Lower Saxony’s Seaside Spa Town and the Wadden Sea

It takes a little while to get used to the gooey feeling of mud squishing between my toes. I realise I must have been a child the last time I’ve enjoyed rather than recoiled from it but my adult brain is soothed by the knowledge that there’s nothing in this mud that can hurt me.

In fact it’s quite the opposite. This mud has healing properties and if I was in a nearby spa I could be paying good money to be wrapped up in the very mud I’m now squishing through. After being assured that the skin on my feet would be loving it I let myself relax and enjoy the almost ticklish sensation of the moving mud.

The Wadden Sea and nearby Cuxhaven in Lower Saxony have been sea resort and spa areas for more than 200 years, with people coming to this corner of Germany to enjoy the area’s restorative qualities since 1816.

Horse riders on the mudflats of the Wadden Sea near Cuxhaven in Lower Saxony, Gemany

These days the Wadden Sea is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world.

Walking the Wadden Sea’s Mudflats

With more than a million hectares of world heritage property in the south eastern part of the North Sea, this is an important zone between land, sea and freshwater, where the natural process are undisturbed through most of the area.

For our visit we started at the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea Visitor Centre which is in the Wadden Sea national park near the entry to Sahlenburg Beach.

The visitor centre has an exhibition space as well as research facilities and is where you can find passionate guides who can take you out walking onto the mudflats, explaining the way the ecosystems work and digging up large lugworms to show you what’s below the surface.

I loved the way the mudflats stretched so far out to the horizon they almost looked like a mirage, and it was slightly surreal when horse drawn carriages went by.

Those driving the carriages knew which sections they could stick to for their wheels, but there were also horses being ridden in a more one on one way, and I could imagine how wonderful it must feel to gallop along those mud flats (no doubt giving myself a hair mud treatment as I went).

Then there were the Sea Baskets. No, not a seafood dish at the local pub, but instead places you can sit and breathe in the fresh air. They look like the pretty love child of a day bed and a picnic basket and I could imagine how blissful it must be to spend a day in one of them, dividing my time between reading good books, writing in my journal and just looking out across those eerily beautiful mud flats.

Sea Baskets at Wadden Sea Cuxhaven, Lower Saxony Germany

Cuxhaven – Life in a Lower Saxony Northern Town

The northernmost point of Lower Saxony, the town of Cuxhaven is one of the most popular vacation spots on the North Sea.

It may be home to about 52,000 residents but as you walk along the beach in the town quarter of Duhnen looking at the sea baskets and explore the town with its boutiques it feels more like a small seaside town

There’s a museum dedicated to shipwrecks, a beacon that was once used as a lighthouse known as the Kugelbake, and of course a large spa facility where you can indulge in various treatments including some that use the very mud that we walked on.

Sea baskets by the seaside in Cuxhaven, Lower Saxony

We stayed at the Hotel Seelust which is an easy walk from the beach and the shops, has a complimentary sauna and steam room, and some rooms offering views over the beach.

Germany’s First Nature Park – Luneburg Heath

If you love getting out into nature, after your mud flat walking and spa town treatments you may want to head to Lüneburger Heide, or Lüneburg Heath, one of the most popular nature parks in Germany.

The first nature park in the country, Lüneburg Heath covers 107,000 hectares making it the largest interconnected area of heathland in Central Europe.

For around a month between August and September the park turns into a sea of purple when the heather blooms, and while we didn’t get to see that with our own eyes I’m told it’s a spectacular sight and the photos do look beautiful.

It may not have been ready to turn on the colours when we were there, but the park still had its charms and we went for a hike before hopping into a horse drawn carriage to make our way back to our home for the night.

The Landhaus Haverbeckhof is a guesthouse with two parts, the main house and the ‘Pforte House’ just across the street which has seven double rooms, a single room and a family room.

And though by now it was a couple of days and a whole lot of walking later as I hopped into bed I checked the skin on my feet and it was still soft. Next time cover my whole body in that Wadden Sea mud.

Amanda Woods travelled as a guest of Germany Tourism but as usual all opinions remain her own.

This post contains some affiliate links, so if you click on a link and book something I will get a little something to help pay those blogging bills, but don’t worry, it’s no extra cost to you.

Cuxhaven manhole cover, Lower Saxony Germany

About the Author

As a journalist who loves to travel and is fond of a chat I'm oh so happy when I'm sharing travel tales and tips through my blog and on my weekly travel segment on Sydney Radio 2UE. When I'm not travelling or writing about it I can be found out and about with friends, curled up at home with a good book or watching an addictive tv show promising I'll stop after one more episode. Amanda on Google +

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