What You Need To Know
Rügen is Germany’s largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeraniancoast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The “gateway” to Rügen island is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, where it is linked to the mainland by road and railway via the Rügen Bridge and Causeway, two routes crossing the two-kilometre-wide Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea. Rügen has a maximum length of 51.4 km (from north to south), a maximum width of 42.8 km in the south and an area of 926 km². The coast is characterized by numerous sandy beaches, lagoons (Bodden) and open bays (Wieke), as well as projecting peninsulas and headlands. In June 2011, UNESCO awarded the status of a World Heritage Site to the Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches and chalk cliffs like King’s Chair, the main landmark of Rügen island. The island of Rügen is part of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen, with its county seat in Stralsund. The towns on Rügen are: Bergen, Sassnitz, Putbus and Garz. In addition, there are the Baltic seaside resorts of Binz, Baabe, Göhren, Sellin and Thiessow. Rügen is very popular as a tourist destination because of its resort architecture, the diverse landscape and its long, sandy beaches.
Area: 926 km²
German is the official language.
The heartland of Rügen is gently rolling, and the area is characterized primarily by agriculture. East of the town of Bergen auf Rügen the land climbs to 90 m above NN (at Rugardwhere there is an observation tower) and to 107 m above NN in the southeastern hill country of the Granitz. The soil on Rügen is very fertile and productive, particularly in Wittow, the granary of the island. There are major coal-producing regions. Two German national parks are situated on Rügen: the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, in the west (including Hiddensee), and the Jasmund National Park, a smaller park including the famous chalk cliffs (Königsstuhl). There is also a nature reserve, the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve, consisting of the peninsulas in the southeast.
The bus service on Rügen is operated by the Rügener Personennahverkehr. Since 1996 it has been continuously expanded, and has developed an integral clock-face schedule. There is a service between all major towns and municipalities on the island at least every two hours, sometimes more frequently during peak season. Throughout the year, buses now run at least every hour on the routes between Sassnitz-Binz-Bergen, Schaprode–Bergen–Klein Zicker, Bergen/Sassnitz-Altenkirchen-Wiek-Dranske and the Altenkirchen-Putgarten near Cape Arkona. In addition, the bus service is well-linked with the railway, especially in Bergen, but also at other railway stations.
Rügen is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Germany. The island receives about one quarter of all overnight stays in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Most visitors come to Rügen between April and October, the peak season being from June to August, but its quiet atmosphere in winter is also appreciated. The first bathing facility on Rügen opened in 1794 at the mineral-rich spring in Sagard. In 1818, the Putbus village of Lauterbach became Rügen’s first seaside resort. In the 1860s Sassnitz became a seaside resort, followed by Binz in the 1880s. During World War II Prorawas constructed as a mass tourist resort but it was never finished. Today the most popular seaside resorts are the Schaabe beaches between Altenkirchen and Juliusruh including Drewoldke, Glowe and Breege, and the eastern beaches between Sassnitz and Göhren including Neu Mukran, Prora, Binz, Sellin and Baabe. The latter are accessible via an historic narrow gauge railway employing steam locomotives, called the Rügensche Bäderbahn. Tourist destinations, other than seaside resorts, include Cape Arkona, the wood-covered Stubbenkammer hills on Jasmund with interesting chalk cliff formations, the wood-covered Granitz hills with their Jagdschloß or hunting lodge, the classicist buildings of Putbus and the inland villages of Bergen auf Rügen, Ralswiek and Gingst. The island offers a huge variety of different beach and shore areas. Rügen is often visited by windsurfers and kitesurfers and offers more than fifteen different locations for surfing. The most popular locations are Dranske, Rosengarten, Wiek, Suhrendorf and Neu Mukran. On the peninsula of Jasmund is the Jasmund National Park, which consists of the beech forest of Stubnitz, including the famous chalk cliffs of Rügen. On the Königsstuhl itself is the Königsstuhl National Park Centre, which has a multivision cinema and audio-guide exhibitions with information about the national park in several languages.
The climate is in the temperate zone. The winters are not particularly cold, with mean temperatures in January and February of 0.0 °C (32.0 °F); and summers are mild and temperate, with a mean temperature in August of 16.3 °C (61.3 °F). There is an average rainfall of 520–560 millimetres (20–22 in) and approximately 1800–1870 hours of sunshine annually.