It’s the 3rd of October in Germany, and that means it’s the celebration of the German Re-Unification. A day that nobody thought would ever happen in this lifetime.
That’s right, East Germany otherwise known as the GDR or the DDR, and West Germany formerly known as the FRG, or the BRD, have now been together as one country for twenty-seven (27) years!
Isn’t it marvellous?!
What better, than to spend the summer travelling through one of the world’s best continents – that’s right Europe!
If you want to read about ALL the countries that I’ve visited in the last two years, then just click here!
Oh, the summer!
My challenge was to visit a European city. Every weekend, through the summer holidays.
For six (6) weeks!
And only to travel.
So let’s see how we’re doing.
If you as lazy as I am (whaaaat!), I’m going to put the countries that I’ve been to, on Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign below:
Is Copenhagen a European city?
Did I travel only by train?
Sort of a tick!
Copenhagen was great and you can read all about it below:
- How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!
- Top 9 reasons why Danish food isn’t just smørrebrød, seasonal berries & herbs, but can be awfully tasty!
Is Lucerne a European city?
Did I travel only by train?
Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern was brilliant, and you can read all about it just below:
- How to spend 48 astonishing hours in Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern – On a budget!
- Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!
After that, I went to Luxembourg.
Is Luxembourg a European city?
Did I travel only by train?
Luxembourg was pretty impressive, and you can read all about it just below:
- Luxembourg: A smart guide to the Grand Duchy of one of Europe’s smallest countries!
- How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
Is Bratislava a European city?
Did I travel only by train?
Indeed we did! Tick!
Bratislava was an interesting mix of charm and historical greatness of yore, and you can read all about it below:
- Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
- 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
Now let’s get back to Germany.
To be more exact – the seaside.
In a place on the Baltic Sea called Usedom!
I like going to the Baltic Sea. In fact, I’ve written many posts about it such as:
- If you’re looking for a cheap holiday. The Polish Baltic Sea is pretty alright!
- The food of Poland and how much I have to eat!
- How to use the train in Poland: 10 tips to help you.
- Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!
You see. In many cases, I was actually going to the Baltic Sea. In Poland….! I have been to the Baltic Sea in Germany, but I couldn’t remember the details ‘cos it was winter, and the sea was frozen!
Time to change all that but first, a little history.
We chose Usedom as the part of the German seaside that we wanted to visit.
Not only is Usedom pretty, but it’s also the seaside resort of the people who live in Berlin. In fact, it’s rare not to see your neighbour or your mates at work, running down the beach or leaping into the sea!
About 80% of the island belongs to the German district of Vorpommern-Greifswald in the North German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The other side and the largest city on the island, is part of the Polish West Pomeranian Province bordering the German federal-states of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Brandenburg to the west, and the Baltic Sea to the north. Its capital and largest city is Szczecin which is enormously easy to get to…!
The Usedom island’s total area is 445 square kilometres (172 square miles). The German part is 373 square kilometres or 144 square miles, and the Polish part is 72 square kilometres or 28 square miles.
With a population of just 76,500 people – 31,500 on the German side and 45,000 on the Polish side, Usedom is the sunniest region of both Germany and Poland, and it is also the sunniest island in the Baltic Sea Region!
We were excited to travel to a sunny old beach, and a bit of the sea!
Now that’s done with, let’s get to it:
51 REASONS TO GO TO THE SEASIDE. IN GERMANY!
- Simply put, the seaside is one the best places to go to, in the summer
- The German seaside is located in the North of Germany in places known as the Baltic Sea or the North Sea. Usedom is on the Baltic Sea otherwise known as the Ostsee!
- It’s great for families. All you need is a bucket and spade, some sand, water, a bit of sunshine, and kids – big or small!
- And it’s safe and secure
- You can be a child again and build sandcastles, collect shells, and explore the beach
- It’s only 3.5 hours away from my beloved Berlin!
- You can go by car, by bike, or simply take the train
- Once you organise your hotel, B&B, or tent, everything else is free of charge!
- If you’re on a budget, you can camp in the forest, near a lake, or not far from the beach
- If you’ve got some cash, you can splash out and stay at the many wonderful seaside resorts, imperial villas, thatched houses and exclusive hotels such as the elegant five-star historical Usedom Palace where we stayed – otherwise known as the Jewel on the promenade in Zinnowitz! I’ll write more details about the hotel next week!
- You’ve not tasted ice-cream, until you’ve had it at the seaside!
- You can have 1,906 hours of sunshine per year making Usedom Island the sunniest place in Germany?
- You can be Jesus for a few hours, and walk on water on one of the oldest piers in the Baltic Sea area!
- The German Baltic Sea is 42 kms of fine white sandy beach and up to 70 meters wide, making Usedom Island the longest beach promenade in Europe, if not the world!
- Germany has five (5) historic wooden piers that lead into the Baltic Sea. The longest pier is in Heringsdorf at 508 meters. The oldest pier built in Ahlbeck 1898, is 118 years old!
- You can actually walk or cycle the length of the island starting from Germany and ending in Poland, or vice-versa. And since both countries are part of the EU, you don’t even need a visa! But take your passport along. Just in case!
- There are three (3) imperial summer residences of the previous German monarchy so you can stroll between the villages of Bansin, Heringsdorf, and Ahlbeck, to find them. It’s a lovely walk with many cafes, bars and restaurants, along the way!
- Everywhere you look is some sort of historical art or architecture preserving the seaside in a unique Wilhelminian style
- You can admire the wonderful picturesque architecture
- Usedom used to be quite the bohemian place packed with artists, intellectuals, and the liberal wealthy bourgeoise of the time who would meet for music, art, and entertainment. Very like Bristol or the city of Bath, back in the day
- Usedom is also a nature park reserve with coasts, lakes, marshes, dunes, pine and beech woods, as well as beaches
- There are eagles on the island of Usedom, and more than 280 species of birds such as Nordic geese, cranes, ducks and woodcocks
- The world ́s largest beach volleyball tournament in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, takes place on Usedom Island!
- You can be healthy via the power of the Baltic Sea!
- You can go au natural (Germany!), and go to a spa and pamper yourself with a chocolate massage, a sea buckthorn bath, an algae mousse package or treatments with iodine brine
- You can stroll on the beach, sunbathe, or just relax with a glass of wine, or bottle of German beer!
- You can go bare-foot on the beach in the safe knowledge that there’s no garbage or glass lying around. It felt so goooood to have sand between our toes
- You can go swimming in the sea as the sea is clean, but watch out for the jellyfish. They’re pretty huge!
- The German seaside is the best opportunity to really get to grips with cycling as you have access to 180 km of cycle tracks, and more than 13 recommended cycling routes, and you can rent bikes at more than 100 rental stations using a mobile payment concept covering the island known as Usedom Rad. In fact, my husband and our son, used this facility quite a bit. I took the train from Zinnowitz to Heringsdorf, and they cycled all the way. It took them about 3 hours but they enjoyed the ride! If you buy a family train ticket, the one way cycle journey is included in your ticket, so you get the bike ride for free!
- You can eat fairly well, but try to leave plenty of time for dinner as the seaside resorts tend to close early. On our last night, we left things a little late at 21:00, and were lucky enough to catch the chef before he closed the kitchen. Usedom, like the UK, closes it’s restaurants quite early!
- You can eat as much seafood as you like. And you should!
- Because if you haven’t had a fresh herring sandwich, you haven’t lived!
- You can go fishing. And you don’t necessarily need a licence…
- You can have one ice-cream or two..!
- If you like honey, you can go on a Beekeepers Cycling Tour through farming villages often used by bees on the HoneyBee Island! Start in Korswandt, stay on the cycle path, and follow the signs leading to the Bienchen Fienchen where you get to meet two beekeepers and learn all about bee gardens, and how honey is made
- If you’re feeling really energetic, you can rent or take your bike and cycle along the Seven Lakes of Usedom – Krebsee, Gothen, Schmollensee, Achterwasser, Haff, Lake Kachlin and of course, the Baltic Sea itself! I didn’t do that of course, ‘cos I’m not that great on bikes as I often fall in ditches, but if you are. Phew!
- You can go horse-riding
- You can be a craftsperson for the day, and learn how to thatch a roof!
- It’s extremely close to Poland, and just a ferry-ride away from Denmark and the UK!
- We took the local seaside train and it wasn’t a big deal to travel to Poland. Many visitors were doing the same
- Polish food!
- Fantastic tankers of ice-cold beer
- Have I already said beer? Lovely German beer!
- You can charter a yacht and do your own sailing, or just rent a canoe between the many harbours and marinas of the Baltic Sea
- You can take a cruise along the Baltic Sea
- You can sail to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Poland, other parts of Germany, or to the UK!
- You can visit many castles and historical buildings such as Fort Engelsburg. We weren’t able to explore it as they had a private function on, but we could climb some of the hills around it, and peep in!
- The German seaside is ideal for water sports such as sailing, surfing, jet skiing, kite surfing, canoeing, and rafting. And it’s not particularly cold. Or hot. It’s Just about right
- Nude beaches. Germans are enormously open-minded so the Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement, otherwise known as the Free Body Culture, was set up for everyone to participate in
- It’s in Germany!
TAKE ME THERE!
You can drive to the Baltic motorway where two bridges connect the Usedom Island to the mainland. If you’re flying in, the island is connected by air with nonstop flights from nine cities around Germany, Austria and Switzerland flying into the Heringsdorf regional airport whereby with shuttle buses will get you to your final destination within 30 minutes.
The best way to travel to the Baltic Sea seaside is by the island`s own train – the Usedomer Bäderbahn – which connects all the seaside resorts on the Usedom Island.
You can get to Usedom from Germany with a Mecklenburg-Vorpommern or a Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania ticket for a one day unlimited travel experience at just €23.00 (+ €4 for each person extra, max. 5 people) on any day of the week, when purchased at a DB ticket machine or online! You can also buy your ticket on the train. Valid for just one day from 09:00 – 03:00 and children or grandchildren up to 14, travel free of charge!
You can also travel anywhere in Germany for a day for as little as €40 (+ €4 for each person extra, max. 5 people) on a Saturday or Sunday with a Happy Weekend Ticket, when purchased online or from ticket vending machines. Unlimited train travel across Germany for just one day from 12:00 – 03:00 and children or grandchildren up to 14, travel free of charge!
That’s it for now.
51 REASONS TO GO TO THE SEASIDE. IN GERMANY!
Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Usedom Tourismus GmbH, all opinions and the wonderful time that we had on the German seaside island of Usedom, are my very own!
In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about travels to the German Baltic Sea, to Bremen, art and films in Berlin, as well as a comprehensive post on how to use the train in Europe!
In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria and starting a new job!
Save the Date!
October is going to be unbelievable!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in October, forget it!
Watch this space!
Have you ever been to the seaside in Germany? Would you like a lick of my ice-cream, or a sip of my beer? Have your say!
See you in Berlin.