The island of Hiddensee Germany, Rügen’s little sister, is one of the most beautiful places in the Baltic Sea region. In contrast to Rügen, which is not exactly bustling anyway, things are a bit quieter here. I fell in love with the small island during my first visit about 20 years ago and last summer made a hike across the island, which led me to the most beautiful places. In this article I would like to introduce you to them in more detail, but first we take a closer look at the island.
That’s Hiddensee Germany
The island of Hiddensee in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is located west of Rügen, is part of the Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft and has an area of just 19 km². It is here that the Norwegian king Hedin, to whom the island owes its name, is said to have once fought over a woman. According to another Norse saga, it was about a treasure. But the island also attracted other Norsemen, the best example being the Hiddensee gold jewelry found here, which is now on display in Stralsund.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the island experienced a boom and more and more tourists came to Hiddensee. A short time later, parts of the island were designated as a nature reserve. This was a stroke of luck for Hiddensee, because the natural beauty could be preserved until today. And already in 1927 the use of motor vehicles was prohibited on the island of Hiddensee, even today it is car-free!
An idyllic island that attracted many celebrities
Throughout its history, Hiddensee has attracted famous poets and other intellectuals, as well as any number of celebrities, who vacationed here or even owned their own homes. Joachim Ringelnatz, Gerhart Hauptmann, Asta Nielsen, Max Gehlen, Walter Pingel – they all appreciated the peace and seclusion on Hiddensee. Some places are still associated with them today and I want to introduce them to you during the hike.
Hike over the island Hiddensee
Already the journey has pleased me, even if it has taken a little over 2 hours from Stralsund quite long. So I had the opportunity to browse through my guidebook and get in the mood for my hike.
The arrival at Vitte
Slowly, the ferry moves with its rear end towards the small harbor, where I have also made the cover picture of this post. Here some blue ship cutters are located, in combination with the houses a beautiful photo motif. Because of Corona are not so many people on board, so I can quickly go ashore. And what a sight! Directly in the port, several carriages are waiting for customers and the horses stand comfortably in the sun. Shortly I consider whether I should also get on, but finally I have come to hike and therefore make me immediately on the work.
A walk on the dike
First I stroll a little through Vitte and get myself an ice cream, then it goes off and I go past the fire station on the dike, which always leads north from here. It fulfills two functions, because on the one hand he should protect the island from flooding, but on the other hand it is also so well developed that you can walk and cycle here wonderfully.
After just 500 meters, I spot the white and blue Asta Nielsen House on the left in the hinterland. Joachim Ringelnatz once wrote that it was a “little house in the middle, round and touching to fall in love”. He was right! It is also called “Karusel” (Danish for carousel) and commemorates the Danish actress Asta Nielsen (1881-1972). She owned a house here from 1929, where she often spent the summer months with her family. Here she also met Ringelnatz and Gerhart Hauptmann, whom we will meet later on the hike. For only 2,50 € you can visit the house and learn about the actress. And because it is really romantic here, you can even get married in the “Karusel”!
Further on the dike to Kloster
I continue walking on the dike. On the left are some lakes, on the right the sea and a gentle breeze blows through my face. After about five minutes I can already see the harbor of Kloster in the distance. Here, sailboats and ferries are comfortably anchored against the backdrop of thatched houses. After a few minutes I have reached the place.
Once there, I walk through the cozy village, past the mini-supermarket, until I come to a crossroads. There I turn left to the small island church.
The church of Kloster
The place owes its name Kloster (German for monastery) to a Cistercian abbey, which was founded here in the Middle Ages. All that remains of the abbey today is the church, whose roots go back to the 13th century, but which was built in its present form only in the 17th century.
Before going into the church, I first have a look at the small cemetery in front of the church. In many cases, the inscriptions are barely recognizable. One grave stands out here, it is that of Gerhart Hauptmann. Actually he wanted to be buried in his Silesian homeland. But since it was already part of Poland, his last will was denied and he was buried in the small churchyard of Kloster.
Sailor symbolism inside
After exploring the cemetery, I enter the small church. At first I don’t know where begin to look at, that’s how unusual I find the place of worship. The first thing I notice is the baptismal angel, which hovers from the ceiling and which I have never seen in any other Protestant church. Above it is a painting of the canopy of heaven, and at the head of the church is a beautiful blue and white altar. At the other end is an organ made in Potsdam during World War II. But there are also two models of ships to see. The church looks so chic today also because it was restored only in 2020.
Gerhart Hauptmann House
I continued my walk to the west and thus come to the Gerhart Hauptmann House. The summer house, named Villa Seedorn, was built in the 1920s and bought in 1930 by the then already elderly Hauptmann (1862-1946). He spent the summer months here with his wife Margarete until 1943, enjoying the peace and seclusion of the island. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his death, a museum was established here and the original interior could thus be preserved. I found the wine cellar particularly impressive, but also the simplicity in which the famous writer and Nobel laureate for literature lived here.
You can get to the house via a chic, modern building, where you will also find a well-stocked bookstore.
I continue walking along the small street and after only a few meters I come to the local museum of the island of Hiddensee. It is housed in the sea rescue station built in 1888, one of the oldest houses on the island. For the entrance fee of 5 € you can learn a lot about the island’s history, but also amber works and a copy of the Hiddensee gold treasure can be admired here.
Off to the lighthouse!
Now I walk back into the village and come to a small crossroads with a red buoy. Here I follow the signage, which shows my way to the lighthouse. The underground here consists of concrete slabs, which is super for cyclists, but not exactly idyllic. In a breakneck speed some roar here on the way back from the lighthouse in the village, for Hiddensee circumstances it is quite steep here.
After passing a barrier, I walk through a small piece of forest and come to a wonderful vantage point, from which I can not only already see the lighthouse, but also the hinterland of the island in the best view.
The Dornbusch lighthouse
Now it’s only five minutes on the well-maintained path, although I took much longer, because I could hardly get enough of the landmark of the island of Hiddensee and have made a little break on the way on a bench. Once there, I first looked up in my guidebook and was able to learn that the lighthouse Dornbusch owes its name to the sea buckthorn, which blooms everywhere here. Since the late 19th century, he reliably performs his service here and since he stands on a cliff and the beacon shines almost 100 meters above sea level, you can make out the island miles away.
Climbing the lighthouse
By the way, you can climb the lighthouse and have a great view for only 3 euros after the climb, which reaches not only to Rügen and Stralsund, but in good weather even to the chalk cliffs of the Danish island of Møn.
A walk on the east side of the island
Behind the lighthouse a narrow path leads to several clinker buildings with pretty green doors, in which the lighthouse keepers and their families lived. Now a path leads me to the right slightly above the coast first to a horse paddock, where two horses run curiously towards me and let themselves be photographed.
I continue along the road, where I can take another look at the lighthouse in the distance at a corn field and enjoy the light wind that blows around my nose on the rather hot day.
A little later, the small settlement Grieben follows, in which there are also several pretty houses with thatched roofs. After about a quarter of an hour I arrived back in Kloster.
Since I now still have some time before the ferry leaves, I set off for the west coast of the island. And already I regret that in my backpack was only room for my camera, two lenses and a bottle of water and I could not take my swimsuit.
I decide to take off my shoes and walk through the sand. The beach is relatively full, but still there is enough space for everyone. I walk the almost two kilometers always on the seaside back to Vitte and need for it certainly a good half hour. Now I still have about an hour before my ferry returns to Stralsund, which is why I treat myself to a baked fish at the Fischerklause restaurant.
Tired, but full of beautiful impressions, I get on the ship and start the relaxed return journey to Stralsund.
How to get to Hiddensee by ferry
The approach to the island of Hiddensee is with the shipping company Reederei Hiddensee either from Rügen (from Schaprode, Wiek or Dranske) or Stralsund. Since I stayed in Stralsund, I went from there and headed for the port in Vitte, which is located about in the middle of the island. But also to Plogshagen in the south and Kloster in the north you come comfortably by boat.
Food and Drink
There are many good restaurants on the island of Hiddensee, of which I can present only two here.
- Restaurant Fischerklause, Achtern Diek 2, in Vitte. Here you can enjoy delicious fish dishes, among other things, either in the rustic restaurant or on the terrace. My tip: Order a small snack and then take it with you to the harbor of Witte. There is seating directly behind the restaurant, from which you have an excellent view of the harbor.
- Haus Hiddensee, Kirchweg 31, Kloster. The outside snow-white restaurant is inside very rustic furnished in the style of a cozy parlor, but you can also sit outside. Here, too, you can enjoy delicious fish dishes and a delicious sea buckthorn cake!
The Lonely Planet for Germany gives you a good overview over this gorgeous country, suggests itineraries and tells you where else to go nearby.
DK presents you with 24 ideas for easy roadtrips in Germany. Some nice itineraries, although the book focuses more on the West of the country.