Eit doesn’t exist the North Sea. In this sea there are ebb and flow, sand and mud flats, wind and waves in very different forms. And coastal dwellers with many customs of their own. Every island, every shore here is different – and always something special. We present five of the most attractive places on the water.
Denmark: fishing trawler right on the beach
And that too, one involuntarily thinks – the fishing trawler ran aground, here in Jammer Bay on the northwest coast of Jutland in Denmark. The ship is lopsided and sways in the waves.
A sailor stands at the bow and throws a line. The surf tugs at the cutter. But it doesn’t have to be rescued, just pulled ashore.
Thorup Strand in Denmark is one of the last and largest landing spots for fish in Northern Europe, where the local fishermen and captains let themselves be pulled ashore with their cutters by a bulldozer, there is no pier or quay.
When the weather permits, the ten skippers of the local fisheries association extinguish their catch every day – mainly plaice, sole and cod. If you want, you can buy these fish right here from the ship.
Of course, you can also eat freshly caught North Sea fish in the small town: in “Thorupstrand Fiskehus”, for example, fish sizzle in butter that recently swam in the sea.
And in the snack bars you can get fried fish dumplings on hand for the beach. This is the best way to sit down in the fine sand, listen to the surf, look at the blue cutters and have the taste of the sea on your tongue – more North Sea is not possible (Info: visitjammerbugten.de).
Netherlands: Show of the stars on the mudflats
In the alleys of Schiermonnikoog, a few lanterns provide some light. But the small village is quickly left behind – and you are, in the literal sense, completely in the dark.
Schiermonnikoog is the smallest inhabited island in the West Frisian Wadden Sea in the Netherlands. In 2006 the Nederlandse Christelijke Radio Vereniging named it the “most beautiful place in the Netherlands”.
Also because of the darkness – on the island, which is just four kilometers wide and 16 kilometers long, nothing disturbs the view of the night sky. The few lanterns in the village and two lighthouses – these are the only artificial light sources.
Only a handful of residents live in the postcard-beautiful island village. The feeling of being far away from the rest of the world is therefore particularly intense on Schiermonnikoog. There is always a place on the island where you can be all to yourself. Just nature and the sea. And the sky above, which is most beautiful at night.
It’s a 20-minute walk from the village to the beach, first through the heather, then through a pine forest – and the sea spreads out in front of you, dark and unfathomable. A ghostly atmosphere, also because long-eared owls and nightingales are calling and the surf is rumbling.
More can be seen from the sky than from the dark water, such as the constellation of the Big Dipper. There is orientation, the fivefold extension of the rear axis leads to the North Star. It is one of the brightest stars in the sky and is exactly north.
A bright band stretches up there: the Milky Way. The stars sparkle like diamonds on the velvety black. Depending on the season, Venus can also be seen; sometimes it is the evening star for months, sometimes it announces the approaching morning. Jupiter and Saturn are in the constellation Sagittarius. In the spring, the lion sneaks up as its constellation.
More and more stars can be seen – in the deep darkness you almost have the feeling of being drawn into space. And sometimes even a shooting star pulls its orbit through the loneliness of the universe and provides an unforgettable goosebump moment in the loneliness at night on the beach of Schiermonnikoog (vvvschiermonnikoog.de).
Helgoland: The home of the gray seals
The little ferry has barely left Heligoland when it arrives at the dune opposite. The little sister island with its snow-white beach and the holiday village is a bathing paradise and at the same time the nursery for Germany‘s largest predator – the gray seal.
531 young animals were born on dune in 2019. The population has grown significantly in recent years, and Heligoland’s side island has become a hotspot for seal fans from home and abroad.
In summer several hundred animals hunt for fish in the waters around Heligoland, often taking a break on the beach of their native island. Nowhere on the North Sea can you see the seals better.
However, a safety distance of at least 30 meters must be maintained on dunes – the sluggish-looking animals can, if they feel threatened, come out of cover at up to 20 kilometers per hour. And they do it without hesitation!
Those who want to be on the safe side prefer to take part in a guided tour. A specially created panoramic path offers views of the sea again and again – and with a little luck you can see hairy snouts emerge from the waves.
It is not always seals, it can also be seals. Although they don’t use Heligoland as a nursery, they also love trips to the island to do the same thing as human visitors: enjoy sunbathing (helgoland.de).
St. Peter-Ording: sailing on sand
How was that with the braking? The sand yachts are fast and have foot pedals as a steering wheel, but no brake pedal. Several of these three-wheeled speedsters with sails whiz across the beach of St. Peter-Ording. A constant wind blows on the kilometer-long sand ridge and puffs up the sails.
“The beach here is particularly suitable,” says Sven Harder from the Nordsport beach sailing school. He offers courses for beginners on one of the largest beaches in the North Sea. “Beach sailors have a lot of space here, hard sand and mostly good wind.”
Wind strengths between 3 and 6 are ideal, adds Harder, as it is a wonderful way to escape the stress of everyday life. If you know how to slow down the beach runabouts, you would like to add.
The course starts with some theory, the rules of avoidance, flag signals, safety instructions and fitting the helmet. It is particularly important because the lower, horizontal rod on which the sail sits just above the head swings back and forth when driving.
And how do you even get going? “With a line that we call a sheet, you let the sail loose or pull it in,” says Harder. “The sheet serves as a gas pedal, so to speak. If you pull the sheet tighter, the sand yacht accelerates. If you loosen the sheet, you reduce the speed again and thus determine the pace. “
And brake? “You let the sheet as loose as possible, but not let go! You steer against the wind and take the car away from it. “
Dealing with the sand yachts seems child’s play. Feel, think, do – and the box starts running. Soon the course participants were racing on the firm sand of St. Peter-Ording.
Even beginners get going quickly, and they can soon manage a speed of 50 and more. And apparently the beach sailors paid close attention during training, because everyone manages to brake without an accident. Without a brake pedal (st-peter-ording.de).
England: castles overlooking the North Sea
You can literally hear the blades clapping and the screams of rough men echoing through the walls – in your mind, of course, because it was more than 1200 years ago that native Celts and invading Vikings crossed their blades here, in what is now Northumberland.
The defiant castles, of which there are many in this part of the English and Scottish North Sea coast, fire the imagination of the visitors. They are silent witnesses to an eventful history – and a wonderful backdrop for a walk on the beach.
One of the most beautiful North Sea beaches in Great Britain is the one in front of Bamburgh Castle. The castle itself is now a place for cultural events, you can visit it, walk in the footsteps of sagas and legends.
And you can live here: From the room in the Neville Tower, on a clear day, the view extends across to Holy Island to the Farne Islands. With binoculars you can see seals and dolphins, sometimes even whales.
The late light sets the huge castle in the limelight and lets the walls light up like brass, the clouds in the sky are the color of mallow, the surf shimmers silvery and light gray.
The beach is clean and beautiful, the lords of the castle and the nature conservation organization Natural England are in charge. Bamburgh Beach is sweeping, ideal for long walks; however, the water is too cold for bathing.
Surfers in their wetsuits have it better, they appreciate the wind-blown coast, where steadily passable waves roll. Those who love lonely walks will get their money’s worth here, and everywhere you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the sea and beach, the drama of the landscape and the sky.
But you can also just sit in the slipstream of the dunes and watch birds for hours. Or you can practice as a lord of the castle – and build a sand castle in the form of Bamburgh Castle (visitnorthumberland.com).
This article was first published in May 2020.
The text comes from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.