© TA.SH/Pepe Lange© TA.SH/Pepe Lange

North Sea Schleswig-Hol­stein

Walk on the seabed from one island to another. Feel the silt between your toes. Marvel at cloud formations and wade waist-deep with a beating heart through salt water tide-ways.

 Watch seals and grey seals roll about in the sunshine. Enjoy the live experience of a storm tide: On a hallig, in the midst of the Schleswig-Holstein mud flats, watch the waves and crashing of the breakers from the cosy comfort of a farmhouse parlour.

These are magic moments you can only experience at the North Sea.

You can also experience vastness and tranquillity on the islands and the mainland. Kilometres of sandy beaches stretch out in front of Sylt, Amrum and St. Peter-Ording. Plenty of space to be alone, to clear your head. There is almost always a strong wind at the North Sea. If you are up for a challenge, try beach sailing: speed along the sandbanks on three wheels and feel the power of the North Sea wind – a free face peeling included.

Ex­per­i­ence the North Sea!

First time at the North Sea?

 © TA.SH / Jan-Christoph Schultchen© TA.SH / Jan-Christoph Schultchen

Close to heaven

On an area of 4,410 square metres, the National Park Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea stretches along the North Sea coast der – around 45 times the size of the Island of Sylt. This nature reserve with silt and sandbanks, dunes, dykes and salt marshes is home to some 10,000 animal and plant species. The vastness, the tranquillity and the spectacle of clouds and sunlight let the hustle and bustle of everyday life disappear during a walk across the Wadden Sea.

Highlights of the North Sea Schleswig-Holstein

  • Holidaymakers on Amrum and Föhr can hike from one island to the next. If you take part in a Wadden Sea safari (in german), you will discover not only seals taking a sunbath, but also observe porpoises and sea eagles on the hunt.
  • Spend a night in a wicker beach basket on the North Sea coast (in german). Wake up beneath a starry sky – this awakens childhood memories and makes you happy!
  • In the Friedrichskoog seal station, you can watch grey seal pups and seals. Biologists and animal keepers bring up the small baby seals, who have been separated from their mothers, and teach them everything a young seal needs to know: swimming, eating whole fish and not to fight with conspecifics.
  • Visitors can experience the North Sea without frills on the Halligen (in german). Ten of these small, flat isles are distributed across the National Park Wadden Sea – remnants of land stretches that sank into the sea during storm tides centuries ago. A holiday on the Halligen means a timeout in the midst of the sea, far away from main traffic roads, shopping centres and crowds of people.

Artists, cabbage growers and the Dead Aunt

A forerunner of expressionist painting and a worldwide successful pop band, a Literature Nobel Prize winner and a top designer in the international fashion industry – they all have one thing in common. Emil Nolde and Stanfour, Theodor Mommsen and Jil Sander belong to the cultural export hits of Schleswig-Holstein and all come from the west coast. In the villages and towns between the Elbe estuary and the Danish border, artists and cabbage growers live side by side. On the country roads of North Frisia, you overtake tractors and are overtaken by luxury limousines. Travelling across country, you pass by farmyards on dwelling mounds, through villages with thatched rooves and orchards. Cows, sheep and horses are set to pasture on the marshes.

Theodor Storm described Husum (in german) as the “grey city on the sea”. If this was true 200 years ago, a lot has changed since in the port city. Puppeteer museum and Christmas house, jazz brunch and tango nights, city tours in old-timer busses and late-night shopping are only a few examples of the colourful life in the North Frisian port.

Regional events and customs

And what does the North Sea taste like?

  • Lobscouse and matjes bring sailor tradition onto the plate.
  • Pears, beans and bacon or kale with caramelised potatoes unite sweet and salty to a genuine northern German taste experience.
  • After a walk along the beach in winter, a ‘Pharisäer’ coffee or a ‘Dead Aunt’ will bring cold limbs back to life. The coffee or cocoa with at least 3 cl rum and a cream topping is considered the national drink of Frisians. It is served in a tall cup with a Frisian pattern. Whoever manages to drink eight servings is allowed to take the cup home, according to west coast custom – as tradition demands. 
 © Jan-Christoph Schultchen / TA.SH© Jan-Christoph Schultchen / TA.SH

Storm tide discoverers and stunt kite tamers

Lazing in a wicker beach chair slows everything down. The North Sea comes and goes, cloud pictures, kite surfers and beach volleyball player offer something interesting to look at. But it never gets so hot at the North Sea that you want to stop moving altogether. After a few days of quiet the latest, you will get itchy feet, or as the locals say “Hummeln im Mors”. “Hummeln” are bumblebees, and “Mors” is the popular northern German term for “backside”.

Cycling, hiking, surfing

If you would like to discover the beauty and features of the west coast, just hop onto your bicycle and explore the countryside. The North Sea cycle path (in german), the Viking-Frisia-Path and other west coast paths lead through salt marshes and cabbage fields, villages and towns with their fishing ports.

Those who would rather get about on foot will find a well-developed network of hiking trails as well as 420 kilometres of signposted routes and activities for Nordic Walking (in german). On the western edge of Sylt, before Amrum and in St. Peter Ording, you will find the largest beaches of the state. Here, you can take time out for yourself on a walk or stroll, let your gaze travel across the mudflats and waves, and fill your lungs with salt air.

Speed is the name of the game when it comes to sailing or kiting: surfers and sailors fight the elements and drive up their adrenaline. In the water sports centres (in german), landlubbers can try out sailing, surfing and kiting, and learn how to conquer the wind.

Horse enthusiasts will find ideal conditions at the North Sea for a riding holiday (in german) with their own horse, or with a stable horse. At the riding schools in the region, horse lovers can find suitable accommodation with or without their four-legged companions.

Short and sweet, what else is there to do?

  • A boat trip on the Eider with sea food catch
  • An excursion to the Halligen
  • A visit to the Aquarium and Information Centre Multimar Wattforum in Tönning
  • Kite festival St. Peter-Ording
  • And if the weather is bad? In six wellness and Thalasso centres, as well as nine adventure baths (in german), you can splash about, relax and take a sauna – particularly enjoyable when the rain is beating down and the wind is howling outside.
 © TA.SH / Jan-Christoph Schultchen© TA.SH / Jan-Christoph Schultchen

Dykes, dunes and mudflats

The dykes span 408 kilometres along the Schleswig-Holstein North Sea coast. The artificial, grassy walls protect the land from flooding during storm tides. On the peak of the dykes, you can go for walks, cycle or relax and let your view travel over the great beyond – accompanied by the multi-vocal “baaa” of sheep. Hundreds of thousands of them inhabit the dykes and makes themselves useful in the protection of the coast: they fertilise the grass, keep it short, tread the ground firm and plug mouse holes. Behind the dykes, the salt marshes stretch out into the distance. As they are regularly flooded by salt water, the offer a retreat for plants, birds and insects who defy the extreme living conditions.

At the North Sea beaches, the dunes rise up – here, you can sunbathe hidden from wind and unwelcome glances. Twice a day, the tide rises by up to three metres to its highest level. There are some twelve-and-a-half hours between high and low tide. This is known as the change of tides.

The climate at the North Sea is stimulating. If you push against the wind, you expend more energy. Your blood pulses. Warmth streams through your whole body. Forgotten muscles spring into action, salt air clears your nose and makes your skin tingle. After a day at the sea, food tastes twice as good as at home.

If you would like to know more, you can find more information at the National Park Wadden Sea Schleswig-Holstein.


The most photographed lighthouse and the secret of the tide

Moin! This is the typical Schleswig-Holstein greeting. In the morning at the backer’s, in the afternoon during a harbour stroll, and evening at official ministerial visits: “Moin” can be heard everywhere and at any time of day in Schleswig-Holstein. Many visitors from the south assume that “Moin” is a variant of the German morning greeting “Guten Morgen”. In actual fact, it comes from the Low German and Dutch expression “Mooi”, meaning beautiful or good. With their “Moin”, the northerners are wishing you a “good (mooien) day”. If they are feeling talkative, you might even hear a double “Moin Moin”. 

That’s interesting!

  • 25 lighthouses, the landmarks of the North Sea, have been preserved on the North Sea islands and on the west coast of the country – most of them in the traditional red-and-white stripes, some of them in brickwork. The number one as most photographed lighthouse is the more than 100-year-old lighthouse Westerheversand (in german). A holiday accommodation fort wo with wooden bathtub and breakfast area with a panoramic view is contained in the lighthouse Dagebüll (in german).
  • The change of tides in the Wadden Sea (in german) happens every six hours and 12 minutes. Then, the water pulls back, releases the Wadden Sea and then returns for the full tide. This change of ebb and flow happens because the gravitational pull of the moon on the moon-facing side of the earth is stronger than its centrifugal force. Thus, two flood tides tower up in the world’s seas, which are approx. half a metre high. Because the earth rotates daily under these two flood tides, there is a high tide and a low tide twice a day. The times shift every day by approx. 48 minutes. At the Baltic Sea, however, the tides are hardly noticeable, because there is only little exchange of water with the large oceans.
  • As a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Wadden Sea belongs to the great natural wonders of the world. With its 7,500 years, the Wadden Sea is still young. Wind, waves and tides create landscapes and make them disappear again.

Dis­cov­er the North Sea!

  • in german
    north sea events

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     © Foto Oliver Franke© Foto Oliver Franke
  • in german
    Happy hol­i­day at the north sea

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     © Kiel-Marketing / K.Steigueber© Kiel-Marketing / K.Steigueber
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