01 of 08
Rügen, Germany’s largest island, is located in the northeast of the country off the Baltic Sea. Rügen has been one of Germany’s most popular travel destinations for centuries; Bismarck, Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein all vacationed here, and during the GDR, the island became the favored spot of the government’s top politicians like Erich Honecker.
Rügen is famous for its romantic seaside resorts and spas, which date back to the 18th century, quiet fisher villages and spectacular landscapes. On the coast, there are mile-long beaches, many of them historically clothes-free. Rising above the sand, the chalk-white cliffs, Kreidefelsen, are a major draw. In the heart of the island, you can follow the scenic drive Alleenstrasse along cobble-stoned avenues lined with century old trees.
A great way to get around the island is by taking the Rasender Roland (Racing Roland), a historic steam train that connects the towns and sea resorts of Lauterbach, Putbus, Binz and Göhren.
The... following slides will cover the many highlights of Rügen, the largest island in Germany.
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02 of 08
Beaches of Rügen
Miles and miles of pristine beaches, many of them more than 130 feet wide, make Rügen a summer destination for Germans and foreigners alike.
Among its many beaches, you’ll find many designated nude beaches (look for the signs that say FKK). For a map of Rügen's family-friendly nude beaches (yes - really), check out the Rügen Tourism Website. Rügen’s beaches also attract water sports fans from all over Germany; surfing, kiting, and sailing are especially popular here.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
National Park on Jasmund Peninsula
The Nationalpark Jasmund is the smallest national park in Germany but its impressive snow-white chalk cliffs, Kreidefelsen, are a huge attraction. Königsstuhl rises 118 meters straight out of the Baltic Sea.
Founded in 1990 - just before reunification - the cliffs were popularized by Germany’s Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich and they continue to enthrall as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For best views of the majestic cliff, take a boat tour around the peninsula and enjoy the spectacular perspective from the water.
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04 of 08
On this little island west off Rügen, cars are banned and the only way to get around is by bike, horse carriage or on foot – the ultimate cure for the city blues.
Large parts of Hiddensee are designated nature conservation areas, and between steep rugged cliffs, white sandy beaches, salt marsh, and fisher villages, you’ll find the perfect refuge from the hustle and bustle of the mainland.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Sellin is a beautiful seaside resort with lots of elegant architecture which dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. Many villas and hotels feature Art Nouveau elements like turrets, steeples and wooden loggias.
The highlight of Sellin's is its historic reconstructed Seebrücke (pier) from 1901. It is the longest pier on the island with a restaurant over the water and has a Tauchgondel (diving gondola).Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
The northernmost tip of Rügen is famous for its lighthouses. One of them, built by Friedrich Schinkel in 1826, is the oldest lighthouse on the Baltic Sea coast. Also in the area is the picturesque fishing village of Vitt plus the remains of a Slavic castle that was conquered and destroyed by the Danes in 1168.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
This little-known orange berry outside of Europe is called "sea-buckthorns" in English and is a specialty of Rügen. This culinary treat grows on shrubs all over the dunes of the island and contains 15 times more Vitamin C than an orange. Look for local Sanddorn products like jams, honey, juices, oils and fruit wine. Sample the many goods and buy some to take home as a tasty souvenir.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
Stralsund may be best known as the mainland gateway to the island of Rügen (or Tor zur Insel Rügen auf Deutsch), but it has a lot to offer on its own. Once a Swedish administrative district, its design is strongly influenced by local brick and its Nordic neighbors. Before you head on to the island, note the attractions in this seaside town.