Around Rügen: Exploring the Island
by James Glazebrook
It feels like a lifetime ago that we got back from our trip to Rügen. The highlight of our island experience may have been the Nazi ruins of Prora, but every day was like a little adventure. Olive may have been happy rolling around in the grass around our holiday home, but somehow we managed to tear ourselves away and explore Rügen to the fullest.
If there’s one thing we learned on Rügen, it’s that Germans really believe that getting there is half the fun. All of the island’s landmarks are situated a good few kilometres from the nearest car park, just so visitors can fit in a decent hike while they’re sightseeing. Jagdschloss Granitz, a pretty pink confection of a hunting castle, is fine – but the walk up, through unspoiled fields and forests, is sublime.
We came to the port town of Sassnitz for the Fischbrötchen – the same reason we didn’t stay long! As North Sea natives, we thought we liked fish – until we sunk our teeth into Rügen’s local delicacy. Turns out we need our seafood to have at least been kissed by a grill before it enters our mouths, but don’t let that put you off. Get yourself to the wind-battered harbour of Sassnitz for taste of something super-fresh.
The next stop on our tour of Rügen’s seaside towns took us to Sellin, worth checking out for the longest pier on the island and the old-fashioned Strandkörbe (“beach baskets”), available to rent for pooped-out visitors. When we were there, a couple were taking wedding photos running through the south beach surf. Cute!
Jasmund National Park
This nature reserve on the Jasmund peninsula is Deutschland’s answer to Dover, home of the largest chalk cliffs in Germany. A peaceful hike through a beech forest brings you to Königsstühl (the King’s Chair), and a vertigo-testing climb 160m down rickety wooden stairs finds you on a rugged, undisturbed beach, with epic views out across the open sea. Unmissable.