In June my mom and I visited German Wadden island Borkum for the first time. You can visit this island by ferry directly from the Netherlands. I had been wanting to visit Borkum for years now, ever since I had seen the commercials they started showing in the movie theatres in Groningen about ten years ago. They showed these lovely blue-and-white beach seats, kind of like 2 person baskets to sit in and I fell in love. It looked so idyllic. Still, I never went. In Spring they started advertising combination tickets for the new trainstation Eemshaven, where the ferry departs, to Borkum. My mum was really up for a daytrip to an island so we decided to buy the combi tickets for about 30 euros per person. They include the train return, the ferry return and the Borkum train line on the island, so you’re all set with this ticket. Want to find out what Borkum is like? Read on…
The morning train to Eemshaven leaves Groningen central station at 8.52 am (Oktober 2018). From the end of October the train and boat times will change. Don’t forget to check before you leave. The train takes about 50 minutes and the ferry leaves at 10.15 am, which will leave you plenty time to walk to the ferry and even make a rest room stop and have a cup of tea in the restaurant. In Summer make sure you have a seat on the sun deck on the ferry as it can get quite hot inside. The boat also takes about 50 minutes and when you arrive in the port of Borkum the Borkumer Kleinbahn train will be waiting for the ferry passengers. No need to rush, it leaves about 15 minutes later. Plenty of time to take a few pictures if you like.
Around half past eleven we were in the centre of Borkum. This is the last train stop (there’s one in the middle of the route but it did not stop there in the morning, only in the evening). My first thought was that it looked a lot more like Germany then I had expected. This is logical of course since this is Germany but still it’s a Wadden island and most of these islands are Dutch and I had only visited those before.
In the Bismarckstrasse, a shopping street that leads to the beach, we decided to sit down at bar bistro Pferdestall. During a little internet search for veggie food and drinks at Borkum I had already seen they scored well on vegan food. I ordered a chai latte and the potato soup with homemade tomato bread. Very good! My mum chose a rabarber schörle and a baked potato with sour cream (not vegan). The potato was a bit dry unfortunately.
After finishing our lunch, it was absolutely time to go and see those lovely beach ‘baskets’ I was so fond of. We had chosen a great day for our visit as it was around 24 degrees Celsius. There were a lot of people enjoying the rays of sunshine and hoping for a tan. Not me as I can’t go in the sun. My mum doesn’t need to sun to get a tan so we decided to go for the shade after a walk on the beach and me taking some pictures. The baskets were cute but a bit less idyllic then in those commercials. They come in 3 different colours, which is cute. While we were people watching we talked about how it was such a lovely day and we enjoyed some brought from home snacks (in case there wasn’t any good food around the island ;-)) It was all quite relaxed indeed.
After the bit of rest we decided to have a look at the lighthouse and we really wanted to get an idea of what the village looked like. We entered a very Protestant looking church, shopped at drugstore Rossmann, I bought my favourite German magazine Emotion Slow at the bookstore across from the lighthouse and we had cake and drinks at Luttje Toornkieker (right across from the tower). I chose a vegan cherry crumble pie and my mum had a strawberries and cream pie. Much in island style I also chose a hot sea buckthorn (non-alcoholic) cocktail. Very particular taste. We went home with a packet of sea buckthorn – green tea leaves (so jummy!), sea buckthorn lip pomade and a very positive experience.
Around 5.30 pm we arrived back where the train would leave again. The boat left the island at 6.15 pm and little over an hour later we were in the train. Around 8 pm we were back at Groningen main railway station. There is a possibility to have a hot meal in the ferry. We did not, we had a late dinner at home.
Borkum is, as you would expect, loaded with tourists in Summer. When we were there, there were mostly Germans who also often opt for the Dutch boat to Borkum as the journey is much shorter. It’s a small island. You don’t need a lot of time to see the whole island. Choose a day with beautiful weather (at least choose a dry moderately hot day) and you can relax, bathe in the sun, have a bike ride, enjoy some lovely food, go to a sauna or visit the local open air Heimatmuseum Borkum Dykhaus to get to know more about the history of the island (unfortunately we didn’t have time for this). There are a few lighthouses which you can climb, seals on a sandbank, a small theme park, an aquarium and in the port you can visit a boat: Nationalpark Schiff Feuerschiff. Good fun for a day or two. Have you visited Borkum yet? Are you planning on visiting?