The Wadden Sea National Park
Fanø is located in the centre of the Wadden Sea National Park. The national park stretches from Blåvandshuk in the north of its border to the salt meadows of Tønder in the south. It is a unique natural area which includes the Wadden Sea, the islands of Fanø, Mandø, and Rømø, as well as the constructed earth embankments throughout the area, and the lowland areas along the coast of the main land.
The Wadden Sea area became a national park in 2010. In 2015 it was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. To be included on the World Heritage Site list, the natural areas or built monuments in question must be considered to be of outstanding, universal value. Therefore, if an area is included on this list, it means that the area is globally recognised as important - also to future generations.
The Wadden Sea is outstanding because it is a large, connected natural area, while also being a relatively 'young' landscape. Additionally it is made unique by the fact that the landscape has been, and is, mainly shaped by the ocean and only to a tiny degree by material from rivers.
The fact that the Wadden Sea landscape is in a state of constant change, means that animals and plants are continuously faced with both new challenges and opportunities. If their current habitats are destroyed by wind and weather circumstances, other opportunities for habitats open up elsewhere in the Wadden Sea. The many different types of landscapes within the Wadden Sea is made up of distinct biomes, in which specialised animals or plants can live. For instance, on the mudflats and in the salt meadows the animal and plant life has adapted their lives to the coming and going of the salty tidal water.
The Wadden Sea in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands makes up a whole 60% of the total tidal water areas in Europe and North Africa combined. Due to the sheer size of the area it is possible for animal species to find multiple habitats within the area, or to, over the course of time, develop their very own niche in the food chain.
The landscape of the Wadden Sea consists of many different elements, for example dunes, marsh and heath. However, it is naturally the mudflats that characterise the Wadden Sea. 'Mudflat' refers to the part of the ocean floor which is exposed at low tide. At a first glance the mudflat looks empty and dull but this is not the case at all. Most of the animals spend their lives dug into the ocean floor and have adapted to the large changes in temperature, water currents and moisture. In fact, the amount of living animals in the mudflats are 10 times higher than in the ocean floor in general. The shallowness of the water and the generous sunlight, sets the foundation for high concentrations of algae. It is these algae that provide the foundation of the widely branched out food chain of the Wadden Sea, which is made up of mudsnails, lugworms, conchs, hermit crabs and different types of claims, to name a few.
The Tide is a defining factor for Fanø and The wadden Sea. In short tide es the regular rise and fall of the water level. this happens in a cyclus of 12½ hours. The difference between high tide and low tide in the Waddensea is approx. two meters - the biggest difference in Denmark.
Søren Jessens Sand
Landscapes melt together in the biggest dessert on Fanø. From here, there is access by foot to Søren Jessens Sand 365 days a year.
It is possible to go north by bike from Fanø Bad and along the foot of the dune but due to sand deflation it is not possible to ride a bike on the central parts of the high sand. This impassible landscape is exactly what makes Søren Jessens Sand such a great nature experience.
100 Experiences in Nature
Read more about the many experiences available to visitors in the national park. The book "100 naturoplevelser i Sydvestjylland" which is written by Nature Activity Leader Marco Brodde is filled with interesting stories about landscapes, plants, insects, birds and mammals, as well as precise indications of where one might find them. The book is 200 pages, costs only DKK 65,-, and is available for purchase at Fanø Tourist Office. Please note that this book is only available in Danish and German.