I’ve spent most of my time living in Lingen. A city in Germany about 120 km south of the North Sea. Me and my family we’ve always been going on trips to the ocean, just for a day or a weekend. However, there is something I love about the North. The feeling of a new beginning, the relaxing sound of waves crushing against the beach, the endless view, these are the things that always make me come back to the North Sea.
I’ve been to several North Sea Islands in my life including Borkum, Amrum and Sylt, but this time me and Anna went to Norderney.
Norderey is one of the 7 populated islands of the East Frisian Islands located off the North Sea coast in Germany. The best way to get there, is by buying a ticket for the ferry that transports passengers and goods from Norddeich to Norderney hourly every day. You can also walk with a guide from Nessmersiel to Norderney during low tide or catch a plane and fly to the island.
Using the ferry the passage takes about 1 hour and costs 10 Euro for one way. A bit more if you want to take your car. However, it is not allowed to drive around. Only 1 hour after the ferry arrived and 1 hour before you’ll leave the island. So, better leave your car at home and enjoy a car free holiday.
Arrival at Nordnerey Port
The first you probably want to is to get rid of your luggage and check out the beach. And that is exactly what we did. After the ferry landed, they are going to check your ticket and you will receive the Norderney Card. A special card that tracks your stay on the island to make paying the spa tax easier and offers special discounts for bus tickets, attractions and other things you can buy on the island.
The spa tax costs 3,40 Euro per day per person and has to be payed before you leave the island. You can pay using the many Norderney Card machines all over the island or directly at the port. I recommend not paying at the port because a lot of people want to pay just before they leave and that results in a long waiting line. The spa tax is used to keep the island in good shape and care for the sensitive natural environment that many rare animal species call their home.
On Norderney most paths are short. Walking from the ferry terminal to the city centre takes about 20 minutes. We took the bus, exited at Damenpfad and stood directly in front of our Hotel Meerblick D21.
Our Home on Norderney – Meerblick D21
Meerblick D21 translates to Ocean View D21 and is exactly that. A small design hotel with minimalist furnishing and a spectacular view.
It tries to be somewhat different and does not care about hotel star ratings or what other hotels do. It’s more personal, caring and tries to be a relaxing place to stay with environment in mind. Breakfast is included and it offers something for vegans and vegetarians, as well as gluten free bread and bread buns. What we saw is more glass, less plastic, more scrambled eggs on demand, less waste, more personal conversations, less mass-tourism hotel feelings.
It takes about 200 meters to walk from the hotel to the beach. If you lie in bed you can see and hear the ocean and the fishing boats that roam on the north sea from time to time.
Another highlight is the roof deck which is a great place to relax or meet other guests that stay in the few rooms the hotel offers.
What to Do on Norderney?
Sure there is a lot to do. Sights to see, shops to shop and people to meet. However, we wanted to do our own thing. Endlessly long walks at the beach, eating good food, relaxing in bed with our favorite music and exploring the island in our own fashion.
So, we spent a lot of time just sitting at the beach, watching time passing by. Exploring the island and finding nice spots to take photos.
A highlight of our trip was taking a scenic flight in a small Cessna style airplane. We saw seals relaxing at the beach, people riding their bikes and a lot of birds in the middle of nowhere. You can book a flight directly at the airport, which is easy to reach by bike or by bus. We paid 40 Euro per person for a 15 – 30 minute flight. I highly recommend doing this if you have the time and resources.
Another thing we did was renting bikes and riding around the island. The lighthouse, Die Weiße Düne or Das Ostende are worth a visit.
I enjoyed riding through the vast dune landscape Norderney offers. Everything grows on sand and the plants are what holds the island together, but every day a bit of the sand is washed away and the island shrinks.
If you are lucky you can see seals relaxing at the beach, followed by seagulls that accompany everything you do on the island as they wait for a good moment to steal your food.
Yes, Norderney is definitely worth a visit, if you like the rough ocean and want to experience raw East Frisian.