Mandø is a small island in the Danish tidal sea. The island is the only inhabited island in Denmark which has neither a bridge connecting it to the mainland or a harbor with a ferry making sure there is a frequent connection.
Instead of a bridge or a ferry you have to go to the island using a special road which is only open during low tide. During high tide the road will be flooded temporarily disconnecting the island from the mainland in Jutland.
If you are sufficiently risk willing you can drive your own car across this tidal road – you just have to make sure you know the tide timetable so you don’t get caught in the quickly moving tide half way between the island and the mainland.
I had checked the tidal timetable – but I wasn’t all that confident in just how much before the tide you had to cross. So we decided to go for the other option to reach the island. The tractor bus. We got tickets for a return trip with the tractor bus for a reasonable 60 DKK return per person or 8€ well worth it for some peace of mind.
Inside the tractor bus they had displayed some old photos of cars who thought they could make it across before the tide – but didn’t quite make it and had to be pulled free by a tractor. The last photo was about 10 years old – but I still felt we had made the right choice in going by the tractor.
When we drove out to the island we took the secondary road to the island. This route was flooded even during low tide and it was extremely bumpy and rocky with patches of sandy bottom – there is no way an ordinary car would make it all the way across this rough road. So I felt even more confirmed in my choice of transport when we drove to the island.
As we drove across we met some people who had opted for the third option to reach the island. Walking across the tidal sea at low tide. The water was shallow so they could get across with their pants dry but the feet and shoes would be very wet since they were walking through water all along the trail. I guess it is a bit more of an adventure to walk across but I was still happy with the dry option of the tractor.
We had about three hours to explore the island which was plenty of time. Then it was time to get the tractor back. The tractor took the high main road on the way back. This road is the road ordinary cars will take as well. It was actually above water when we drove back but the tide was rising so it might have been flooded half an hour later. I guess it was possible to take this road in an ordinary car if you took it easy since the road was extremely rocky – it was made up by large rocks which would be staying put during the shifting tides.
We finally made it back after about half an hour drive across the high road.