Walking across the floor of the sea

When you visit the Wadden Sea area, there is one traditional activity that you simply cannot skip: wadlopen or mudflat walking! Become one with nature, brave the mud and walk across the floor of the sea. Whether you opt for an easy or a strenuous hike, perhaps with colleagues or with children, you will always enjoy the briny sea air and endless panoramic views. Find out for yourself why this unique scenic area is UNESCO World Heritage, and put on your hiking shoes! Never go wadlopen by yourself however; only do so under the expert leadership of a professional guide. Walks depart from various places on the Groningen, Friesland and Noord-Holland coast.

The area is open to visitors year-round; however, because mudflat walking is only possible during low tide, the departure times for walks vary daily.

Waddenzee Werelderfgoed - wadlopen marketing groningen
Photo: Marketing Groningen

The smallest harbour in the Netherlands

A great place to start your walk is Noordpolderzijl. An oasis of peace and quiet in the northernmost part of the province of Groningen. Here you will find the smallest open harbour in the Netherlands where low and high tide continue to have free play. That means that you can only sail when the tide is high. From here, wander along the dike and enjoy the panoramic view over the flats with the Wadden islands of Schiermonnikoog, Rottumeroog, Rottumerplaat and Borkum in Germany off in the distance.

Waddenzee Werelderfgoed - Café 't Zielhoes

Catch your breath in Noordpolderzijl

Would you like to take a moment and catch your breath after this inspiring walk across the flats? Pull up a chair in café ‘t Zielhoes, an old-fashioned sitting room café at the base of the dike. Warm up with a coffee and a slice of house-baked Groningse Poffert cake, or cool off with a refreshing cold beverage or kólde draank as the locals say.

A new tradition

Although mudflat walking may sound like an ancient tradition, the activity only became popular during the 1960s. People discovered the Wadden Sea area as a place of scenic beauty in those days. In the meantime, mudflat walking has become so popular that thousands of hikers led by experienced guides have dared to make the crossing. During the trek, you generally walk from the coast to either a sandflat or a Wadden island, through mud and across sandbars. Sometimes you have to cross a channel, which can be very demanding if the water comes all the way up to your chest. Consequently, being in good physical condition is a prerequisite, depending on the destination. The last thing that you want is to be surprised by rising water; therefore, never go out without a guide.

Lopen over de bodem van de zee