Wednesday

Travel Germany – Sankt Peter-Ording For First Time Visitors

Moin, that is how they greet you in this part of the world. St. Peter-Ording, called SPO, is as popular with holidayers as it is picture perfect. The North Sea resort St. Peter Ording sits on the Eiderstedt peninsula in the "Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park" in Schleswig Holstein. The Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park in Germany's northernmost state, that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, is home to pine forests, salt marshes, a dune landscape, sandbanks and mudflats, birds and seals. You are going to fall in love with the idyllic and warm atmosphere; there are 4,000 locals plus the about 4,000 holiday home owners. This is the place to visit if you just want to relax, do some water sport, enjoy the salty air, eat, drink and be happy.




Four boroughs of Sankt Peter Ording: Ording - Bad - Dorf - Boehl

Ording The beach of Ording is just one magnificent long stretch of sand (that will lead you directly to Bad and Dorf and Boehl). Whether you are into wind- or kitesurfing, kite buggy riding or sail yachting or beach volleyball and soccer, having coffee at a café in one of the stilt houses - you came to the right place.

On the beach, there is also a sign-posted nudist section (where guests are asked to undress completely). The first association for naturism in Germany was founded in 1898. And in the 1960s, nakedness in public spaces was seen as an expression of individual freedom. It was particularly popular in the former GDR, where at the time as good as no one was allowed to leave the country, they at least could wholeheartedly enjoy the freedom of nakedness.

Bad In Bad you find little boutiques, bakeries, restaurants and cafes. An over one-kilometre-long wooden pier leads from the promenade in Bad over the salt marshes to the beach with its stilt houses. You will also find different spa clinics that use the saline air, seawater and silt for their treatments.

Dorf Dorf is the oldest part of St Peter Ording. Streets lined with reed thatched roofed cottages and flowered gardens, and cafés and restaurants, and a museum that informs about the history of the peninsula and its villages. From here the beach can be reached via a footpath through the dunes.

Boehl St. Peter-Böhl in the south is a sleepy one with apartments, guesthouses and campsites most suitable for families with children.



Things To Do in St Peter-Ording

Walk on The Beach

The beach is twelve kilometres in length and up to two kilometres in width. People visit for beach walks, sunbathing, swimming, wind- and kite surfing and sand yachting. No matter the weather, you often do all of the mentioned pastimes in a light or strong drizzle. Walk with bare feet through the soft sand, build sandcastles, inhale the salty air, and admire the sun when it sinks into the North Sea. A walk on the beach is beautiful in spring and summer as well as in autumn or in the middle of winter, wrap up warm and have a hot chocolate or two.

Can I ask you a favour? Pick up a few pieces of rubbish you find along the way and put them in the next available rubbish bin. The seals, birds and fish will thank you for it. Everybody can help to keep things clean.



Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Let's go fly a kite, Up to the highest height, Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring, Up through the atmosphere, Up where the air is clear, Oh, let's go fly a kite (from Mary Poppins, Disney). Build your own kite before your trip and see how it goes.

Photograph the stilt houses on the Beach

The first stilt construction on a sandbank was built in 1911, and it was only to be reached swimming, that is unless one found someone, who delivered you by boat. So for more than 100 years, they now defy the North Sea and its storm surges. Sitting in a stilt house, seven metres high above the sea, the beach and the Wadden Sea is something special. Unfortunately, not all is perfect in paradise. The rise of the sea level due to climate change poses a danger to the stilt houses; imagine that the beach in Ording is dwindling for a few meters each year. Although the stilts are already rammed up to five meters deep into the ground, experts say to be on the safe side, buildings should be better built 200 meters behind the flood line.

Take a break at café and restaurant Arche Noah close to Bad and 54° Nord close to Ording. Some stilt houses are used as public bathrooms.


Walk through the Wadden Sea

Smack. Splash. Splat. Loud noises accompany every nature lover's trudge through the mud, everyone is careful not to stand too long in one place, so that the gumboot (or sandal) won't get stuck and getting ahead gets complicated. During a guided mudflat walk you learn a lot about the Wadden Sea and quickly find out what life is hidden in the sand and mud. You get to meet the "small fives". The lugworm, the common cockle, the shore crab, the worm-snail, and the North Sea shrimp.

Warning Time and tide wait for no one. I mean this in the true sense, not in a philosophical find-your-true-you-way. The North Sea rises and falls regularly daily. Check tide tables to know when the tide is at its highest and lowest. When walking in the Wadden Sea, keep in mind, that high tide can arrive faster than you can run. Rising water levels, arriving from both sides and from the front, can cut off your way. Tidal creeks fill up fast, they flow deep, and the strong current makes swimming (in the worst case) probably impossible.

Book a guided tour at Nationalpark-Haus, Maalens Knoll 2, 25826 St. Peter-Ording. There are also several other tours on offer, that vary according with the season.

Events and ceremonies that showcase Frisian traditions

Customs and traditions are a big thing in St. Peter-Ording and go back a long way. The Frisians living on the North Sea coast cultivate their rites with passion; many of the old customs are these days celebrated with entertaining and large events. One such event is the Sea Signs-Bonfire on 21st February. It probably originated already in pagan times and was not only meant to drive away the evil spirits but to also protect early sowings. After Christianization, it was continued as a carnival custom. Because it was a boisterous festival, a "dance festival," it had to be celebrated before Lent (the period from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday). Initially, the fire burned on long, beacon-like poles. Over the centuries it developed into a bonfire display, and whereas these days, and that is convenient, even Christmas trees are burnt. Another beautiful tradition is the Tea Time ceremony.

Become an artist and make your own souvenirs

Driftwood, ropes and lines, bottles. Finds from a beach walk are inspiration enough and can be easily transformed into small works of art and souvenirs. You can feed two birds with one seed, the beach will be cleaned and you will forever be reminded you of your time spent in St Peter Ording. (You noticed what I did here? I replaced the old-fashioned idiom with an animal-friendly one). Ask locals as to what you can take away from the beach, there might be restrictions regarding shells and sand.

Visit the Westerhever Lighthouse

Prominently to be seen from afar, in a landscape of salt marshes, the red and white striped lighthouse, together with its two identical houses, couldn't look more like the Frisian dream we all have in our heads. Wait till you get to meet the woolly sheep that roam the lush green dykes. The scene is almost too good to be true.

The lighthouse tower was built in 1906 on a four-meter-high piled wharf with the use of 127 thick, long oak stilts and a concrete base. It was then assembled from 608 bolted together cast iron plates on a brick pedestal. The structure, with its nine floors, then grew up to a height of 41.5 m above the mean tidal water. In 1908 the beacon was put into operation. The range of the lamp is 22 nautical miles (1 NM = 1,852 km), and at night with good visibility up to 50 kilometres. The lighthouse keeper left the structure in 1979... when it all became automated, his skills weren't needed any longer. You can visit an exhbition about the Wadden Sea in one of the two properties.

Info Westerhever Lighthouse The tour of the tower is possible with a guided tour only; you pay at the Information Office next to the parking ground, Ahndelweg 4 in Westerhever. Please give them a call in advance to book: Phone 0049 (0 48 65) 12 06 and leave a message on the answering machine. Tours from Easter Sunday until the end of October. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays hourly from 10am to 4pm, no tour at 12pm. Please calculate about 45 minutes to get to the lighthouse. The ordered tickets have to be picked up one day in advance. Tickets: EUR 3/children and EUR 6/adults. Children under the age of eight are not allowed on the tower.




Walk the brick-clad path from Westerhever Lighthouse

You reach the lighthouse over a round circle way through the salt marshes. When you reach the part after the lighthouse, back towards the dyke you will have to walk over the old and only 45 centimeters wide brick-clad lighthouse keeper’s path (you can only use that path from June to September). I have my problems to stay on that narrow path (but I manage so that I won't leave marks in the salt marshes). Imagine that back in the days, shortly after the lighthouse was built, the 1,200 metres long path was the only connection between the lighthouse and the mainland. In fact, for farmers, these brick-clad footpaths across the fields were the only way to get to the merchant, the school or the church. The building materials used were hard-fired mud bricks and wooden bridges over the tidal creeks, and, that is fascinating, they are still preserved to this day.


Best time to visit St. Peter-Ording

Spring and Summer Summer is the bathing season. The Gulf Stream influences the weather on the North Sea significantly and the warm Atlantic flow creates a maritime climate. The least rainy season of the year is in spring and summer (from April to September). The summers are moderately warm with daytime temperatures that reach on average about 20 degrees Celsius in July and August and night temperatures are between 11 and 14 degrees Celsius. The water temperature of the North Sea between June and August is on average between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.


Autumn and Winter No bathing or surfing weather. During the colder months, temperatures are mild. From September, the water temperatures drop. In autumn, from September to December, the westerly winds often reach gale force. Temperatures rarely drop below zero degrees Celsius between November and February. It won't get any warmer than three degrees Celsius during the day, whereas it does not get much colder at night. In winter you will have the most beaches for yourself.


Where to eat vegetarian in St. Peter-Ording

I can recommend these six restaurants; I have chosen these for this article based on that I visited some of them several times in recent months and at different times. There certainly are so many more, if you are in St Peter-Ording for a longer period, it is probably a good idea to ask the concierge at your hotel for restaurant recommendations.

Strandbar 54 Grad Nord Right on the beach, closed at night, great for lunch, coffee and cake and sundowners. Would I eat here again? Yes, anytime.Strandbar 54 Grad Nord, Strandweg 999, 28826 SPO.

Arche Noah Right on the beach, open for dinner, great for lunch, coffee and cake and sundowners. Would I eat here again? Yes, anytime. Arche Noah, An der Seebruecke, 25826 SPO.

Dii:Ke Restaurant at the Beach Motel, directly behind the dyke, busy restaurant, friendly service, vegan options. Would I eat here again? Yes, anytime.

Deichkind Restaurant at Hotel Strandgut, sea view in the distance, busy restaurant, friendly service, vegan options, lovely sun terrace. Would I eat here again? Yes, anytime. Dichkind, Am Kurbad 2, 25826 SPO.

Am Kamin Good for lunch, Flammkuchen and salads, friendly service. Would I eat here again? Yes, anytime. Am Kamin, Dorstrasse 12, 25826 SPO.

Wanlik-Hus Beautiful restaurant in an old Frisian cottage, friendly atmosphere, food was not too bad. This was great, as everything else was closed. Would I eat here again? Yes, anytime. Wanlik-Hus, Dorfstrasse 27, 25826 SPO.


Where to stay in St. Peter-Ording

Beach Motel St Peter-Ording – No Drama Llama

All people I meet are thoroughly friendly, be it the staff at the front desk, in the bar, the breakfast buffet or the cleaning staff. The basic room is big enough, the bathroom large and all looks and feels inviting, welcoming and fresh. The location of the hotel is unbeatable; you just have to climb over the dyke (there is a path, so no actual climbing) to have the expansive beach directly in front of you. This is a fantastic place to stay for all who are into water sports. The most fantastic thing is that you can easily walk in your wetsuit from the beach all the way to the hotel to undress in the warmth of your room (remember, this is not Byron Bay). I love to see how many tourists travel with their dog; they are allowed to stay, cute to look at. As if wouldn’t be good enough, there sometimes is live music (I even got the chance to dance).

Three houses, 103 rooms and space for 255 hotel guests, individually furnished suites, a spa (facials, body treatments, massages, scrubs and spa baths) with a sauna, a restaurant, bike rental, surf shops, and two bars. Dogs are allowed to stay with guests. A word of warning. This place is busy, be it at breakfast or having dinner at the restaurant or at the bar. It is constantly booked out, but I eventually managed to book a room. Would I stay here again? Yes, anytime.

Info Beach Motel St Peter Ording Am Deich 31, 25826 St Peter-Ording. Rate: 167 EUR in high season per basic room (please check the website for prices); plus breakfast EUR 12.90 pp., plus spa treatments (facials from EUR 45), plus sauna (EUR 6 pp.), free Wi-Fi. Please note, that it is compulsory by law that the hotel has to invoice you the tourist tax of EUR 3 pp per day.

Kathmyer’s Landhaus Godewind

Friendly staff welcomes me at this sweet Frisian reed thatched cottage. It is in a quiet location next to a forest and meadows, within easy reach of the promenade and beach. Built in 1743 as a farmhouse, the white cottage with its dark thatched roof is one of the oldest houses in town. After it tragically burned down in 1832, it was completely dismantled and rebuilt. In 1935 it was converted into a children's home, and on the upper floor of the hotel, all along the corridor that leads to my room, are many photos and letters from this period. The house with 18 double rooms plus two suites is located on a 7,000 square meter property with tall trees, a wild orchard. There is a library with a choice of books, a fireplace and honesty bar. Free Wi-Fi. Would I stay here again? Yes, anytime.

Info Kathmyer’s Landhaus Godewind Waldstrasse 31, 25826 St. Peter-Ording. Rate: EUR 130 per room in high season plus breakfast. Please note, that it is compulsory by law that the hotel has to invoice you the tourist tax of EUR 3 pp per day.



How to get to St. Peter-Ording

The town is well connected. There are two large beach car parks in Ording and Böhl, open for traffic from March 15th to October 31st. There are two railway stations. St. Peter-Ording also has an airport for small planes (just in case).

By Car
From Hamburg, Germany: 140 kilometres via the A23.
From Aarhus, Denmark: 265 kilometres via the E45.
From Copenhagen, Denmark: 400 kilometres via the E20.
From Berlin, Germany: 430 kilometres via the A1.
From Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 590 kilometres via the A9.
From Munich. Germany: 930 kilometres via the A9.
From Paris, France: 1,019 kilometres via the A1.
From London, Great Britain: 1,060 kilometres via the A1.

By Train
Please visit the website of Deutsche Bahn.


More Germany?

From Berlin with love

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Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.