Ever since the Romantics eulogized an island where coast and country collide, RÜGEN has held a semi-sacred place in German sentiments. The great, good and fairly unsavoury of the last two centuries – Caspar David Friedrich, whose paintings did more than any poster to promote its landscapes, Brahms and Bismarck, a couple of Kaisers and assorted grand dukes, Thomas Mann, Hitler and GDR leader Erich Honecker – not to mention millions of families, have taken their holidays on an island renowned for chalk cliffs, 56km of silver sands and beautiful deciduous woodland. Notwithstanding a newfound sheen as coastal resorts reassert themselves as the fashionable bathing centres they were in the early 1900s, Rügen is timeless and uncomplicated, with an innocent, Famous Five quality. Its rural southeast is a gorgeous preindustrial landscape where a steam engine chuffs around small seaside resorts and inland villages knot around cobbled lanes shaded by ancient trees.

Those on a flying visit usually only tick off premier resort Binz, a classic Baltic holiday destination renowned for its handsome Bäderarchitektur, and the Königstuhl at Jasmund, a chalk cliff immortalized by Friedrich in 1818. Do so and you may be forgiven for wondering what the fuss is about – together, they are the busiest destinations on Rügen, and can be overcrowded. With an area of 926 square kilometres, Germany’s largest island has less-populated corners to discover. Places like Putbus, not so much a planned town as a Neoclassical folly writ large; smaller resorts near the rural Mönchgut peninsula; or the Jasmund National Park’s chalk cliffs cloaked in spacious forest. There are curios such as Prora, Hitler’s holiday camp falling into ruin behind the beach, or the lighthouses of Kap Arkona and former fishing village Vitt in the windswept northwest. And then there are places like Hiddensee, a car-free sliver of land just off the west coast that may be the most idyllic spot in the area.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Germany features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The 10 best Baltic beach resorts

The 10 best Baltic beach resorts

European beach holidays haven’t always been just about the Mediterranean. A century ago, the resorts along the Baltic Sea were just as likely to attract the E…

16 Mar 2018 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

Syria has been shattered by conflict since March 2011; more than 5 million people have been forced to flee the country and rebuild their lives elsewhere. Jessi…

28 Dec 2017 • Jessica Bateman local_activity Special feature
20 picturesque Christmas destinations

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

Dreaming of a trip this Christmas? We're here to help. From glittering cities to a few snowy escapes, here are 20 classic destinations for a festive break. …

12 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs