Set in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea, the unique natural landscape of the North Sea island of Norderney attracts visitors throughout the year, also in winter times.
As one of the ‘Green Destinations Top 100’ worldwide and only German winner of the international Quality Coast Gold Award, the second largest of the East Frisian islands is known not only for its Thalasso-based cures but also to beach lovers, bird watchers and to those seeking both relaxation and active recreation.
In the winter time, Norderney likes to welcome anyone who wants to leave the Christmas stress behind and indulge in the island’s multiple special treats like the winter magic land Winterzauber on the Kurplatz square, a compact yet delightful New Year’s market, opening on 27 December. Culinary delights like hearty chorizo and regional seafood morsels, exquisite wines as well as alcohol-free cranberry punch attract the crowds from noon until evening.
Special events at the Kurtheater and Conversationshaus attract more winter guests to the island and for those who want to get rid of a few extra Christmas kilos, the New Year’s Eve race and the first dip in the North Sea on New Year’s Day will provide for healthy endeavours. The first dip event especially is a regular crowd magnet. While several hundred people jump into the chilly waters, several thousands come along to the Westbad beach to cheer them on. Afterwards, a free visit of the Blue Night Boogie concert on the Kurplatz square is calling.
bade.haus indoor pool. Photo: Nicolas Chibac
However, the biggest and all time present event on Norderney is, and has always been, its natural habitat. Most winter guests indulge not only in the exclusive and manifold Spa and Thalasso treats and treatments, but also enjoy long healthy walks in fresh climate. In October, the winter season starts with bird watching walks when hundreds of thousands of migrating birds take a rest on Norderney on their way to the Southern hemisphere. The Thalasso platforms hold information boards for these occasions to keep every birdwatcher abreast with the latest scientific knowledge on bird migration. The Norderney national park house, lately awarded the title of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Wadden Sea event center provides further information on the island’s unique natural landscape.
Last but not least, the exclusive and award-winning Spa world of the bade:haus norderney, the biggest Thalasso house in Europe is one of the major attractions of the island. Offering a palette of amazing salt water based treatments, saunas and massages as well as North Sea-based seaweed and mud packs, the variations of treatments at the bade:haus are endless and always worth a visit. The view over the islands rooftops out to sea is unique in itself. The Best Public Bath in Europe 2015 also has multiple specials on offer, and there is something new to discover with every visit.
This winter, an event of the special kind is planned for the Norderney Obstacle Fight on 4 February will recall East Frisian traditional defense practices against the attacking forces of the vikings. As the tale goes, the Frisians have made use of the powerful nature surrounding them as early as in the year of 884 CE, when tens of thousands of Vikings, their numbers highly exceeding those of the hard-pressed Frisians, were cunningly lured into the Wadden Sea where they drowned in the tidal waters.
Sauna treat. Photo: Nicolas Chibac
Asking for a lot of team spirit, the Norderney obstacle course will involve such challenges as carrying heavy beach baskets and the race course will include the island’s unique nature, the Wadden Sea and a lot of East Frisian tradition following the motto of “Eala Frya Fresena”, which translates to “Stand up for a free Frisia”.
A winter stay on Norderney will leave you welcoming the new year refreshed, relaxed and revived. Throughout the year, guests can count on the healing benefits of both the unique natural landscape of the Wadden Sea, enjoy in the Thalasso therapy treatments at the bade:haus and relish in culinary delights. The event schedule shows both outdoor and indoor entertainment as well as lectures and concerts at the Conversationshaus, which also houses seminars and congresses in its elegant historical ambiance marked by classical architecture. Families will find a calendar of activities and child-appropriate knowledge transfer on the natural habitat of Norderney, sports fans are attracted by ideal and challenging surfing, sailing and stand-up paddling contests. Beach runs, horse riding and Nordic walking are calling for active outdoor hours followed by a rewarding Spa or sauna treat.
From arrangements for the individual traveller to family holiday offers, from ladies’ Wellness packages to romantic stays for couples, Norderney has it all. The nature-bound sights and activities, the history, the healing powers and an everchanging sophisticated events calendar make for a rewarding stay at any time of the year.
TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI