Juist: The Little Island in Germany that Screams “Paradise”

The Beaches and Atmosphere of Juist, Germany are Far from Ordinary

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.

Juist is known as the "Towerland" which translates to the "magic land". Photo courtesy of juist.de
Juist is known as the “Towerland” which translates to the “magic land”. Photo courtesy of juist.de

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.

Towerland

“Another name for the small island of Juist 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.”

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 Juist so desirable.

Inka’s Experience

Inka Piegsa-Quischotte, free lance travel writer, photographer, and blogger, talks about her love for the “magic land”: “I grew up in North Friesland and ever since 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. Locals will let you participate in their cherished ‘tea parties’ and a favorite ‘sport’ is crab shelling.”

75 Minute Boat Ride

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.

Because Juist is a car-free island with just a few exceptions, people get around by horse-drawn carriages, bikes, and other modes of transportation. Photo courtesy of juist.de
Because Juist is a car-free island with just a few exceptions, people get around by horse-drawn carriages, bikes, and other modes of transportation. Photo courtesy of juist.de

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 in 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

Juist is partially known for its mudflats which are a common tourist attraction. Photo courtesy of juist.de
Juist is partially known for its mudflats which are a common tourist attraction. Photo courtesy of juist.de

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 mud flats that were recently designated a World Nature Heritage Site because of their uniqueness. Juist resides directly in some of the mud flats adding some authenticity to the already appealing island.

And what more, during the month of October, these mud flats play host to migrating birds who are on their way south for the winter. These mud flats 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 mud flats, 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 mud flats, 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.

Juist's sand banks are not only known for housing gray seals and a variety of different bird species but also for acting as migration pit stops for many types of birds. Photo courtesy of juist.de
Juist’s sand banks are not only known for housing gray seals and a variety of different bird species but also for acting as migration pit stops for many types of birds. Photo courtesy of juist.de

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 sand bank 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 Juist 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 Juist’s Lake Hammersee had been turned from saltwater into freshwater.

Citizens of Juist voted for their first directly-elected mayor on September 9, 2001. Karl-Josef Wederhake won the 2001 election and was even re-elected in September of 2006.

With Juist's abundance of natural beauty, it's no wonder the island's economy is based on tourism. Photo courtesy of juist.de
With Juist’s abundance of natural beauty, it’s no wonder the island’s economy is based on tourism. Photo courtesy of juist.de

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 the 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 Juist 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.

Juist isn't just something pretty to look at. The little German island has a lot of fun things to do! Photo courtesy of juist.de
Juist isn’t just something pretty to look at. The little German island has a lot of fun things to do! Photo courtesy of juist.de

Footballcamp Juist 2017 offers kids a unique opportunity to play football, 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.

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!

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Shane Fay

Shane Fay

Shane Fay is a creative writer and soccer enthusiast from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts intent on traveling across Europe to enhance his knowledge of the beautiful game, and explore the vast and various landscapes that the continent has to offer.