Rügen isn’t just the largest German Island by area, the island in the Baltic Sea is well known for its beautiful beaches and nature as you can read about in Alara Benlier’s article about Freud’s favourite island: Rügen. The gateway to Rügen is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund from where you can explore its beautiful coast - characterized by long sandy beaches and its diverse inland with its small cities of Bergen, Sassnitz, Putbus and Garz. On the island, Jasmund National Park and Sellin Pier are two amazing spots, but there is even more to discover. Just a bit north of the Jasmund National Park lays the Cape Arkona (cover picture). With its 45-metre-altitude Cape Arkona forms the tip of the Wittow peninsula – one of several peninsulas surrounding the Muttland (English: Main body) of Rügen. Here you will find change in the landscape - instead of long sandy beaches there are steep cliffs characterizing the coast. In the south of Jasmund National Park, in Sassnitz is the castle of Dwasieden located. Unfortunately nowadays it is more like a ruin, but still a very interesting place to see with a nice view over the Baltic sea. Another recommendable outdoor activity is a stroll through and around the Colossus of Prora, a former Nazi beach resort with an interesting history. As you can see there is a lot to see and do on Rügen, so pay a visit to Freud’s favorite Island.
Because of its beauty and uniqueness Cape Arkona is, with 800,000 visitors annually, one of the most popular tourist attraction on Rügen. Apart from the beautiful panoramic view from the cliffs, there is a lighthouse, which you can spot in following photo from a bird's eye perspective. Going up you can even improve your view to a 360° outlook over the area.
Furthermore, close by in the west of Cape Arkona is the King’s Staircase with its 230 steps, making it possible to climb up the 42-metre-high cliff. It is called the King’s Climb, because the Swedish King Frederick I erected it during the Russo-Swedish War in 1741 in order to be able to warn Rügen’s population about a possible attack.
Unfortunately, since December 2012 it has been closed due to cliff crashes, but the “Violet Staircase”, called after all violets lining the stairs during spring season, further south and the most northern stairs at Gellort are very good alternatives to make it to the beaches down the cliffs.
Located in the south of the Jasmund National Park the castle ruins of Dwasieden are another sight worth visiting. Although more ruin than castle it is a nice small hike through the castle and you can image its former glory. It was built between 1873 and 1877 on behalf of Adolph von Hansemann – one of the richest man during the Bismarck epoc.
Prora is famous for its former Nazi beach resort under the Nazi project 'Strength through Joy' constructed by Nazi Germany between 1936 and 1939. The dimensions of the buildings are enormous and you will probably walk in and around this area with mixed feelings. On the one hand the location so close to the beach is amazing, but on the other hand the oppressive feelings of the grey buildings go with you as well. The construction was never finished and after World War II, the complex was first used by the Soviet Army, then by the East German Voksarmee and after that by the German Budeswehr. Nowadays there is modernization happening in the area and the complex includes a large youth hostel, a hotel and vacation apartments. It has also been the location for some festivals and more investments are being made in order to make Prora more attractive to tourism.
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