Rügen, Germany’s largest and sunniest island, is one of the most visited travel destinations today.
The Baltic Sea’s popularity as a tourist region has grown following the 2020/2021 crown pandemic. With around six million officially booked overnight stays, Rügen is the most popular island in the Baltic Sea. Those who come here want to stop and find the strength to change direction. Because unrest today is something like a permanent state of alarm from which there is no liberation, only redemption. However, this is only possible in a place where people can also store their internal luggage. Unfortunately, Western culture has set aside free time (skolé, otium). It has nothing to do with being lazy. Those who dedicate themselves to it withdraw from the everyday world under observation, only to be effective and productive with renewed vigor. Rügen is perfect for this: getting there is environmentally friendly and there are many sustainable accommodation options, tourist attractions, and cycling and hiking trails. The circular route of Rügen is about 275 km long and includes all the most important corners of the island. The coasts with their chalk cliffs, fine sandy beaches, castles, parks and villas, spa architecture, forests and moors and reed-lined lagoons are unique.
Many areas therefore belong to the national natural landscapes, two even to the UNESCO world natural heritage.
If you want to get to know the chalk coast of Rügen, you can’t go past the Königsstuhl, the most famous of the chalk cliffs in the Jasmund National Park, towering 118 meters high. Unfortunately, due to numerous demolitions, there are no longer any stairs leading up to it. Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), the foremost painter of German Romanticism, was also fascinated by the chalk coast of the Königsstuhl. The painting “Chalk Cliffs on Rügen” was created in 1818 and is one of his most famous works of him. However, the chalk cliffs have changed a lot, because there are always demolitions. In addition to Königstuhl and Jasmund National Park, Rügen’s most famous sights include the Peilturm, Sellin Pier, and Cape Arkona, which is located on the Wittow Peninsula, north of Rügen. There was the highest number of sunshine hours in Germany in 2014/2015. This title has been relinquished again, but the sun still shines very often there. Lighthouses and military bunkers can also become highlights of a bike tour. The island of Hiddensee, which is only 16.8 kilometers long, is also ideal for bicycle tours, as it is not allowed to travel by car.
At first slowly, and then relentlessly, Rügen has transformed itself from an almost unknown island of fishermen and farmers to a tourist stronghold.
The physician and author Hartmut Gill, who lived for a long time in Rügen, demonstrates this in his current book “Rügen. Past and present”. The text and illustrated volume contain numerous rare historical photos and illustrations, maps from four centuries, historical views and graphics of the city, color woodcuts, old postcards, black and white photographs of GDR holidays and current (aerial) images. There is also talk of the once tiring journey, of the first ferries, rail and air connections, of traveling on foot or in uncomfortable horse-drawn carriages, of cars on bumpy cobbles and of “Racing Roland”. The focus is also on the large and small resorts of the Baltic Sea. The seaside resort of Binz is not only the largest seaside resort on the island, it also offers a wide range of cultural events and events and can be reached by train. In addition to the five-kilometer-long sandy beach, this place is integrated into an impressive natural landscape, which can be experienced, for example, from the Rügen Natural Heritage Center. The center is located in Prora, the northernmost part of Binz. Arriving by bike along the shore also gives an idea of the evocative natural landscape.