For Fall Family Fun : Run to Rügen, Germany

Come with me. Close your eyes. Ok – open them again. Kind of hard to read along with them closed. But picture this. Imagine Copenhagen. If you live here – not that hard. Take your finger and draw a virtual circle around the Baltic Sea beginning in Denmark. Move around to your right and you are bound to hit Rügen, Germany near the bottom. On the opposite side of this imaginary arc lies a beautiful Baltic island sitting off the eastern corner of northern Germany. That’s northeastern Germany peeps. Here they call it Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Rügen is an island in this German province. In fact, it is the largest island in Germany. Don’t think of islands when you think of Germany? Me neither to be honest. And while Rügen is no tropical palm-treed island paradise, there are huge swaths of beautiful sugar fine white sandy beaches here. Place these beaches smack in front of charming little resort towns like popular Binz and then add boardwalks, ice cream shops, iconic wooden piers extending out into the blue Baltic beyond and you can see why this German island is worthy of a week’s respite come July and August.

POMERANIA: No, not the miniature dog – I’m talking about an area that spans the southern Baltic across borders between Germany and Poland: “The name derives from the Slavic po more, meaning “by the sea”.[1]

Beautiful sandy beaches at Binz
You can still use the beach chairs at Binz if you stay at the nearby resort. The fine sand is beautiful for exploring even in Autumn.

But it’s not July OR August. It’s October. I hear you. And while Rügen is super popular among Germans and other Europeans during the peak summer months, I’m here to show you that it is just as valid for a visit off-season. Come to Rügen in the Autumn. We visited last year on our Fall break (half-term, if you will, an expression I had never heard before moving to Denmark and sending children to a British International school.) With a week off from school mid-October and no pre-booked plans, we wanted (read: we NEEDED) a wee escape from Copenhagen. We rented a car and drove south, heading ultimately for Berlin to see “Light Weeks.” But for us, a cultured city break needs a side of nature. Living smack dab in a city, we crave a little unstructured outdoor experiencing to keep it balanced and found it on Rügen. Germany.

WHY GO TO RÜGEN IN AUTUMN
FALL COLORS

Rügen wears autumn’s wardrobe well. Brilliant white chalk cliffs on the easternmost shore at 

HIKING

Jasmund National Park is modeled after the American National Park system, inspired by the likes of Yellowstone and Yosemite. From the National Park there are miles and miles (or rather kilometers and kilometers) of hiking trails that take you to vistas like this:

Fall Autumn trees whilk chalk cliffs Ruegen Germany
You can still use the beach chairs at Binz if you stay at the nearby resort. The fine sand is beautiful for exploring even in Autumn.

The old growth beech forest here is a world heritage site and even has it’s own app. We didn’t use it – but if you do try it, make sure you have marked all the sites you are interested beforehand as coverage is spotty at best out here on this corner of Germany.

World Heritage Beech Forest of Jasmund National Park

The main parking lot is at Hagen. From here you can take shuttle busses out to Königsstuhl – the King’s Seat – to see the white chalk cliffs. OR – you can walk. Which we did. It was beautiful, scenic and peaceful – save for the moaning of teens. How much longer may have been the mantra. It’s up to you. But we walked it both ways – there and back – a little over 3km each way. For littler ones – maybe plan a hike one way and shuttle back or vice versa.

Easter to 31 Oct 9 am – 7 pm
1 Nov to Easter 10 am – 5 pm

Admission: includes all indoor and outdoor activities

Adults €8.50
Families* = 2 adults + children up to 14 €17.00
Children
6-14 years
€4.00
Children
under 5
– free –

NOTE: You do not have to visit visitor’s center to take steps to go down to the beach, which can be reached for free from parking lot. But to get to viewpoint and visit interactive center, entrance fee is required.

 

WILDLIFE

The nature of the National Park is to let wild space be wild. This allows for lots of wildlife. Bird watchers will be happy to spot eagles and peregrine falcons along the cliffs. Elsewhere you may encounter otter crossings and crane migrations. 25,000-60,000 cranes rest in this area every fall on their way south.

LOCAL FLAVOR:

One of the things that we loved about visiting Rügen was it’s authenticity. Compared to Copenhagen, very few locals speak English. They are very friendly and appreciate any attempts at German and are happy to help. We loved the idea that no one understood us while we chatted as a family in English. Haha!

GETTING HERE:

Danish bridge Farø Møn bro BogøFrom Copenhagen to Rügen, it requires taking the ferry between Gedser, Denmark and Rostock, Germany via Scandilines. There are other routes (via Rødby, DK and Puttgarden, DE or driving through Jutland via Hamburg and around) but the Gedser-Rostock route is the most convenient if targeting Rügen from most points north.

NOTE: Book ahead – more than 14 days in advance and you can save BIG with economy ferry tickets. You can buy tickets at the ferry landing, but expect to pay a premium and not be guaranteed a spot. Ferry crossing is only 1 hour and 45 minutes and there are newer vessel options with more amenities to keep your family having fun while afloat. Check Scandilines website for updated sailing times, routes prices and vessels.

WHERE TO STAY:

We loved the cozy feel of having our own apartment in the less busy than Binz seaside village of Sassnitz. Further up the coast, but closer to Königsstuhl and Jasmund National Park. We had a wonderful time at the Seaside Apartments there with views of the water, comfortable beds, a wood fire stove and a well appointed kitchen for cooking.

WHERE TO EAT:

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38 thoughts on “For Fall Family Fun : Run to Rügen, Germany

  1. Such spectacular scenery! Well worth the long drive. I do love a road trip. I think people in the UK think we are crazy to pack up and drive half way across Europe but it’s such an adventure discovering new landscapes and cultures. Great find Erin!

  2. Pingback: Faraway Files #3 – oregon girl around the world

  3. pigeonpairandme

    Those seaside apartments are so close to the water – and gorgeous to hear about their open wood fires! I’d never heard of Rugen but it sounds perfect for us. Like you, as a city-dwelling family we like to experience a bit of nature in our breaks. #FarawayFiles

  4. The only thing about living in Qatar is the lack of seasons and fall is my favourite. I just love all of the colours and was the main reason we had an October wedding. This looks like a beautiful place for Autumn! #farawayfiles

  5. It’s the first I’ve heard of Rügen so thanks for alerting us to it! I never associate Germany with much coastline at all but I’m all for discovering new islands! Sounds so cosy for Autumn #FarawayFiles

    1. Thanks Trish! Funny how that works – I know the feeling. Portugal is that for me – I really want to go, but it keeps falling off short list until someone posts about it! And it nudges up quite quickly again! Thanks for engaging with #FarawayFiles – happy to have you part of the community! Erin

  6. I have never heard of Rúgen but it sounds wonderful. I fell in love with Germany the first two times I went and I can’t wait to get back and explore more of it- including Rúgen. #farawayfiles

  7. Clare Thomson

    You do find the most wonderful places for exploring, Erin. I love the sound of this German island – white cliffs, stunning tree-filled countryside, beaches and fish sandwiches. Like the idea of exploring outside of the main tourist season too. A perfect #FarawayFiles destination!

  8. aandj8804

    Looks like a nice place to visit. So glad you provided a map. Being an American I just couldn’t pictures where all of those places were. 🙂 I love Germany and seriously don’t need an excuse to return (though this island is a great one!).

    1. I love when people give me a map so I have a better idea WHERE they are talking about – glad it helped you! And I always try to put the country in my title – to give a sense of place. Yes – we enjoy Germany as well – have you been to Berlin? One of my faves! Cheers and thanks for linking with #FarawayFiles

  9. My favorite thing about these linkups is finding blogs about areas I have never even heard of! I love nature and Germany so this sounds like the perfect getaway to me. Loved all of the detail out into this. Thank you for sharing! #FarawayFiles

  10. Mrs Daisy the bus is always banging on about going to Rügen; she´s bought a guide book and everything. But we’ve never been, apart from that one time when we got off the ferry from Sweden and didn’t realise that we were actually on Rügen until we had driven off it… Now that you have opened my eyes as to how wild and natural it is, I think we’ll need to bump it up our combined list of “really must-see soon” places. Thanks!! #FarawayFiles

  11. This looks like such a diverse place to visit! The furthest north I have ever been in Germany is Lubeck, and I really wasn’t aware of this island until now. Thanks so much – I have pinned for later travel plans 🙂
    #FarawayFiles

  12. When I lived in Germany I never quite made it that far north and hadn’t realised quite how lovely the islands here were- love the pale sand. Great to feel like you’re off the beaten track too. #farawayfiles

  13. bavariansojourn

    It looks gorgeous! I haven’t been to any of the German islands, but we did love Bornholm and Skagen when we lived in Denmark, they were just stunningly beautiful!

  14. How cool that you could pick sea buckthorn right there! That would be a major trip highlight for me as a botany nerd. It sounds like you had a wonderful fall break last year. That break in October really is wonderful, isn’t it?

  15. I love national parks too and this is absolutely stunning! Seems like the type of place where you have a bit of everything – beaches, hiking, cute shops. My kind of place. You’re right – one doesn’t think of the islands when they think of Germany – what a spectacular find! #farawayfiles

  16. You’re right – I never associated Germany with Islands (or much of a coastline for that matter!), but this looks really nice. It seems there is so much to do in Rugen. Thanks for sharing. #farawayfiles

  17. I was not familiar with Rugen at all but it sounds very diverse and is another place to add to that Autumn destinations list. It would be great to see all that wildlife too. #farawayfiles

  18. The lake at the beech forest looks amazing. It would be great to see that many cranes in one place as well. It certainly looks like a lovely place for an autumn visit.

  19. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad

    What a gorgeous island. That looks like such a great place to take a relaxing break, with good food and good walks it’s got everything you need 🙂

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