The island of Rügen is located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on the Baltic Sea and is the largest German island with an area of 976 km². It has beautiful Baltic Sea resorts with fine sand and long beaches, which is why the island is a popular holiday destination. The Rügen Bridge connects the island with the mainland, which is the reason why Stralsund is also called the »Gateway to Rügen«. Sights such as Prora, Cape Arkona or the chalk cliffs attract many holidaymakers every year.
Picture: Baltic Sea beach Rügen ©Jörn Kleinhardt
On the island of Rügen, the longest building in Europe is located in the district of Prora, which lies to the north of the Baltic Sea resort of Binz. The building is called the »Colossus of Prora« (KdF-Prora for short). In 1936, the 4.5-kilometre-long building was created by the National Socialists as a Kraft-durch-Freude (KdF) seaside resort. Today, the building houses the Prora Documentation Centre, the KulturKunststatt Prora as well as exhibitions, a youth hostel and gastronomic offers. Fans of abandoned places will also find undeveloped sections of the building complex.
Picture: Renovated condominiums and holiday flats in the »Colossus of Prora« building complex ©Jörn Kleinhardt
Picture: Unrenovated section of the »Colossus of Prora« building complex ©Jörn Kleinhardt
Binz is a very popular Baltic seaside resort and offers an interesting museum about the history and life in the Baltic seaside resort of Binz – the Museum Ostseebad Binz. The museum is divided into differently furnished rooms with numerous original exhibits, making the museum lively and vivid.
The diving gondola Sellin is just the right thing for Baltic Sea lovers. Without getting wet, they can go underwater in a gondola to marvel at the lively underwater world and learn exciting facts about the sea as a habitat. A highlight for the whole family.
The Baltic seaside resort of Sellin is also famous for its pier, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Baltic Sea and the beach. First inaugurated at the beginning of the 20th century, it was demolished in the 1970s. Since 1998, the pier has shone again in its historic form. Every year at the end of July, the large pier festival takes place there.
Picture: Pier Baltic resort Sellin ©Jörn Kleinhardt
The only zoo on Rügen is located in Sassnitz on the edge of the Jasmund National Park. Due to renovation works, the zoo will remain closed until 2022. With the reopening, a recreational and educational place is to be created that makes contact between humans and animals possible. Visitors to the zoo will also be made aware of the diversity of the native nature around the Jasmund National Park.
In the Königsstuhl National Park Centre, visitors can experience a unique exhibition made up of a mixture of natural elements and modern technology, where they can learn everything about the Jasmund National Park. The centre offers a lively experience exhibition, which also features temporary exhibitions on different topics. The Königsstuhl viewing platform and an outdoor area with a forest playground invite children to romp around. A family-friendly bistro provides refreshments.
Of course, Rügen is also an excellent place for hiking. You can gather very beautiful impressions on the Jasmund National Park route. On this 8.5-kilometre hiking route past old beech forests, the white chalk cliffs and the sea, every hiker's heart beats faster.
Picture: ©Jörn Kleinhardt
There is also a wide range of water sports on offer. You can go sailing, surfing, water skiing, diving, fishing or canoeing on Rügen. The island offers numerous opportunities to get active in one of these areas. Diving is particularly exciting on Rügen. Although the underwater world does not offer colourful coral landscapes, divers are rewarded with old shipwrecks, sunken cargoes from ships or even aircraft wrecks from the Second World War on the seabed. Archaeo Tour Rügen offers several dates for diving excursions.
Further information about the island of Rügen can be found on the website of the Rügen Tourist Office. Accommodation can also be booked there.
Editor's note: The article was first published and updated on 28.10.2016.