Traveling 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 meters into the jade-colored sea beneath.
The most famous one is perhaps the Königstuhl (the Throne) – a massive granite structure that is up to 160 meters 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.
Tips for visiting the German coast
- Sylt is easily accessible by train from Hamburg. It took about three 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 by 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€
34 thoughts on “Sylt and Rügen: The Tale of Two Seas”
Fantastic photos and post! The cliffs in Rugen are breathtaking..I don’t see anyone swimming, did you visit them during off-season? 🙂 I imagine the water must be cold.. I have been to North Sea beach in Netherlands and Baltic sea coast in Finland and Poland.. I did love the beaches, but the water was too cold 🙂
You are right 🙂 It is windy and the water is still cold, even in middle of August.
I have no idea that beaches in Germany are so beautiful, especially the Rugen one, looks like paradies to me! 🙂
I think they are only popular among Germans. I did not know about Rügen until this summer 🙂
It’s great that you found out local favorites and share them with us! I much prefer them than touristic places. I will check out your blog before traveling somewhere. 🙂
Many thanks 🙂 I am glad to know that my blog could hep you plan your future trips. I haven’t been in many places yet, even in Germany, but I will try my best.
Hi Len! Happy to have found your blog! I love the layout, the style the content…everything! I’ve read some of your posts and I can’t wait to read more! Looking forward to following you 🙂
Lisa | http://www.fromdreamtoplan.net/
Many thanks for your very kind words 🙂 I just have a look at your blog and I found it really great and inspiring, especially the crafting part *thumb up*. I am terrible at crafting but I might try 🙂
My pleasure! Oh thank you very much! 🙂
The pics are amazing! The color depth and resolution is too good! Great job. Sunset pic is my favorite 🙂
Thanks a lot for your compliments 🙂
Lovely pictures. never knew about these lovely beach destination in Germany
Hey Len! Great blog and wonderful photos. So happy to have found your blog. 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
Awesome collection of shots!
Many thanks! 🙂
Beautiful pics! Appreciating nature is always refreshing!
Indeed. Thanks for the compliment 😉
Amazing images you posted, thank you for sharing
My pleasure! 🙂
Very nice feature and photos! Just to add that the wild Western beach of Prerow on Darß peninsula at the Baltic Sea also really nice. But for bathing it must be really hot ….
I have never heard of Prerow before. But I just googled, and I must say it looks no less stunning than Sylt. The beach is even wider 🙂 Thanks for the information!
Lovely – an area completely unknown to me
These are beautiful! Would have never thought about going to the coast in Germany!
I was surprised as well 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Julie!
I have researched this area for a possible cycling trip. Seeing your photos, especially those white cliffs, has got me even more excited about exploring this part of Germany. You’re right, beaches aren’t the typical images that come to mind when people think of Germany. Great post!
Thank you, Caroline! Those cliffs require some trekking, but I am sure you can do it 🙂
Such gorgeous photos Len. You do it every time! I wish I had half your skill. As for Sylt and Rügen – both look enticing, though certainly not for a traditional beach holiday, but just for the beauty of the area. I’ve never seen anything like those beach baskets! So unique.
Your words made my day, Alison. But I don’t think I’m that skillful 😛 The strandkorb is brilliant, right. Some even have built-in tables (like in the plane) and baskets to store towels, bags, etc.