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Introducing East Frisian Islands

Trying to remember the sequence of the seven East Frisian Islands, Germans – with a wink of the eye – recite the following mnemonic device: ‘Welcher Seemann liegt bei Nanni im Bett?’ (which translates rather saucily as ‘Which seaman is lying in bed with Nanni?’).

Lined up in an archipelago off the coast of Lower Saxony like diamonds in a tiara, the islands are (east to west): Wangerooge, Spiekeroog, Langeoog, Baltrum, Norderney, Juist and Borkum. Their long sandy beaches, open spaces and sea air make them both a nature-lovers’ paradise and a perfect retreat for those escaping the stresses of the world. Like their North Frisian cousins Sylt, Amrum and Föhr, the islands are part of the Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer) National Park. Along with coastal areas of the Netherlands, Germany’s Wadden Sea is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The main season runs from mid-May to September. Beware, however, that the opening hours of tourist offices in coastal towns change frequently and without notice. Call ahead if possible.