Wadden Islands (Wadden Eilanden)

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The Dutch Wadden Eilanden (Wadden Islands) consists of the five inhabited islands of Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog and the two uninhabited ones of Rottum and Noorderhaaks. This last one is not really an island, but a sandbank that is flooded during high seas. It is growing continuously and will eventually be an island, while Rottum will cease to exist, as the Wadden Islands are shifting eastwards all the time.

Texel is the largest of the islands and there are numerous towns and beach resorts. It has 24 km of excellent beaches and every year in June, the world's largest catamaran race is held there. Vlieland is a lot smaller and it is mostly families with children who spend their vacation there. On Terschelling are no cars. It is biker's paradise and the island can be explored completely in a day or so. Ameland is also very popular with tourists and during the summer it is very busy. Schierminnikoog is less developed and Rottum can only be accessed after obtaining a permit.

The Waddenzee is the sea between the Wadden Eilanden and the mainland. It is very shallow and during low tide it is possible to walk to the islands. If you plan to take a walking trip, wear good boots, as the first few kilometers the route runs through thick mud. Never try to make the crossing without a guide, as low tide doesn't last very long and once you get lost you won't have a chance when the water comes back in. On the trip you will most likely see sand banks where sea lions are resting. All of the Wadden Eilanden are important bird-breeding grounds.

Ferries connect the islands with the main land, as well as each other. Ports where you can take a ferry include Den Helder, Harlingen, Holwerd and Lauwersoog. Accommodation and restaurants are available on all of the islands, except for Rottum.

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