The Island of BORKUM – West of East Frisia

The tour of German islands is coming to an end. I’ve taken you with me from the former easternmost isle in the Baltic across the north sea to the Dutch border – where we’ll spend a couple of carefree summer days on Borkum.

Beach on the Island of Borkum, Germany
Doesn’t this beach with the colorful chairs and cabanas just look like the perfect summer destination?!

The island of Borkum is one of the seven East Frisian Islands off the coast of Eastern Friesland. It is not only the largest, but also the westernmost one. Therefore, it’s geographically actually closer to the Netherlands than to the German mainland.

The island is located between the Westerems strait and the Osterems straits respectively between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea to the south which grants some fascinating and unique features.

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The Island of NEUWERK – where the way is the goal

“So, by which ferry did you get here?” asks the chubby little lady and her accent gives her away as Southern German. “Well, I came here walking”, I beam at her, still thrilled by my hike from the mainland to the island of Neuwerk.

Hike on tideland from Cuxhaven to Neuwerk
To Neuwerk – this way! You cannot blame people if they don’t believe that you came to an island walking.  

The lady looks over the rough sea where the huge waves are rolling towards the shores of Cuxhaven. She frowns and shakes her head and is, obviously, thinking I’m trying to tell her a cock and bull story.

Little does she know: Visiting the island of Neuwerk, the way is the goal; definitely.

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The Island of HELIGOLAND – soft spot with rough edges

A trip to Heligoland is always a good idea. On just one square kilometer, it unites soft sand dunes and rough cliffs. It adds tax-free shopping to natural wonders like frolicking seals and jumping guillemots.

Bird Rock on Heligoland, Germany
The number of gannets on the rocks on Heligoland’s western cliffs will just overwhelm you.

Heligoland is a tiny archipelago that long ago used to be Danish and British. But, actually, it is as German as can be since the poet Von Fallersleben wrote the National Anthem during his stay on the island in 1841.

However, visiting Heligoland today, either on a day trip or for a longer stay, it is almost impossible to imagine that at the end of  WWII, Germany’s supposedly only deepsea island was completely bombed out. For then long years, it was even uninhabitable.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, today, Heligoland is one of Germany’s most popular island when it comes to a couple of relaxing days in a secluded spot.

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The Island of FÖHR – every village a home

Föhr – every village a home: What’s that all about?

Thatched house on Föhr
I’m not able to figure out Föhr’s strongest suit – there are so many great things to do and see; the traditional architecture is certainly one of the most alluring ones.

Well, let me take you to one of Germany’s most popular holiday islands where almost each of the 16 villages’ name ends with the suffix –um. Since this is the Frisian and Lower German version of heim…which translates to home, you can imagine how cozy and homey this North Frisian island is to its….homies.

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A VAN-TASTIC TRIP to the ISLAND of FEHMARN

Spending a weekend or vacation on the island of Fehmarn in a camper van gives you a totally different perspective of the island’s cool activities and beautiful sceneries.

Surfer in front of the Fehmarnsoundbridge off the Island of Fehmarn
While the strong wind is the cyclist’s enemy, it’s definitely the surfer’s and kiter’s best friend. One of the hotspots is at Fehmarn’s southern strait next to the legendary Fehmarnsundbrücke, the Fehmarnsoundbridge

After I had spent a weekend on this Baltic island in Spring – when it still was a bit nippy – I thought, in Summer, this place must be paradise.

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ISLAND HOPPING in GERMANY

While international tourism to Germany is increasing, visitors rather stick to the clichés like beer and Lederhosen at Munich and a cruise on the river Mosel; or they hang out at the hip capital Berlin – instead of enjoying Island Hopping in Germany.

I guess that’s the reason why many people think Germany is landlocked. They don’t think about long coasts, two seas, and about 80 islands.

Dunes on the Island of Borkum in Germany
I think this is not the first image that comes to mind when talking ’bout travelling Germany.

However, that’s exactly what Germany’s north has to offer – and many fascinating phenomenons like the tideland that comes with it. As a matter of fact, Germany’s shoreline is longer than the Portuguese one.

So what are you waiting for? Join me on my island hopping…in Germany!

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Coming to America: From Northern Germany to the “New World”

In the 19th and 20th century, millions of people were coming to America. They left Europe via the North German ports in search of a better life in the “New World”, mostly the USA.

sculpture called Die Auswanderer, emigrants, on emigrants coming to America
This sculpture called Die Auswanderer, emigrants, is standing on the shore of the river Weser. It remembers the seven million passing through the port of Bremerhaven. Actually, this statue by Frank Varga was donated by the German-American Memorial Association.

As a counterpart to the arrival halls in Ellis Island, several museums in German cities remember the adventurous journeys of the emigrants in transit.

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BOOMTOWN BREMERHAVEN. A complete guide.

Last week, I’ve guided you through Bremen, Germany’s smallest Federal State that actually consists of two cities. Besides Bremen there is Bremerhaven, an exclave with an exciting present – and past.

Seute Deern
The Seute Deern (which in Low German means Sweet Girl) was the world’s last cargo sailing ship made entirely of wood.
In March 2020, one of Bremerhaven’s most iconic landmarks had to be scrapped. However, they are planning on building a copy.

After a changeful history, today the city is almost secretly evolving into a Boomtown.

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BREMEN – BIG and small. A complete city guide.

(Updated Mai 2020)

Bremen, located in the northwest, is definitely not Germany’s most famous city. However, visitors who find their way here will certainly be surprised. And even rewarded since the historic old town – partly a UNESCO world heritage site – deems like the capital of a fairyland. And you’ll run into some fabulous creatures and fairy tale figures, indeed.

The Roland in front of the City Hall of Bremen
Mr. Roland in front of the town hall: As long as he stands tall, Bremen remains free and independent.

But there is far more to discover in this Free Hanseatic City.

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LUBECK – a guide to Germany’s most ravishing city

Somehow Lübeck, Germany’s most ravishing city, has always reminded me of Venice. An innocently cute and relatively small city that used to possess such a political influence and economic power – reaching all over Europe and beyond.

Holstentor at Lübeck
There are quite a few lions in Lübeck – honoring Henry the Lion, the Bavarian King who after Munich founded also Lübeck in 1159. In the Backdrop the iconic Holstentor and right next to it the ancient salt warehouses.

Although Lübeck has incredibly beautiful buildings and alleys, seven church towers, three Nobel prize winners and world-famous marzipan, it does not suffer from destructive over-tourism. I don’t want to change that, however, I’d like to show you around one of Germany’s most ravishing cities.

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