Rügen in Germany - A Tranquil Holiday Haven

Europe - Editor - 10 November 2008

Rügen in Germany - A Tranquil Holiday Haven

Large expanses of tranquil forests, striking white chalk cliffs and kilometers of clean sandy beaches are some of the many beauties of Rügen, Germany’s largest island and one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations. To be more precise, the Rügen District is an archipelago of about thirty small islands, including the islands of Hiddensee and Ummanz, located in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in northern Germany.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Rügen (also known as Rugia or Reugen) was first occupied around 4000 BC by migrants who exploited the area’s wealth of flint deposits. It was at the beginning of the first millennium that the island of Rügen was first occupied by Germanic peoples who are believed to have originated in Scandinavia. Over the years the area was occupied by a number of different groups, each of which either displaced or assimilated the people who were there at the time of their arrival.

It was in the 19th century that health spas began springing up on Rügen and the island began to be looked upon as the ideal destination for anyone seeking a therapeutic environment in which to recuperate from illness or injury. It was believed that swimming in sea water had significant health benefits and the first sea bathing resort was established in the village of Putbus in 1816. This was soon followed by resorts in Binz, Sellin, Goehren and Baabe. People flocked to the island from all over Germany and beyond its borders, and Rügen became a prime holiday and health spa destination. Understandably, World War II put a dampener on holidaying and some of the beautiful resort buildings became rather neglected for a time.

These days visitors to Rügen can stay in beautifully restored spa hotels. Damaged sea bridges have been rebuilt and a host of holiday activities are available. A network of cycle and footpaths across the island allow for hours of enjoyable exploring in some of the most beautiful natural scenery imaginable. A narrow gauge steam railway travels between the most popular of the resort towns and an extensive bus service takes passengers all over the island. Each village has something different to offer. For example, the village of Putbus on the south of the island boasts Chateau Park - a 75 hectare park with a wide variety of ancient trees and exotic plants, where visitors can expect to see wild deer and other small animals roaming freely. The Classicist residential theater in the town dates back to 1821 and there are plenty of other interesting historic buildings to view. Binz is primarily a spa resort town with beautiful buildings dating back to the1800s. It is also the embarkation point for cruise ships traveling to neighboring Baltic resorts, as well as to the famous 100 meter high chalk cliffs of the Chalk Coast in the island’s National Park Jasmund.

In addition to all its natural beauty and historic landmarks, Rügen has a wonderfully mild climate for most of the year. Those who have spent time exploring the lovely island of Rügen soon come to understand why it remains one of the most popular holiday destinations in Germany.


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