Mud in Germany

Holidaymakers come here to relax by the beach – many not even realising this is a unique landscape that hosts a habitat found nowhere else in the world.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


The Wadden Sea, Germany

There’s a squelching noise coming from my feet. At least, I assume it’s from my feet. I can’t see them anymore – in their place is just a runny mess of brown mud with little bubbles escaping.

I’m out on the mudflats near the shore of a town called Norden in the north of Germany. The mud’s been revealed by the tide that has pulled the water away and so I have ventured out with a National Park guide to see what we can find.

She pushes a spade down past the soft surface and brings up a pile of mud. Sifting through it we find worms and crabs and all sorts of other small critters.

Wadden Sea, Norden, Germany

This is the Wadden Sea – a unique landscape that hosts a habitat found nowhere else in the world. More than 10,000 animal and plant species live around these coastal wetland environments that change constantly throughout the day with the movement of the tides.

The Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats on the planet and it’s changing in the longer term as well.

Geologically, it’s an extremely young area and has only been like this for about 10,000 years. The winds and the tides are gradually reshaping it with constant pressure from every angle.

Wadden Sea, Norden, Germany

I’m wearing socks, on the advice of the ranger, to protect my feet and they have turned a brown grey colour. I can feel the silt inside them as I step.

Once we get back to the shoreline and I scramble up some rocks, I try to wash them. Mud pours out by they don’t change colour. These white socks might need to be left behind.

Wadden Sea, Norden, Germany
Wadden Sea, Norden, Germany

You don’t need to get as dirty as this, though, to experience the Wadden Sea (although it is highly recommended!).

The town of Norden is a busy holiday destination with a large amount of accommodation. It’s popular with those who see the water as recreation – sailors, kite surfers, swimmers and kayakers.

Wadden Sea, Norden, Germany

But Norden also offers a lot for those who see the water for its biological riches.

Visiting the Wadden Sea at Norden

There are the mudflats, of course, for those who want to see the importance of the region close up.

For birdwatchers, the area around Norden and the Wadden Sea more generally provide viewpoints to see the millions of migrating birds that stop here to rest during their journeys.

The popular ‘Seehund Station’ is a centre near the coastline of Norden that rescues and looks after injured or orphaned seals. Experts nurse them back to health and then release them back into the sea when they are strong enough to look after themselves.

Wadden Sea, Norden, Germany
Wadden Sea, Norden, Germany

The Seehund Station is a great place for everyone – but particularly kids – and gives you an excellent insight into some of the marine life of the sea here.

The Seehund Station (where you can also organise the mudflat tours) is located at Dörper Weg 24, 26506, Norden, Germany.
You can see it on a map here.

The Seehund Station is open at the following times:
January – November: 1000 – 1700
December: Closed (except 20th – 23rd and 26th – 31st)

An entry ticket for the Seehund Station is €6 and €3.50 for children.

You can find out more information at the official website for the Seehund Station.

Although there is human development along the coastline, the most important areas of natural significance have been well protected for everyone to enjoy.


Although you’ll be closer to the coast at Norddeich, there’s a better selection of accommodation at nearby Norden.


There aren’t really any hostels but a good budget option is WattLodge which offers dorm beds.


For a comfortable place at a reasonable price, have a look at Hotel & Restaurant Möwchen.


A wonderful spot if you would prefer to be by the water is the Hotel Regina Maris.


And for a bit of luxury, I would suggest your best option is going to be Romantik Hotel Reichshof.

Time Travel Turtle was supported by DB Bahn, the German National Tourist Board and Youth Hostels in Germany but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.


This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

4 thoughts on “Mud in Germany”

  1. wir waren in deiner wunderschönen Wohnung. Es ist wirklich sehr schön und hat alles was man für einen erholsamen Urlaub braucht.Viele Ferienhäuser in norden.Ferienhaus Mackeriege ist auch eines davon und bietet alle luxuriösen Einrichtungen. Sie müssen es besuchen und Ihren Urlaub mit Ihrer Familie genießen.


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