welcome to rügen

facts | history | world heritage

Short facts about Rügen

974 km² / 376 mi²
574 km / 356 mi
North south expansion
51,4 km / 19,8 mi
West east expansion
42,8 km / 16,5 mi
Number of inhabitants
Principal town
Port town
Protected areas
Jasmund National Park
UNESCO World Heritage Ancient Beech Forest,
National Park Western Pomerania lagoon area
Biosphere Reserve South-East Rügen
56 km sandy beach
27 km nature beach
2,8 km marshy beach

History of holiday destination

Rügen’s beauty was immortalized by painter Caspar David Friedrich in 1818, when he sensitively captured the island’s magnificent white chalk cliffs that plunge into the jade-hued sea in the far north.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Rügen used to be a popular vacation destination with Germany’s writers, artists, politicians and industrial tycoons. Much of the grand splendor of that time can still be seen in the pompous seaside resorts that still exist from that era.
With the division of Germany into East and West after WWII, the island belonged to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for 40 years and was barely visited by anyone who wasn’t living in East Germany.
After the German reunification in 1989, Rügen became increasingly popular among visitors from former West Germany and beyond. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a lot of work and effort has been put into preserving, rebuilding and renovating those areas and buildings that had been neglected by the GDR regime.
Today, due to Rügen’s diversity and uniqueness, it is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Germany.

World Heritage directly at the sea

Rügen hosts Germany’s smallest national park – Jasmund. The Ancient Beech Forests in the heart of the park are of such outstanding importance that UNESCO declared them to be a World Heritage Site.
Some 4,000 years ago, they covered up to 10% of Europe. Today, only tiny fragments of these once wild forests remain and have to be protected more than ever before.
The hiking base near the port city of Sassnitz on Rügen is dedicated to this global idea. Nature lovers can inform themselves at UNESCO World Heritage Forum and find these forests in a unique composition with the wide view over the Baltic Sea.