Rügen Things to Do

  • Cape Arkona from the distance
    Cape Arkona from the distance
    by King_Golo
  • Rather drastic warning of landslides
    Rather drastic warning of landslides
    by King_Golo
  • One of Altenkirchen's thatched cottages
    One of Altenkirchen's thatched cottages
    by King_Golo

Most Recent Things to Do in Rügen

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    Hiking from Sassnitz to Königsstuhl

    by King_Golo Updated Sep 7, 2014

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    This 9km hike along the chalk cliffs of Rügen must be among Germany's most spectacular ones - and you can even extend it by hiking back along the beach and see the same magnificent coast from the bottom!
    Starting in Sassnitz, just next to the animal park, you will first walk a good kilometre through the incredibly beautiful beech forest before reaching the cliffs. From then on, the path mostly follows the coastline except where landslides have torn down parts of the cliffs and hollowed out the ground. Do not cross the barriers made from branches - cliffs frequently break down, especially in winter and spring, and more often than not there were casualties. In any case you will be able to see some of the spectacular chalk cliffs from above even if you don't go to the escarpments. The most famous of the cliffs were the Wissower Klinken. Due to erosion and a harsh winter, they broke down in February 2005.
    Up and down it goes until you finally reach the Victoriasicht which provides the perfect panoramic view on the Königsstuhl rocks, the highest cliff of Rügen. A small platform allows you to walk a few feet above the abyss and enables you to look down some 100m. The Königsstuhl rocks themselves are also accessible, but only via the visitor centre which charges € 7.50 per person. We decided against going there as the best view can be had from Victoriasicht anyway.
    If you want to go back to Sassnitz after your hike you have two possibilities. First, you can take the bus which leaves every few minutes from the bus stop at the Königsstuhl visitor centre. It will drop you off in central Sassnitz after some 15 minutes. Second, you can walk back on the beach. This is shorter than the path through the forest (approximately 4km), but first requires getting down to the beach via 412 steps and then walking on very uneven ground full of pebbles. I walked back along the beach when I did the same hike in 2002, but this year we decided against it. If you want to see the cliffs from below, you can also do that from Sassnitz.

    In the beech forest near Sassnitz Chalk cliffs Looking down towards the beach from Victoriasicht K��nigsstuhl - the highest cliff of R��gen
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    • National/State Park
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    The chalk cliffs near Sassnitz

    by King_Golo Written Sep 7, 2014

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    For those of you who are not into hiking (or not able to do it for a longer time), seeing Rügen's most spectacular cliffs near Sassnitz is also possible without the strenuous walk through Jasmund's beech tree forest.

    The easiest and most touristy way is to take a cliff cruise from Binz or Sassnitz. Boat tours leave frequently and cost about € 15 / € 7 for adults and children respectively. Most tours leave in the morning hours because the chalk cliffs will then be bathed in the sun and their white rocks will reflect its light beautifully. We didn't do the tour, but it's advised nearly everywhere, so it might be worth trying it out.

    The slightly more strenuous, but very enjoyable way is a smaller hike at the bottom of the cliffs. Starting in Sassnitz, follow the beach promenade until it ends and the pebbly beach begins. It's only about 400m from here until you've reached the first cliffs and see several others in the distance. Walking on this ground isn't exactly pleasant what with the pebbles everywhere, but there are plenty of bigger rocks to pause on and there's always the sea next to you to cool your aching feet. Moreover, it's only 400m!

    A word of warning: if you come during the winter, walking along this strip of beach can be quite dangerous. Due to water entering the cracks in the chalk, erosion processes occur much faster in winter and huge parts of rocks may crash down without warning. Casualties have occurred in the past, so be careful.

    Sassnitz's chalk cliffs Rather drastic warning of landslides
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    Moritzdorf and the "Moritzburg" restaurant

    by King_Golo Written Aug 23, 2014

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    "Moritzburg" is what in German is called an "Ausflugslokal" - a restaurant somewhere near a popular day-trip destination or hiking path which serves typical hearty German food, such as schnitzels or bratwursts with sauerkraut. Don't expect too much in terms of quality, but you will certainly be able to appease your hunger. In case of "Moritzburg", the restaurant is located on a very steep hill close to the tiny village of Moritzdorf. While the village and its ten or so houses are not without charm, it's Rügen's last rowing boat ferry that makes people visit the area. For a small fee they can call "Hol över!" and let the boatman transport them (and their bicycles) across the Baaber Bek river. We didn't try it - apparently the rowing boat ferry is replaced with a motor boat ferry when there's too much business, so it would have felt like a fake - but it's really popular. Once people have reached Moritzdorf, most of them will walk up the steep hill and sit on the restaurant terrace for a coffee or some food. The view from up there is great, but the food is only mediocre.

    View from the terrace The Moritzdorf ferry

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    Cape Arkona - Cycling to Rügen's north tip

    by King_Golo Written Aug 23, 2014

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    A very popular activity on Rügen is cycling. If you happen to be on the Wittow peninsula, it's cycling to Cape Arkona what you have to do. We rented our cycles at Fahrradverleih Volker Uthess in Altenkirchen. They were in top condition and at € 6.00 per person and day also cheap. The rental place staff will recommend a 23km cycling tour from Altenkirchen to Cape Arkona via the village of Vitt and back along the cliffs and through the endless fields of the island. The recommended route is easy enough to find, so why not give it a try as well?
    Cape Arkona is reached after about 6km. Famous for its three towers - two lighthouses and one radio tower - as well as the remains of a Slavic castle (which are currently not accessible due to erosion), the cape attracts some 800,000 visitors every year. Naturally, this entails the typical tourist rip-offs, such as a little road train and overpriced food at the restaurant, but it's still worth going there. All three of the towers are accessible for a little fee, but in order to see as much as possible I'd recommend climbing up the new lighthouse (opened in 1905 to replace the smaller and older other lighthouse). At 35 metres height you can enjoy a great panorama in all directions - and you can look down on the old lighthouse just next to it! There are also a few bunkers at Cape Arkona which nowadays display photos and military stuff, but we didn't go in.
    If you want to escape the masses of tourists at Cape Arkona, cycle further on the path to the west. After a few kilometres, there's nobody around anymore. You can access the beach at the bottom of the cliffs at a few points, so bring your swim clothes or join the numerous FKKler (nudists) bathing there.

    Cape Arkona from the distance View from the lighthouse to the radio tower
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    • Beaches
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    Hiking in Zickersches Höft

    by King_Golo Written Aug 18, 2014

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    Zickersches Höft is the area around Groß Zicker. While the village is likely to be Rügen's most beautiful, the area around it must rank very high as well. It's one big nature protection area with rolling hills, blooming meadows, numerous views on the sea and the bays as well as a bit of forest. Hiking trails are plentiful, so we chose to do an 8km round from Groß Zicker to Gager via the so-called Nun's Hole (Nonnenloch). This weirdly named place is in fact a small pebble beach with not too many visitors. Gager on the other hand is a slightly more modern village with a nice harbour and some thatched cottages. We didn't really have time to explore it properly because a thunderstorm was approaching rapidly and we needed to get back to the car as fast as possible, but it seemed a nice place as well.
    By the way, the Höft is nicknamed Zickersche Alpen (Zicker Alps) because there are some relatively high hills there (up to 67m above sea level).

    Hiking in Zickersches H��ft Crossing the hills to Gager
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    Views of Stralsund in Altefähr

    by King_Golo Written Aug 18, 2014

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    When crossing the Strelasund to Rügen, most people don't leave the main road B96 and continue straight to their destination, most likely some place in the north. However, it's well worth taking a short detour to the village of Altefähr just next to the Rügen bridge. It's a pleasant place with a little beach, some restaurants, a nice church and a harbour with some colourful boats. But the main reason to go there are the views of Stralsund, the city on the other side of the Strelasund. Stralsund is famous for its three churches and the beautiful skyline, and from Altefähr you've got a full panoramic view of the city. Note, though, that getting to Altefähr is quite a challenge for your car - the cobblestoned road must be the worst I've ever driven on!

    The Strelasund with Stralsund in the distance

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    Liddow Peninsula

    by King_Golo Written Aug 18, 2014

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    Absolute silence, endless fields, still waters and hardly any tourists - if that sounds appealing to you than make a detour to the Liddow Peninsula in central Rügen. You won't find a less visited place in Rügen - apart from us, there were exactly two other tourists - but you will find peace and tranquility. There is not much to see in terms of "traditional" sights: no castles, no churches, no beaches. But there's lots of nature, ranging from golden fields to the Bodden coast overgrown with reeds, from forest to grassland. You can e.g. go for a very nice walk across the peninsula, starting in Liddow itself and continuing for about 5km to the campground at Groß Banzelvitz. Alternatively, there is a path leading up to the so-called Liddower Haken (Liddow Hook), a small cape in the Great Jasmund Bodden. In any case, bring your picnic stuff and a blanket and enjoy a break under the wide open skies of Liddow Peninsula.

    Liddow: fields, the bodden and lots of space The track to Banzelvitz
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    Altenkirchen

    by King_Golo Written Aug 17, 2014

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    The small village of Altenkirchen is a nice place to while away an hour. Its main sight is the church, which allegedly is the oldest of Rügen, dating back to the beginning of the 13th century. Many believe it's the most beautiful of Rügen's brick Gothic churches - in any case it's very picturesque, both from the inside and the outside. Around the church is the graveyard with lots of weather-worn tombstones, among them that of Ludwig Kosegarten, a local preacher who, in his days, conversed with the grandees of literature and science.
    Apart from its church, Altenkirchen is home to a few thatched cottages, the most beautiful of them that of Werner-Seelenbinder-Straße 1. Unfortunately it seems to be empty, but the overgrown front garden adds to its character.
    Altenkirchen is also the best place to rent a bike in the Wittow region. The very good bike rental place is on Straße des Friedens 10. You can reserve a bike at 0049 (0)38391 13071 for one day or several days.

    One of Altenkirchen's thatched cottages
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    Ummanz - the silent island

    by King_Golo Written Aug 16, 2014

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    Ummanz is a small island on Rügen's west coast. It is very well known for its role as a stopover for migrating birds, in particular cranes - several tens of thousands of cranes land here in spring and autumn! We came to Ummanz in August, so we didn't see any cranes. Instead, we discovered a lovely tranquil island with hardly any tourists and lots of nature.
    Everybody's first stop on Ummanz is the only village to speak of, Waase. It consists of a few houses (among them at least two restaurants), a tiny harbour with the smallest lighthouse I've ever seen, an old brick Gothic church (St. Mary's), which dates back to the 14th century, and a minuscule beach of some 5m diameter.
    Apart from Waase, there are six other hamlets, none of which consists of more than, say, ten houses. The biggest settlement is probably Ummanz's campground... After visiting Waase, we went for a tour of the island. We followed the main road for a few kilometres and then left it for a farm track which took us deep into no-man's-land. There was complete silence, with only the occasional sound of a bird or the wind in the grass. The track is not in good condition, so drive carefully if you attempt to do the same. It will eventually take you back to the main road which soon after leads back to Waase.
    If you are looking for silence Ummanz is the place to be.

    Ummanz A thatched cottage in Waase Cycle path under a wide open sky
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    • Birdwatching
    • Cycling

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    Beaches

    by King_Golo Written Aug 15, 2014

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    Rügen is famous for its beaches. During the GDR times, for want of choice, half of the east German population flocked to the Baltic Sea coast, and many chose Rügen as their destination. Consequently, the island is still very popular among east Germans. Well, I can only say they made a good choice! Here is an overview about Rügen's best-known beaches.

    1. Schmale Heide - the 10km long strip of finest sand is easily Rügen's best beach. It's very popular, but the further away from Binz you get, the fewer people there will be. Many parts of the Schmale Heide beach have lifeguard stations.

    2. Schaabe - more than 12km of sand, sometimes mixed with pebbles. The beach can be very busy close to Glowe and Juliusruh, but in other parts there will hardly be anybody. According to our guidebook, the Schaabe beach is exposed to quite strong winds - it certainly wasn't during the 10 days that we stayed there.

    3. Großer Strand - the aptly named Big Beach is located in Rügen's allegedly most beautiful corner, the Granitz / Mönchgut region. We went there only once and loved the fine sands which were, however, interrupted by quite a few pebbles and rocks just under the surface of the water.

    4.Bakenberg - located at the north tip of Rügen and often exposed to strong winds, this beach is nice if you just want to bask in the sun. However, there were so many sharp rocks in the water that swimming was hardly possible. I walked the beach for a good kilometre, but it was the same everywhere, so I found Bakenberg quite disappointing.

    5. Bodden beaches - a few beaches can also be found on the inland shores of the Bodden (Großer and Kleiner Jasmunder Bodden). These lagunas are famous for their shallow water - you can easily wade in 100m and the water will hardly have reached your knees. While this makes them boring for adults, the beaches are perfect for families with young children.

    Very popular: the beach at Binz Roofed wicker beach chairs at Juliusruh beach Evening tranquility at Schaabe beach
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    Sassnitz's picturesque harbour

    by King_Golo Written Aug 14, 2014

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    If you've looked at some of my other pages (such as Pittenweem or Porlock Weir) you know that I'm very fond of picturesque harbours with little colourful fishing boats bobbing up and down. Whenever we come to such a place I take out my camera and am no longer approachable until I've taken pictures of all (yes, all!) the boats I find interesting. Well, Sassnitz also has a very nice harbour and so we stayed there for about half an hour, wandering around and taking pictures of boats and bits and bobs on deck. Moreover, Sassnitz's harbour is the one with Europe's longest pier (1250m).

    A seagull mewing at the ships in Sassnitz harbour
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    Binz's Bäderarchitektur

    by King_Golo Written Aug 14, 2014

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    Bäderarchitektur (spa architecture) was invented in 1793 on the Baltic Sea coast in the small town of Heiligendamm. It soon spread to other spas, many of them on the island of Rügen. Bäderarchitektur combines elements from classicism (e.g. statues), historicism and art nouveau. Most houses are imposing mansions or villas, often two to four storeys high, decorated with wooden elements and almost always in white. This is what I liked most about the Bäderarchitektur style - the blinding white walls and ornaments give them a very luxurious character. While you can find Bäderarchitektur all along the German Baltic Sea coast, lots of houses are found on Rügen, in particular in the town of Binz. Pretty much every house in the old centre and along the beach promenade was built in that style. If you want to see the most beautiful houses you should go for a walk along the promenade. Starting at the Kurhaus, the town's most exclusive hotel, you can walk for a good kilometre and pass lots of stately houses. The town centre itself is also full of Bäderarchitektur houses, albeit smaller and less magnificent ones.

    Examples for B��derarchitektur: Villa Ruscha... ... Villa Baltik... ... and Villa Agnes
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    Picture-postcard pretty Rappin

    by King_Golo Written Aug 14, 2014

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    Rappin is far off the beaten path - roughly in the middle of the island. Not many tourists come here, and those who do normally drive through in order to get to the nearby campground at Groß Banzelvitz. Despite its location in the backcountry, Rappin is a lovely untouched village with lots of old thatched cottages, a pretty church and even a manor house. We found it to be one of Rügen's nicest places.
    What is there to see? First of all a brick Gothic church, St Andrew's, one of Rügen's oldest. It was built in the middle of the 13th century and occupies a picturesque location, surrounded by old trees and thatched cottages. These cottages and others in the village make up the second main sight - I'd love to live in own of them! Their brick walls and thatched roof as well as their lovely blooming gardens are a wonderful sight to behold. Probably the nicest one is just a few metres away from the church, on your left if you reach Rappin from the main road. There's also a rather oversized manor house which nowadays is comprised of holiday apartments. But most of all, there's silence. Rappin is a sleepy little place, so if you want to enjoy the silence, this is the place to be.

    Rappin's church Thatched cottage detail
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    Rügen's most beautiful village

    by King_Golo Written Aug 11, 2014

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    Groß Zicker is probably Rügen's most beautiful village. Lots of thatched houses, gardens in full bloom, a tiny brick Gothic church, all that surrounded by the rolling hills of the Zickersches Höft. Even better: Groß Zicker is still comparably off the beaten path as it's a bit away from Rügen's main sights. The village's main claim to fame is the incredibly picturesque Pfarrwitwenhaus (Preacher's Widow's House), built in 1719/20 for the local preacher's widow. It's a typical thatched cottage, but with one of the island's best-kept gardens in front of it. Inside, there's a small museum with exhibits from the area. Other houses are similarly beautiful, and even those which appear to be less interesting at first sight often have a well-kept garden with lots of blooming flowers. Groß Zicker's village church, the second main sight, was built in the second half of the 14th century in brick Gothic style and is home to one of Rügen's oldest church bells.

    Pfarrwitwenhaus in Gro�� Zicker One of many lovely farmhouses in Gro�� Zicker
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    Brick Gothic Churches

    by King_Golo Written Aug 10, 2014

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    No matter how tiny the village on the island of Rügen, you are quite likely to come across a magnificent brick Gothic church in it! The island is famous for these old, sturdy churches, and they always justify stopping in the village to visit them.
    Among my favourites were the village church of Groß Zicker (~1350), St. Jacob's in Gingst (~1300), St. John's in Schaprode (~1200), St. Catherine's in Trent (~1400) and St. Andrew's in Rappin (~1250). Mostly, they stand amidst a graveyard with weather-worn tombstones and old trees. More often than not there's a thatched cottage just next door.

    St. Catherine's in Trent Yet another church Village church in Gro�� Zicker
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