>>>The German Costa Blanca

The German Costa Blanca

Rügen, the biggest island in Germany, hides a sweeping coastline, which overlooks the Baltic Sea and which has inspired artists and provided refuge for illustrious figures.
S
tubbenkammer was a favourite spot of Caspar David Friedrich. The German painter immortalised the landscapes of this part of Rügen through his paintings. “All authentic art is conceived at a sacred moment and nourished in blessed hour, an inner impulse creates it, often without the artist being aware of it,” said Friedrich. He captured that moment of inspiration while painting the island on several occasions. The most famous work in this series is Chalk Cliffs on Rügen, completed in 1818. It reflects the feature for which this coastline is known, the almost pristine whiteness of its rocks.
Granitz Hunting Lodge was built in the mid-19th century.

Ghost spa

One of the biggest constructions of Nazi Germany can be found in Prora. A holiday complex that never housed tourists—the plan was terminated at the end of World War II—, but which received the grand prize for architecture at the 1937 World’s Fair. Abandoned to fate, it awaits a conversion plan.

Friedrich is not the only illustrious figure associated with Rügen. Scientists like Einstein, politicians like Bismarck and writers such as Thomas Mann all holidayed on Germany’s biggest island (974 km2). In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was a popular destination for the German upper-class, and its spas were the main attraction. Some are still open, and so is Rasende Roland, a train that connects the coastal towns in the region; albeit at the leisurely speed of just 30 km/h..
Of the spa towns that pepper Rügen, Putbus is the oldest. Its architecture is its best feature: classical and lordly. East of Putbus, you will find Binz, home to another pearl of Rügen: Granitz Hunting Lodge. It was built at the highest point in the south-east of the island, and its focal piece is the winding staircase of 154 steps. About 14km from Binz is Sellin, known for its pier, another coastal icon. In 1998, it was rebuilt based on the historic design from 1927, which had become damaged by inclement weather. The bridge that leads out to the pier is 394m long, and there is a restaurant at the end.
The Prora hotel complex was built with 10,000 bedrooms.

Open-air theatre

The Störtebeker Festival adds a celebratory touch to summertime on Rügen. It is the most successful open-air theatre event in Germany (attracting an audience of 100,000 each year). The production this season is ‘Auf Leben und Tod’ and it will run until 3 September.

Of the 574km of coastline on Rügen Ireland, 60 of the beaches have fine sand, while 27 are natural beaches. To discover them from a different perspective, it’s a good idea to take to the water on a sailboat. What is more, the island has several protected areas: Jasmund National Park, Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park and Southeast Rügen (Biosphere Reserve). You can get around them on bike and by foot. If you want to travel on wheels, the Hamburg-Rügen tourist cycling route is the most popular option, although other routes are available on the coast, always with the Baltic in the background. For those who prefer to walk, Jasmund National Park has a route measuring 8.5km, which runs along the cliff – the same white wall that so fascinated and inspired Friedrich.
Further to the festival, falconry demonstrations also take place at Störtebeker.
Foto: © Störtebeker

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