Skip to Content

Things To Do On Rgen Island, Germany

image source

Rügen Island, Germany’s largest island, beckons with its captivating blend of picturesque towns, dramatic chalk cliffs, and endless sandy shores. This natural gem is a treasure trove of cultural experiences, rich history, and delectable cuisine, ensuring your visit will be an unforgettable adventure. As you meander through the island’s diverse landscapes, from serene beaches to lush national parks, you’ll find yourself yearning to return even before departing. The Germany Tourism Board kindly facilitated my exploration of Lübeck, Bremen, Rügen Island, and Bremerhaven.

Rügen Island Location

image source

Located off the coast of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state in the Baltic Sea, Rügen Island is a beloved tourist haven that boasts a unique blend of stunning natural beauty and charming towns. Its vast size belies its compact nature, allowing visitors to effortlessly navigate its picturesque landscapes, majestic chalk cliffs, and serene sandy beaches.

Rügen Island History

Rügen Island’s storied past is a tapestry woven from centuries of influence from various empires. The island’s history began with Danish and Slavic rule, followed by Swedish, Prussian, and French domination. One pivotal era was the Nazi period, when tourism thrived with the construction of the resort complex Prora near pristine sandy beaches on Rügen Island. This boom was short-lived, as World War II brought an abrupt halt. In the war’s aftermath, the Soviet Union seized control, establishing a military base and off-limits zone. As Germany reformed after the war, buildings were gradually sold, leading to ongoing renovations that showcase the stunning architectural heritage of Rügen Island, now proudly restored to its former glory.

Rügen Island Weather

Rügen Island’s unpredictable weather doesn’t deter visitors from exploring its natural beauty and resort towns year-round. While May to September is ideal for beach-ready activities, the island remains accessible throughout the seasons, offering unique experiences in every month. For budget-conscious travelers, winter months (November to February) provide an affordable time to visit, excluding holidays, when famous chalk cliffs can be admired without the crowds. We visited Rügen Island mid-June, just before peak summer season, enjoying great weather, though windy as expected.

Getting to Rügen Island

Reaching Rügen is relatively straightforward, with the island connected to the mainland by a bridge. We opted for the scenic route, taking the train from Hamburg to Stralsund which took approximately 4 hours before collecting a car from Sixt to make the short drive to the island. Alternatively, you can take the train directly to Rügen. Once on the island, I highly recommend renting a car or bringing your bike to explore its many attractions at your leisure.

Jasmund National Park

image source

Jasmund National Park on Rügen Island is a must-visit destination that showcases Germany’s natural beauty. The park’s most striking feature is its 118-meter-high white chalk cliffs, which are reminiscent of the famous White Cliffs of Dover in England. Covering an area of 30 square kilometers, the park is home to diverse flora and fauna, including beech forests, heathlands, and rare bird species. Visitors can explore the park’s natural history and ecology at the Königsstuhl National Park Centre, which offers insights into the region’s unique ecosystem. The cliffs are a popular spot for hikers and nature enthusiasts, with several well-marked trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. For those who prefer to take it easy, guided hikes and boat tours provide alternative ways to experience the park’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. A visit to Jasmund National Park is not just about admiring the cliffs; it’s also an opportunity to explore the ancient beech forests of Serrahn and the historic fishing village of Sassnitz, which have earned the park a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. For a unique experience, visitors can hike along the Piratenschlucht and Wissower Klinken trails or simply enjoy the views from the stone beach below.

Skywalk Königsstuhl

image source

The Skywalk Königsstuhl, situated within Jasmund National Park, is a must-visit destination that treats visitors to an awe-inspiring panorama of chalk cliffs and the Baltic Sea. To reach this natural wonder, you can embark on a leisurely stroll or take a bus from the parking lot, which lies a few kilometers away, and arrive at the visitor’s center. From there, it’s just a short hike to Königsstuhl and its show-stopping views from the viewing platform that extends out from the cliff’s edge.

Admission to the visitor’s center is reasonably priced at 12 euros, making it an accessible and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. A clever insider tip to note is that parking is not available near the center, so head to the Hagen car park instead and catch a shuttle to the site. We opted for a combination ticket, which covered parking, shuttle fare, and entrance fee, priced at 21 euros and purchased at the Hagen car park area.

Seaside Resort Towns: Binz and Sellin

Both Binz and Sellin boast picturesque architecture, stretching piers, and stunning coastlines that make them beloved among tourists seeking a quintessential seaside experience.


In Binz, the picturesque atmosphere is characterized by a crescent moon-shaped beach lined with pristine white sand, majestic pine trees that dot the dunes, and vibrant gardens bursting with an array of flowers – roses, lavender, and peonies. The towns’ architecture is equally impressive, showcasing villas adorned with intricate white carved wood balconies or elegant wicker beach chairs reminiscent of late 19th-century Baltic Sea constructions. A stroll along the Strandpromenade reveals a charming promenade filled with beautiful summer houses, luxurious hotels, and delightful shops that add to the town’s allure.


In Rügen’s scenic Sellin, a standout attraction is the longest pier, characterized by its elegant white facade against a breathtaking blue canvas of sky and water. This resilient structure, housing a restaurant, has undergone multiple rebuilds due to harsh weather conditions, solidifying its reputation. To access this iconic spot, visitors can ascend 90 stairs or opt for the convenient lift located alongside the pier.

Just a short stroll away, Wilhelmstrasse, Sellin’s main street, is lined with an array of restaurants serving local specialties, providing ample opportunities to indulge in the region’s culinary delights.

Rent a Strandkorb

For an unforgettable beach experience, consider renting a Strandkorb, a classic German beach chair, on Rügen Island. These iconic striped chairs are not only comfortable but also offer a unique glimpse into local culture. You can find them available for rent at various beach resorts and kiosks throughout the island.

As an added bonus, you have the flexibility to rent a strandkorb by the hour, day or week. The longer you rent it, the more you’ll save, making it an excellent value for your relaxation dollar.

Granitz Hunting Lodge Adventure

Step into the enchanting world of the 19th-century Granitz Hunting Lodge, where a rich history meets unique architecture. This former castle turned museum boasts an impressive tower standing at 38 meters high, showcasing an extensive collection of hunting trophies. The pièce de résistance is the breathtaking cast-iron spiral staircase in the middle tower, offering a panoramic view of Rügen Island that will leave you mesmerized. To reach this hidden gem, take a nostalgic ride on the Rasender Roland train from Binz or explore the surrounding area on foot. As you wander through the museum’s halls, be transported to a bygone era by the meticulously preserved 19th-century furniture, hunting rifles, paintings, and trophy collections on display.

Cape Arkona Lighthouse and Fishing Village

image source

Perched on the northernmost point of Rügen Island, Cape Arkona Lighthouse stands majestically, its blend of two lighthouses and a radio navigation tower a testament to the island’s rich maritime heritage. The picturesque fishing village nearby offers an enticing combination of fresh seafood, breathtaking views from the lighthouse’s viewing platform, and serene coastal scenery. Visitors can access the lighthouses via a leisurely walk or by taking the convenient shuttle train/buss from the parking area. For a more immersive experience, explore the charming town of Putgarten with its quaint hollyhocks, thatched houses, and meandering streets, as well as the fascinating Jaromarsburg ramparts. And don’t miss the Kap-Arkona-Bahn, a quirky shuttle train that adds to the area’s whimsical charm – tickets are available at the booths. A must-visit destination for those seeking a glimpse into Rügen Island’s storied past and enchanting natural beauty.

Treetop Walk at the Naturerbe Zentrum Rügen

Step into the realm of nature at Naturerbe Zentrum Rügen, where a 1.2 km long wooden canopy walkway and a towering observation deck at an impressive 40 meters high offer breathtaking views of the island. This nature reserve’s crown jewel provides an immersive experience for nature enthusiasts, offering captivating insights into the region’s beech forest flora and fauna. What sets this destination apart is its accessibility; the canopy walkway has been designed to accommodate wheelchairs, ensuring that everyone can revel in this unique adventure.

Hiddensee Island: A Car-Free Paradise

Escape the mainland’s chaos for a tranquil day trip on Hiddensee Island, accessible by ferry from Rügen Island’s north coast. This car-free haven offers a unique blend of exploration and indulgence. Rent bikes to discover the island’s picturesque landscape at your own pace, then satisfy your taste buds with fresh fish dinners. As you unwind, be sure to visit the historic Dornbusch Lighthouse, built in 1887, for a panoramic view of the Baltic Sea from its summit.

Beach Bliss in Glowe

For those in search of tranquil beach experiences, Rügen Island’s Glowe is an ideal haven. This charming coastal spot on the island boasts a secluded and inviting atmosphere, making it an excellent choice for a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life. With its picturesque sandy shores, Glowe offers the perfect setting to unwind, soak up the sun, and indulge in the simple pleasures of beachside leisure.

Rügen Narrow-Gauge Railway Experience

Step aboard the Rügen Narrow-Gauge Railway and embark on a nostalgic journey through time. This historic steam-engine train winds its way along the Baltic coast, connecting popular resort towns and offering breathtaking views of Rügen Island’s stunning scenery. As you ride the rails, you’ll get a glimpse into the past, experiencing the charm and beauty that this island has to offer.

But for a truly unique experience, upgrade your ticket and climb aboard as the driver of the Rügensche Kleinbahn, a train that’s been chugging along these tracks for over a century. The chance to ride in the driver’s cabin is an opportunity not to be missed – book your spot in advance and get ready to feel like you’re part of island history.

Culinary Delights: Savoring Rügen Island’s Cuisine

image source

Rügen Island is a haven for seafood enthusiasts, boasting an impressive array of delectable fish-based dishes that are sure to tantalize the taste buds. However, the island’s culinary scene extends far beyond its fish offerings, with an equally impressive selection of vegetable and game-based delights available for those who prefer alternative options. The fresh and vibrant ingredients used in many of Rügen Island’s restaurants truly set them apart from others. A personal highlight was our dining experience at Zum Skipper in Sellin, where we had the pleasure of enjoying not one, but two memorable meals. The restaurant’s commitment to using only the freshest and highest-quality produce and seafood resulted in a truly exceptional culinary experience.

Eat a Fischbrötchen

A quintessential Rügen Island experience is savouring a Fischbrötchen, a mouthwatering fish sandwich that’s deeply rooted in the region’s coastal culture of Northern Germany. Typically crafted with tender fish, tangy pickles, creamy remoulade sauce, and crunchy onions, this harmonious blend can be devoured as either a satisfying sandwich or an open-faced snack, allowing you to fully appreciate its delectable flavours.

Cycling Adventures on Rügen

image source

As you navigate the serpentine cobblestone paths of Putbus and Bergen auf Rügen on two wheels, you’ll uncover the unexpected treasures hidden within these quaint towns’ boundaries. With numerous cycling routes crisscrossing the island, including scenic loops around Putbus and the picturesque bike path to the Jasmund Peninsula, the captivating scenery and charming atmosphere will surely leave its mark. Allow yourself to be captivated by the historic architecture, lush gardens, and local attractions as you take a leisurely ride or embark on a day-long cycling escapade. The experience of exploring these towns by bike is sure to linger long after your pedals have come to a stop.

Amber Hunting on Sassnitz’s Rocky Shores

As you wander along the rugged shores of Sassnitz, keep a keen eye out for the treasured amber stones that often reveal themselves after a storm has passed. The tidal changes expose these precious gems, making it an ideal time to embark on an amber-hunting adventure. As a responsible tourist, be mindful to return any discovered amber to its natural habitat before departing. This not only preserves the island’s natural beauty but also respects the delicate ecosystem.In addition to scouring the shores for amber, take some time to visit the Amber Museum in Sellin. This fascinating museum offers an in-depth look at the history and significance of this captivating gemstone. As you explore the exhibits, gain a deeper understanding of the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into crafting amber jewelry and decorations.

Where to Stay on Rügen Island

image source

Rügen Island boasts a diverse array of accommodation options, catering to a wide range of preferences and budgets. From luxurious hotels to cozy guesthouses and self-contained apartments, visitors can choose from a multitude of possibilities. For those seeking a more rustic experience, several camping sites and holiday parks are available, offering a chance to connect with nature. The island’s larger towns, including Binz and Sellin, feature a variety of hotels and guesthouses, many situated mere steps away from the beach. We had the pleasure of staying at the Cliff House Resort and Spa in Sellin, which offers breathtaking views of both the nearby lake and the Baltic Sea. A highlight of our stay was the delectable breakfast included in the package, setting us up for a day filled with exploration and discovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rügen Island’s allure lies in its picturesque beaches, high-end seaside resorts, unspoiled natural landscapes, and eclectic resort architecture, drawing travelers seeking a unique getaway. To fully immerse yourself in this island paradise, consider renting a car or bringing your own bicycle to discover its many attractions. With its majestic chalk cliffs, pristine sandy shores, quaint resort towns, and offbeat draws, Rügen Island has something for every type of traveler. Steeped in history, natural beauty, and gastronomic delights, this captivating isle beckons exploration. Simply gather your essentials and embark on an unforgettable adventure as you uncover the charms of Rügen Island.