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Everything You Need to Know About the Rügen Islands, Germany

Picture of Anwesha Ray
Updated: 10 March 2018
Germany rarely tops the wish list of sun-and-sand lovers. However, the country is home to many spectacular islands and beaches, a jewel among which is Rügen Island. Soft sandy beaches as far as the eyes can see, snazzy sea resorts, historic towns, a national park basking in natural splendor – Rügen has everything to make your holiday memorable. Let’s convince you that the island is a perfect destination for your summer holidays.

Where is Rügen?

Rügen is an island in the Baltic Sea, off the Pomeranian coast, in northeast Germany. It is the largest island in the country.

Why go?

For the simple reason that this Baltic Sea jewel offers a perfect holiday. Go for its 60-kilometer-long (37 mi.) stretch of spectacular sandy beaches, imposing chalk cliffs, and enchanting countryside landscape. Stay for its resplendent seaside resorts, superb architecture, rejuvenating spas and a plethora of sights. Whether you like water sports, long walks, or a lazy holiday of gazing at stunning sights, this is the place for you.

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Rügen beach | © hpgruesen / Pixabay

Jasmund National Park

Jasmund National Park is the smallest national park in Germany but packs a punch with its dramatic landscape. Dazzling white chalk cliffs (Kreidefelsen) looming over the crystal blue expanse of the Baltic Sea is guaranteed to take your breath away. To enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage Site in all its glory, take a boat ride around the peninsula. Also, the observation deck of Königsstuhl (King’s Chair) offers a view of the peninsula that is truly fit for the kings. The national park is also home to a massive beech grove as well as several rare flora ad fauna. It also promises hiking trails, bike routes and guided tours.

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White cliffs of Jasmund National Park | © micpicee / Pixabay

Rügen Resorts and Beaches

Sellin

The posh resort of Sellin is the most popular with elites. Other than beautiful beaches, what draws tourists like a magnet to Sellin is its stunning architecture, many featuring Art Nouveau elements. The most popular sight of Sellin and one that has come to be recognized as an icon of Rügen is the historic reconstructed Seebrücke (pier) dating back to 1901.

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Sellin pier | © Mani300 / Pixabay

Bergen

The rugged town of Bergen sits atop a hill, treating visitors to jaw-dropping panoramas across the ocean. The popular sights in this town are the abbey church of St. Mary’s built in 1168 and the colorful half-timbered structure of Benedix-Haus.

Garz

Garz, the tiniest and oldest town in the island, lies very close to Bergen. Tourists come to this town to enjoy stunning views of the island and the ocean from the Ernst Moritz Arndt Tower.

Binz

Binz, the largest seaside resort in the island, has stunning natural beauty and a classy resort atmosphere. It is located conveniently close to the Jasmund National Park.

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Binz pier | © 12019 / Pixabay

Putbus

With a history of serving as the royal seat, Putbus attracts tourists with its beautiful palace, as well as the pristine, undisturbed eco-park of Insel Vilm.

Sassnitz

The town of Sassnitz is known for its peaceful environment and captivating natural beauty. Its beech wood forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a wonderful area to explore.

Kap Arkona

Kap Arkona is the northernmost point of the island. It is scattered with lighthouses, making it one of the most picturesque and intriguing regions in Rügen. At Kap Arkona, you can also visit the sleepy fishing hamlet of Vitt.

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Lighthouse in Rügen | © Sirah / Pixabay

Special Attractions

Every summer, the island gears up for the hugely-popular Störtebeker Festival, hosted in an open-air theater on Rügen island’s Great Jasmund Lagoon. With around 150 actors and staff, four ships, 30 horses, and amazing special effects, visitors are told the story of the infamous 14th-century pirate, Klaus Störtebeker. In 2018, the festival is scheduled to be held from June 23 to September 8.

The Rügensche Kleinbahn (RüKB) is a narrow-gauge railway network that takes visitors on a slow, nostalgic ride from Putbus to Göhren, often on steam locomotives. This 24 km (15 mi.) ride gives travelers an eyeful of lush green forests and upscale beach resorts. Due to its slow speed, the train is affectionately called Rasender Roland (Racing Roland).

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Rasender Roland | © fialex / Pixabay