Travelling to Germany for a beach vacation seems odd for foreign tourists. Against charming old towns and fairytale castles, it is easy to forget about the natural beauty of this country. Indeed, the popularity of Germany’s coast is hardly comparable to those in Spain, France, or Italy, but believe me, it is no less spectacular.
The coast of Germany is the tale of two seas. On the northwest, there is the fierce North Sea dotted with a handful of wind-whipped offshore islands, like glamorous Sylt. On the northeast, the Baltic Sea is milder and boasts the largest island of Germany – the Rügen. There are beaches on both sides, and while the temperature isn’t tropical, the drama of the waves crashing onto the white sand is irresistible.
Dubbed as the star of North Frisia, Sylt is well known for the distinctive shape of its shoreline – a dancing woman. It is located 12 km from the mainland and near the border between Germany and Denmark. With 40 km of white-sand beaches to the west, a broad expanse of the Wadden Sea to the east, and well-preserved nature, the island is a popular destination for water sports and wellness holidays.
With its pearly white beaches and beautiful landscape, Rügen draws thousands of visitors to its shore to enjoy nature. The highlight of Rügen is the Jasmund National Park where white chalk cliffs plunge hundreds of metres into the jade-coloured sea beneath. The most famous one is perhaps the Königstuhl (the Throne) – a massive granite structure that is up to 160 metres high. According to a legend, the name is derived from a tradition in ancient times by which the person elected king was the first to climb the cliffs from the sea and sit on the throne at the top.
- Sylt is easily accessible by train from Hamburg. It took about 3 hours. Make sure you are sitting in the correct part of the train, as they sometimes split en route.
- There are direct trains to Rügen from both Hamburg (4 hours) and Berlin (2 hours). Sometimes you might have to change the train at Stralsund.
- Bus 20 and 23 go right to the Nationalpark from Sassnitz, the northeast coastal town of Rügen. The bus stop is just outside the train station.
- Another way to approach the area is making the 10 km trek from Sassnitz along the coast and through the ancient forest of Stubnitz. The trail offers a spectacular view of the cliffs and is highly recommended for photographers.
- If you prefer to know more about the cliffs and their development, the Nationalpark-Zentrum Königstuhl will be interesting for you. Otherwise, just skip it. Admission fee: 8.5€