“In autumn to one of the East Frisian Islands? Why not! Autumn by the sea can be beautiful, you just need the right clothes and you can have a wonderful time by the sea.” – That, or something like it, is what I thought when I received the offer to go to Wangerooge in October.
Did I regret it? Not at all! It was simply wonderful to let the autumn wind whistle around your nose, breathe the fresh air and let your soul dangle. The island is not crowded at that time of year, so you can enjoy lonely walks on the beach.
Autumn on Wangerooge – a walk on the beach
The main beach of Wangerooge is wonderful for a beach walk, especially in autumn.
Most of the beach chairs were already in their winter quarters and only a few people were out and about. The wind blew the spray around my nose and since I was wearing rubber boots, I didn’t care about the waves coming up – I walked as close as I could to the sea.
The water splashed up on the wooden groynes, there were some seagulls sitting on the beach and I even spotted some oystercatchers. A wonderful time of rest and relaxation.
On the way back, I walked right past the dunes. There are eleven kilometres of dunes on Wangerooge. Of course, you shouldn’t walk on them so as not to destroy the intact ecosystem. But if you look for wooden triangles, you will find some places where crossings over the dunes have been created. I walked up the crossing at one point. From up there you have a really great view over the beach. And you can head into town for a leisurely stroll.
City stroll on Wangerooge
In autumn on Wangerooge, you can’t spend hours lying on the beach, so there is plenty of time to take a little walk around town. From the train station, the main shopping street leads island visitors to the waterfront promenade.
The station building is the first visual highlight for me when I arrive on the island. The only narrow-gauge railway in Germany operated by Deutsche Bahn stops here. The representative station building in Art Nouveau style is a listed building. The brick building with its large domed hipped roof and clock tower was restored and modernised in 2003. “Return” is written on the side of the building facing the town – many visitors to the island are happy to comply with this request.
Along the main street you will find many shops offering everything from clothing to arts and crafts. A short stroll through the shops is worthwhile here.
The road ends directly at Café Pudding and the beach behind it.
But you should also turn off the main road and visit one of the small parks. Here you can find more peace and quiet even in the quiet autumn on Wangerooge.
In one of the small side streets there is also the only traffic light on the entire island. However, this does not regulate traffic for cyclists or the few electric cars on the island. The traffic lights indicate whether Café Famoos is open or closed.
A visit to the island’s old lighthouse is not to be missed.
In the lighthouse you can also learn about the history of the lighthouse. This lighthouse was put into operation in 1856. At that time it was 30 metres high and the light was visible up to 20 nautical miles.
Over time, despite the use of more powerful lamps, the beacon was no longer sufficient. The newly built hotels on the shore were simply too high and ships could only see the tower with great difficulty. The tower was raised to 39 metres. This can still be seen very clearly today. Unfortunately, the increase brought little success and in 1968 the light of the lighthouse went out. A newly built lighthouse at another location on the island took over.
The Old Lighthouse could only be preserved with the help and commitment of the islanders. The community took over the building for the symbolic price of 1,-€. Now it serves as a lookout tower and houses a small museum.
161 steps lead up to the lighthouse – it’s worth the walk. From up there you have a great view over the island. I was lucky that the island’s railway was just leaving the pier for the town. So I had a good view of the route. You can also take a look at the island’s airfield from up there.
Offers of the National Park House
Wangerooge is located in the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park. This unique landscape is particularly worthy of protection and so UNESCO has recognised the Wadden Sea as a World Heritage Site.
The team at the National Park House offers interesting activities all year round about the Wadden Sea and the nature reserve.
During my visit, I took part in an activity on the topic of the mudflats.
The mudflats are located in the shore area. This is where material is deposited (washed up). On the beach of Wangerooge there are different flush fringe regions due to the ebb and flow of the tide. We looked at the flush fringe of the last high tide.
First we went on a “treasure hunt”. In a certain section of the beach, we walked along the silt line and collected as many different materials as possible that had been deposited there.
In a big circle we now tried to sort the material. I have to admit, I was very amazed at what we found in just a few minutes. In addition to the types of shells I was familiar with, such as cockles, mussels and the American clam, parts of the common shore crab and barnacles had washed up in the flushing fringe. We could also identify various species of algae. Of course, there was also wood and stones at our collection point.
Completely unknown to me was a worm tube of a tree tube worm.
Unfortunately, there were less pleasant finds: cigarette butts, crayon, plastic foil and parts of a fishing net. It was frightening what we discovered within a few metres on the beach and what this meant for the balance of our sea.
I found this action very interesting and I learned a lot. In any case, I will not look for shells on the beach in the future, but rather be a “rubbish collector”.
Thalasso in autumn on Wangerooge
Wellness and health on Wangerooge is all about Thalasso. Those who want to do something for their health will find numerous offers on the island.
What is Thalasso?
The term Thalasso comes from the Greek word thalassa and means water. In therapy, thalasso means the treatment of illnesses and complaints with everything that comes from the sea. For example, trace elements, vitamins, minerals and proteins that are present in seawater, algae and mud are used. Respiratory diseases, skin diseases and states of stress and exhaustion are treated in this way.
Various forms of therapy are offered on Wangerooge. For example, you can lie in the seawater in tub baths or inhale the salty air in a concentrated way with the help of special inhalation devices.
The principle of cooling down without freezing is also applied. This involves the targeted use of cold stimuli that promote circulation and are intended to support the development of the body’s own defences.
During my stay on Wangerooge, I was allowed to get to know some elements of the offers around the theme of Thalasso.
Thalasso mud pack & massages in the oasis
Shortly after my arrival on the island, I had an appointment at the Oasis. Here there is not only a seawater adventure pool, there is also a therapy centre that works entirely in the spirit of Thalasso.
I was already expected and so my first Thalasso therapy of the weekend could begin.
First, a silt pack awaited me.
The silt from the Wadden Sea is used for this. It contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus and sulphur. My shoulders and back were placed on a warm silt pack. A soothing warmth spread and gradually moved through the whole body. The silt stores the warmth excellently and also gives it off very evenly. In this way, tensions are released, pain is relieved and the mobility of joints is promoted.
I never have a sense of time when I can relax and enjoy. How long I enjoyed the soothing warmth – I can only guess. So after 15 minutes the therapist came into the room and brought me back from my dreams to reality. The back was cleansed and now followed a back massage that softened my neglected and often aching muscles wonderfully.
I could have lain like this for hours, but all good things come to an end and after about 45 minutes of treatment, my first Thalasso experience of the weekend was already over.
Thalasso – experience directly on the beach
October and November are the ideal time for an extensive stay at the beach on Wangerooge. Directly at the water’s edge, especially when the spray is high, the aerosol content of the air rises sharply. Up to 1 mg/m3 salt content can then be found in the air directly at the water’s edge. Breathing in this air and moving around is demonstrably beneficial to your health. Appetite increases, you sleep better and especially in the case of respiratory diseases, the first improvements begin to be noticeable after 3-4 days.
In another Thalasso session, we now went to the beach. Wrapped up warmly, because the autumn wind was blowing, I then stood near the water’s edge and with some simple stretching exercises we opened up the muscles of the chest, promoted rotation in the upper body and the loosening of the upper body muscles. In doing so, you breathe in and out more consciously than you normally do. After the first few exercises, you quickly noticed how the cool North Sea air filled your lungs and your breathing became more intense.
Yes, and then it was time to take off shoes and socks. The sand was already quite cool and with a few intensive steps, conscious treading and a slight stimulation of the cardiovascular system, my feet quickly became warmer. But before I could enjoy that, it was into the autumnally cold North Sea water. And I found it really cold… From the feeling, all the muscles and blood vessels in my legs contracted – but I bravely persevered and briefly walked up and down in the water. Afterwards – and this was a real relief – we dipped our feet into a tub of lukewarm water. Immediately my feet were pleasantly warm and I quickly slipped back into my stockings and shoes.
I really enjoyed this experience on the beach of Wangerooge in autumn. I felt fit and happy afterwards – yes, I could imagine deepening this experience and thus also preparing myself and my health a little better for the winter.
Disclosure: The visit to Wangerooge took place as part of a blogger trip. This report was written independently of the visit.