Download GPX file for this article
54.413.4Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Königsstuhl (King's Chair), famous chalk cliff in the Jasmund National Park

Rugia (German Rügen) is Germany's largest island. It is situated in north eastern Germany on the southern Baltic Sea Coast, in the region of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

A holiday destination for more than 200 years, it is known for its sandy beaches, chalk cliffs and Bodden lagoons. In a number of the seaside towns you can find noble resort architecture (Bäderarchitektur) style buildings from the 19th/20th century.


  • Mönchgut/Granitz Peninsula
  • Wittow/Jasmund Peninsula
  • North West Rugia
  • South Rugia
  • Central/ Bergen
  • Hiddensee Island - the island forms part of the Rugia holiday region, and is a popular, car-free day trip destination for tourists.

Towns and villages

Map of Rugia (Rügen)

Bathing resorts

Other destinations

  • Jasmund National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site with primeval beach forest and coastal landscape, the most famous chalk cliff being the 117m high Königsstuhl (King's chair)
  • Prora, the ruins of world's largest hotel which, however, was never completed. Today turned into modern apartments, youth hostels, museums and event locations (like the nightclub M3 Prora) while still being mostly empty.
  • Kap Arkona – with its 50m high steep cliffs it is the northernmost place in East Germany, situated on Rugia north of Putgarten.


The size and shape of the island provides 574km of coastline. The beaches are generally excellent for bathing. In the main season dogs are only allowed on designated dog beaches (Hundestrände), but there are plenty of these. Also on the island are a few nudist (FKK - Freikörperkultur) beaches.


The mother tongue spoken on Rugia is Standard German, with few mixing in a bit of Low German dialect. You will get along with basic English in most areas, especially at the coast. The island was for more than 40 years part of East Germany, when the first foreign language taught in schools was Russian though, so speak clearer and easier to older people. You should get by with the German phrasebook.

Coastal resort Binz with the Kurhaus
Chalk cliffs in the Jasmund National Park, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt] view

Get in

By plane

Rostock-Laage airport with connections from Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne. The airport is about 90km from Rugia.

By car

From the A20 then B96, you can get in by car along Germany's longest bridge from Stralsund on the German mainland, or you can take the ferry from Trelleborg in southern Sweden.

By train

There is also a regional train connection from Stralsund to Sassnitz and Ostseebad Binz, some long distance trains from major German cities travel to Ostseebad Binz.

By boat

Three major ship-owners operates ferries to and from Sassnitz:

There is also a cable ferry from Stahlbrode near Greifswald to Glewitz on Rugia.

Get around


As well as the coast line with excellent beaches and spectacular cliffs there are some beautiful woodlands and wetlands. This is a great location for wetland bird watching, notably the large flocks of cranes.



The narrow-gauge railway Rasender Roland
  • Narrow-gauge railway (Rasender Roland), Bahnhofstraße, Putbus (B96 from Mukran or from Sassnitz. In Bergen, take the L301 to Putbus. In Putbus, follow Bahnhofstraße from Circus. The railway station is at the end of the road.), +49 3838 81 35 94. First train from Putbus around 08:00, last train around 19:30. During the GDR era, the narrow-gauge railway "Rasender Roland" was an important link between Putbus and Göhren, where the steam-hauled trains provided both passenger and goods services. The railway is still a part of the local traffic system and a journey is an excellent way of transportation. There are several nice places to see along the railway, for example the hunting "lodge" (read: "castle") Granitz. You can board the train from any station along the line. Group tickets on offer. €1.80 - €9.00/single ticket, depending on distance.
  • Horseback riding (Wanderreiten auf Rügen), Feldweg 2, Zirmoisel (Take the B96. At Bergen auf Rügen, take the L301 to Ramitz. Drive N for Bubkewitz, where you take off W to Zirmoisel.), +49 160-903 112 54. Whether you are an experienced rider or a beginner, this establishment has something for everyone, for example adventure on horseback or picnic. The center has also a flat for rental. €12 and upwards.
  • Windsurfing/Canoeing (Wassersportschule Timpeltu), Strand, Lietzow (Take the B96. Lietzow is at the road between Sagard and Bergen.), +49 173 151 39 70. If you already know how to surf, you can rent all you need from Wassersportschule Timpeltu. If you cannot surf, they can teach you how. The school also has smaller yachts and canoes for rent.
  • Hot air balloon trips (Sanfte Reisen), Roggentin bei Rostock, +49 175 843 16 26, +49 38204 746 65, +49 385 760 57 66. The company Sanfte Reisen offers flights with a hot air balloon. Departure, time and price on request.
  • Diving (Tauchen Rügen), Proraer Chausee 50, Prora (From Stralsund: B96 to Bergen, then L196 to Kluptow and L293 to Prora. From Sassnitz/Mukran, taake the L29 to Prora.), +49 38393 24-06. If you are into diving can rent the equipment here. If you do not know how to dive, they can teach you. Tauchen Rügen also arranges guided tours to wrecks. €30 and upwards.
  • Rent a bike (Ferienheim Birkengrund), Ferienheim Birkengrund 1, Sassnitz. Bikes can be rented in almost every place, daily rates start as low as €5. You can get your bike delivered to your holiday appt or hotel. A large, and still to improve, network of bike trails offers sceneries beyond the jammed main roads. The holiday home Birkengrund not only offers accommodation for rent, but also bikes. They have several packages including bikes and accommodation. Guide´d tours on request. €60 and upwards.
  • Water skiing (Wassersportzentrum Rügen), Am Kapellenberg 1, Zirkow (From Stralsund: B96 to Bergen, then road 196 to Zirkow. From Sassnitz: L29 to Prora, then L293 to Karow and road 196 to Zirkow), +49 38393 13 14 70, +49 172-155 15 10. Mo-fr 14:00-18:00. Sat-sun: 12:00-18:00.. WSC Rügen offers classes in water skiing and wakeboard. You may rent per hour, week or season. €14 and upwards.
  • Golf (Golf-Centrum Schloss Karnitz), Dorfstrasse 11 a, Karnitz (Take the B96. In Teschenhagen, take the L291 through Sehlen to Karnitz.), +49 38304 824-70. The golf centre in Karnitz has two courses, 9 and 18 holes.


Rugia is an island, which you can tell when you walk into a restaurant. Seafood is omnipresent and usually very fresh. Try a fischbrötchen, a sliced bread roll filled with smoked (Raücherfisch) or pickled herring and vegetables. The Germans are crazy about asparagus, so during season, do not miss out. You will also find in the region products made from sea-buckthorn (sanddorn) such as fruit juice (served hot or cold), jam and flavoured ice cream.


The local sea-buckthorn (sanddorn) fruit juice is best hot.

Although brewed just of the island in Stralsund, Störtebeker beer is readily available and well worth a few glasses.


Due to the island's popularity over the years, it is easy to find accommodation at all price and comfort levels. The most common accommodation is various forms of holiday apartments, a practical and cheap way to stay. If you prefer to stay in hotels or hostels, there is plenty to choose from. A double in a hotel is around €80-120/night, breakfast included. A holiday flat, a ferienwohnung, starts at around €20 p.p. and night.

Stay safe

When walking near the cliffs, be careful near the edges as they tend to overhang the actual cliff face and are subject to collapse.

Although rare, there is a risk of coming across wild boar. Best advice is to keep your distance and treat them with respect.

Go next

  • Stralsund, UNESCO World Heritage old town surrounded by water, the "Gate to Rugia"
  • Usedom Island ("Sunny Island") and Greifswald (university and harbour old town)
This region travel guide to Rügen is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.