Juist: a Remarkable German Island
Juist Island in the North Sea: Some call it ‘Towerland’
By Shane Fay
Located in the Southern North Sea roughly seven kilometers away from Germany‘s mainland is the long little island of Juist, a municipality that boasts 17 kilometers of beautiful beach land on the Wadden and North Seas.
The people who call this pretty little island home have nicknamed it ‘Towerland’, which translates to ‘magic land’ or ‘Wonderland.’
Katharina Schlangenotto of Juist’s tourism board discusses why Juist’s nickname is so fitting.
“Another name for our small island is ‘Töwerland’. It is low German and means ‘wonderland’. And indeed, many people coming to Juist describe it as a little wonderland:
“There are no cars but horses and bicycles, the only sounds to be heard are the wind, the sea, and the clopping horses’ hooves. People feel like being in a very different, small world, miles away from the mainland where they leave all their worries and sorrows behind.”
Kids Learning Braveness
Children experience freedom and braveness, many of them learn how to ride a bicycle or go to the bakery store in the morning, for the first time on their own, to fetch the German “Brötchen”.
It is easiest to get into the Juist groove while going for a long walk by the endless white beach, inhaling the healthy, salty air and fading away with the sound of the waves.”
‘Wonderland’ is an accurate nickname for a place that truly is a wonderful and magical designation. With enough scenery to fill 1,000+ postcards, it’s no wonder this German island is such a popular tourist destination. And it’s not just the beaches that make the island so desirable.
Inka Piegsa-Quischotte, freelance travel writer, photographer, and blogger, talks about her love for the “magic land”: “I grew up in North Friesland and ever since my childhood spent summer vacations on Juist.
I love the island because it’s family-friendly and laid back, a far cry from the hype of, for example, Sylt.
“The dunes are lovely and so is the Strandkoerbe, special hooded windbreak seating furniture used at vacation and seaside resorts. Locals will let you participate in their cherished ‘tea parties’ and a favorite ‘sport’ is crab shelling.”
75 Minute Boat Ride to Juist Island
Everything about this quirky island is so unique that you’ll want to experience it firsthand. For starters, getting to the island is only possible by boat during high tide. From the Norddeich-Mole train station, tourists take a 75-minute boat ride to the island.
And even once you’re on the island, standard everyday travel is very different compared to most places.
With the only cars on Juist belonging to the fire department, doctors, and the Red Cross, everyone else moves about through the use of bikes, carriages, or horses.
There’s no need for a car when vacationing here because practically everything is within walking distance.
Seventeen kilometers of beach not only means seemingly endless beach walks but also guarantees constant close proximity to the beach regardless of where you stay on the island. The beach is all around you.
The climate on Juist is known as the stimulating Thalasso climate. You may feel rather hungry and tired at the beginning of your visit because of the wind, sea, and sun.
However, the salty air is healthy and it is especially appreciated by people with respiratory conditions. And Thalasso health treatments are great for your health.
Thalasso Health Treatments, Too
Thalasso health treatments such as algae wraps and massages are known to be detoxifying and health-promoting. Along with a wonderful beach atmosphere, Juist’s climate offers unexpected health benefits.
Another aspect of Juist that sets this island apart from many other destinations is the mud. That’s right, the mud.
Along the German and Dutch coasts, there lie mudflats that were recently designated a World Nature Heritage Site because of their uniqueness. Juist resides directly in some of the mudflats adding some authenticity to the already appealing island.
And what more, during the month of October, these mudflats play host to migrating birds who are on their way south for the winter. These mudflats spark up a good deal of wonder in tourists and Juist even offers guided tours.
Heino the Mud Guide
Heino is a popular mud guide who is famous for getting people of all ages excited about the mudflats, just as his father and grandfather did before him.
Heino is a popular mud guide who is famous for getting people of all ages excited about the mudflats, just as his father and grandfather did before him. Heino is also quite knowledgeable about certain species in the area such as the Sandpaperworm and the common cockle.
Speaking of species, Juist is known in part for its biodiversity. To the west of Juist is an uninhabited, secluded sandbank that is only reachable by boat. This sandbank is known as the Kachelotplatte and is famous for housing a large colony of gray seals and a variety of birds.
Another sandbank located at the western end of Juist, known as the Billreef, is a common migration rest stop for birds such as gray plovers, dunlins, and knots.
Don’t forget to explore Juist’s harbor full of boats! Take a word of advice from Inka Piegsa-Quischotte and “Sit on the harbor wall with a bag full of tiny fresh crabs, get your fingers dirty shelling and eating them.”
How Juist Came to Be
In the 1600s and 1700s, several storm tides broke the island into two parts. In the late 1700s in an effort to close the two-kilometer-wide burst at Juist’s southern side, people utilized a dune dike to connect the two portions of the island.
In 1928, the northern side was fully repaired. And by that point in time, the water in Lake Hammersee had been turned from saltwater into freshwater.
Juist is, Unsurprisingly, a Tourist Economy
Tourism is the staple of Juist’s economy and provides the little island economy’s main source of income. There is even an island partnership between Juist and another German island named ‘Hiddensee.’
Most buildings on Juist have guestrooms, the island is full of hotels, and the German island even has a youth hostel. It is so focused on tourism that the tallest buildings on the island visible from the North Sea are an old hotel and a water tower.
Juist may be a small island but there are still tons of things to do there.
The Children’s University “Sustainable Living” program on on the island is a great way for kids and their parents to learn about sustainability, not to mention it also makes for a one-of-a-kind vacation.
Football camp Juist offers kids a unique opportunity to play football (soccer), not American football, on the beautiful island of Juist with professional training.
Kids and parents alike can have fun at the Juister Family Feast with a juggling station, ball cannon, barbecue stand, and much more.
The Dinner in White on Juist is a tradition in Germany in which participants wear all white clothes and dine on all white tables and blankets. The event is well-known as a great experience guaranteed to put you in a good mood.
Much to Enjoy
Juist is home to even more events and exhibitions that are well worth exploring. For an unforgettable vacation, come experience the magnificent beaches, climate, and more on the little German island of Juist!