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11x Things to do in Usedom: the second biggest island of Germany

I had never heard of Usedom myself, but because of the German Tourism board I got to know this second largest island in Germany much better!
Relaxing on the beach, the vast (and diverse) nature of this sunny island, the beautiful houses, villas, even castles and the quiet hidden spots ensure that you have to spend at least one weekend here.
Are you curious or are you planning a visit to Insel Usedom? I tell you the best things to do on this unique island!

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Usedom1. Visit the three imperial spas

There are three imperial spas in Usedom (Ahlbeck, Heringsdorf and Bansin) and the sea side resort Zinnowitz on Usedom. Each one of them lies near the beautiful golden beaches of the island and it almost looks like these places are trying to compete with each other in terms of opulence and decoration. These stunning buildings have characteristics of just about every architectural style and are so different that you would never think that they were built in the same period.
Greek columns, Roman frescoes, Bavarian mountain huts, … The eclectic villas are a treat for the eye!
Moreover, they’re all located at the promenade right next to the beach. Nowadays all these expensive houses are in fact all converted into hotels and apartment houses. Therefore it’s perfectly possible to let yourself be pampered as a real emperor or empress in one of them. It’ll cost a pretty penny, but of course you’ll also get something in return!
Besides these beautiful villas it really is imperative that you also visit the coast itself. The piers are almost as beautiful as the seemingly endless beaches of Usedom. From the wooden structures you also get a nice view over the luxurious buildings of this seaside resort.

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The pier of Ahlbeck. Quite beautiful, don’t you think so too?

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One of the fantastic villas that you can see at the imperial spas. And there are hundreds like this!

2. HTM Peenemünde: war museum

In the north of the island lies an impressive remnant of World War Two: the Historical-Technical Museum Peenemünde. Upon arrival you are immediately welcomed by a giant rocket, based on a model that was actually built here.
Because this part of the island lies quite remote, it was the perfect place for the Nazis to plant a gigantic research centre and war factory. With the help of 12,000 (most of course non-voluntary) workers, they made thousands of rockets here, which they then fired at Belgium, France and England.
During your visit you get a clear overview of how the rockets were invented and built, why this site was chosen and how in the end it was completely destroyed.
The difference in living conditions between the scientists and the prisoners could’ve hardly been greater! There are quite some stories that you can hear from survivors and they give away a lot of nasty details about their life during World War Two on this German island.
After the site was bombed by the English, most scientists who lived and worked here were all lured to other countries (USSR, USA, France, United Kingdom, …). As a result, they were given a clean slate which simply swept away their participation in this war…

Don’t forget to visit the adjacent power station. Here you’ll not get so much information about the war itself, but the gigantic barrack does give a good insight in how horrible the working conditions must’ve been.

HTM peenemunde usedom

The HTM is very informative and shows how these murderous missiles were in fact invented and manufactured.

historisch technisches Museum peenemunde

The power station which supplied the factory with energy.

3. Discover the varied nature of the island by bike

There are plenty of things to do on Usedom where you can fully enjoy mother nature’s creations. And to discover all this beauty on this big island there is actually no better way than to explore it by bike.
Cycle along the windy beaches and discover the unique villas or make your way through the fairy-tale forests and polders. There are plenty of cycle paths to keep you busy for a few days!
You can also enjoy a guided bike ride across Usedom. However, it might be quite useful if you speak a bit of German! During a guided tour you’re taken along by a nature guide who will show you the most beautiful and surprising places and also enthusiastically tells you about the beautiful island and the fantastic nature. In total you’re on the road for at least five hours, but rest assured: all in all, you only cycle for about twenty kilometers. Along the way you have lunch together with the guide and you’ll have more than enough breaks to listen to fascinating stories and facts about the island. Sometimes the wind can be very fierce, but the beautiful environment makes you forget about that soon enough.

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Cycle through the polders, forests or picturesque villages of Usedom.

4. Haus Auf dem Kopf

Speaking of strong winds! You might think that Haus Auf dem Kopf was knocked over by such a strong gust of wind.
This tourist attraction looks rather cheesy at first glance, but once you’ve walked through the (turned upside down) door, your inner child will definitely be awakened!
All the furniture is firmly glued to the ceiling and during your first impressions you’ll be disoriented without a doubt. Maybe at first you’ll even be a bit dizzy. Once your brains have adapted to this atypical home, it’s of course time that you go and search for the perfect photo location.
Stick to the ceiling like a spider, do fantastic stunts of which Cirque du Soleil would be jealous or just casually start balancing on your head… Turn the photos upside down and amaze your family and friends. A little crazy has never hurt anybody!

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Don’t forget to walk around the house as well. Really everything is turned upside down!

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It seems like gravity disappeared in this house!

5. Explore the Achterwasser with sailing boat “Romantik”

If you visit an island, then it’s only logical that you also take a boat trip. Have you always dreamed of a (romantic) sailing trip? On Usedom it’s definitely one of the best things to do and it costs only €16 per person!
Rika takes you on her boat and lets you explore the Achterwasser, the lagoon that splits the island from the mainland. Along the way, all the tricks of the trade are passed on to you and if you like you can also sail the boat yourself, and believe me: that is really fun to do!
Keep your eyes not only on the sloshing water, because in the air you regularly see some beautiful eagles or gigantic cranes flying past.
This boat trip gets even more fun with a piece of cake and a cup of coffee. Rika seems to have a sweet tooth and as long as you don’t stain this authentic and almost one hundred-year old  boat she’ll be happy. Well… Of course there is enough water in the area to clean up possible accidents, but still!
If you want to go on a sailing tour, you can reach Rika on her telephone number (0049 – (0)173 607 97 68) or her website.

zeesenboot romantik sailing boat things to do usedom

And if you don’t like the idea of sailing yourself, you can always ask Rika for some help.

6. Swinemünde: cross the border to Poland

Usedom is located on both German and Polish territory. Although Germany owns most of the island, there are still more Poles than Germans living here. That is because Swinemünde is actually the only ‘big’ city on the island.
You’ll notice that very clearly when you walk on the wide promenade. Dozens of restaurants try to lure the tourists inside, while in the background you can hear the music of the many street artists.
Actually you hardly notice that you crossed a border, because everything is also mentioned in German here. Because this part of the island was heavily bombed during the war, you’ll also notice that there are many more modern buildings along the coast in Swinemünde compared to the other coastal cities on Usedom.

schwienemunde poland usedom

Germany and Poland in one day. Maybe something for your bucket list?

7. Rent a Strandkorb:

The most famous sight of Usedom is of course the Strandkorb.
If you’ve already seen pictures of Usedom, then these strange bins on the beach might already seem like a familiar sight. This Strandkorb (beach basket) is a kind of glorified beach chair.
You can nestle in with two people and fold out the lower part to put your feet there while you slide the upper part backwards. A kind of armchair, but one that is perfectly adapted for a sunny day at the beach.
Prices vary from place to place, but for an hour it often costs no more than €2.5 and for a day the prices would be anywhere between €7 and €10.
Don’t you want to sink away into one of these comfortable couches? Then at least make some pictures of them. In any case, I found them very photogenic!

strandkorb usedom

I think there’s no better way to relax on a beach on Usedom than in a Strandkorb!

8. Spoil your eardrums with a live concert

If you’re looking for things to do in Usedom around the end of September or in the beginning of October, then you should definitely go to the Usedomer Musikfestival.
Musical masters from all states around the Baltic Sea – Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway – give the best of themselves for a few weeks. Classical music, jazz and even schlager: there is a lot to hear and see! Because not only the music is beautiful, but also the locations where the concerts are held contribute to the whole experience. A concert in a historical castle or in the power station of Peenemünde: quite unique, if you ask me!
Because of this you’ll get to see more of the island and at the same time you also get acquainted with the sweet voices or perfectly tuned musical instruments from often world-famous musicians.
I myself went to ‘Schloss Stolpe‘ to listen to a classical violin and cello concert. I was very pleasantly surprised by both the music and the beautiful location.

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End your day with a concert at the Usedomer Musik Festival.

9. Relax during a Peenesafari

Another nice way to see beautiful landscapes close to Usedom is to go on a Peenesafari. At Abenteuer Flusslandschaft you rent an environmentally conscious electric boat that is powered by solar panels and sailed by a guide who gladly tells you more about this beautiful place.
While you glide silently across the river Peene you often see a dam made by beavers, you hear the non-stop rustling of reeds and the chirping birds all while you socialize with the other passengers. This experience is made even better because of the delicious buffet which only showcases local products. Tasty spreadable cheeses, German meat, delicious bread and of course tasty beers and wines from the region turn this boat trip into a culinary treat.

If you visit Usedom in the right season, it’s even possible that you see (and hear!) thousands of cranes flying over. These large birds rest in the swampy areas of this island and if you see so many next to each other, you will definitely be impressed for a moment.
However, I wouldn’t recommend to watch ‘birds’ from Alfred Hitchcock before you go out on such a safari!

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During a Peenesafari you’ll get to eat a lot of great local food as well.

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Seeing so many cranes together is impressive! Especially when you know that these animals can grow up to two meters high!

10. Design in Usedom: Olliwood Island

Could your interior use a fresh start or are you looking for a pièce unique that’ll fit perfectly in your home? Then Olliwood Island is the place to be!
For me, it is mostly the fantastic creations that are entirely made by hand that got my attention. The tables and chairs will certainly fit in many design houses, but the chandeliers and lamps are the absolute masterpieces of this store!
These hand crafted items were created out of wood that was found somewhere on the island. Because of this, the timber often has a very specific structure and with the help of the capable hands of Olli true works of art are being made here. On top of that, all of their products are 100 % made in Germany and if you have heard of Deutsche Gründlichkeit before, then you know that the quality is top notch!
This trendy business is located in an old train station (the train still passes next to this location) and is managed by an enthusiast couple who is constantly looking for new ideas for their Olliwood Island.
Before you visit this store, I recommend to check the opening hours because the store isn’t open every day.

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Here you can get a lot of inspiration for your interior!

11. Naturhafen Krummin

This little harbour is located quite remotely, and because of this it’s perfectly possible that you’ll be the only visitor. Stroll along the wooden pier and have a look at all the beautiful (sailing) boats that are docked here. This whole area is fenced off by reed and thus the softest gust of wind creates a magical whispering concert.
The best way to enjoy all of this is by having a drink (or a light lunch) at the Hafenterrasse. I can certainly recommend the salmon burger (= Lachs Burger in German).
If you love this location as much as I do, then you might even consider renting one of the wooden huts that are located at the pier. Do book well in advance, because you’re certainly not the only one who will want to wake up in this magical place!
More information about this cosy place can be found on this website.

naturhafen krummin

Cosy. Don’t you think so too?

And a few more delicious hotspots

All this strolling around along the beautiful promenades of Usedom means that you’ll be doing a lot of exercise! To keep your energy levels up, here are a couple of the cosiest and yummiest restaurants on the island:

Uwes Fischerhütte

Uwes Fischerhütte is a place where heavenly food is combined with stunning views. There are two of these fish restaurants and you can find them both somewhere in between Ahlbeck and Heringsdorf (the Imperial spas).
The options on the menu are endless and perfect for people who love seafood. Order inside and try to get a place near the beach when the sun is out.
The fish is very fresh and if you’re in luck, you might even see the fishermen come in with their catch of the day.

Pier 14

If you’re looking for a fan-tas-tic restaurant and wouldn’t mind doing some shopping at the same time, then Pier 14 is the place to be! The front of this beautifully decorated store is heaven for shopaholics who would like to buy not only latest trends in fashion, but also great scenting perfumes and even scooters are being sold here!
At the backside of Pier 14 you can find a cosy little restaurant where you can enjoy the absolute best food that Usedom has to offer. Pick a dish from the changing weekly menu or perhaps the standard menu pleases you more. I can assure you that the food here is amazing! Don’t forget to have dessert as well; I tried the vegan brownie and I loved it so much that I’m still trying to get the recipe from Pier 14…

pier 14 usedom restaurant

Without a doubt the tastiest dish I ate on Usedom. Yummy!

Hafenterrasse at Naturhafen Krummin

I already told you about this place in this blog post, but I’m gladly mentioning it twice since it’s really worth a visit. When the weather is good, this is the ideal place for a delicious lunch. There’s plenty of choice on the menu and all the different dishes are also of excellent quality.
Yummy food combined with a fantastic view: a match made in heaven, right?!

Remise

If you’re travelling, I think you should be open to try out a few local specialities. In restaurant Remise you can try out the typical German delicacies, but also several dishes that are quite renowned in Pommern (the region at the southern coast of the Baltic See). Definitely try the ‘Pommern Tapas’. You can choose between 3, 6 or 9 local foods that are being served as tapas. I personally would only have tried out very little of these specialities otherwise, and that would’ve been a shame because all of the tapas were actually really tasty.

pommern tapas remise

The Pommern Tapas. Order it as a main course or as a shared starter.

A few practical tips for Usedom

  • I would recommend to rent a car in Berlin and drive to Usedom from there. From the German capital it’s only a two to three hour drive and in my opinion it’s the perfect combination. After having visited bustling Berlin, there’s no better place to relax than at this German beach paradise.
  • Dress in layers. Usedom is known as the ‘sunny island’ of Germany, but it still is an island and thus there will be plenty of wind. Taking an extra jacket or sweater with you is definitely a good idea!
  • Having a (rental) car on Usedom will really make your holidays a lot more relaxed. Usedom might be an island, but the distances between most places or activities are often quite far apart. The beach is already forty kilometers long, so if you wish to explore the whole island just with your bike… Well… Good luck!
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Enjoy your time on this beautiful island!

This article was a collaboration with the tourism board of Germany and the tourism board of Usedom.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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  1. Lovely Blogpost, hope to see you again. U really enjoyed our dishes in Krummin, don´t u, cause u mentioned it twice. Thanks for the recommendation…

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