Destination Inspiration: Wangerooge, Frisian Islands, Germany

Destination Inspiration: Wangerooge, Frisian Islands, Germany

Part of the Frisian Islands, Wangerooge is a well-kept secret among German travellers who flock here in summer for its rich natural habitat, charming railway, spa retreats and watersports on beaches lapped by the North Sea. Want to destress in the great outdoors? This is the island for you.

Where?

Wangerooge, Frisian Islands, Germany

Why now?

Like jewels strung across the north coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, the 32 Frisian Islands – some
inhabited, others not – are a haven for wildlife and lovers of the
great outdoors.

The smallest of the inhabited islands, Wangerooge is part of
Lower Saxony and a holiday (or weekend-break) destination that
those on the mainland Germany don’t want you to know about.
Sometimes referred to as “the Hawaii of the North Sea”, this car-free island is a
go-to for superlative dune-backed beaches, watersports, well-kept
cycling trails and a natty little train that carries visitors
around the island.

This is a place to go for blowing out the cobwebs, embracing
nature and destressing. If you’re in search of somewhere where a
slow pace of life is de rigueur, consider Wangerooge’s slogan: “God
created time, but he never mentioned haste.”

Don’t miss…

This pocket-sized island is ideal for walkers and bikers, who
can embark on the easy 8km journey from east to west – make a point
of spotting the Wangerooge’s three lighthouses as you explore; the
Alter Leuchtturm has a great viewing platform and museum. Should
you fancy giving your legs a break, hop on the century-old,
narrow-gauge railway that carries visitors between the harbour and
the village station.

The shore is popular among sunbathers and sports enthusiasts
alike, with a gentle breeze and opportunities for volleyball (look
out for the island’s tournament held in early August), windsurfing, sea canoeing, sailing and other
watersports. Low tide reveals the Wadden Sea, a Unesco-protect biotope rich with plant and
animals – keep your eye out for the famed Wadden worm.

Make your way inland, and you’ll discover shops hugging
Zedeliusstraße as well as B&Bs and restaurants where menus are
populated with seafood fresh from the North Sea.

Worn out? Head to the health and spa centre – perhaps the
island’s biggest draw – to rejuvenate body and soul with thalasso
treatments. Come evening, low light pollution makes Wangerooge a
particularly good spot for stargazing.


Where to stay

The island enjoys a wide range of accommodation options,
including hotels, self-catered homes and apartments plus glamping
and camping. Try Parkhotel Wangerooge, nestled between parkscape
and beach, where guests can make use of the on-site Finnish sauna and sanarium.

Where to eat…

Cafe
Pudding
. Set on the top of a shoreside dune, this bunker was
used as part of Wangerooge’s military fortification in the Second
World War. A baker leased the place when it was decommissioned and,
since 1949, locals and visitors have congregated here for coffee,
homemade pastries and sea views.

Who to take with you?

Just about anyone who loves the sea, sun, sand and the great
outdoors, plus lovers of wildlife.

When to go

Between June and August are the warmest months, with
temperatures reaching 20°C, though this is also the busiest time;
in summer, Wangerooge’s normal population of around 1,200 people is
joined by as many as 7,000 visitors each day.

Most likely to bump into…

Seals, mute swans and other seabirds.


Essentials to pack

Keep clothing casual but be prepared for a cool sea breeze. Pack
outdoor activity clothes, walking and boating gear, as well as this
eco-friendly Dock & Bay towel which combines classic
blue-and-white beach stripes with quick-dry technology and folds
down into a convenient pouch – ideal for throwing in a carry on or
beach bag.

How to get there

Many of us are, understandably, currently reluctant to fly, so
why not drive? The north coast of Germany is a day’s drive from
Calais. A quick trip through the Channel Tunnel, an easy drive
across the flatlands of Belgium and The Netherlands puts you in Harlesiel where your
ferry awaits. (Enter “26409 Harlesiel Hafen” on your Sat-Nav).
Ferry times are dependent on tide times so do check before planning
your journey.

No cars are allowed on the island so do travel light. Car
parking for all ferry guests is provided at the harbourside.

An alternative to using the ferry is to take your own sea kayak
and paddle across the 10Km between Harlesiel and Wangerooge Habour.
This is not a trip to take lightly so should only be attempted by
experienced sea canoeists. Fast flowing tides and a plethora of
mudflats make for interesting navigation with many seals keeping an
eye on you. (For any queries please email [email protected])

Trains via Bremen and light planes via Harle Airport can also
get you there and full details of how to arrive in Harlesiel plus
information on accommodation of all sorts can be found on www.wangerooge.de.
This is a German-language site but Microsoft Edge or Google
Translate will help.

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