Dark clouds are streaming across the sea. The screeching of the seagulls welcomes us during the entrance to the small harbour of Neuendorf on the island of Hiddensee. The clouds move fast. The autumn wind blows over the island. While the approximately 3000 guest beds are well booked in summer, the car-free island now, at the end of October, belongs again largely to the approximately 1’000 inhabitants.
If you want to go from A to B on Hiddensee, you either have to take the small island bus, cycle, ride a horse, be driven by a horse-drawn carriage, or hike the island on cobblestones.
Hike from Neuendorf to the lighthouse Dornbusch
We’ll go for the latter. Once from the middle of the island to all the way to the north.
The nearly 17 km long island Hiddensee lies in the National Park Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft. Dunes, heathland and a slightly hilly north characterize the island.
Hiddensee in autumn is relaxed. On the crossing with the White Fleet of Schaprode on Rügen there are only a few people on board. Many of them are equipped with large binoculars. It is time to observe migratory birds, cranes, wild geese and starlings.
On this day we are the only ones who go through the small village Neuendorf with its cosy, thatched houses from the east coast to the west coast of the narrow island.
Hiddensee is only a few hundred meters wide at this point and so we soon reach the almost endless beach.
The wind in our hair, the sound of the sea in our ears and a lot of island happiness in our hearts, we set off. We are accompanied by fishing seagulls, waddling ducks and feathered sandpipers. We only meet other beach goers now and then.
With every wave that is washed ashore, the sandpipers flee into the shallow water, and then, when the sea gives way again, they thrust in the direction of the water.
When a wave comes too fast, it flutters excitedly into the air as if on command.
The fine sand gives way under the feet. My gaze wanders to the open sea, while the fresh wind simply takes away all the troubles of everyday life. I love autumn by the sea. Nature belongs to itself again to a large extent, it plays with its powers.
The sea, the beach, the heath and the small birch forests are deserted. They radiate a pleasant modesty.
We reach the dune heath. Frightened swarms of starlings dance above our heads and form dark clouds that rapidly change shape. They dance to the right and then to the left and then very quickly back and forth. I can hardly follow them with my camera. An impressive spectacle.
Here we leave the beach and walk along the road through the village Vitte. We take a look at one of the souvenir shops. You can use a hat now. The wind cools the head.
Then we reach the village Kloster. Kloster is the cultural centre of Hiddensee. There are small galleries where handicrafts are offered, souvenir shops and inviting cafés and restaurants.
A place for artists and intellectuals
Also here in Kloster Hiddensee is anything but excited. With its simplicity and down-to-earth attitude, Hiddensee has attracted intellectuals and artists in the past. Among them sounding names like Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Bert Brecht, Erich Kästner and Gottfried Benn – and above all Gerhart Hauptmann. The poet Gerhart Hauptmann spent many summers in his adopted home on Hiddensee and, according to his wishes, found his final resting place here.
In his summer house „Seedorn“ there is a small museum today. Gerhard Hauptmann once described Hiddensee as „the most spiritual of all seaside resorts“. A thought that can still be understood today. The island’s calm and naturalness make it easy to focus on the essentials – and to find happiness. In autumn, even on cloudy days, this is evident in radiantly warm colours.
We leave the monastery behind us and follow the path to a small hill. The view over the northern part of Hiddensee opens up under gnarled pine trees bent by the wind. A lot of landscape, the sea and in between a pleasant vastness.
The Dornbusch, a gentle hilly landscape with its highest point at 72.7 m.a.s.l., rises from our backs.
On the hill „Schluckswiek“ the landmark of Hiddensees and the destination of our hike is enthroned. The Lighthouse Dornbusch. It was built in 1887/ 1888, originally as a brick building, and since then has tirelessly warned seafarers of dangerous shoals. Its light shines up to 45 km far out onto the Baltic Sea.
Today the 27.5 meter high tower can be visited for a small entrance fee. 102 steps wind their way up inside the tower. From above, the view opens to the south over the island and to the north and east over to the island of Rügen.
Sea buckthorn, the lemon of the north
Thorn bushes with small, bright orange berries line the way back to the monastery. Here grows Seaddorn, the sweetish bitter „Lemon of the North“. In the cafés and restaurants on Hiddensee, this special fruit with its high vitamin C content is offered in various varieties. Sea buckthorn spritzer, sea buckthorn tea or as a delicious sea buckthorn cake.
This is exactly what we share as a conclusion after a delicious lunch at the port of Kloster. The main course is of course fish on the plate – what else. Delicious!
As if the island wanted to make our farewell particularly difficult, the sky suddenly rises after a cloudy day and enchants the island with the warm light of the evening sun.
The sky draws with its bright blue the perfect background for the warm autumn colours.
On the crossing from the harbour Kloster back to Schaprode, the sun really gives everything you need for an almost kitschy sunset photo. It lets Hiddensee shine in stunning beauty and unbelievable colours. We have lost our hearts!
It is the quiet modesty of some places that makes them so attractive. Nothing is superimposed here. In a very unspectacular and yet stunningly beautiful way, the visitor finds a small, very big island happiness here in autumn.
With sunny greetings,
More info about the island Hiddensee
The island of Hiddensee lies west of the island of Rügen.
Rügen can be reached from Switzerland in autumn/winter via the airports of Berlin or Hamburg. In summer there are also direct flights from Zurich to Rostock.
Whoever comes as a day guest and wants to hike around the island, I recommend to plan as much time as possible on the island, thus arriving early and leaving again with the last possibility. It is worth it! Unfortunately, we personally did not manage to look at everything we would have liked to see in one day.
From Schaprode there are several boats a day to Hiddensee. Further information can be found here:
Hiddensee is worth a day trip from Rügen. Day visitors must buy a day cure ticket. This is available at the shipping company’s counter.
It is of course even nicer if you can stay longer. If you want to stay longer, you will find the necessary information about accommodation here:
We ate well and regionally at the harbour of Kloster in Schillings Hafenamt. In the restaurant there is also a small sales room, in which local specialities, canned fish of the Hiddensee cutter fishery, various sea buckthorn products, canned meat from the small neighbouring island Öhe, etc. are offered. Ideal souvenirs for those who stayed at home.
The hike along the beach to Vitte is the most beautiful. If you find walking in the sand too strenuous, you can easily take one of the paths running parallel to the beach through the heath landscape. The whole hike from Neuendorf to the lighthouse and back to the monastery takes about 3 hours. With photo stops and view into one of the numerous souvenir shops it can become well and gladly also 3 1/2 hours and more.
In autumn, take a cap with you – the wind cools you down.
Disclosure: This research trip was supported by the German National Tourist Board (Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus und Rügen Tourismus). My opinion remains untouched.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator