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The Wadden Islands are a string of Islands that lie off the coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. The Dutch and German part of the sea were named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2009. Large areas of the Wadden Sea are protected wildlife rerserves.
During low tide the very shallow sea reveals its sandplates, which allow you to walk to the islands during low tide. This is called wadlling. But it is also home to a couple of animals that are specially adapted this sea, especially birds that use the area as a migration stopover or wintering site. The area has high populations of waders (shorebirds), ducks, geese, gulls and terns. Another animal that is common here is the common seal.
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.
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 downpours can occur during summer. Snow is relatively rare compared to mainland Netherlands.
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.
The only island that can be reached directly by train is Sylt. All others require a combination of train and ferry. (For example to Norddeich Mole in order to take the ferry to Juist, Norderney and Baltrum).
On some islands you can bring you own car on the ferry. On others that might not be possible.
To visit the Dutch Wadden Islands, you need to take a ferry. These leave from Den Helder (to Texel), Harlingen (to Vlieland and Terschelling, Lauwersoog to 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 Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.
Although not a way to get around, there are touristic flights and options for skydiving on some of the islands, including Texel in the Netherlands.
Most of the islands are small and there is no need to bring one, unless you are packed with your own camping gear or other stuff. On top of that, apart from the ferry to Texel, it is very expensive.
On many Wadden Sea islands cars are banned. Consequently many inhabitants travel by bicycle on these islands. On most islands the bicycle is an excellent way to get around. Note though that on some islands local authorities have not only banned cars but also bicycles (mainly German islands), so check before you bring your bicycle on an island.
Most islands have some sort of bus connection between the villages, but schedules are rather erratic and usually coincide with the arrival of the ferry.
Apart from excursions to visit the areas around the islands, there are no specific schedules ferries between villages on the same island.
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