Rest at the seaside resorts of Germany

Going to the sea in Germany. What do you need to know?

Perhaps, Germany is not the most obvious country for a holiday by the sea: still, the Baltic wind, blue-green water, sandy spits and pines with dunes instead of palm trees are not the most usual companions of summer vacations. But this does not embarrass Germans, and local Baltic resorts are enviable popularity. While the budget 9-euro ticket is still valid in the country (and according to rumors, it may be extended for September), we tell you why to go to the coast of Ostsee, and what to be prepared for.

Familiar to us division of the seas into the Baltic Sea and the North Sea does not say much to the Germans themselves. With them, as well as with the Scandinavians, the names are much simpler: the Baltic Sea is Ostsee (East Sea), the North Sea – Westsee (logical). Their natural border is the Jutland Peninsula (where Denmark is).

The most famous German seaside resorts are Warnemünde, Heiligendamm and Kaiserbad north of Berlin (the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), the island of Sylt on the border with Denmark, and the white-sand beaches of the Frisian Islands. All the present resorts were once simple fishing villages, and only since the late 19th century have become popular among Germans as resorts: it was during the time of Bismarck, when the idea of “domestic tourism” (and import substitution of coffee with chicory due to lack of colonial goods, but that’s another story) began to develop.

Despite the different names, holidays on both seas are as similar as possible: sand dunes, pine trees around, measured atmosphere, very specific German coastal cuisine. And, of course, booking resorts for years in advance. The sea in the north of Germany in its own beautiful: it rarely gets warmer than 20 degrees and not sparkling blue, but rather calming gray-green waves, crashing into the sand spits thirty meters from the shore. On the other hand, it is a real paradise for people who come to the beach to chill, to enjoy the silence and iodine air.

And also in the northern German seas live quietly fat peace-loving seals: if you go a little further away from the city, you can see how they crawl out to warm on the sand or playfully dive out of the water in between eating herring. In Warnemünde you can get to know them better by visiting the Robbenforschungcentrum (Marine Mammal Research Center) where they are shown how they are fed, trained with balls and life preservers and trained to follow commands. Admission to the center costs € 19, individual tours start from € 50 and only by appointment and with a covid test.

Photo: julia solonina

Photo: reiseuhu

Two things may surprise you on the North German beaches. The first is the abundance of wicker cabins with cushioned seats, which here replace the sun loungers with umbrellas. Since the terrain is not abundant with hills and the Baltic winds are very harsh, it is not the worst idea to shut yourself off from them in such a stall. The only problem is that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to shelter from the wind, watch the sun and watch the sea at the same time, because the sea is in the north, the sun will literally shine on the top of your head (or on the roof of the cabin), so you’ll have to choose.

The second feature is, of course, the relaxed attitude to the body on the beach. In other words, there are no changing rooms, and nudists of all possible ages predominate among holidaymakers on all beaches, even the farthest from the city center. Don’t be frightened, for Germans, especially those who grew up in the GDR, this is perfectly normal: a body is just a body, no double meaning, no judgmental looks. But it doesn’t hurt to prepare yourself in advance for this type of vacation.

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Photo: nhi dam

Photo: ibrahim rifath

People who say that the mountain hutts in Bavaria have the strictest conditions for tourists have simply never been to Warnemünde or Kaiserbad. A hearty breakfast at 9am? Not supposed to. Either coffee and scones or a full brunch at 11 when the restaurants open. Dinner after spending the sunset on the beach? Neither, most restaurants will stop taking kitchen orders by 9. A cocktail at a cozy bar after 11 p.m.? What a sacrilege! Bar patrons will disturb the sleep of respectable holidaymakers, so, please, finish with your aperol on time and don’t make noise after ten.

Yes, the resorts of the Baltic and North Sea are clearly not the place for youth parties (the rare electronic music festivals on the beach here, too, end at 10 pm). But this kind of measured and tranquility is a great option to air your thoughts and let loose a little.

Photo: @travelnow-or-crylater

Don’t be intimidated by the limited housing offerings on Booking and AirBnb. German resorts do everything the old-fashioned way, without that digitalization of yours: you arrive for the first time, go to the local tourism office, get contacts of locals who keep small private pensions, check in. And then for years you take that contact and pass it on as a legacy. For many Germans, this is normal, and in most resort towns hotels in the usual sense surprisingly little (and they are either resorts are native GDR with painfully familiar silhouette, or a comb-over hotels at yacht clubs on the site of gentrified fishing port).

Alas, as in many popular places, accommodation in a boarding house is not cheap: be prepared to pay at least € 90 for a small but cozy double room and about € 7-8 for breakfast. But if you follow the German tradition and book directly with the host for a year in advance, you can save a lot and get the status of favorite guests and a warm welcome next summer.

Photo: @kadir-celep

German cuisine based on saltwater fish, not sausages of all kinds, is an unusual phenomenon. For centuries, herring, mackerel and European sprat (this is the name of a species of fish in the herring family) have been the main commercial fish species in the north. Popular seafood: crabs and shrimp used to be the food of the local poor, and now – you know – take pride of place in the menu.

Fish soup (Fischsuppe). Unlike in Norway, the German oud is not based on salmon, but on local fish, so it is less greasy and filling, but with lots of onions and vegetables. It is served – as usual – in small portions, so you can’t do without the main course.

Bismarck herring (Bismarckhering). In the Hanseatic towns and villages the attitude to herring is particularly reverent. There are dozens of herring marinades to choose from. Probably the most famous one is named after Bismarck. Legend has it that the Iron Chancellor, as a true northerner and a lover of food, valued herring on his table above fine cheeses and truffles. Fishmongers quickly became aware of this passion and since then herring fillets marinated in vinegar and mustard have had that famous name. It is usually served with potatoes fried with onions and eggs, or as a straightfood – in a fresh white bun and with pickled red onions.

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Home-style herring (Hering Hausfrauenart). A slightly more refined variation of herring marinade is in a fatty sour cream and onion sauce. To balance the acidity, serve it with boiled or baked potatoes, and eat it during hearty brunches with a glass of bitter lager.

Grilled Herring (Brathering). Probably one of the most unusual ways of preparing herring: herring is fried first and then pickled in large quantities of apple cider vinegar with bay leaf and cloves. This dish is served cold, and for a serving there are two big fish, so we advise to take such a dish for two.

Smoked fish. Most likely, you will not find them on the menus of restaurants, so you have to go to the fish market (traditionally held on Saturdays and Sundays in every resort fishing village). The fish here is smoked both cold and hot, so the choice of products at the hawkers doubles. Our favorites are cold-smoked sea eel (Räucheraal), black halibut (Schwarzer Heilbutt) and Kiel sprats Kiel_sprats are smoked, but not canned.

Cod “Sea King” with pickled borage, mashed potatoes and onions and cream sauce. Just what you need after a long walk on the coast.

To wash it all down, we recommend a bitter northern lager or a stronger and richer Baltic porter from local breweries like Störtebeker and Flensburger.

Photo: @patrick-konig

German seaside resorts

German seaside resorts

Today we’re going to talk about popular German resorts on the Baltic Sea and North Sea. Didn’t you know there are seaside resorts in Germany? It turns out, yes, and they are incredibly popular among the Germans who travel there for the mild climate, beautiful scenery, clean air, plenty of beaches, for medical and wellness procedures, and just for a great vacation. Where are the German seaside resorts?

Island Usedom

The island of Usedom is one of Germany’s sunniest and warmest places, not far from the Polish border. The resort towns of this German island: Albeck, Bansin, Heeringsdorf, are united by a seven-kilometer long promenade, along which you can take long health walks, passing from one settlement to another or, having rented a bicycle, arrange yourself an entertaining bike ride. Usedom Island has a lot of excellent hotels, where tourists are offered not only to join the beach recreation, but also to visit the excellent spa procedures for recovery and improvement of physical appearance. If you happen to be in the resorts on a rainy day, we recommend visiting the remarkable thermal complex – “Ostsi-Therm”. If you, while resting in the German Baltic resort, decided to buy souvenirs, it is better to take time to go to neighboring Poland, where the souvenirs are exactly the same, but the prices are much lower. It will not take you much time. The island of Usedom and its beaches, at one time appreciated by such famous people as Thomas Mann, Theodore Fontane, Kurt Tucholsky, because since the nineteenth century, it has become a popular place to spend your vacations. And since it preferred to rest here affluent Berliners, the island was nicknamed the “Berlin Resort”.

East Frisian Islands

2. From an ecological point of view, the East Frisian Islands are the cleanest place in the German North Sea, because the authorities are concerned about the protection and preservation of the environment, even banning the use of cars. Instead of highways there are a lot of walking paths in the middle of the charming sand dunes. For ease of movement of local residents and vacationers, there are special trains. You can also use one of the horse carts.

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Langeog Island

Langeog Island – a paradise for fans of surfing, famous for the fourteen-kilometer sand beach and dunes, reaching twenty meters in height, and more, the grandeur of pristine nature. The island of Langeoog belongs to East Frisia. The special atmosphere of this German resort on the North Sea attracts thousands of tourists. The landmark of Germany is the water tower from 1909, from which you can admire the stunning views of the island and the National Park “Lower Saxony Shoals-Watts”, which is under UNESCO protection. This is where Germany’s largest colony of herring gulls resides, so amateur naturalists and ornithologists love to come here to observe these rare birds up close. Holidays on the German island-resort will not be boring for people of all ages: kids can do sandcastles, adults – surfing, swimming, strolling along the beach, as part of a thalassotherapy course.

Spykerog Island

Spykerog Island is the center of German recovery tourism, offering its guests a wide range of recovery services, including traditional and innovative methods, stone therapy, thalassotherapy. This German seaside resort also strengthens the immune system due to the bright greenery of the island and the ban on motor vehicles, which means the cleanest air.

Tourists who come to Spykerog Island, have the opportunity to join the nature by taking a boat trip in the direction of the shoals, where seals are always warming. And for lovers of extreme sports, we recommend sailing on the barque “Gorkh Fok”. And also, on Spykerog you can attend workshops that are given in various kinds of art: molding, painting, self-made jewelry. Famous photographers and artists will share their secrets with tourists. If you want to know the schedule of these classes and create your own schedule, contact the local tourist center.

Isle of Joust

The island of Just is another environmentally friendly car-free island in Germany, which is known for its beautiful seventeen-kilometer-long beaches, with a maximum width of not more than one kilometer, the minimum – half a kilometer. This is a great place to get a great tan and relax. During the year, at the hotels of the island resort on the North Sea in Germany, stopped about a hundred thousand tourists. A few years ago it was named the most beautiful island in Northern Germany.

North Frisian Islands

3. North Frisian Islands – these islands, once detached from the mainland during a great storm, and now drifting in the North Sea, do not have any memorable architectural monuments, world-famous museums, but are famous for their pristine nature, clean sea air and unique pastoral landscapes: here reign Friesian houses, roofed with thatch, there are windmills and grazing in the fields of sheep. These islands have long white-sand beaches with beach “baskets” for holidaymakers – this is the realm of sand dunes, and the best place to get away from problems and worries in peace and quiet. This is a reserve, where they breed cattle: sheep, horses, cows. Here you can meet hares, pheasants, storks, waterfowl, and by swimming to the nearby sandbanks you can watch the lazy seals.

Amrum Island

Amrum Island – a great place with a thirty-meter-high sand dunes, he became famous because of the magnificent beach Knipzand, a length of sixteen kilometers, and a half kilometer wide. On the island of Amrum reigns dunes, fields and forests, and above all this natural splendor towers forty-two-meter lighthouse – the highest in the North Sea. While on the island, you can hike through the picturesque wetlands of the Wattwanders. If you find an experienced guide, you can walk from one island to another at low tide. Birdwatchers from around the world come to this island every year to see the local bird bazaars. From Amrum island you can take a ferry to the neighboring Sylt or Fehr.

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Sylt Island

Sylt Island is where the rich and glamorous tourists come to rest, “to show themselves and to look at others. This is the fourth largest island in the country, known for forty-kilometer long sandy beach, where each other seamlessly alternate ordinary beach, nudist, surfer and dog beach. The most famous nudist beach on the island of Sylt is “Bune 16”, located in Kampen. Here is the “Club Rotes Kliff”, a place of concentration of nightlife on the island. For families, the West Liszt Beach, on the northern tip of Sylt, is a good place to go.

Firth Island

The island of Fehr is the second largest in the archipelago of the North Frisian Islands, as well as the second largest German island in the North Sea. This place is perfect for a quiet family vacation, here prefers to rest modest public, middle-income. However, in the beach season, Fers is very crowded.

Bathing season here starts in July and ends in late August. But tourists go to rest even in May, though bathe in the spa, where there is a pool with heated sea water, or in pools at the hotels.

Peninsula Fischland-Darse Zingst

4. Peninsula Fischland-Darse Zingst – Germany’s most beautiful resort on the Baltic Sea, known for its national park “Coastal Landscape Fore-Pomerania,” and also because of the sixty-kilometer-long beaches covered with fine white sand. As for the national park, it includes the Weststrand Coast of the Dars Peninsula. In this park you will find untouched nature, amazing trees of the most bizarre forms, which grew in constant struggle with the winds. This is the location of the oldest working lighthouse of this peninsula – “Darser Orth”, in addition, it is home to the colony of artists Ahrenshoop, which was founded in the late nineteenth century by Paul Müller-Kempf. Today here, as in the founding years, in homes and ateliers, artists reproduce on canvases the stunning local beauty of the German Baltic coast. Many famous works of painting were created here, influenced by the beautiful Baltic nature.

Zingst Resort

Zingst resort is the center of modern photography. All four art galleries located there exhibit the works of the most famous photographers. Particularly beautiful and romantic in Zingst and its surroundings, in the spring and fall, when numerous flocks of cranes descend here to rest in the national park. By the way, the center for the study of cranes, is not far away, in the town of Gros-Mordorf, where you can go on a tour.

On the peninsula Dars Zingste you can enjoy not only the beauty of nature, but also long beaches and shallow here, the Baltic Sea – warm, even in autumn. It is ideal for holidays with children.

Rügen Island

5. The island of Rügen is the third largest German island in the Baltic Sea, which belongs to the federal state of Mecklenburg in Western Pomerania. It covers an area of nine hundred and twenty-five square kilometers, and the gateway to the island of Rügen, traditionally considered located on land town Stralsund: from it to the island stretches a two-kilometer road embankment. The island of Rügen is a popular German seaside resort on the Baltic Sea, famous for its 60-kilometer-long beaches, numerous national parks and, of course, castles. The most famous beach, very popular among tourists, is the beach of Schaabe, in the north-eastern part of the island. Its length is twelve kilometers. No less famous and 5-kilometer beach Binze, where vacationers can enjoy various types of water sports, including sailing, surfing, pedal boats, riding “bananas”.

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Hiddensee Island

6. Hiddensee Island – located northwest of the island of Rügen. It is incredibly scenic and there is a ban on the movement of cars. Sea buckthorn trees grow all over the island, they are said to have healing powers and are able to heal many diseases.

The island became a popular German resort on the Baltic Sea, thanks to the poet Gerhart Hauptmann, who often vacationed here in his own house. The most popular holiday destination on Hiddensee Island is the sandy beach Witte, with a gentle shoreline, which stretches for five kilometers. It is loved by families with children, the elderly and those who can not swim well.

Bay of Lübeck

7. Lübeck Bay, a place famous for the Timmendorf beach, which stretches along the coast for six kilometers. The Bay of Lübeck has a high concentration of luxury villas and is often frequented by international celebrities. Timmendorf beach is the longest in Schleswig-Holstein. It is subdivided into zones, where there are children’s, nudist and doggie zones, they are located separately. In the western part of it adjoins a nice sandy beach Nindorf, which attracts tourists with its picturesque port. A plus of rest on both of these beaches is that there are facilities for disabled access, they are given free floating wheelchairs.

St. Petersburg Resort

8. The resort of St. Ording is a great beach holiday destination in Germany on the North Sea, with twelve kilometers of sandy beach, which is surrounded by dams and moving dunes. Here is Germany’s only bathing area with sulfur baths. But the most popular section of this beach is in the town of Ording, and it’s where major entertainment events are held every year.

Borkum Island

9. Island Borkum – is located in the North Sea, fifty kilometers from mainland Germany. Its area is thirty-one square kilometers. The island’s maritime climate is considered healing for people suffering from allergies. Back in 1830, the town of Borkum was officially recognized as a health resort on the North Sea of Germany. The main place of bathing here is the “North Beach”. Young people like to relax on the “Eastern Beach”, where you can fly kites, play volleyball, soccer and sailing.

Helgoland

10. Helgoland, a tiny piece of land lost in the North Sea, is forty-six kilometers from the continent and covers an area of one square kilometer. More precisely, it is divided into two islands: the main island, Hauptinsel, where the locals live, and Düne, a tourist island made up of excellent sandy beaches with only the people serving at several tourist campsites as well as a small airfield. This island of Dune was once part of the island of Helgoland. To get to the beaches of the island you can take a boat or a small plane, which flies from the German cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Büsum. The only transport allowed on the island are scooters and bicycles.

Sea resorts in Germany – a real mystery to the Russians, because there is no usual forty-degree heat, your favorite system of “all inclusive”, but there are mesmerizing views of the coast of the North Sea and Baltic Sea, the beautiful long sandy beaches and abundant nature.

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