A Heritage Trail -- The engaging Aldfaers Erf (Forefathers' Heritage) Route passes through a trail of restored antique buildings -- a grocery, schoolhouse, bakery (which serves Frisian pastries), church, bird museum, farm, and more -- in the villages of Exmorra, Allingawier, Ferwoude, and Piaam, which lie in the triangle formed by Makkum, Workum, and Bolsward. The route of around 20km (12 miles) is clearly signposted on minor roads and through villages, and the buildings are open May to September daily from 10am to 5pm. A map and a ticket for all sights cost 9.50€ ($15) for adults, 4.95€ ($7.90) for children ages 5 to 14, free for children 4 and under, and 25€ ($39) for a family. Purchase the map and ticket from any of the sights from Stichting Aldfaers Erf, Kanaalweg 4, Allingawier (tel. 0515/231-631; www.aldfaerserf.nl), open April to October Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
Walking on Water
At low tide, the Wadden Sea virtually disappears, the seabed becomes visible, and seabirds feast on mollusks in the sand. Then the Wadden Islands seem even closer to the mainland, and if you feel like walking the mud flats, from May to October join a Wadlopen (Wadden Walking) trip and plow across to one of the islands. Note: Don't attempt this without an official guide -- there is a real danger of being caught by a fast-incoming tide. With a guide, it is safe, but every once in a while a group needs to be rescued by lifeboat.
Weather permitting, you start walking at ebb tide. Soon the mainland looks far away, and you feel lost in the middle of a salty mire trying to suck your feet in deeper with every step. But your attention will be drawn to the unusual landscape as you realize you're actually walking on the bottom of a sea, and in a few hours all this will disappear under water again. If you're lucky, you'll see seals disporting in pools or soaking up rays on a sandbar. When you reach the island, you need to wait for high tide to be able to go back by boat.
Tours cost 7.50€ to 30€ ($12-$48) a head and range from an easy round-trip of a few hours on the flats to difficult hikes to the islands lasting around 8 hours (including the wait for the boat). Wear shorts and close-fitting, ankle-high shoes or boots. The trips are popular; groups may be as large as 75 to 100 people, so you need to book ahead. Contact Wadloopcentrum Fryslân (tel. 0518/451-491; www.wadlopen.net), in Holwerd, or Stichting Wadloopcentrum Pieterburen (tel. 0595/528-300; www.wadlopen.com), in Pieterburen.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.