Germany is full of spots of natural beauty that are still unspoiled. Even the heavy tourist crowds have not damaged some of these spots. Among these is Hiddensee, a lovely isle in the Baltic Sea. The little island is indeed very small – only 19 square kilometres! If all you want is to have a relaxing holiday in a lovely spot abundant with natural beauty, then you must consider Hiddensee.
The island, also known as The Pearl of the Baltic, was a retreat of artists and writers during the turmoil-filled 20th century Germany. Till date, it is a great place for retiring from active life for a few days to refresh and rejuvenate.
Getting to Hiddensee
Cars are not allowed into Hiddensee, and the island is too small for an airport. There are also no train connections. So the only way to reach Hiddensee is by passenger ships or ferries from Schaprode. Berlin is the nearest airport from where you can take a train to Schaprode.
Places to go
-> Dornbusch Lighthouse: The lighthouse was built in 1887 and is located on the highland of this island. It is a typical old-fashioned lighthouse and is open to the public. At 28 metres high, it was one of the highest constructions in the region until modern times.
-> Hiddensee Local History Museum: The museum showcases the history of the island. It includes all kinds of archaeological finds, including the famous Hiddensee treasure, believed to be from the Viking Age, and discovered in 1873.
-> Hiddensee Island Church: The church was originally built as a monastery, but was consecrated as a church in 1332. It has been in use since then and both tourists and worshippers are allowed inside.
-> Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park: The national park covers a large area, and a major portion of Hiddensee is a part of the park. It is famous for its cranes and geese as well as for many different types of fauna.
-> Fischereimuseum: Because fishing is such an important part of Hiddensee’s history, a museum dedicated to the fishing history and industry of the island. The museum building itself is one in which fishing nets and other equipment were once kept.
-> Homunkulus Figurensammlung / Seebühne: This quaint puppet theatre showcases puppets from previous productions, while at Seebühne, you can watch a small puppet show. Both places put on shows in the evenings.
Things to do
-> One of the best ways to explore this tiny island is by cycle. Bicycles on rent are plenty and can be obtained at a reasonable cost (around 6 €).
-> Try getting on to an old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon in order to explore the isle. The experience will be completely different.
-> Hiddensee has a number of hiking trails of different levels. The scenic beauty of the place just makes it a wonderful place for tourists to spend time hiking.
-> The island has a rich history. Hence, guided walking tours are very popular. These tours explain the history of the island in detail. For English-language tours, you might have to contact the Hiddensee Information Centre.
-> Because of its scenic beauty, camping has taken strong roots in Hiddensee. You can set up camps in established camping areas.
-> Remember those early days of cinema when it was shown in small theatres with uncomfortable chairs and tents? At Hiddensee, you can still experience this feeling since there is a rich culture of cinema watching in tents.
-> Hiddensee, because of its literati culture, had developed the Free Body Culture, or Freiekörperkultur. A portion of the beach is clothing optional, and you can chose to enjoy the seaside in the nude, if you choose.
-> When strolling along the beach, keep an eye out for the local amber. If you manage to pick up a piece, you can take it to one of the local amber workshops and set it into jewellery and create a wonderful souvenir of your trip.
Options for staying
Hiddensee has plenty of picturesque options for your holiday. You can choose to stay in a hotel, a bed & breakfast, the local post office lodge, or a guest house. A good hotel could cost between 60 – 90 €. For cheaper options, bed and breakfast lodgings are also available. Some recommendations for staying are:
-> Hotel Hitthim: Hotel Hitthim is built in the Tudor style and is one of the oldest hotels in the area with a grand tradition. The price is around 90 €, though off-season perks are offered.
-> The Godewind: Located in Vitte, The Godewind is a lovely and small countryside hotel, which gives a strong glimpse of the local traditions and specialties. The price is around 80 €.
-> Pension zur Post: The Pension zur Post is one of the cheaper options, but the rooms are clean and nice. The Pension also provides yoga and meditation workshops.
The local cuisine mainly consists of meat, fish, potatoes, and fruits. Since it is a coastal region, many different types of fish are available in Hiddensee. Mackerel, herring, and flounder are among the most used in the local cuisine as well as perch, trout, and eel. When in the region, do try out Himmel und Erde, a heavenly dish made of potatoes, bacon, and apple sauce!