Rügen - Natural Paradise at the Baltic Sea
The green island of Rügen offers diverse natural spaces, scenic chalk cliffs and the wonderful spa style, which makes it one of Germany's most popular travel destinations. Travellers cannot only go bathing here but also see numerous natural and cultural treasures and relax.
Geography - Germany's largest island
The Baltic Sea island of Rügen has an area of 975 km², which makes it the largest German island, and belongs to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Its coastline is about 574 kilometres long and separated from the mainland by the Strelasund, which is 2 kilometres wide. The island has a maximum north-south expansion of 52 kilometres and an east-west expansion of 41 kilometres. The island's core has the shape of a triangle and it is surrounded by many peninsulas. There is the peninsula of Wittow in the north, Rügen's breadbasket with the popular Cape Arkona, the peninsula of Jasmund with the national park of the same name in the north-east and the peninsula of Mönchgut, which is part of the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve. Significant greater and smaller towns on Rügen are Bergen, Binz, Sassnitz, Sellin, Göhren, Putbus and Garz. The climate on the island is a temperate bracing climate with a constant change between maritime and continental influences. Due to the many sunny hours, Rügen is considered one of Germany's sunniest regions.
Nature - The green island with the distinctive white chalk cliffs
Rügen's coastal landscape is characterised by endless beaches, steep bays and numerous and lagoons and gulfs (Bodden und Wieke). This gives the coastline a rugged appearance, which makes the island an appealing destination. The most famous formations are without doubt the chalk cliffs with the Königsstuhl ("King's Chair"), which are the island's landmark. The chalk is also referred to as the "White Gold of Rügen". Due to the great beech population and the chalk, the Jasmund National Park was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage in 2011. It contains the island's highest peak, the Piekberg (161 m). While the west of the island is rather flat and without forests, its centre is dominated by smooth hilly landscapes, which rise further toward the east and are heavily forested in parts. Other landmarks are the island's many avenues, which are well cared for. There are numerous lakes and inland waters such as the Schmachter See, Selliner See, Udarser Wiek and the Kleiner and Großer Jasmunder Bodden. Other special features are the countless boulders (relics from the last Ice Age) on Rügen, the greatest 22 of which belong to lawfully protected geotopes. A wonderful destination for a day trip is the island of Hiddensee with the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, which does not only fascinate lovers of nature.
Culture - Idyllic villages and cultural assets
Rügen was inhabited by the North Germanic tribe of the Rugii (also "Rugians") in early times, which gave the island its name. You still see a great number of altar stones and megalithic tombs from that time all over the island. The Germanic people were replaced by the Slavic Rani and then by the Danish before the Germans settled on Rügen. Therefore, the island's cultural heritage is rich. Beside the historical spa style, you find houses with thatched roofs here, many of which have colourful doors and blinds. Popular and beautiful cultural sights on Rügen are Granitz Hunting Lodge, the listed village of Vitt on the peninsula of Wittow and Putbus as well as the "white town at the sea" with its castle and the adjacent game enclosure and orangery. Other worthwhile attractions are the Haus-Kopf-über (an upside-down house), the Experimenta Rügen (a museum), the Mönchguter Heimatmuseum, the Amber Museum and the Chalk Museum Gummanz. Popular sights with children are the Dinosaur Land, the Pirateninsel Rügen ("pirate island"), the Rügenpark Gingst, the Tierpark Sassnitz (a zoo) and Karls Erlebnis-Dorf (a leisure park). Cultural highlights are visits to the Störtebeker Festival and the Komödie Rügen, a theatre in Göhren.
Experience - Exploring the island with the Rasender Roland
The sunny Baltic Sea island is particularly popular with families who want to spend their summer holidays bathing, doing enjoyable leisure activities and seeing exciting attractions. The mild bracing climate and the fresh sea air are wholesome for body, mind and soul. Rügen's many spa facilities add to the relaxing effect of its nature. Typical products and treatments are Heilkreide ("healing chalk") as well as amber and sea-buckthorn oil massages. In addition, the island offers treats for travellers' taste buds with the best value for money. You get freshly caught fish in many places, in form of a fish sandwich or as part of a three-course meal. While the island cuisine is all about herring in spring, there is no way around cabbage in autumn. An experience holidaymakers should not miss out on is a ride on the Rügenscher Bäderbahn, the "Rasender Roland". The historical narrow-gauge railway is not only the oldest of its kind in Germany but also a moving museum, which travels along beautiful landscapes between Göhren on the peninsula of Mönchgut and Lauterbach in the island's heartland.
Activities - Bathing and outdoor fun
Travellers who want to be active during their holiday will enjoy themselves on Rügen - no matter if you prefer doing water sports or being active on land. Of course, there are many bathing opportunities. Popular examples are the Tromper Wiek, the Prorer Wiek and bathing beaches like the one in Sellin. The Baltic Sea does not only invite you to go bathing here but also to go windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, diving water skiing and canoeing. The cycling and hiking trails are well developed and offer unique insights into the island's nature and culture. In September and October, holidaymakers can watch thousands of cranes stopping on Rügen on their way to their habitats. The peak season is excellently suited for going camping, horseback riding, golfing, Nordic Walking or climbing in one of the high rope courses. Anglers will enjoy Rügen's bodies of waters because they are rich in fish.
The best time for a holiday on Rügen is between April and October. Most travellers arrive by car using the Strelasund Crossing (or "Rugia Bridge") near Stralsund, the Gateway to Rügen, but you can also reach the island by train or ship. Rügen Airport is about 8 kilometres away from Bergen. You can take charter flights to several big German cities from here.
The sunny island of Rügen impresses with a diverse landscape, which is characterised by fine sandy beaches, lush green spaces and white chalk cliffs, with its wide range of cultural facilities and events as well as with numerous sporting and leisure activities, which make every visit an eventful adventure.