Europe > Central Europe > Usedom
Usedom (Polish: Uznam) is an island in the Baltic Sea belonging both to Germany (larger western part) and to Poland (smaller eastern part). Its seaside resorts are a very popular summer retreat for people from the Baltic Sea region and beyond since the 19th century. Usedom is nicknamed Sunny Island for being the sunniest spot in the Baltic Sea, in all of Germany and Poland.
- Kaiserbad Heringsdorf (with Ahlbeck and Bansin resort districts)
- Świnoujście, half of the island's population lives here.
- Peenemünde, birthplace of modern rocketry and space travel, with the V-1 aircraft bomb and V-2 rocket - offering museums, a visitable submarine and an experimental experience center
Standard German (Hochdeutsch) is spoken throughout the German portion of the island. Traditional Low German dialects are still alive as well. Both Polish and some German are spoken on the Polish side. Many employees will understand basic English on both sides.
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 when using English. You should get by with the German phrasebook.
Usedom is well connected for travellers throughout the year. The Usedomer Bäderbahn (UBB)  connects the island from Stralsund via Wolgast to Swinemünde. Bridges connect the island via the federal streets Züstrin (B 110) and in Wolgast (B111). Heringsdorf has a regional airport that connects cities as far away as Zurich and Vienna during the summer. The airport is connected to the beaches by bus.
A guided "Island Safari" tour by 4WD vehicle is available from Usedom Insel Safari which is a locally run company that can tailor routes to specific needs and will take you to the most beautiful parts of the island.
Like in other parts of the Baltic Sea, phosphorus from dumped ammunitions is sometimes washed ashore, especially around Peenemünde with its military past. Phosphorus is poisonous, ignites spontaneously when dried and can look deceptively like amber, which leads to occasional accidents. If you collect pieces of amber, don't keep them in your pocket. Put them into a vessel that you keep away from your body until you are sure it is actually amber and not phosphorus. Extinguish burning phosphorus with sand rather than water.