A Baltic Sea Island in Northern Germany, boasting beaches, rugged landscape, forests and chalk cliffs.
Escape to Ruegen, Germany
Travelling off season comes with a variety of benefits including no crowds, lower prices and less kids to name a few. Don’t go crazy now, I love kids – just not so fond of OPK (other people’s kids)! Autumn is my second favourite season, and this year timing had us in a cold country for Fall! We were browsing deals for a short getaway and eventually decided on the island of Ruegen – empty beaches, dog friendly, fresh Baltic Sea air and hiking in appropriate temperatures.
Sometimes short getaways, which we call mini-vacations, are of great value for both mind and pocketbook. Our recent autumn escape to the German island of Ruegen was just that. We threw a few sets of clothes into our backpacks, emptied the fridge into a cooler bag, locked the door and were on our way. An uneventful 300 km drive north from Berlin to Ruegen; 3.5 hours later, we were pulling onto the Wittower ferry boat.
Dog friendly Feriendorf Rugana (read my review) would be our home for the next 3 nights. With just a short 5 minute walk through the forest we were on Nordstrand Beach, making this an ideal location for us and our furry side kick, Fritz.
We quickly settled in, unpacked and got our beds prepared for later before going for a exhilarating walk on the beach. There really is something wonderful about breathing in fresh, crisp, sea air while a cool wind blows through your hair and the cold, dark water laps the shore. Old Fritz bounced his way through the sand, teasing the waters edge before leaping back just out of reach, looking like a puppy again!
Heading back, the white sand eventually shared territory with Ammophila beach grass before we climbed the stairs and made our way into and through the coniferous forest which filled our noses with the scent of pine mixed with sea.
By now it was dark, and following a quick shower, we walked to the resort restaurant Rugana (read my review), after which we called it a day.
Upon waking in the morning, my husband went to buy some buns from the vacation village bakery. I prepared some sandwiches which we packed up and then headed to the beach for a seaside breakfast. The walk through the pine forest awakened our senses. We strolled along the beach, snacking on our sandwiches as we went. A few other off-season vacationers were out and we amiably chatted with the like-minded folks, of whom some admitted to still swimming in these temperatures! Our shocked faces were replied to with something along the lines of you must “embrace the cold to appreciate the warm.” Hmm, no thank you!
Following the beach walk, we hopped into the car and drove 20 minutes to Putgarten at Cape Arkona. You can not actually park in the village, so we drove back out to the parking lot. Read more: How to Cape Kap Arkona, which includes distances, sights, costs etc.
In the quaint village we found a little cafe where we had a weather appropriate lunch of green pea soup with a sausage before hiking up to the lighthouses and Jaromarsburg.
From there we hiked along the cliffs before finding stairs leading down to the shore, allowing us to wander along the Baltic Sea, at the foot of the collapsing chalk cliffs until reaching the fishing Village Vitt where we had an Apfel Saft and water before making the final trek back to Putgarten parking.
On our way back to Rugana, we stopped at the grocery market (open Sunday!!!!) and bought some brussels sprouts, meat, Kirschkuchen and Zupfkuchen, went back to our room for relaxation, wine and food. Following our fresh sea air day, we collapsed early into our beds.
Our second full day, we woke early, bought bread, made sandwiches and hit the road for our planned destination, Jasmund National Park. We passed through some cute villages, and got completely confused and lost. Our google maps kept sending us to a camping place which had a gate to block entry. Finally, a very frustrated gatekeeper told us to follow the signs, not the gps. Poor guy must have been overwhelmed with people expecting to get through that gate!
Finally, thanks to his directions, we found the parking lot for the forest area which boasts Germany’s largest chalk cliffs, parked and started our hike. More info about our Jasmund National Park experience, trek, costs and more.
After our hike, we went to the tourist town of Sassnitz. Maybe because of the season, we were not impressed. The fishing town with big fish industry was dull and repressed looking. Instead of going to visit the local attractions – a butterfly house and a submarine museum – we took a quick look at the beach and and were outta there.
The next stop was Prora. With the interesting history, it was fabulous to see the haunting empty buildings which stand in stark contrast to the chic, newly renovated block. For those who have never heard of it, Prora was built during the second world war with the intent of a beach resort paradise for Germans. The holiday resort stretched 4.5 km along the waterfront, offering spectacular views. Of the planned 20,000 beds, not one was ever slept in. Today, developers are reconstructing and building the resort into dream waterfront living – it is a work in progress.
Unfortunately, our next stop, the Granitz Hunting House / Jagdschloss Granitz was already almost closed, so we decided to call it a day. On the way back to Rugana, we stopped at Karls Bauernmarkt, offering a little something for everyone. It has country style shopping, a self serve restaurant which charges by the 100 gram, a fish eatery, a big play area with slides and rides, and country style souvenirs like homemade jam. Oh, and they have a display of coffee pots lining the walls – 27,390 to be exact, a Guinness World Record.
After arriving back at our apartment, showering, drinking a few glasses of wine and dinner at the restaurant Rugana, we collapsed exhausted into bed.
Our last day of mini-vacation we ate breakfast, stripped the bed, packed up, checked out and went for a final walk to the beach to bid adieu before the drive back to Berlin.
Location: Europe > Western Europe > Germany > Northern Germany > Mecklenburg – Western Pomerania > Baltic Sea > Ruegen