Germany is not commonly associated with idyllic beaches. But in reality, the country is rich in gorgeous coastlines, promising brilliant sun, surf and sand. From isolated, quiet beaches to beaches buzzing with fun, and from nude beaches to car-free beach resorts, Germany has it all. Here is our pick of the best beaches for a remarkably fun summer getaway.
The North Frisian island of Sylt boasts of some of the most popular beaches in Germany. This island, situated in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Wadden Sea, has something for everyone: shifting sand dunes, health and wellness, watersports, pulsating nightlife, exquisite cuisine, nature reserves, biking and hiking trails, golf courses, and most importantly, 25 miles (40 kilometers) of gorgeous sandy beach. No wonder it has been dubbed the Queen of the North Sea. The beach resorts of Morsum, Keitum, Hörnum, Kampen, Rantum, and List are hot tourist favorites.
Germany’s largest island, Rügen, is a magnet for tourists thanks to its unique landscape. The white chalk cliffs of Jasmund National Park towering over the blue expanse of sea are an incredible sight. Rügen has 38 miles (61 kilometers) of beautiful sandy beaches, the most popular among which are the chic seaside resorts of Binz and Sellin. Picturesque villages, elegant architecture at the Putbus resort, the massive Störtebeker theatre festival, and endless hiking and biking trails all add to the attraction of the island.
Föhr is a North Sea island in Schleswig-Holstein Wattenmeer National Park, whose landscape constantly changes with the tides. The sandy beaches of Föhr are perfect for watersports. Föhr is known for its lush and varied flora, beautiful gardens, thalassotherapy (healing through sea air and water), fun events throughout the year, wellness treatments, golf courses, and tennis courts. It has all the right ingredients for a perfect family holiday.
Langeeog is an East Frisian car-free island protected by imposing sand dunes. Travelers can treat themselves to a stunning view of the surroundings from the island’s water tower in summer. Sandy beaches, a mild climate, fresh sea breezes, mudflats to explore, and quaint shops make Langeeog the ideal spot for a quiet, relaxing holiday.
The beach resort of Lubmin on Greifswalder Bodden is a favorite summer destination for locals, and promises a picturesque panorama of rugged cliffs and lush pine forests. While the broad sandy beaches are great for lazing, bathing, or strolling, more active travelers can indulge in watersports and beach games, and even go for hiking, walking, jogging, horseback riding, or fishing. Nudity is allowed on this beach.
The Baltic Sea island of Usedom is famous for its “singing sand.” With the right wind conditions, the sand grains rub together to create a cacophony of strange noises. While the peaceful, sun-drenched beaches spell paradise for holidaymakers, the hinterlands provide a unique landscape to explore. As an added bonus, Usedom has great spas, delicious food, and great music festivals. The most popular beach resorts on Usedom are Ahlbeck, Heringsdorf, and Bansin.
Natives affectionately call this Wadden Sea island Töwerland (“magic land”) and the island certainly lives up to its name. While the 10 miles (16 kilometers) of broad beaches and beautiful marinas of Juist form the perfect setting for a family holiday, this car-free island has also carved a name for itself as a health and wellness resort.
The four miles (six kilometers) of sandy Timmendorfer Strand in the Bay of Lübeck are extremely popular with locals, but practically unknown to tourists. The long pier stretching out into the sea is an attractive feature of the beach, while the wildlife park at Timmendorfer Strand is home to around 1,300 exotic birds and makes for a great outing. The beach resort is also a popular spa destination among Germans.
St Peter-Ording is a well-known spa resort in the North Sea and famous for its rejuvenating, curative sulfur springs. The resort is especially known for thalassotherapy. Rolling sand dunes and mudflats constitute the landscape of this beautiful beach resort. St Peter-Ording is also a great resort for watersports.
From the little picturesque fishing village of Neuendorf to the idyllic landscape of Grieben, and from the beautiful harbor to the hilly Dornbusch, the car-free island of Hiddensee in the Baltic Sea promises endless beauty at every turn. It has sandy beaches, a picture-postcard lighthouse and a lot of cultural attractions.
Warnemünder is a port town in the Baltic Sea where hundreds of cruise ships dock. Climbing up its 19th-century lighthouse is a wonderful way to get a different perspective of the beautiful town and to see ships bobbing in the horizon. Its long beach strip and marina make for a perfect family getaway. The city of Rostock is an easy trip from Warnemünder.