A lot of holidaymakers like to spend time working out the ten most popular places to visit in a holiday region. Creating such a “top ten” list for the holiday island of Rügen, however, is never a satisfying task. Only ten? That’s nowhere near enough: Sellin alone boasts at least ten top locations! What about the island of Vilm, the Granitz Hunting Lodge or the cranes on the island of Ummanz, all of which are absolute must-sees for our valued guests?
The island of Rügen is like a magic castle in which every new door leads to a completely different world, giving nature lovers, friends of culture and sports fans the opportunity to find their very own top ten highlights. The island is also home to a number of attractions that appeal to a variety of different interests and provide many visitors with a fantastic experience. Sellin Pier is most definitely one of these highlights. It embodies cultural history, life by the sea, a passion for travel and enjoyment, all of which have always formed the foundations of a good holiday by the Baltic Sea, all in one.
The Famous Chalk Cliffs: an Essential Part of a Visit to Rügen
The painting of these cliffs by Caspar David Friedrich forms part of the Reinhart Collection in the Swiss city of Winterthur. Our island, however, is home to the original, despite the fact that experts are still debating which cliffs really acted as the inspiration behind the painting and whether they are still standing today. After all, Rügen’s coastal landscape is in a constant state of change and the Romantic painter was well known for often combining a number of different landscape studies to create his works once he got back to his studio.
The KÖNIGSSTUHL National Park Centre
The KÖNIGSSTUHL National Park Centre provides a detailed insight into the relationship between nature conservation and natural beauty and introduces visitors to the “Ancient Beech Forests of Germany”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An around 10 kilometre long hike from the town of Sassnitz to the “Königsstuhl” cliff provides visitors with stunning views of the Baltic Sea, which gets its turquoise blue colour from the chalk. Come and experience rare plants, springs, bogs and beech trees growing right up to the edge of the cliff. You can also make the most of a boat trip from Sassnitz port, which gives visitors the opportunity to experience an excellent view of the romantic chalky coastline.
The Treetop Trail and Planned KDF Resort
The Baumwipfelpfad (‘Treetop Trail’) at the “Naturerbe Zentrum Prora” nature centre is a new attraction that is an absolute must for all visitors. The trail, which is a total of 1250 metres long, will take you up into the treetops and provide you with a stunning view. The tours offered by the nature centre are very interesting and provide an abundance of information on nature and culture on the island of Rügen. The centre is located in close proximity to the Prora “Kraft-durch-Freude-Bad” (‘Strength Through Joy Resort’) , also known as the Colossus of Prora, a project started by the Nazi Party but never brought to completion. The resort was designed to act as a holiday destination for 20,000 people. Its 4.5 kilometre long buildings are now being used for a number of different purposes, with some housing museums and a youth hostel while others are being converted into premium flats available to buy.
The Royal Residence Town of Putbus
The royal residence town of Putbus is without a doubt one of the ten most important attractions on the island of Rügen. The town was built completely in the Classicist style by Prince Wilhelm Malte I in the first half of the 19th century. The main highlights of a visit to Putbus are its theatre, orangery and park. Another top location is the town’s “Circus”, a circular roundabout featuring a central obelisk. It is the only area of its kind in Germany and the English city of Bath is the only other location in Europe to boast a similar attraction. The historic buildings surrounding the “Circus” are home to a number of galleries, which join forces in the summer months to host the “CircusCircus” art event.
The island of Hiddensee boasts its very own special allure. It has been a popular location among artists, actors and writers since the 1920s and although it attracts thousands of day trippers every summer, it also offers plenty of hidden corners in which visitors can experience the raw charm of the “Sötes Länneken”, the local name for the ‘sweet little country’. If you want to explore the island, you’ll need to do so on foot or by bike because no cars are permitted on Hiddensee.
The Baltic Resort of Binz
Visitors to the Baltic resort of Binz are welcomed by a perfect combination of historic and carefully reproduced resort architecture. The town is defined by its beach promenade, spa hotel, 5-star hotels, gourmet cuisine and “Kunstmeile” art district. Alongside its sophisticated attractions, the resort has also been able to preserve a great deal of its down-to-earth charm.
Cape Arcona combines a spectacular natural environment with the thousands of years of history of its former Slavic temple fortress. The cape is also home to a square red-brick lighthouse designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which is located directly next to the so-called ‘New Lighthouse’. The latter-mentioned building is still active today and also offers visitors a stunning view of the Cape Arcona protected landscape. The “Peilturm” naval navigation tower was built back in 1927 and was an innovation of its time, enabling ferries on the Baltic Sea to take bearings and using its emitted radio waves to make it easier for them to navigate.
Störtebeker and the Likedeelers
The Störtebeker Festival on the open-air stage in the town of Ralswiek dates back to as early as the era of the German Democratic Republic. After the reunification of Germany, the Hick Family not only modernised the event but also transformed it into one of the town’s most successful companies. Every year, thousands of visitors come and enjoy the festival’s perfect dramatic performances with an abundance of action, pyrotechnics and live music and are suitably impressed. In fact, anyone who has attended the Störtebeker Festival once will want to return the very next year in order to find out what Klaus Störtebeker and his “Likedeeler” comrades are up to now.
The Hanseatic City of Stralsund
Last but not least on our programme of highlights and attractions is the old Hanseatic city of Stralsund, a visit to which is an absolute must. Visitors to the city can explore its Brick Gothic buildings, which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, or enjoy a wander around the shops in the Ossenreyer Straße shopping precinct. They can also visit Stralsund’s traditional Maritime Museum or the OZEANEUM, which stands out like a silver whale in the city harbour and promises to provide unforgettable experiences in its giant aquariums and innovative exhibition.