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Wadden Islands

Travel Guide Europe Wadden Islands

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Introduction

On the beach

On the beach

© All Rights Reserved marjosdiri

The Wadden Islands are a string of Islands that lie before the coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark that were named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2009.

In the Netherlands and a part of Germany these islands are sepearated with the mainland, by the Waddenzee, a very shallow sea, which allows you to walk to the Islands during low tide. This is called Wadling.

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Geography

The Wadden Islands (from west to east, and south to north) can be found in:

The Netherlands

Germany

  • Borkum
  • Lütje Hörn
  • Kachelotplate
  • Memmert
  • Juist
  • Norderney
  • Baltrum
  • Langeoog
  • Spiekeroog
  • Minsener-Oldoog
  • Wangerooge
  • Alte Mellum
  • Großer Knechtsand
  • Kleiner Knechtsand
  • Neuwerk
  • Nigehörn
  • Scharhörn
  • Trischen
  • Süderoogsand
  • Norderoogsand
  • Japsand
  • Pellworm
  • The Halligen Islands (Hooge, Langeness, Habel, Süderoog, Südfall, Norderoog, Oland, Gröde, Nordstrandischmoor, Hamburger Hallig)
  • Amrum
  • Föhr
  • Sylt (connected to the mainland by a bridge)

Denmark

  • Rømø
  • Mandø
  • Fanø
  • Langli

Helgoland

Helgoland is not one of the Wadden islands. Helgoland is a rocky island, where as the Wadden islands are made of sand. But there are ties between Helgoland and the other islands.

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Towns

Some of these islands are inhabited, some are not much more than a bank of sand, that doesn't get flooded during the high tide.

There are no large cities on these islands, but there are some small towns. Den Burg is the largest town of the Dutch island of Texel. Westerland is the largest town on the German island of Sylt. Other bigger towns can be found on Borkum, Norderrey, Juist and Föhr.

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Sights and Activities

Waddling

Waddling is the act of walking on the bottom of the sea at low tide and can best be done in the Dutch and German parts of the Wadden Islands. Read more about waddling here.

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Events and Festivals

Oerol on Terschelling is a cultural event that takes place in the summer. Because of the populartity of this event, hotels and campings are fully booked way before the festival.

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Weather

The Wadden Islands have a temperate seaclimate with relatively cool summers and mild winters. Temperatures are usually around 20 °C from June to August and around 5 °C from December to February. Precipitation is evenly distributed througout the year, though autumn (October/November) is slightly wetter and heavy downpoors can occur during summer. Snow is relatively rare compared to mainland Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

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Getting There

By Plane

Westerland (Sylt) has an airport that has connections to some larger airports in Germany, including Berlin, Düsseldorf, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Cologne. On some other islands there are small airport that you can fly to in a small plane, but there are no big commercial airports

By Train

The only island that can be reached by train is Sylt.

By Car

On some islands you can bring you own car, by boat, on others that is not possible.

By Boat

To visit the Dutch Wadden Islands, you need to take a ferry. These leave from Den Helder (to Texel), Harlingen (to Vlieland, Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog), and Holwerd (to Ameland). In summer, there is an additional ferry between Texel and Vlieland.
For more information on getting to Texel, check the Teso website. Rederij Doekse provides ferries between Terschelling and both Vlieland and Harlingen, while Wagenborg has boats to the Wadden Islands of Amerland and Schiermonnikoog.

There are also daily services between Eemshaven in the north of the province of Groningen and the German Wadden Island of Borkum with Borkumlijn (in dutch).

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.

Post

The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 9:25 on Feb 4, 14 by Utrecht. 12 articles link to this page.

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