Are you planning your Baltic Sea vacation and wondering what’s worth seeing on the island of Rügen? Then you are right here. In this article, I have written down everything you need to know about Rügen. A kind of free Rügen travel guide with the most beautiful places and sights, tips for unique places and beautiful beaches on Rügen, accommodation, and excursion destinations.
For exciting traveling news and tips, check out Travel Diaries.
The landscape of the Baltic Sea island is incredibly varied. Even if Rügen is quite crowded in summer, you can still discover quiet places on Rügen. Rügen is not only the largest island in Germany but also the most popular. For me, the island of Rügen is the most beautiful German Baltic Sea island.
What speaks for the island of Rügen? Everyone will find their own personal highlight. The island is ideal for active vacationers. You can hike or do water sports; there are also numerous well-developed cycle paths on Rügen.
For me, the absolute Rügen highlights are the Jasmund National Park with the high chalk cliffs and large beech forests with the Rügen eagle‘s nest. Visit the lighthouse at Cape Arkona and the worth-seeing piers in Sellin, Binz, and Sassnitz. I was surprised by the fairytale forest, a small Rügen insider tip in the north of the island.
For children, Rügen offers the very popular “Karl’s Strawberry Farm”, the treetop path, and many other excursion destinations, which I will describe in detail below.
There are beautiful beaches everywhere and of every kind: There are completely natural, nudist, and dog beaches in Rügen! I’m really excited that Rügen is so varied! I like that and it also makes a longer stay attractive.
I will now tell you my best travel tips with all the places worth seeing, excursion destinations, insider tips, and information, in short: everything you have seen on Rügen and what else you need to know to experience Rügen!
Have fun while reading!
Top 10 sights on Rügen as a list
Do you want to know what you can do in Rügen and which places are worth visiting? Here you will find an overview of our best top sights on the island.
1. Chalk cliffs and Königsstuhl
2. Jasmund National Park
3. Sellin seaside resort with a pier
4. Nonnevitz fairytale forest
5. Hike on the Schaabe
6. Cape Arkona Lighthouse
7. Baltic Sea resort of Binz
10. Excursion to Hiddensee
1. Chalk cliffs with the Königsstuhl
The chalk cliffs are the most famous attraction in Rügen. You are in the Jasmund National Park, Germany’s smallest national park, and are therefore an ideal destination in Rügen!
The landmark is always in the news when a larger chalk cliff breaks off and falls into the Baltic Sea.
What you need to know: Königsstuhl National Park Center in Jasmund National Park
The most popular attraction of the Chalk Coast is the Königsstuhl. The best view of this 118-meter-high chalk cliff is from the Victoriasicht viewing platform. Since you can also come here by car, this place is very popular and crowded.
There are two viewing platforms at Victoria view, where long queues often form. I think the view is quite nice, but there are alternatives to the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt view and the Wissower Klinken. Here I found it ten times nicer and, above all, emptier.
There used to be a staircase at Victoria View that led straight down to the beach. This is now closed due to the threat of demolition.
My tips for exploring the chalk coast:
- Take a hike on the Hochuferweg from Sassnitz to the National Park Center and Königsstuhl (or further to Lohme).
- Boat tour to the chalk cliffs from Sassnitz, Sellin, or the Baltic Sea resort of Binz.
- Go in search of a “Chicken God”!
High bank trail from Sassnitz to Lohme
Beautiful views are guaranteed here: You can walk from Sassnitz along the Hochuferweg to the 118-meter-high Königsstuhl. There are two viewing platforms for this view, where you usually have to queue.
If you are not tired yet, you should continue hiking to Lohme.
Even if you don’t have any “great” views of a chalk coast further on: It’s really great and idyllic here, because there are hardly any people around here.
However, it is easier to get on the bus from the National Park Center to Sassnitz and drive back.
Information about the hike
- View a map of Jasmund National Park here
- The hike itself is free. Entry to the national park center costs 9 euros. You have the chance to go to the Königsstuhl and enjoy the view. Inside there is a great interactive exhibition. You have to decide for yourself whether it’s worth 9 euros to you. I found the hike much nicer.
Boat tour to the chalk cliffs
You get the best view of the high chalk coast of Rügen on a boat tour. On the Internet, I found tours with a fishing boat in advance. However, this can be booked for a lot of money. Too expensive, too bad.
Since we lived in Sellin, a trip with the Adler ships from here via Binz and Sassnitz was the easiest. The most popular activity on the island.
Information about the tour:
- Booking at Adler-Schiffs
- Entry into Binz and Sellin is possible
Note: You can also take a boat tour around the whole island of Rügen. It lasts 10 hours and to be honest, it was too long for me.
The search for the chicken god
Have you often heard someone talk about chicken gods and wondered what that is supposed to be and where on Rügen you might find the god or gods? The solution to the riddle: A “chicken god” is a piece of flint with a hole in it! They are not only beautiful and, thanks to the hole, practical souvenirs that you can use as a piece of jewelry or decorative object, depending on their size – according to legend, but they also bring good luck and health and even keep evil spirits away!
There is said to be a particularly good chance of finding chicken gods below the chalk cliffs and at Cape Arkona. And who knows, maybe you’ll find amber or a thunderbolt right away?
Note: But be careful! Larger perforated stones are generally no longer allowed for reasons of nature conservation, even if you can still see them in some front gardens as flower pots. And in some places, there are prohibition signs that generally prohibit collecting and taking away. Please stick to it.
2. Seaside resort of Sellin
Sellin, location of our 2nd mobile home parking space on Rügen. The Sellin pier is the prettiest, with a white sandy beach and a diving gondola. If the hustle and bustle in Binz is too much for you, Sellin is the place for you. The resort architecture is beautiful here.
You can walk along the steep coast to Binz. Along the beach promenade in the other direction via Baabe to Göhren.
The Granitz hunting lodge can be reached by rushing Roland or by bike on a great route through the forest.
3. Nonnevitz and the fairytale forest
Living on the Rainbow Nonnevitz campsite has one big advantage: it is right next to the fairytale forest. So we spent many evenings here and watched the sunset.
Nonnevitz is also wonderful because here you have a long sandy beach and hardly any people. Except for the other campers.
4: hike on the Schaabe
Would you like to take a nice hike along the beach? Then explore the Schaabe. The long stretch of land attracts many people, especially on weekends. The beaches are beautiful. There is room for everyone. Due to the proximity to the beach, however, there were a lot of mosquitoes on the road.
Hike along the Schaabe and choose your favorite place to stay.
5. Lighthouse at Cape Arkona
Due to our stay at the Nonnevitz (rainbow) campsite in the north, we were able to cycle directly from the campsite via the former fishing village of Vitt to Cape Arkona on the coastal cycle path. The route is great because it takes you back to Nonnevitz via the fairytale forest along the coast.
Why is Cape Arkona so popular? It is in the “quiet” north. There are three lighthouses here at the North Cape which offer you a great view from above, as well as a museum.
The three towers:
- Schinkelturm: Viewing platform at 15.55 meters that you can visit. You can also get married here at the registry office.
- Cape Arkona Lighthouse: fully functional. You reach the top via 180 steps. View over Wittow, Rügen and Hiddensee. In good weather, you can see as far as Møn (Denmark).
- bearing tower
Besides the lighthouse, you can also visit a naval command bunker. Since I was on Rügen in the “Corona summer”, the Cape Arkona bunker remained closed to visitors.
- Cape Arkona lighthouse entrance fees:
– Schinkelturm: 2 euros for adults (reduced: 1.50 euros)
– Beacon: 3 euros
- Be sure to check the website for opening hours (depending on the season)
- View information about the bunker (tours, tickets, opening hours) on the website
6. Excursion to Hiddensee Island
For a day trip, you should leave Rügen and visit the car-free island of Hiddensee. With 1,400 inhabitants and the fishing village of Vitt as the largest town, everything is manageable here.
Take your bike with you on the ferry or rent a bike from one of the many local providers.
Note: It is cheaper to rent a bike on-site than to pay the price for bringing your own bike. However, I didn’t want to do without my mountain bike on Hiddensee. You can read why here:
7. Seaside resort of Binz
The most beautiful seaside resort in Rügen is Binz. The Binz pier is the longest, but not the prettiest. Because it is in Sellin.
The spa architecture surpasses the buildings of other seaside resorts. Stroll not only along the Binz beach promenade but also through the parallel streets behind it. Unbelievably pretty.
Unfortunately also incredibly touristy and crowded. It goes without saying that other tourists are also enchanted by the beauty of Binz.
On the beach promenade, we found QR codes with a link to the Binzer villas tour. Take a picture of the QR code or click on this link, save it and explore Binz. In front of many houses, there are signs with the history of the building. Really great to find the most beautiful corners of Binz.
8. Treetop Walk Rügen in Prora
The Rügen treetop path near Prora takes you up to the 40-meter-high “Adlerhorst” viewing platform. Discover the beautiful views of the Baltic Sea and the small Jasmunder Bodden. The path leads you up over the treetops of the beech forest.
True to the motto “Experience and understand nature” you can hike along the path to the view at the top. Information boards and audio commentaries along the path, as well as various experiments, will slowly make you climb the path. Perhaps the most beautiful sight in Rügen with children.
Note: Download the natural heritage app before your Rügen holiday. Then you have the audio guide directly on your mobile phone. In the end, you arrive at the natural heritage center of Rügen. Here you can find more information about the forests and the landscape of Rügen. For me an indispensable Rügen app!
9. Prora KdF-Seebad
Did you know that Hitler planned an almost 5 km-long holiday home in Prora?
However, the KdF-Seebad was only intended to serve one purpose: to enable the population to vacation here so that they could then “go to war refreshed”.
However, the KdF seaside resort was never completed. After a long time it was not clear what should happen to it, so a hotel and various condominiums were built in one part, and a youth hostel in another. The rest rots and slowly collapses in on itself.
All buildings (unfortunately) have one thing in common: magnificent views of the Baltic Sea.
If you too want to know more about the history and background of the KdF in Prora, you should visit the documentation center. It’s really interesting. The evening after our visit, we searched for documentaries on YouTube. Crazy and somehow frightening what Hitler and the Nazis had planned here.
10. Granitz hunting lodge near Binz
When you gave me the Granitz hunting lodge as a tip for Rügen, I had to ask Google first. But when I saw the pictures, I thought: “Wow, I have to see this!”
With over 250,000 visitors a year, it is the most visited castle in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Take a bike tour from Binz or Sellin to the castle. The path through the forest is hillier than you think! Alternatively, you can arrive with the Raging Roland. There is also a great beer garden at the castle where you can take a break.
11. Cycle tour to the Wittow Peninsula via Dranske to Bug
Did you know that the Wittow peninsula is also called “wind country”? Because here the wind usually blows from one direction: always from the front. We took a bike ride here on a wonderful day.
Two things that are really great: You are almost alone here, especially in Bug on the beach. And the perfect view of Hiddensee. We really enjoyed the tour.
12. Hike on the Hochuferweg from Sellin to Binz
Walking along the steep bank and always in the shade of the trees is fantastically beautiful. Don’t forget mosquito repellent, because there are a lot of them in summer weather.
The path always leads you along the edge and offers great views of the sea and beach. The trail is about 5km long (one way) and doable for everyone I would say.
As an alternative hike, I recommend a tour along the Alster lake promenade from Sellin via Göhren. Ideal for an evening stroll with a view of the sunset.
Other places worth seeing
Again and again, I am asked if I have insider tips and can give additional tips. Of course, there are places that many tourists will never visit, apart from the most famous sights Königsstuhl or Cape Arkona. I can’t say whether these are still real insider tips for Rügen. Because if I can find the places, you can find them too. Here you can still find my favorite corners “away from the crowds”:
- Take a ride on the steam-powered narrow-gauge ” Rasender Roland (Gohren)
- Open-air theater in Sassnitz: like the Müther Tower in Binz, the Kurshell was built by Ulrich Müther. Other works are the Ostseeperle in Glowe (Rügen) or the Teepott in Warnemünde (Rostock).
- Ralswiek Castle: Unfortunately, we only drove past here. The Störtebeker Festival usually takes place here. The organizers invited me, but unfortunately, I have to postpone this to the next visit. Maybe I’ll be lucky and the Störtebeker Festival 2021 will take place again!
- Lost Place: Pansevitz Castle ruins. At the ruins, you will find a lot of peace because hardly a tourist gets lost here.
- You can find many more tips in the travel guide “52 escapades on Rügen” mentioned below.
Map of Rügen with sights & attractions
Here you will find a Rügen map I created with things to do for your smartphone. Save the map offline on the phone to navigate the island.
I have also marked beautiful places in Mönchsgut, Ummanz, Göhren, Baabe, Glowe, and Putbus. We didn’t spend enough time here. Reason enough for another Rügen holiday.
More travel tips
Tips: Food & Drink
There are not really many good restaurants and cafes on Rügen. Much is aimed at mass and tourism. However, you can eat fish rolls very well anywhere!
Here are my tips for good food:
- Zum Skipper Restaurant, Sellin: Popular fish restaurant is located directly on the main road to the pier. We ate really good fish here. We were here late afternoon. Make a reservation if you come to eat after 6 p.m.
- Pizzeria Due Fratelli, Binz: Very good pizzas, Aperol Sprizz and sundaes! Here, too, we were out and about outside of the main meal times. Be sure to reserve or order and pick it up.
- Cafébar, Binz: Very good coffee and crêpes right on the beach promenade! There is also breakfast, but we had that at the campsite.
- Peter Pane, Binz: The other half of the Hans im Glück burger chain (in southern Germany I only know Hans im Glück) is in Binz on the lake promenade. Reservations are not accepted, and the line is long. We were very lucky to get a seat (the last one). Try the veggie burgers and the cocktails. Really delicious!
- Räuchereck, Dranske: Here you can find the best fish rolls in the whole of Rügen. On Mondays, there is fish soup and depending on the notice also smoked fish.
- Arkona Imbiss, Cape Arkona: Snack bar to sit outside. However, it closes at 5 p.m.
You come to Rügen via the Rügen Bridge near Stralsund. One tip from us is not to arrive or leave on a weekend. Because then the traffic jam to Rügen or on the way to the mainland is often long. Definitely bring patience and arrive or depart very early or very late. Then the Rügen Bridge is still passable.
The Deutsche Bahn also drives to some towns on Rügen. Ideal for long journeys for vacationers from southern Germany.
The most beautiful beaches in Rügen
The choice of beaches reflects my opinion of course. Here I found it relaxing and close to nature. I don’t like lying next to a lot of other people on the beach in Binz or Sellin.
- Ostseestrand Nonnevitz: Simply pure nature. Directly at the Nonnevitz nature campsite.
- Südstrand in Göhren: Also a quiet natural beach.
- Schaabe: miles of beach, natural. Lots of mosquitoes in summer (with us)
- Baabe: Fine sandy beach with beach chair rental and toilet. Not as crowded as the northern beaches
- Prora: Kilometers of sandy beach (only the shoulder view of the KdF building is less pretty)
If you are traveling with a dog: there were dog beaches everywhere.
Accommodation and hotel tips on Rügen
The size of Rügen? Rügen is Germany’s largest island! And that actually means something: to get from the northwest to the southeast, you have to plan at least an hour. Even longer in summer during peak season!
That’s why we lived a week in the north (Nonnevitz) and a week in the south (Sellin) . If you like lots of people and hustle and bustle, Binz is the place for you. This is also where you will find most of the cafes and restaurants.
I would always prefer a vacation rental to a hotel. You can find these on all common portals from Airbnb to booking.com or Fewodirekt.
Hotel in Sassnitz
In Sassnitz, we are happy to recommend the Hotel Waterkant. It’s a little off the main road to the lakeside promenade. The small but fine hotel is ideal for relaxing.
In Sassnitz, we wanted to book this Airbnb apartment. Unfortunately, this was already fully booked.
Hotel in Binz
The climate-neutral Hotel Meersinn is modern and only 150 meters away from the Binz pier. The location is great, and the spa area (sauna) is great for anyone who wants to visit Rügen in spring or autumn.
Alternatively, there is the Hotel am Meer directly on the beach. Free parking (otherwise scarce in Binz!), wellness area, and modern rooms: what more could you want? Oh yes: sea view included and pier very close.
Rügen with the mobile home
Would you like to explore Rügen in a motorhome like me? Ideal, because this way you can explore the island in stages and don’t have to keep driving back to the holiday home.
Which campsite in Rügen? Here are my tips:
Tip for a campsite in the north:
Naturcamping Regenbogen Nonnevitz . Great campsite in the forest and right by the sea. Apart from the campers, there are hardly any tourists or other people here; it’s just beautiful and relaxing. Do you only have time for one campsite? Then take nature camping. I would come back here anytime.
Tip for a camper place in the south:
camper place in the port of Sellin. Although everything costs extra here and not exactly a little, the site is still in a great location for excursions on Rügen and activities without a car, with a bicycle, or with a racing Roland.
Since Rügen is really very popular, you should definitely reserve a campsite before your trip! Wild camping is forbidden in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In addition, camping for one night is explicitly not permitted in many car parks.
Rügen in rainy weather
- Take a trip to the Ozeaneum in Stralsund (I linked my article with all Stralsund sights below)
- Visit the Granitz hunting lodge
- Drive the Frenzied Roland
- Visit the bathing and adventure world AHOI Rügen in Sellin or the Rügen thermal baths in Sassnitz. These are the only two swimming pools in Rügen (for cool seasons or rainy weather)
- The British submarine “HMS Otus-S 18” can also be visited in Sassnitz, which is now a museum ship and reveals everything about everyday life on a submarine. Exciting for little captains and parents!
- Insider tip for Rügen with children in bad weather: Karls Erlebnis-Dorf Zirkow offers a large indoor area, great for children
- Binz thermal baths in the Seehotel Binz: You can also visit this thermal bath as a non-hotel guest, subject to availability. A day ticket costs 27 euros (with sauna), and a bathing ticket (thermal baths only) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. costs 15 euros.
Rügen in winter
Would you like to travel to Rügen in winter? Great, because the island is really picturesque, quiet, and almost deserted in the off-season. Icy beaches and sometimes even ice in the sea make your winter fairy tale perfect. Ideal for anyone looking for rest and relaxation. Wrap up warm and just blow through!
Rügen in autumn
Rügen must be incredibly quiet in the fall. Without the hustle and bustle in Binz or on the chalk cliffs, October is a great month to explore the forests in the beautiful autumn colors.
Frequently Asked Questions
I get this question so often via email. Even if many claims that the most beautiful viewing platform is on the Königsstuhl for the chalk cliffs: That is wrong. The entrance is not worth it. You have the most beautiful views of the chalk cliffs at the vantage points: Victoria view (free) and Wissower Klinken (free).
In theory, you can travel to Rügen by train and explore the area using public transport. However, it depends on what you want to do and where your accommodation is located.
I explored a lot by bike or on foot. Rügen without a car is therefore not a problem.
Visit the Jasmund National Park and take a boat tour of the chalk cliffs.
Check out the piers in Sellin, Binz, and Sassnitz.
Plan a trip to Karl’s strawberry farm with children or a hike to the treetop path and Adlerhorst.
On a hike on the Hochuferweg from Sellin to Binz, you are mostly to yourself. And a day at the beach is also allowed – if it’s up to me on the lesser-known beaches, such as in Baabe, on the southern beach in Göhren, or on the Baltic Sea beach in Nonnevitz.
These were my top sights in Rügen.
Have you ever been to Rügen? Which are the most beautiful Rügen sights for you?
Leave us a comment if we forgot a particularly worth seeing corner! We are curious about your highlights on the most beautiful Baltic Sea island in Germany and look forward to your feedback.