Did you know that Germany has beaches? In fact, they have more than 10 islands located on the North shore that you probably haven’t heard of. We took the boat to one of the larger islands; Norderney.
Norderney is quite a popular island amongst Germans that are looking for that seaside breeze. But for many Europeans, this island still remains pretty lowkey. Although I had never heard of the German islands before, I was pleased to receive an invitation to discover Norderney.
How to get there
From Amsterdam, you drive up to Norddeich which takes around 3,5 hours. You can park your car at one of three parking-lots that will cost you 5 euro per day. From here you take the ferry. Tickets are available online and for a return ticket you pay €22,-. You can also bring your car, but you won’t really need it on Norderney. The journey only takes 50 minutes, and there is plenty of space to sit or buy something at the ferry café.
Norderney will surprise you
In all fairness, once you set foot on the island, you will notice that 80% of Norderney visitors are above the age of 50 plus. Although this may be true (and there is nothing wrong with that). Therefore I expected the island to be a bit dull and outdated. Boy, I was wrong. To beging with, the architecture looks amazing. For example, you’ll notice the many white stylish buildings and houses. Not to mention the chique hotels and café’s and the many amazing restaurants for you to try out.
Where to stay
In general, there are plenty of guesthouses and hotels to choose from, but I stayed at one of the coolest boutique hotels on the island. In fact, Hotel Inselloft is more like a modern style apartment complex that includes a restaurant (Esszimmer), bakery/café, shop and spa. Even the reception area isn’t what you would normally see. The vibe here is lowkey, even though everything looks neat and stylish thanks to high-quality materials, cool brands and fine fabrics. I was lucky enough to stay in one of their lofts, a room with an equipped kitchen, large bathroom, outside terrace and 2 bedrooms, one of which was located up the stairs.
Food & Drink
If you stay here, you must try to have dinner at Esszimmer, the hotel’s restaurant. Chef Felix Wessler, that cooks everything from the open style kitchen, changes the menu per season. Most of the ingredients are local, which you can definitely taste. In the morning, the restaurants operates as the breakfast room where cooking is done at the stove in the evening, guests can help themselves to a rich buffet in the morning. The bakery next door is great for a barista-style coffee and people from the whole island literally stand in line for their freshly baked bread.
Things to do
During the summer months, Norderney has plenty of events, including a music festival. But there are a few things the island is famous for which we listed down here.
Enjoy the 14 km stretch beaches
The best way to discover Norderney’s beaches is by bicycle. Cycle past the Northern beach and continue through the beautiful dunes. In between, stop at several beach houses and café’s for a drink or delicious lunch. If you like skinny dipping, you can do this at the Oase beach, which is also one of the nicer beaches. If you feel more comfortable with your clothes on, you should try Weisse Duene (hence the name) or the far East beach on Norderney. The only way to get there is by foot and is quite a nice walk for 7km that ends at a shipwreck.
Relax at the Badehaus
There is no place like it. This infamous pool & spa is known for its diversity in bath temperatures and the natural salt water. From sauna’s and dark salt baths, to ice-cold rain showers and jacuzzi’s. I enjoyed a signature schlick body wrap, which is basically mud from the sea that smells like a fish market but is great for your skin! Next to that, there is also a family swimming pool with a laser light waterslide that I couldn’t get enough of. Check www.norderney.de/badehaus-norderney to book an appointment.
Watch the sunset at Milchbar
If the weather is nice, Milchbar is packed with people that sip on cocktails and watch the sun set in the North sea. We don’t blame them because it really is the best spot on the island to do so. Milchbar also offers cakes, salads and more.
Have lunch at one of the many beach bars
Funny enough, Norderney has many café and restaurants that are stylish and trendy. Some of my favourites are the lowkey Surfcafé,and Weisse Düne, upscale Strandpieper and of course the chill Milchbar for the best Aperol Spritze.
Although Norderney isn’t comparable to a city, there are surprisingly plenty of cobblestone streets with boutiques stores plus small eateries. Must try: Matjes fish on a bread roll.
All things considered, Norderney is probably one of the biggest surprises of 2019 for me. The Frisian island is for suitable for families, pensioners but also couples will love this island if you are looking for an easy going vibe, long stretch beaches and great food options. I’m curious to see the rest of Germany’s islands!
If you book a stay of at least two nights at Hotel Inselloft and enter the code WANDERLUST when making your reservation, you will receive a 30 EUR voucher for Restaurant Marienhöhe directly opposite the hotel on arrival. Valid for reservations between 1. October 2019 and 31. March 2020. Please Note: Restaurant Marienhöhe is closed between 1. and 26. December and a voucher for this period is excluded.