Mudflat Hiking In The Wadden Sea; What Do You Need To Know?


Latest update, 27th June 2022

Hiking over the mudflats of the Wadden Sea is one of the most memorable activities in the Netherlands. The overwhelming tranquility of the Wadden Sea makes mudflat walking an unforgettable experience.

The best Wadden Sea mudflat hikes are between the mainland of Groningen and Ameland or Schiermonnikoog. You can also hike to sandbanks like Engelsmanplaat or Simonszand or depart from these sandbanks. Short mudflats hikes close to the mainland of Groningen are also possible.

The Wadden Sea is one of the last remaining areas in the Netherlands, where natural processes have remained largely undisturbed. As a result, the Wadden Sea is an area where you hear nothing but the sound of the wind and the birds. I find the Wadden Sea beautiful, just beautiful….!

There is a reason that the Wadden Sea is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in The Netherlands. The Wadden Sea is that special….!

Where Can I Book A Mudflat Hike?

Several companies organize these mudflat hikes over the Wadden Sea. Therefore, you can always find a suitable mudflat hike for yourself and your physical condition.

I highly recommend using a guide because mudflat hiking on your own can be hazardous if you get lost when the tide comes back in again. The guides will get you safely over the mudflats to reach your destination before the tide returns.

The companies below all offer guided mudflat hikes in the Wadden Sea.

  • Wadloopcentrum Pieterburen
    • Address: Haven 20, 9976 VN Lauwersoog, Tel: 0595 – 528 300
    • Hikes to Ameland, Schiermonnikoog en Rottumeroog
    • Hikes to and from sandbanks as Engelsmanplaat, Simonszand and Brakzand
    • Several short roundtrip hikes closer to the shore
  • Wadlopen-Pieterburen.nl
    • Address: Hoofdstraat 84, 9968 AG Pieterburen. Tel: 0595-528558 / 528203
    • Hikes to Ameland, Schiermonnikoog
    • Several short roundtrip hikes closer to the shore
  • Wadgids.nl (Dutch website)
    • Address: Notweg 18, 9891 BR  Ezinge, info@wadgids.nl
    • Hikes to Ameland, Schiermonnikoog en Rottumeroog
    • Hikes to and from sandbanks as Engelsmanplaat, Simonszand and Brakzand
    • Several short roundtrip hikes closer to the shore
  • Dijkstra Wadlooptochten
    • Address: Hoofdstraat 118, 9968 Pieterburen, Tel: 0595-52834
    • Hikes to Ameland, Schiermonnikoog
    • Hikes to and from sandbanks as Brakzand
    • Several short roundtrip hikes closer to the shore
  • Wadloopcentrum Fryslan
    • Address: Baron van Sytzamawei 10, 9105 LH Rinsumageest, Tel: 0519 – 242 100
    • Hikes to Ameland, Schiermonnikoog en Rottumeroog
    • Hikes to and from sandbanks as Engelsmanplaat, Simonszand, and Brakzand
    • Several short roundtrip hikes closer to the shore
  • Waddenschipper.com
    • Contact: info@waddenschipper.com. 06 – 2299 6576
    • Several combinations of boating and hiking trips

Map Of Best Mudflat Hikes

On the map below, you will find the locations of the best mudflat hikes in the Wadden Sea and the organizations where you can hire a guide for a mudflat hike.

How Much Does A Guided Mudflat Hike Cost?

The cost of a guided mudflat hike in the Wadden Sea depends on the type of mudflat hike. The longer the mudflat hike, the more it will cost.

Prices of mudflat hikes in the Wadden Sea in 2022 are:

  1. The short mudflat hikes close to the mainland last 2-3 hours and cost € 10-15 per person.
  2. The mudflat hikes to Ameland and Schiermonnikoog usually cost € 30-40 per person (including the ferry back to the mainland). These mudflat hikes will take 3-5 hours.
  3. The hikes to Rottumeroog are the most expensive and cost € 60-70 per person (including the specially chartered boat to bring you back to the mainland). Walking time will be close to 4 hours, and the boat trip back will also take about 4 hours.

How Challenging Is Mudflat Hiking?

Mudflat hiking in the Wadden Sea is not easy.

Hiking over the mudflats can be challenging because the underground will not always be solid hard sand. You will have to cross very muddy parts, which will make the hike much more difficult. Sometimes, you will also have to wade through the water, and the water can easily reach your waist.

Therefore, you will have to honestly assess your physical fitness and ask yourself if you are fit enough for a particular hike. There is no shame in admitting that a mudflat hike may be too much for you. The good thing is that these hikes can often be tailormade.

For example, the mudflat hikes to Schiermonnikoog are challenging if you depart directly from the shore. However, it is also possible to have a boat drop you off halfway at a sandbank, Brakzand, from which the remaining mudflat hike to Terschelling will be easier, and you will still be able to experience the feeling of walking over the Wadden Sea.

Is Mudflat Hiking In The Wadden Sea Safe?

You may wonder if walking over the mudflats is safe because you must finish your hike before the tide returns.

Mudflat Hiking in the Wadden Sea is not dangerous, provided you adhere to two conditions. First, don’t go mudflat hiking without an experienced guide. Second, be honest about your physical condition. You need to finish the mudflat hike and can’t give up when you are halfway.

Never go mudflat hiking in the Wadden Sea without an experienced guide. You want to avoid getting lost on the mudflats or end up in an area of the Wadden Sea with deep gullies between the sandbanks.

Is your physical condition honestly good enough to hike over the mudflats? You should avoid being so tired halfway through that you can barely move forward at all costs.

Is Mudflat Hiking Possible In The Winter?

At first glance, mudflat hiking in the Wadden Sea seems like an activity only suitable for the summer with warmer weather.

You can also go mudflat hiking in the winter, particularly shorter mudflat hikes close to the mainland. A mudflat hike to Ameland or Schiermonnikoog is also possible in the winter, provided you are equipped with protective clothing to keep you warm (surf suit and shoes).

Protective clothing to stay as warm as possible is a prerequisite for the longer hikes from the mainland to the islands. However, for the shorter mudflat hikes close to the mainland, you will only need gummy boots to keep warm and dry feet.

The advantage of a mudflat hiking trip in the winter is that it will be much quieter. Therefore, you can experience the peace and space of the Wadden Sea even better.

Is Mudflat Hiking In The Wadden Sea Fun?

And finally, let’s answer the most important question: Is mudflat hiking in the Wadden fun?

Hiking over the Wadden Sea mudflats is fun and an experience you will never forget. The vast space of the Wadden Sea is overwhelming. It is wonderful to walk in that endless universe and not hear any cars because there is no place left in The Netherlands where that is possible.

I found the vast space and peace of the Wadden Sea overwhelming. I described in another article why the Wadden Sea is one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands.

Almost everyone I know who has ever participated in a mudflat hike comes back with beautiful memories of this activity. However, I also heard from nearly everyone that it was more challenging than they had thought. Hence, my warning is, to be honest about your physical condition. It is not a shame to let a boat drop you on a sandbank halfway when you doubt whether you are fit enough to walk from Groningen to Ameland or Terschelling.

Are There Special Mudflat Hikes In The Wadden Sea?

There are several types of mudflat hikes in The Wadden Sea possible.

Short roundtrip hikes near the mainland are an excellent way to experience walking over the bottom of the Wadden Sea for the first time or undertake this activity with younger children (> 4 years of age). In addition, you can wear rubber boots during these short hikes because you will not have to cross deeper parts. That is a major advantage because you can keep your feet dry while walking over the sea’s bottom.

The guides will tell you about the fascinating nature, and you will get that special Wadden Sea feeling. These short roundtrip hikes are organized at various places throughout the Wadden Sea and offered by all organizations so that you can pick a time, location, and date that is suitable for you.

Hike to Rottumeroog. Rottumeroog is an uninhabited island in the eastern part of the Dutch Wadden Sea, and you will have to be brought back from the island with a specially chartered boat. The hike to Rottemeroog will get you through the most pristine part of the Wadden Sea, a section where human beings can only be guests for a little while until the tide returns.

Hikes to Rottumeroog are limited because this part is a protected national park, and this hike is one of the most special mudflat hikes possible. On the boat trip back to the coast, you have a great chance to spot lots of seals on the sandbanks east of Rottumeroog.

Roundtrip hikes to Ameland and the hike to Terschelling. These hikes are the longest and most challenging of all hikes over the mudflats that are possible. You have to be very fit to be allowed to start these hikes.

You have to finish the roundtrip hike to Ameland first and keep up with the speed of the (very fit) guides before participating in a mudflat hike to Terschelling. But if you finish these hikes, you can consider yourself a mud-iron man or woman.

Accommodations Near the Mudflat Hikes

It is quite a drive from the west of the Netherlands to get to the starting points of the mudflats hikes. You don’t do that easily on a day trip, especially since you also have to drive back when tired.

You can book a hotel for 1-2 nights near the mudflats or go mudflat hiking during your vacation in the north of the Netherlands.

If you want to stay 1-2 nights, I recommend you to look for a hotel near Lauwersoog, a village next to the departure points of many mudflat hikes. In or near Lauwersoog are several hotels and B&Bs rated as very good.

For example, Logement Schierzicht in Lauwersoog and Hotel Restaurant Wad Oars in Anjum have excellent reviews from their guests.

To avoid disappointments, book a hotel room in Lauwersoog well in advance because mudflat hiking is quite popular, and many mudflat hikers want to spend a few nights in the area. Therefore, hotel rooms in and near Lauwersoog can be scarce, and hotels fill up quickly.

If hotel rooms in Lauwersoog are not available anymore, a good alternative is to book a hotel in Dokkum, a charming town in northern Friesland with many more hotels. From Dokkum, it is ± 15 minutes drive to the starting points of the mudflat hikes.

Hotel de Abdij and Hotel van der Meer in Dokkum have excellent reviews from their guests.

As with Lauwersoog, I recommend booking a hotel room in Dokkum well in advance to avoid disappointment. You’ll be surprised how popular mudflat hiking is.

Some people will want to go mudflat hiking during a vacation in the northern Netherlands. Therefore, I have listed several excellent resorts near the mudflats for you in case you consider a holiday in the Northern Netherlands.

  • Natuurdorp Suyderoogh is located in the middle of the National Park Lauwersmeer and is a paradise for nature lovers. This area is an unknown but stunningly beautiful part of the Netherlands.
  • Esonstad is a beautiful vacation park with houses and apartments in old Frisian style, located on the other side of the Lauwersmeer.
  • Baayvilla’s in Lauwersoog is a new small resort overlooking the Lauwersmeer but within walking distance of the Wadden Sea. All luxurious villas have spectacular lakeside views.

Of course, you can also vacation on Ameland or Schiermonnikoog, take the boat to the mainland in the morning and then hike back to the island.

  • On Ameland, vacation park Ameland State is a good choice because it is located a stone’s throw from the beautiful beaches of Ameland.
  • On the beautiful Schiermonnikoog (a national park) lies Vitamaris, an apartment complex with modern and comfortable apartments.

A little further away from the mudflats is Hof van Saksen which I still want to mention here because I believe that Hof van Saksen is the most beautiful resort in the north of The Netherlands.

  • You can visit the website of Hof van Saksen to see if the park appeals to you. Hof van Saksen is located in a good spot to discover Groningen and Drenthe. Furthermore, I have written an extensive review about Hof van Saksen which you can check out below.

What Is A Good Video About Mudflat Hiking?

The video below will give you a good impression of what mudflat hiking is in reality. This hike from Holwerd to Ameland is a relatively easy mudflat hike. However, you will see that you will still have to cross rather muddy parts and wade through deep water with the water reaching up to your waist.

I strongly encourage you to watch this video because you can find out if mudflat hiking is something for you in just a few minutes.

Altogether, mudflat hiking in the Wadden Sea is quite an experience, and I believe you should seriously consider undertaking this adventure if you are fit enough. It is one of the best day trips possible in The Netherlands. Read this article if you want inspiration for other fun day trips.

Pim

Pim has lived his entire life in The Netherlands in various parts of the country. Pim enjoys writing this blog because it is a wonderful excuse to revisit all the parts of the Netherland that he liked and rediscover all the activities that he enjoyed. He hopes that you will enjoy The Netherlands as much as he does.

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