In some ways Borkum is "the odd one out" of the East Frisian Islands. The largest in area and second only to Norderney in population, it is also (together with Norderney) one of only two not to ban motor vehicles. Due to its position north of the mouth of the river Ems, the North Sea has a strong influence on the climate, which is unique among German islands except Heligoland and Borkum. The island used to consist of two separate parts before natural land accumulation and human land reclamation united the two parts in the 19th century with the "Tüskendör-See" sitting at the place where the two islands used to be split just east of the airfield. Due to it being the westernmost of the East Frisian Islands, it is actually quicker to reach from the Netherlands than from mainland Germany. If you squint the island looks a bit like a dolphin.
- 1 Borkum Airfield (BMK IATA). This airfield sees general aviation flights as well as regular flights through Yourways (from Wilhelmshaven) and OFD (from Emden)
- 2 Harbor (Reede). AG Ems serves Borkum from Eemshaven (Netherlands) and Emden (Germany) several times daily. Prices start from €18 one way. Ferry tickets automatically include the corresponding ride on the island railway to/from the Borkum harbor. Emden Außenhafen has been served by Deutsche Bahn for decades, whereas Eemshaven only got a direct rail link to Groningen in March 2018.
Even though Borkum may have one major downside for train travel, namely several kilometres of sea surrounding the island, the ferry harbours of Emden and Eemshaven can be reached via train. Eemshaven is just over three hours by train coming from Schiphol Airport, costing roundabout €26, while your journey from Bremen, the closest large airport on the German mainland, to Emden takes roughly an hour less and costs upward of €20.
- 1 Island Railway. With stops at the harbor and at 3 Borkum Bahnhof in the centre of town, this is a good way to get to your lodgings in addition to its value as a tourist attraction. The rather unique gauge of 900 mm might interest railway enthusiasts as might the occasional use of steam locomotives.
There are buses run - like the railway - by Borkumer Kleinbahn
Unlike all other East Frisian Islands except Norderney, Borkum does not ban cars. However, you may not drive in the core of the settlement during the summer season and in other parts driving between 21:00 and 7:00 is prohibited.
As the island is rather flat, the only thing standing between you and enjoyable bike trips are the persistent westerly winds.
The settlement is small enough to be walkable even for the moderately fit and the size and general flatness of the island should not pose a challenge for those who intend to walk the length and breadth of it.
- 1 Alter Leuchtturm (Old Lighthouse), Kirchstrasse. Has a viewing platform 150 steps up.
- 2 Neuer Leuchtturm (New Lighthouse) (Close to downtown). Has a viewing platform at 319 steps altitude which can be visited daily during the summer season.
- 3 Elektricher Leuchtturm (Small Lighthouse / Electric Lighthouse), Suderstrasse 79B. Built in 1890, 27m high, 15 minute walk from the centre of town.
- 4 Heimatmuseum "Dykhus" (right next to the old lighthouse). 10:00-17:00 Tuesday-Sunday except for late November / early December when the museum only opens on weekends; guided tours mondays at 15:00. Adults €4 kids (up to 15 years old) €1.50.
- 1 Gezeitenland. Should the weather not permit swimming in the North Sea, this indoor pool might just do the trick. €7.50 for 2 hours.
Be prepared to pay "island surcharges" as most things sold here have to come in with the same ship as the visitors and there is a generally captive market.
- 1 Restaurant Alt Borkum, Roelof-Gerritz-Meyer-Straße 10, ☏ .
- 2 Yachthaven Café, Am Neuen Hafen 2, ☏ .
- 3 Heimliche Liebe, Süderstraße 91, ☏ .
- 4 Restaurant Teehaus, Süderstraße 22, ☏ .
- 5 Klein & Fein, Fauermannspad 16, ☏ .
- 6 Zum Insulaner, Fauermannspad 5, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 7 Gaststätte Rhodos, Franz-Habich-Straße 12, ☏ .
- 8 Knurrhahn, Franz-Habich-Straße 16, ☏ .
- 9 Brasserie Stadtschänke, Franz-Habich-Straße 18, ☏ .
- 10 Delfter Stuben und Fischerdorf, Bismarckstraße 12, ☏ .
- 11 Pferdestall, Bismarckstraße 20, ☏ .
- 12 Borkum Riff, Bismarckstraße 34, ☏ .
- 13 Valentin's, Neue Straße 12, ☏ .
- 14 Ostland, Ostland 4, ☏ .
- 1 Jugendherberge Borkum "Am Wattenmeer", Reedestr. 231, 26757 Borkum (some 350 m (1,150 ft) from the harbor), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. A Youth hostel with over 700 beds. From €35.
- 2 Hotel Weisse Düne, Am Georg-Schütte-Platz 13, ☏ .
- 3 Upstalsboom Seehotel, Viktoriastraße 2, ☏ .
- 4 Strandhotel Hohenzollern, Jann-Berghaus-Straße 63, ☏ .
- 5 Insel-Camping-Borkum (Right at the edge of town). Has an on-site minimart, a sauna solarium and gym.
- 6 Campingplatz Aggen (In the east of the island). Surrounded by meadows and dunes in a rather secluded location
The local telephone area code is (0)4922 which just so happens to begin the same as the German country code +49 so yes, when dialing from outside Germany, Borkum numbers start "+494922"