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East Frisia

Baltrum

Baltrum is the smallest of the East Frisian islands, and almost untouched by tourism. On the 6.5 square kilometer island, peaceful, idyllic vacations can be enjoyed. On Baltrum motor vehicles are not permitted, and the bicycle is the most popular means of transportation. The ferry ride alone is an experience. Off the coast of Norderney, vacationers can observe seal colonies. The people of Baltrum live in two settlements that blend into each other. In the larger Westdorf, the Old Church is worth a visit. The church features colored wall paintings and a Dutch ship bell, which was once washed ashore on the island. At Baltrum’s bathing spots every vacationer can find a quiet place to relax.

Sights to see on Baltrum
Among the best sights on Baltrum are the three churches of the dune island. The Old Church, whose island bell is pictured in Baltrum’s coat of arms, is the second-oldest church of the East Frisian islands. Today all that happens here are marriage ceremonies, baptisms and occasional cultural events. The active congregations meet in the large Lutheran island church and the St. Nicholas church. In the Old Customs house on Baltrum, visitors learn worthwhile information on the history and development of the island and its residents. Among the sights on Baltrum is additionally the ca. seven-kilometer long tidal path, which leads around the island and features an information board giving facts on life with the tides. Anyone who wants to learn more about this topic can also visit the National Park House, which offers information on the flora and fauna of the tidal flats and about the ebb and flood. On Baltrum there is also a coastal protection monument, the historical palisade protection wall. It served as a breakwater and at first was made of wood, but was replaced at important points by concrete. The still surviving part of the wood construction that has been restored is protected as an historical monument.

Borkum© Annette Bockemühl / Travanto

Borkum

On the westernmost and largest East Frisian island, one can enjoy an eventful vacation. The town of Borkum offers possibilities for a shopping stroll or restaurant visit. From the sea promenade the impressive play of tides can be observed. On gray days, a visit to the saltwater indoor swimming pool adds variety to a visit on Borkum. The museum of local history has found a domicile in a typical Frisian house. A fence make of whale jawbones is regarded as an attention-getter. Another visitor attraction is the North Sea Aquarium. Visible from a long way off is the Borkum Lighthouse, and one can climb to the top. The original life of the island farmers can be experienced in the hamlet of Ostland.

Worth seeing on Borkum
On the island one can discover many Borkum sights. An especial atmosphere is radiated by the three lighthouses. In the Old Lighthouse, high above in the tea room, one can get married. The new lighthouse still serves today to orient ships at night, and in the daytime it offers visitors a magnificent view of Borkum and the tidal flats, and the electric lighthouse is a magnificent photographic motif with its white-red coat of paint. A visit to the Dykhus museum of local history is worthwhile, because here one can experience close up the impressive history of the island – which is closely bound up with whaling. Here one finds as well the amazing 15-meter long skeleton of a sperm whale. Also interesting is the Borkumriff, a museum, national park and light ship. For several years it directed, as a floating lighthouse, the shipping near the island of Borkum, and can today be visited with its tidal flats exhibition. Further, among Borkum’s sights is the music pavilion on the beloved promenade. Here something is always happening, for people who like to drink coffee or eat ice cream while listening to the music of the health spas.

Carolinensiel© Elisabeth Schmitz / Travanto

Carolinensiel

The idyllic fishing village of Carolinensiel is part of the Lower Saxon city of Wittmund. The town was founded in 1730 and once possessed a tidal outlet Sielhafen (sluice harbor), which today serves as a harbor museum. Already more than a century ago the first bathers arrived in Carolinensiel. The Dike church with its free-standing bell tower recalls past centuries. The German Sielhafen museum offers a comprehensive view of the history of Carolinensiel. The discovery museum Phänomania offers attractions for both large and small vacation guests. In the former railroad station, visitors are invited to try out 80 different experiments. The museum path offers the possibility for a pleasant stroll, leading from the harbor museum to the shore of Harlesiel.

Worth seeing in Carolinensiel
In Carolinensiel stands the only church built on a dike, the Deichkirche dating from 1776. Its interior room contains the complete original furnishings. Also worth seeing in the Deichkirche are three votive offerings in the form of a ship. They symbolize sea rescue from a desperate situation. A beautiful photo motif is provided by the Galerieholländer windmill, on whose grounds a small exhibition tells about its history. Among the sights of Carolinensiel are, beyond this, the Carolinensiel harbor museum. It consists of four exhibition houses spread over the Carolinensiel harbor. Exhibitions on the life of a captain’s family on land, on the history of the sluices, on harbors and on dike-building or on maritime handwork bring the island world from the past up to today a bit closer to visitors. Take in the Carolinensiel museum harbor, which was once the second-largest East Frisian tidal outlet and trading harbor of the North Sea. Here a harbor festival is held each year that visitors definitely must experience if they vacation in Carolinensiel during the events.

Dornumersiel© Alma Lührs / Travanto

Dornumersiel

A visit to Dornumersiel promises a varied vacation on the North Sea coast. The town was already settled in the 15th century and is regarded as the oldest harbor in East Frisia. Since 1990, the village has been an accredited North Sea spa. Störtebeker Street offers an opportunity for a pleasant stroll through Dornumersiel. On the beach, the seawater swimming pool invites bathers to enjoy a dip. On gray days, the younger generation can frolic in the Sturmfrei indoor playground, and their parents can shop for reading matter in the Reethaus. Since 2001, the community has belonged to the township of Dornum. Dornum has two castles and the oldest mill in East Frisia. In the St. Bartholomäus church the organ deserves attention.

Worth seeing in Dornumersiel
When vacationing in Dornumersiel, one would do well to visit the Beninga castle. The medieval marsh manor house was built as long ago as 1400. Today it houses a hotel with a tea room. The impressive ancestral hall shows the Beninga generations in pictorial form. Another major building is among the sights of Dornumersiel, the Norderburg moated castle. Completely surrounded by water, the building is used today as a school and can therefore only be visited at certain times. In the summer months, exhibitions, jousting tournaments and concerts are held here. Jewish life in East Frisia is portrayed in the Synagoge Dornum memorial, and the Two-Sluices museum shows the history of Dornumersiel and Westeraccumersiel. There are still more Dornumersiel sights to discover. For example, the St. Bartholomäus church, a medieval building with an impressive organ, a burial place for deceased chieftains and two ancient bells. Or one can photograph the Dornum windmill, which is still used to grind flour, although it is the oldest mill in the region.

Juist

The extremely narrow and automobile free island of Juist offers chances for a healthy vacation close to nature. Located in the center of the island is the town of Juist, which annually attracts numerous vacation guests. Considered as a popular meeting point is the beach promenade. In the coastal museum, vacations can learn about life on the sea, coastal protection or the fisheries. Vacationers enjoy nature at its best on the Hammersee. The largest freshwater lake of the East Frisian islands can be explored on an idyllic circular route. In the western part of Juist the sea bird conservation area captivates nature enthusiasts. Seaside vacationers feel at home on the North beach, which is framed by a chain of dunes. The eastern part of the island has an especially untouched atmosphere and is called Kalfamer.

Worth seeing on Juist
The island of Juist shines with many beautiful buildings, museums and natural monuments. The Juist spa offers, for example, a fantastic view from the beach. The island’s trademark, the water tower that dominates the surroundings, was built on the highest dune and is today still important for the island’s water supply. It is a beautiful photo motif. Stroll along the spa promenade and linger a moment on the viewing platforms, in order to get a view of the North Sea and to breathe in the fresh air. Along the beach street one comes across many small bronze sculptures that all deal with the topic of bathing. But also the Hammersee natural monument, the largest fresh-water lake on a North Sea island, invites a visit. The Bill, a giant sand bank on the western end of the island, is an excellent place to watch migratory birds. Beside nature and the buildings, one can also visit museums on Juist and learn about the island’s history, nature conservation and coastal areas, as well as horses and coaches.

Langeoog

Rest and recovery are guaranteed on the auto-free island of Langeoog. From the jetty, the nostalgic island railroad carries guests in a few minutes to the North Sea spa of Langeoog, which is located in the western part of the idyllic island. Visible from a distance is the island church. Inside visitors can discuss about a modern altarpiece, a picture, that shows a stranded ferryboat. Further, the maritime museum and the rescue boat museum on Langeoog provide possibilities for a visit. The island was often struck by storm surges and in 1825 was torn into two parts by a tidal wave. From the dunes, vacationers have a beautiful view of the dune landscape, salt marshes and the nearby bird protecting area.

Worth seeing on Langeoog
The trademark of the island of Langeoog is the Langeoog water tower built in 1909, which in the summer can be entered in order to enjoy a view from above. The Seemannshus is Langeoog’s local history museum. It is an old islander’s house in which island history is presented and which one can trust. The pitfalls of the island’s water supply are explained in the information house Altes Wasserwerk (old water work). Two bronze statues worth seeing are found on the island’s two main roads, which may at most be traveled at walking speed. On the island, there is also a spa with water baths and – slides, that serve many people as relaxation and entertainment spots. When strolling on the section of the beach at Pirolatal you can see parts of a shipwreck. The memorial and the Langeooger dune cemetery can also be visited. The Langeooger dune cemetery contains the grave of singer Lale Andersen.

Nessmersiel

Especially idyllic vacations behind the dike can be spent in Nessmersiel. The town of Dornum had an important harbor between the 16th and the 18th centuries. In 1970 a ferry connection was set up to the island of Baltrum. Vacationers can reach the smallest of the East Frisian islands with a half-hour trip. How people lived in Nessmersiel in past centuries is made clear in the local history room. Visitors can see a historical merchants’ shop and a captain’s cabin. The town is a beloved starting point for hiking on the tidal flats. As well, the paddle and pedal station is a popular starting point. Here canoes and rowboats stand ready for an exciting boat tour through East Frisia.

Worth seeing in Nessmersiel
During a vacation, you can visit a few Nessmersiel sights. The “Sturmfrei“ indoor leisure and wellness center is a great opportunity for leisure activities for both young and old. In “Sturmfrei” in Nessmersiel there is also a local history room, a captain’s cabin and a merchant’s shop. On a 3,000 square meter area, there are among others climbing walls, a play castle, billiards, darts, adventure cinema, fitness machines and much more. But as well the harbor in Nessmersiel is worth a visit. Here one can travel to other islands or admire the tidal flats and seal colonies. The unique natural environment can be seen on the salt marshes adventure path in Nessmersiel. Stroll along the salt marshes and stop to study interesting information on the information boards along the path.

Neuharlingersiel

The North Sea spa of Neuharlingersiel is part of the town of Esens and was first mentioned in documents in 1693. Today the fishing harbor forms the atmospheric center point of the town, where crab cutters are anchored and the traditional ship “Lulu Meinders“ can be visited. As well, an interesting ship in a bottle museum opens its doors in Neuharlingersiel. Beach vacationers can expect an artistically laid out sand beach. Among the most beautiful secular structures in the town is the aristocratic residence of Sielhof. The German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked Sailors presents in its exhibit its demanding everyday work. The culture regatta, the Siel market or the marksman’s festival enrich the seaside resort’s cultural offerings.

Worth seeing in Neuharlingersiel
Take a break from strolling or bicycling and enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of cake in the café in the Neuharlingersiel Sielhof. Or drink a typical East Frisian tea here with a view of the water. The upper part of the Neuharlingersiel Sielhof serves as a guesthouse, offers a small library, and is used to hold events. The whole year round one can visit Neuharlingersiel sights, like the 200 year old Seriem Mill. One can inform oneself in an exhibit of ancient machines of the German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked Sailors (DGzRS) on the former methods of the emergency sea rescue station. Popular among the sights of Neuharlingersiel is the ship in a bottle museum. The ships in the various glass containers are not only pretty, but each also tells its own story. And here the mystery of how the ship can get through the bottleneck is also cleared up.

Norderney© Roland Unkrig / Travanto

Norderney

Norderney is the second largest of the East Frisian islands. A particularity on the island is the extensive forests that are otherwise not found on the East Frisian islands. Furthermore, Norderney is known for its historical buildings, which are considered unique on the islands. In the North Sea therapeutic resort, there are entire streets of houses with classicist architecture or houses that preserve the Biedermeier style. As a former summer residence of King George V of England, the island was able to preserve its worldly flair. The magnificent spa built up during the Gründerzeit (founding period) houses a casino. In the eastern part of the island there are charming dune landscapes and extensive salt marshes.

Things to see on Norderney
On the island of Norderney the seamarks, museums and historical and beautiful buildings are much attracting. One should view the cape, which has a beacon and served to identify the island. As well, the great Norderneyer Lighthouse is a seamark. It operates with electrical light and for some time has had a flash recognition. The great Norderneyer Lighthouse can be visited. Two red-white painted beacon lights complete the Norderney Harbor leading light. Things worth knowing about the tradition of the North Sea spa resort can be found in the bathing museum. The local history museum of Norderney is the Norderneyer Fischerhaus Museum. Weddings can be held here, and one can also visit tea seminars. An historical museum in the West lifeboat shed informs visitors on the development of sea disaster rescues, which many in Norderneyer have performed. The buildings and homes on Norderney belong to various past architectural styles and form an interesting cityscape. One can photograph the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument, the water tower and the island windmill Selden Rüst. The multiplicity of the Norderney sights make a vacation in the North Sea resort quite varied.

Spiekeroog

Anyone seeking peace and relaxation is at the right address on the island of Spiekeroog. Vacationers reach the island on a ferry connection with Neuharlingersiel. A partly wooded dune landscape forms the centerpiece of Spiekeroog. In the eastern part of the island, a seven-kilometer long sandbank marks the picture. On the eastern section, one finds in beach bindweeds or salt asters shore plants that have become rare. The idyllic island village is surrounded by a broad belt of dunes criss-crossed by footpaths. In the Spiekeroog church, one can admire valuable images of the apostles. A point of attraction on the island is the private shell collection of an island dweller. The shells are presented originally and can be taken home as equivalent in value to the admission ticket as a souvenir.

Things to see on Spiekeroog
Enjoy the sights on your vacation on Spiekeroog. Enjoy a tasty repast in the restaurant of the oldest house on the island, the Old Inselhaus, or drink a typical East Frisian tea here. The house still has a typical earlier floating roof, which during floods could serve as a lifeboat for residents. The oldest of the churches of the East Frisian islands is the Old Island Church on Spiekeroog. Learn about the history of the islands in the island museum of Spiekeroog, or chuckle in the seashell museum about countless originally exhibited seashells from around the world. Appropriate to the historical atmosphere of Spiekeroog is the Drinkeldodenkarkhof, a memorial for the victims of a ship of emigrants that was lost at sea. In the Wittbülten National Park House, the creation of the island, the tides and the habitat of the island with its flora and fauna are made more understandable. The Spiekeroog sights make clear that the especially old and harmonious flair of the island has become its trademark.

Wangerooge© Christa Brokhage-Schäfer / Travanto

Wangerooge

A vacation on Wangerooge leads one to the easternmost of the East Frisian islands. The car-free island is a guarantee for a peaceful and relaxing vacation stay in healthy air and natural surroundings. In the heart of Wangerooge we find the eponymous North Sea Health Spa. The West Tower is considered the trademark of Wangerooge. The 56-meter high tower rests on reinforced concrete piles and was constructed of clinker bricks. As the oldest structure of Wangerooge, the Old Lighthouse, built in the mid of the 19th century, deserves respect. Today it houses a museum of local history. The new lighthouse went into operation on the island in 1960.

Worth seeing on Wangerooge
During a stay, you should not miss to visit the two churches. Three sea signs are found on Wangerooge. The New Lighthouse of Wangerooge is active and serves to orient ships. The Old Lighthouse of Wangerooge and the West Tower are historical sea beacons and beautiful picture motives. The Old Lighthouse of Wangerooge also houses the island museum, where the history of Wangerooge is presented. The Lutheran Church of St. Nicholas is located next to the Old Lighthouse. The Catholic Church of St. Willehad, whose tourist offering is very popular in the summer, was built in1963, after its predecessor was destroyed in an air raid during the Second World War. In all, there are almost 20 architectural monuments on Wangerooge. The North Sea health spa makes the island’s beauty especially clear, which one should enjoy as a vacation highlight.