Did someone say “beach” trip in Germany? Yep! We finally discovered where they hide the beach in this country – Rügen Island in Binz Germany.
And this is why they far surpassed all my expectations….
Americans Living in Germany: Know Before You Go
Generally, our trips are only a few hours from home, but this one was well worth the long drive. Basically, we traveled from Grafenwoehr, Germany, and headed north for about 7-hours on A9 to arrive at our Baltic Sea destination of Rügen Island.
Additionally, as an American, it’s important to have your passport, military ID, and cash (euros) handy. Plus, any vaccination documents (if necessary).
Beaches in Germany
I’ve been living in Germany since 2014 and never thought about where the best beaches are in Germany. I didn’t even think they existed!
But my California roots couldn’t take it anymore. The ocean was calling…
After a quick search, we realized, there are in fact beautiful beaches in Germany, but not as popular as the Bavarian lakes.
So, if you want to truly find the best beach town in Germany, you’ll have to visit the very northeast corner of the coutnry.
We found that the best beach town was on Germany’s largest island, Rügen.
In the 3 summer days we were on Rügen Island, the weather was perfect! The beach resort town of Binz is where we spent most of our time sightseeing, eating, and relaxing.
Obviously, you’ll want to have walking shoes for strolling along the seaside and hiking up to the castle. Plus, for those beach moments, keep a bag of beach necessities – flip-flops, sunscreen, towel, etc.
As you walk up and down the beach, you’ll see clearly marked signs for the different sections of the beach – including the designated dog area and optional clothing area.
While we were on Rügen Island, we stayed at the Loev – Vela Hotel. Not only is it within walking distance to the beach, but it’s dog friendly, which is always a plus for us!
Try to get a balcony view in order to see the beach, all the restaurants and foot traffic down below.
Rügen Island Attractions
There are so many attractions to see on this small island, but don’t worry, you don’t have to see them all in one trip!
For those who want to just hang out on the beach, you’ll find everything you need right there on the Binz boardwalk – to include beach chair rentals.
For those looking to sightsee, here’s some local recommendations.
Rügen Island Street Train
Since all the attractions are so spread out, one of the best things to do is to take the Prora Express – street train. This allowed us to see so many more attractions than if we had just walked or biked through the city.
Galileo Knowledge World
This hands-on, educational museum has two sections to go through – Biology and Technology. Both sections are interactive and feature small experiments for the whole family to enjoy.
The Old-timer Car and Railway Museum
This historic museum is open year-round from 10 – 5 pm. It is filled with 40 years of German automotive history. Parking is free of charge and dogs are allowed as long as they’re on a leash.
Documentation Center Prora
Talk about a piece of German history! Dating back to 1936, this historical complex was intended to be a Nazi vacation resort! Today it provides information about its construction and political background to tourists.
Rügen Island National Heritage Center
Move among the treetops with this incredible adventure! Take your time as you walk the 1,250 meters of the winding observation tower.
It was designed for you to stop and take in the enchanting surroundings. Pets are not allowed on the tower walk, but it is wheelchair accessible.
Granitz Hunting Lodge
Discover your first hunting lodge in Germany! This castle sits right outside of Binz in a nearby forest. You’ll definitely need your walking shoes because it’s quite a trek to get to the lodge.
Inside you’ll find a collection of hunting trophies and plaques in addition to its luxurious marble staircase.
Sand Sculpture Festival in Binz
Open year-round, regardless of weather, the exhibition uses 9,000 tons of sand in a 4,000 square meter area.
A team of 28 international artists carve and sculpt themed sand creations up to 8 meters high. The exhibition is open from 10 am to 6 pm. You can take your pet, but they must be on a leash.
This unique building was completed in 1981 and named after Binz architect, Ulrich Müther. The original purpose of the tower was a lookout for lifeguards until 2004.
After a renovation, it reopened in 2006 as the second branch of the Binz registry office. With its romantic view, the tower welcomes many newlyweds as they exchange their vows.
Ostseebad Binz, Germany
You’ll want to spend some time walking down the beach boardwalk in Binz. There are tons of places for great shopping and places to eat – including the seafood!
Where to Eat on Rügen Island
The best way to enjoy Rügen island food is to stroll along the boardwalk and let your nose find the vibe!
Some of our favorite places to sit down and eat included Restaurant Diavolo, Gosch Binz im Strandschloss, and Restaurant & Hotel Villa Salve.
You’ll also find small seafood stands that sell fish & chips, crab cocktails, and specialty drinks to-go!
However, no matter where you eat, you MUST try Sanddornbeeren (sandberry) products.
This is a special fruit that can be mixed into ice cream, made into candy, or used for a mixed drink.
In fact, they can even use them to make cosmetics, oils, and medicines.
On a hot day, my recommendation is Sanddorn ice cream for the kids and the Andalö-Sanddorn-Likör drinks for the adults.
And while you’re strolling about, make sure and grab some Karl’s Strawberry jam to take a little piece of Ostseebad Binz, Germany home with you – they also have a Karl’s Strawberry amusement park!
Final Thoughts: Rügen Island Vacation
Rügen Island is definitely a must-visit place. While the 3-day weekend was great, I could definitely see myself spending a week-long vacation there.
If it takes you more than 4hrs to get there, then you might want to think about staying longer, it’s perfect for relaxing and adventuring.
If you’re in Germany with the US military and want to see more family vacation ideas like this, then take a look at our Military Travel Guide in Germany!