnen is a beach town next to Cuxhaven. There are also other sites for motor vans closer to the city.
- Tossens: Knaus Campingpark Tossens
- Wilhelmshaven: Fliegerdeich am Suedstrand with a nice view
- Dornumersiel: Wohnmobilstellplatz Nordseeblick
The Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea lays at the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the Frisian Islands. The area covers the German Wadden Sea National Parks of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, most of the Danish Wadden Sea maritime conservation area, and the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area.
It is an intertidal zone forming a shallow body of water with wetlands, tidal flats, tidal channels, mud flats and sand, beaches, sandy shoals, sea-grass meadows, mussel beds, salt marshes, sandbars in the North Sea. It’s a flat coastal wetland environment, which was formed by interactions between physical and biological factors and is very rich in biological diversity. It is very famous for its great flora and fauna.
It’s home to many animal and plant species, and resting place for breeding birds like geese, ducks, waders, gulls and shorebirds. Seals can also be spotted on sandbanks and beaches. The salt marshes are breeding places for terns and habitat for sea holly. Don’t miss the sea lavender that bloom in summer.
A large part of the Wadden Sea is protected in cooperation of Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany.
In 1986 UNESCO declared the Wadden Sea a biosphere reserve. And since 2009, the German and the Dutch areas of the Wadden Sea were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Danish part was added in 2014.
Links and sites to visit in the region
- Cuxhaven – Museum of the fishing industry in the region: http://www.windstaerke10.net/index.php
- Deutsches Marine Museum Wilhelmshaven:
- Aquarium in Wilhelmshaven:
- Hooksiel Museum for Mussels and Shell:
- Bensersiel – visit the island Langeoog: