Now that summer is in full swing and travelling – with all necessary precautions, of course – is possible again, it was time to get away from the city for a while.
I have always loved the North Sea, so why not visiting one of the islands up north to catch some fresh air, walk along the sandy beaches, and enjoy nature
The North Frisian Islands are an archipelago in the north of Germany stretching into Denmark. They consist of four larger islands and ten tin islets, which are called Halligen in German. Just like the other Frisian Islands, they are environmentally protected areas and form part of the international wildlife nature reserve of the Wadden Sea.
The most famous of the four larger islands is probably Sylt, which is popular by tourists from all over Germany since decades and known for its high-society appeal.
We, however, opted to visit one of the less popular islands. Amrum is only 20 km² and much less crowded and laidback. After you walked through the beatiful sand dunes, which can be up to 32 meters high, you reach the spectacular beach: on the western half of Amrum, you find a 12 km long and 1 km stretch of sand. Geologically, this is not part of Amrum. Rather, this is an extremely slow-moving sand bank, the so-called Kniepsand. It is constantly moving, and therefore is not counted as being part of Amrum. Currently it adds another 10 km² to the island, but is slowly moving north and is expected to reach the northern edge of amrum by the end of the century. It normally is not floddd during high-tide and therefore forms one of northern Europe’s largest sand beaches.
The villages are situated on the eastern shore of Amrum. Nebel, which is located at the heart of the city is the largest of the 3 villages, and to me, the most beautiful as well since most houses have been built in the traditional Frisian style. There, you will also find the so-called “Talking Gravestones” in the graveyard of St. Clemens Church. 152 inscribed gravestones tell stories about the former islands inhabitants’ lives, families, and occupation. Local stonemasons crafted them in the 17th-19th century.
You will also find cosy Cafés to treat yourself to a traditional Frisian waffle (they are more like a crunchy biscuit) with plum jam and cream after a long walk around the island. I never had the feeling that this could get boring: there are so many different areas, from forests to dunes to sandy beaches or marshlands and mudflats, you find it all. You can tell from the plants and wild animals on Amrum that the environment can be harsh due to its proximity to the sea. Some plants and animals are extremely rare, but at the same time have high ecological value for the island’s ecosystem.
June is a perfect time to visit the island since Amrum is an important hatching area for many rare sea birds. The variety in the landscape ranges from sandy beaches, the dunes to mudflats which all cater to different species’ needs. But you will not only see many different sea birds, but pheasants are also roaming the island in quite large numbers.
Even after spending a week on this rather small island, I still have the feeling there would be still so much more to explore!