Usedom - Seaside Adventures on the Sunny German Island
The Baltic Sea island, which has almost 2,000 sunny hours per year, does not only attract bathers. Its diverse and untouched nature, the interesting seaside resorts with their beautiful architecture and the wide promenades are as fascinating as its delicious cuisine and the family-friendly attractions.
Geography - Germany's second largest island
Usedom has an area of 445 km², which makes it the second largest German island after Rügen, and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Its eastern part with the island's capital of Swinemünde is part of Poland. The island is located in the estuary area of the Oder and borders on the Szczecin Lagoon in the south, on the Peenestrom west and on the Baltic Sea (Bay of Pomerania) in the north-east. The biggest towns in the area are Heringsdorf, Ahlbeck, Bansin, Ückeritz, Peenemünde, Zinnowitz and Koserow. Usedom has nearly 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, which makes it the sunniest holiday region in Germany. The climate is temperate with warm, mostly dry summers and mild, often rainy winters.
Nature - Lush nativeness
The Baltic Sea island has an incredibly diverse landscape. While the island's north-east runs relatively straight and is characterised by 40 kilometres of fine Baltic Sea beach, the west contains the Achterwasser, a lagoon which was shaped by the Peenestrom and a great number of peninsulas and bays. Usedom is generally very flat but is has a smooth hilly landscape in the south-east. Its highest point is the Golm with 69 metres. In 1999, the whole island was declared a nature park (Usedom Island Nature Park). One special feature is the alternation of cliff coast and flat coast (dikes and dunes) but you also see great lakes, green beech forests and different marshes. The mostly untouched nature as well as the rare flora and fauna constitute a true paradise for lovers of nature. Sustainability plays an important role on the island because its nature is populated and vegetated by a number of rare species. Examples are the white-tailed eagle, the European otter, the coronella (a snake) and the European fire-bellied toad. Rare plants are the rugosa rose, lyme grass, blue lettuce, sea milkwort and sea kale.
Culture - Idyllic fishermen's villages, excellent seaside resorts and a water castle
Usedom is characterised by small, idyllic fishermen's villages with thatched brick houses on the one hand and by great seaside resorts with resort architecture on the other. The most popular seaside resorts are Heringsdorf, Ahlbeck and Bansin, which have a long promenade (8.5 km) and distinctive piers. The "amber towns" of Zempin, Koserow, Loddin and Ückeritz are equally popular destinations. While the large white villas and the wide promenades are popular photo scenes, the great variety of sights and the abundance of art and culture offer recreational fun in the towns at the Baltic Sea coast. There are numerous interesting museums and galleries, which impress travellers of all ages. The Otto Niemeyer-Holstein Studio and Museum (Koserow), the Toy Museum and the Submarine Museum (both in Peenemünde), the Pomeranian Bed Museum (Karlshagen) and the art gallery called "Kunstkabinett" (Benz) are worth seeing. A highlight for children is the Promenadenhalle in Zinnowitz, which contains a restaurant, a lounge and a 5D cinema. Peenemünde is known as the "cradle of space travel". It accommodates the Historical Technical Museum. The hinterland around the Achterwasser also has a lot to offer. It contains impressive old churches, the fairy-tale Mellenthin Castle and many other sights which are worth discovering.
Experience - Relaxing in the three spa resorts
Theodor Fontane already wrote favourably about the Baltic Sea island in 1863 in a letter to his wife: "You have tranquillity and fresh air and these two things work wonders and fill your nerves, blood and lungs with quiet joy." The fresh sea air and the fantastic offers of the seaside resorts help you clear your head from everyday stress and reconcile your body, mind and soul. However, not everything is about tranquillity and relaxation here because the island also offers a lively nightlife and events. Popular destinations for evening and night-time entertainment are Heringsdorf, Zinnowitz and Swinemünde. A special highlight is the beach festival "Baltic Spring Break", which has about 50 DJs performing on three stages. An event which does not only fill connoisseurs with delight is the "Grand Schlemm", one of the greatest gourmet events in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Travellers can taste creations served by top chefs at 10 stalls here while enjoying excellent wine and live music. The island's cuisine is rather plain and mainly consists of potatoes and freshly caught fish from the Baltic Sea. You cannot only buy fresh fish sandwiches at food stalls here but also in restaurants. A real insider tip is the smoked fish which you should definitely try.
Activities - Adventures at the beach and in the sea
Usedom is a real adventure island which offers visitors numerous sporting and leisure activities. The greatest crowd pullers are, of course, the beaches, which offer a number of activities together with the seaside. Sun-worshippers, mussel finders and drip castle builders populate the beach. Apart from the normal bathing beaches, you see FKK (nudist) beaches, which have been part of the island's bathing and beach culture for centuries. Both the Baltic Sea and the Achterwasser invite holidaymakers to do water sports such as surfing, diving, sailing, kitesurfing, jet-skiing and fishing. You should definitely pay attention to the flags at the lifeguard towers when you go bathing. The red flag means bathing ban and the red-yellow one indicates that you are allowed to go bathing, while a red-yellow flag in combination with a yellow one stands for a bathing ban for children and inexperienced swimmers. Only a few steps away from the beach, directly behind the dunes, there are camping grounds in many areas to the delight of all outdoor fans. Great ways of exploring the island and getting to know the region and the people are tours on the excellent cycling and hiking trails or horseback rides. Golfers get their money's worth too in this unique landscape. In winter, many visitors are drawn to the island's many thermal baths.
You can arrive by plane at the regional airport in Heringsdorf or in your own boat at the harbour in Swinemünde. If you are already in Germany, you can take the car and travel via the Wolgast in the west or Anklam in the south-east. In addition, the Usedomer Bäderbahn travels between Wolgast and Heringsdorf and stops in several places on the island.
The "Sunny Island" of Usedom has proved to be the ideal travel destination for families, lovers of nature and outdoor fans. The island is characterised by long sandy beaches and dune landscapes as well as by forests and marshes. Its seaside resorts with the beautiful resort architecture and the varied attractions and sights score in the areas of relaxation and culture.