The light vessel "Elbe 1" spent decades moored far out in the North Sea waters to show incoming ships the right way. It has been turned into a museum and is waiting for visitors next to Alte Liebe.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 11.00-16.00 (not in winter)
The platform in the port area is perhaps the best place to observe the ships on the Elbe, as they are passing close by. The romantic name "Alte Liebe" (old love) derives from one of three old shipwrecks that were used as a foundation of the construction.
A ride in a horse-drawn carriage across 13 kms of dry sea bottom to the island of Neuwerk is the most amazing and unique experience Cuxhaven has to offer.
The carriages make it to Neuwerk with one hour stay in the island and then back to Duhnen or Sahlenburg during one single low tide, which is impossible for pedestrians so don't try to walk both directions.
The tours start every day from spring to autumn, if the weather allows. The hours change according to the tides. The tourist office provides a list of addresses but won't be of any help booking the tours - this has to be done directly with the stables. Book the tour at least one day in advance (check weather forecast), during peak season earlier.
Please have a look at my travelogue page on the carriage ride to Neuwerk for more details and pictures.
Guided tours in the mudflats are a great way to learn more about the amazing variety of life in this delicate ecosystem. There are guided tours of all kinds, for kids, families, or adults, and even guided hiking tours across to the island of Neuwerk.
Visit the tourist information office - there is one in each suburb - for details and times.
There is nothing more relaxing than a walk on the soft ground underneath a big big sky, feeling the wind and watching out for all those little animals that live in the mudflats - and, which is singular for Cuxhaven, watching the big ships entering or leaving the river Elbe.
The mudflats are part of the "Nationalpark Deutsches Wattenmeer", thus a protected piece of nature.
10-15 kms of dry sea bottom can be walked at low tide. The ground is solid, thus safe if you observe a few rules:
1. Check the tide calendar, take a watch and observe the hours!!! The end of walking time the calendar states is the hour of the lowest tide. You've still got some time till the water returns, but get back to the land side of the last Priel soon.
2. If the ground feels muddy or the water becomes too deep, turn around. Take care when crossing a Priel, the waterflows where the water leaves last and comes back first.
3. Watch out where you walk. Broken shells have sharp corners, and some crabs might show a nasty sense of humour.
The mouth of the Elbe is one of the world's most frequented water 'highways'. Ships both to/from Hamburg and to/from the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal) pass here.
Huge container carriers, up to 350 metres long, pass close to Kugelbake and Cuxhaven port. These vessels ARE impressive!
While the mudflats in front of the beaches fall dry, the Elbe river keeps enough water to allow these ships to travel. A 10 km long stone dam that begins next to the Kugelbake separates the mudflats from the river.
The countryside is a paradise for bike rides. A network of biking trails offers plenty of opportunities. The lush green marshland is flat, the geestland further inward has a few small hills. Perfect for families. The kids will love the grazing animals everywhere - horses, cows, sheep. The small villages have a lot of hidden treasures to discover.
Bike rentals can be found at almost every street corner in Cuxhaven.
The sandy beach is nice, the waters are calm, but swimming the sea is hardly possible. At high tide the water is too shallow even far out. I tried and managed to swim a bit but always had to keep my knees from getting stuck on the sea bottom.
Swimming is possible
a) at the grass beach along the Elbe in Döse at rising tide
b) in the pretty big sea water spa in Duhnen
c) in the open air sea water pool on the beach in Döse.
There are many ways how to get to the Neuwerk island which can be seen just off the coast from Cuxhaven. You can ride a horse or a horse drwan carriage but my favourite is to walk on foot. You'll get information on when it is possible (time of the low tide) from the tourist information office or from a sign at the beach where the route begins. The whole walk takes about 2 hours, you follow the poles in the water and you onyl get wet up to your ankles. When there, enjoy a walk around the island, hire a bicycle, visit a cafe or a restaurant and then take a boat back to Cuxhaven.
I'd recommend a two day trip to this island in the rough nature of the North Sea. A boat leaves every day from Cuxhaven from the Alte Liebe harbour. The island is quite small in size but beautiful with steep cliffs on one side and a beach on the other. There are a lot of holiday houses to rent. Alcohol, sweets, cigarettes and perfumes are cheap here as it's a duty free zone.
Ahoi indoor swimming pool is a nice place to go when the weather gets cold. The water in the pool is salty like in the sea and they also do waves every 20 minutes in the big pool. Apart from the big pool, there's also one outdoor with warm water, another small indoor one with jacuzzis and an artificial waterfall and there's a water sidle too. There's also a sauna world in Ahoi with a number of saunas of different temperatures located indoors or in an outdoor sauna park.
Like I said on my main page for Cuxhaven, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping centre are all these pretty little 'Hansel & Grettle houses ( as I call them ) they are so cute, and pretty, its really worth walking down these cobbled streets, you get a feel of how they live, and the streets are so clean.
More from the coast at the other side of town, Cuxhaven has it's own castlehouse. Here is a small museum about hostorical facts in the environment and in the high season there can be medieval games. A visit can be nicely combined with walking from the harbour and/or beaches through the shoppingstreets.
On the kays in Cuxhaven there is a special part called the "Alte Liebe" (old love). Here was the last place where familymembers could wave goodbye in the times that many germans (and other Europeans) went over the Atlantic to the New and Promissed Land. America was attracting many settlers and most Germans left their "Heimat" from Hamburg, either Cuxhaven on large ships across the ocean. Therefor this romanticaly called place is actually one of tragical farewells as only a few would later on meet again either in Europe or ... in America.
The harbour-terrains in Cuxhaven have a very mixed appearing. Lacking of heavy industry and factories, makes it actually to a more cosy place, where fishermen bring their catches ashore or repair their nets, as well as a place where little sailingboats with tourists and fun-sailors anchor away on the way to a new adventure at sea. In the harbour the most remarkable boat is for sure the lighthouse-boat that in turns has to replace the one that is laying in the North sea part called "Deutsche Bucht" (something like "German Bay or actually Curve"). Along the kays near the docks there are various fish-restaurants that serve deliscious menu's against very reasonable prices. One can be sure that it's all fresh, as a little further the fish is being brought ashore. Try the shrimp-dishes ... the are a delicatesse in this region!