I went to one of the Lower Saxony islands in the Wadden Sea for the first time and to be honest I was a bit excited beforehand. What would await me there? Would I get seasick? And how does the journey to Wangerooge work anyway….
I read up on the island in advance so that I wouldn’t arrive there completely ignorant.
Things to know about Wangerooge
Wangerooge is the easternmost of the inhabited East Frisian Islands in Lower Saxony’s Wadden Sea. Historically, however, the island belongs to Friesland, as was pointed out to me several times during my visit.
At 7.94 km², the island is the second smallest of the seven islands. Only about 8.5 km is the longest distance measured from east to west. What I was particularly looking forward to was a walk along the island’s 3-kilometre-long sandy beach.
I had already learned at school that islands shift over time due to erosion. Of course, this also applies to Wangerooge, and if you look at old maps, the change is clearly visible. It can be shown that between the 17th and 19th centuries, about 2 kilometres of land were eroded in the west and the island became about 4 kilometres longer in the east. Erosion is also clearly visible on the main beach. In spring, the big “sand retrieval action” has been going on for years. Then sand from the east of the island is piled up again on the beach and so holidaymakers can enjoy a beautiful wide beach.
About 1300 inhabitants live on Wangerooge, but not all of them are islanders (born on the island), some are also Wangeroogers who have moved here.
Experience Wangerooge Arrival
The alarm clock rang at 5:45 in the morning at our hotel in Wilhelmshaven. A quick breakfast and then Patrick took me by car to Harlesiel. The ship to Wangerooge leaves there every day.
The sailing time depends on the tide. So the departure time varies every day and there are also different numbers of tours going back and forth. As weather conditions can also influence the departure times, you should check online one day before departure to see if there have been any changes.
For visitors to the island, there are paid parking spaces where you can leave your car. You can’t take it onto the island – it’s car-free! Since Patrick only dropped me off briefly and then drove back to Wilhelmshaven, he could use the short-term parking zone free of charge.
Yes, and then I’m standing at the pier, it’s still dark and I’m waiting for the first trip of the day, which is supposed to leave at 8:30. But before that, I had to drop off my suitcases at the luggage station. A “it’s early in the morning” friendly “remember container 117” just escaped the lips of the person working there. And then he put the suitcase in the luggage trolley.
It’s going on board
Then, 30 minutes before departure, the ferry opened its gangway and passengers streamed on board. There was a smell of coffee, some passengers were having breakfast and I went out on deck to enjoy the crossing outside, despite the autumn cold.
The ship departed punctually and then the 60-minute crossing to Wangerooge began.
Actually, the mainland is only 7 km away from the island, but the ship cannot take the direct route. It has to use the existing shipping channel that runs between the sandbanks of the Wadden Sea. At times it almost looks as if the ship will pass the island, but then it turns towards the harbour.
I enjoyed the ride very much. Here, the holiday feeling and relaxation set in immediately. The wind whistled around my nose and my fear of not being able to stand the rocking of the ship was completely unfounded.
The closer we got to the island, the more passengers came onto the deck to watch the docking in Wangerooge harbour. But passengers were also already queuing at the gangway, wanting to leave the ship as quickly as possible.
Arrival at Wangerooge
In the harbour, the island train was already waiting for the ship’s passengers. You don’t have to be in a hurry to avoid missing the departure. The train only departs when the luggage from the ship has been loaded onto trailers and these have been coupled to the passenger cars.
The train is small, has wooden benches and reminds me more of a train in an amusement park that takes visitors leisurely through the area.
The ride is really comfortable and slow. You’re not in a hurry, you’re on holiday…
I enjoyed the drive past the salt marshes and the coast of the island. Already I spotted numerous birds roaming and foraging in the beautiful landscape. It’s a pity that there is no round trip of the island by train. I would have gone on it immediately!
After about 10 – 15 minutes, you arrive at Wangerooge station. Here I also got my suitcase back. The containers were placed on the platform and opened. I had remembered “Container 117” and got my suitcase.
Addendum to the return journey
As I mentioned earlier, the ferry’s sailing times are not only tide-dependent, but also weather-dependent. This was noticeable on my return trip to the mainland. The wind was strong and pushed the water into the harbour. The ship I wanted to take could not leave. The timetable was changed and the ship left 2 hours earlier.
The changed departure time was posted everywhere on the island and was also pointed out in the hotel. So you shouldn’t be able to overlook this and plan your departure accordingly.
There are several hotels and holiday flats on Wangerooge. If you arrive at the station, you can either bring your luggage to your accommodation on your own or have it collected for a fee.
I was allowed to spend my stay on the island at the Strandhotel Gerken. The hotel is located directly on the beach promenade and from the restaurant and some rooms you have a great view of the main beach.
My room was on the 3rd floor (lift available) of the hotel with a view of some quiet courtyards and a little view of the sea.
The hotel’s breakfast buffet is highly recommended. It was very extensive – from pancakes to fresh homemade waffles to fresh fruit, fresh fish and delicious rolls – there was everything my heart and stomach desired for breakfast.
I felt very comfortable in this hotel. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try out the wellness area during my short stay – I’ll probably have to go to Wangerooge again with Patrick.
Address Harbour Harlsiel:
Wangerooge Arrival times:
Disclosure: The visit to Wangerooge took place as part of a press trip. The reporting is independent of the invitation.