Situated just adrift of north-west Germany's mainland, Rügen is the country's largest island. It is also widely regarded as one of the most beautiful regions in all of Germany, with wonderful, varied landscapes that range from alluring pine forests to golden sandy beaches and spectacular chalk cliffs.
With sections of the stunning island designated as a National Park, it is perhaps unsurprising that it has long been a celebrated holiday destination. The first tourists came to the island with the advent of a spa, and the popularity of bathing holidays in the early 19th century. The island's reputation continued to grow, and with the arrival of the railway (connected to the mainland by a large bridge), a number of elegant seaside resorts were established.
For the years after the Second World War, Rügen Island was part of East Germany. This meant that relatively few people could visit even though the island's marvellous leisure facilities were still as popular as ever. Yet with reunification in the 1990s the island became more widely accessible than it had ever been before - and today this beautiful place continues to delight visitors from all over the world.