Isle of Usedom – Polish – German island on the Baltic Sea
The Isle of Usedom is situated between the Baltic Sea and Szczecin Lagoon (from the north and the south) and the rivers: the Peene from the west and the Swine from the east. Usedom area is 445 km², which 373 km² (about 84%) belongs to Germany and 72 km² to Poland. The length of Usedom in the longest part is 66,4 km and width 23,9 km. Its population is 76.500 inhabitants in 76 different towns and cities. However, 59% of the population live in the biggest city on the island – Świnoujście. The highest hill on the island is Golm, which is 69 metres above the sea level and it is situated near the German – Polish boarder, between Ahlbeck and Kamminike.
Usedom is one of the most sunny places in Poland and Germany. The sun shines here about 1917 hours every year, which gives us about 5 hours a day. On the Baltic coast there are 11 tourists resorts: Karlshagen, Trassenheide, Zinnowitz, Zempin, Koserow, Kölpinsee, Ückeritz, Bansin, Heringsdorf iand Ahlbeck on the German part and Polish Świnoujście.
Despite the fact that the island is not big, it is very differential – number of forests, hills, lakes, marshes and cliffs. The Isle of Usedom has its local railway Usedomer Bäderbahn ( UBB ). Its railroad starts in Świnoujście and ends in Wolgast. There is also a well-developed bus service. Moreover the bikers can find hundred kilometres of bike paths here.
Karlshagen is situated in the north – western part of the Isle of Usedom, between the Baltic Sea and the river Peene. Karlshagen has 3.100 inhabitants. Tourists are attracted here not only by beautiful, wide, fine-grained sandy beach and beach volleyball pitches but also kilometres of bike paths. Near the beach there are beach basket rentals and surfing schools. In front of the entrance to the beach there is a beautiful promenade with lots of shops. Near the main entrance there is a concert hall, where during the season, number of musical and cultural events take place almost every day. Nearby, in the shadow, one can find a fabulous wooden playground for children.
About one kilometre from the city centre there is the biggest and the most significant yachting port on Usedom. It has 112 berths, port channel is 320 metres and in the widest point it is 110 metres. Its depth ranges from 3 to 4 metres. On the embankment over a dozen of summer houses were built for the sailors. Fish lovers can buy plenty of fresh, fried or smoked fish. Sailing out of the yachting port one can sail north on the Penne river to the Baltic Sea (about 8,5 km to the open sea), or south through Achterwasser to Szczecin Lagoon (about 13 km).
Karlshagen has an excellent bus and railway service [UBB railway on the railroad Peenemuende – Zinnowitz].
The sea resort Karlshagen is surrounded by vast pine forests. Numerous bike paths enable active sightseeing not only of the town but also of the whole island. Active sightseeing and sport seekers will have possibility to:
- go horse riding
- ride bikes on numerous paths
- play beach volleyball
Trassenheide – 5,5 km from Karlshagen
In Trassenhaide one can find 2 significant touristic attractions – Butterfly Farm and Upside Down House.
Butterfly Farm [Schmetterlingsfarm] and Insect Museum are situated in the southern periphery of Trassenheide, near the railway station, and it is owned and run by Lehmann family. Lehmann family has been fascinated with insects. Currently the director of the farm is Hilmar Lehmann. Both Lehmann and his wife Sabine had lived in Thailand for 15 years, working on insects in Thai jungle. It is family tradition because Hilmar’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were tropical insects researchers. The building is over 2.600 m² and it is home for tropical plants and 2000 tropical butterflies of various species, which fly freely among the visitors. The world second largest butterfly – Atlas, which wingspan is 28 centimetres lives here. In the centre of the building the visitors can have a rest at the fish pond. The guests in the Butterfly Farm are welcomed by Otto – south American parrot.
After having finished the sightseeing the children can have fun in a funfair which is located opposite the farm.
Opening hours: 11.00-18.00
Telephone: +49( 0 )50 33 93 94 51
Upside down house – it is situated nearby the Butterfly Farm. It was designed by 2 Polish architects – Gołoś and Mikiciuk. The house was opened to the public for visiting in 2008. The house stands on its roof and additionally it is tilted at an angle of several degrees. Everything is upside-down, the floor is up, and the visitors walk on the ceiling. All furniture and items are upside-down. The visitors can go to the bathroom, stand under the toilet and… press the flush button. Next to the house there is an exhibition with miniature houses from the Isle of Usedom.
- April – October: daily 10:00 – 18:00
- November – March: daily 10:00 – 16:00
Tickets: adults – 7€; students – 6€; family ticket (2 + 2 – 4 children) – 20€
Telephone: +49(0)38371 26344
Wildlife Usedom – a new attraction in Trassenheide. In a specious tent on a surface of over 1000 square metres a fantastic exhibition of wild animals from all over the world can be seen. There are life – size models of lions, bears, pumas, bisons and many others.
Stuffed animals come from hunting or various accidents. They are made with special techniques by specialists. That is why they look so authentic. It is an amazing experience both for children and adults.
- 17 April- 30 October: daily 9.30 – 18.30
Tickets: adults – 7,20€ (one cup of coffee included in price) ; students – 6,20€ (one cup of coffee included in price); family ticket (2 + 1):16,80€; children 0-3: free; children 3-15: 4,70€
Peenemünde- 8,5 km from Karlshagen
In Peenemünde there are lots of touristic attractions worth seeing i.e. historical – technical museum, physics museum, doll museum and Russian submarine.
The historical – technical museum in Peenemünde is a source of information about one of the most spectacular but also most dangerous technical breakthrough of XX century. Between 1936-45 German scientists made first long-range missiles, 20.000 war prisoners and workers died during their production.
The museum is placed in an old power station and it reminds not only about the victims but also about the discoveries of the scientists. It informs about missiles development and tests and aviation technology of former armed forces.
In the museum there are reconstructed, according to originals, V 1 and V 2 airplanes, as well as jet planes and helicopters.
April – September: 10:00 – 18:00
October – March: 10:00 – 16:00, on Mondays closed
Tickets: normal 8€, discount ticket– 5€, family ticket ( 2 adults + 1 child): 20€ (each additional child: 2€)
The museum of physical experiments „Phänomenta“ is located on 2500 square metres. You can ‘feel’ here real physics. The visitors have the possibility not only to observe the experiments but also to take part in them. While visiting this exhibition there is an opportunity to take tests for astronauts, touch plasma glass, have fun with beams creating a magnificent colourful combinations or play air hockey.
March – September: 10:00 – 18:00
October – March: 10:00 – 16:00, on Mondays closed
Tickets: adults: 8€; teenagers (until 18) – 6€; children (3 – 6 years old): 3€
Telephone/adress: +49( 0)3 83 71- 2 60 66 Museumsstraße 12,17449 Peenemünde
Toy Museum includes 20.000 exhibits. The oldest dolls and teddy bears are over 200 years old, some of the tin soldiers wear uniforms from I or II World War. Moreover there are hundreds of shelves full of various toys from old times. In one of the rooms there is a classroom, with single desks, writing boards and manikins, designed to remind schools from the beginning of the XX century. The newest idea of the museum owners is a room with products, advertisements and designs used in GDR (former East Germany).
Telephone/address: 038371 – 25656; 038371 – 25657; Museumsstr. 14, 17449 Peenemünde
One of the attractions of Peenemünde is Russian submarine called Juliett. The submarine was built in 1965. It was designed to transport and launch missiles. After dissolution of Soviet Union part of older military equipment including tanks, ships and submarines were “inherited” by new countries of former USSR. Firstly Juliett was abandoned in Lipawa harbour in Lithuania . In 1994 Juliett was bought by Denmark and moved to Copenhagen. Finally it found its place in Germany and since 1998 it has been in Peenemünde. Visiting Juliett is an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere of those times can be felt inside the submarine. Every detail was reconstructed with great precision. Walking through the 90 metre long submarine we meet manikins of Soviet soldiers, we feel the smell of grease and oil, we hear the sound of working machines and clash of plates from the kitchen. You are surrounded by small rooms, narrow corridors and the light of tiny lamps.
Tickets: adults: 6€; children: 3€; taking photos: 1€;
Telephone/address: mobil +49176-10 77 77 07, Haupthafen, 17449 Peenemünde,
Zinnowitz – 10 km from Karlshagen
Zinnowitz is the most elegant spa resort of the Isle of Usedom. The atmosphere of this town is created by its architecture. There are dozens of amazing seaside hotels and guest houses at the turn of the XIX and XX century, with breathtaking, richly decorated facades and fancy towers. Zinnowitz has a 200 metres long wooden pier, where coastal vessels arrive.
At the end of the pier there is an amazing touristic attraction called: ‘Die Tauchgondel’ – ‘Submerged Gondola’.
Thanks to this wonderful facility you can watch Baltic depths. The gondola submerges about 3,5 metres under the sea level. You can observe and admire the underwater world. The most exciting is the very moment of submerging: we hear the splash of waves and feel slight swinging. Gradually the beach, hotels, the sky disappear, what we see is only water… The underwater trip lasts about 45 minutes, the maximum number of passengers is 25 people.
April, May, September, October: 10:00 – 18:00
November – March: 11:00 – 16:00; on Mondays and Thursdays closed
24, 25 December – closed
21, 22, 28, 29 December – opened
June – August: 10:00 – 21:00
Tickets: adults: 8€; teenagers (until 15) – 5€; students and disabled people: 6€; family: from 18€ to 22€;
The Zinnowitz resort has one more advantage, especially during bad weather – Baltic Therms. In the Baltic Hotel in Dünenstrasse the visitors can find a swimming pool complex with Finnish sauna and Turkish bath. Downstairs there are 2 thermal pools with sea water at 32° C (one indoor, the other outdoor), upstairs regular swimming pools. Right from the sauna the guests can cool down in the Baltic Sea. Everything is sophisticatedly furnished.
Tickets: 3 hours in the swimming pools – 11€; discount ticket – 8€; daily ticket – 15€; after 7 pm – 4€; discount ticket – 3€
Wolgast – 12 km from Karlshagen
In Wolgast there is a zoo which is situated in the north-eastern part of the city. You can get there by UBB railway from Trasenheide, and to Trasenheide – by bikes. The animal park was created in 1960 in the grounds of natural forest and it has preserved this natural form up to now. There are 400 animals in 53 species like: wolves, bears, kangaroos, wild boars. There is also a mouse house which is found to be very amusing.
In the premises there is a playground for children.
- May – September: 9:00 – 21:00
- October – April: 10:00 – 16:00
Tickets: adults – 5€; children (3-16 years old) – 2€; children (0-3) – free; dogs – 1€
Car park – free
Telephone: +49(0)3836 / 20 37 13
Ückeritz- 22 km from Karlshagen
Half kilometre from Ückeritz on Usedom island on the grounds of Neu Pudagle a Rope Adventure Park is situated. It is known as a climbing park. There you can overcome different obstacles using ropes just like Tarzan or walk on the swinging bridges and platforms. Every visitor can choose from 5 routes which vary according to the level of difficulty. The choice of the route depends mainly on the height of the visitor. Moreover the park offers more than 50 climbing devices. The attractions of the park are suitable for children over 5 years old and for disabled people.
Next to the park bicycle paths can be find, so bike amateurs can also spend there a wonderful time. To get to the park use the UBB railway heading towards Ahlbeck.
- 31. March – 01. June; Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00; Monday – closed
- 02. June – 22. June: 10:00 – 18:00,
- 23. June – 26. August: 09:30 – 20:00
- 27. August + 30. September: 10:00 – 18:00,
- October – 04. November: Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00; Monday – closed
Tickets: 120 minutes: adults – 16€; students with ID – 14€; teenagers (12 – 17 ) – 13€; children (6 – 11) – 10€; family tickets (depending on the number of people) – 28€; – 40€;
Telephone/address: +49 (0) 38375 22677
Ahlbeck – 34 km from Karlshagen
In Ahlbeck there are 70 metres wide beaches and a long, wooden pier. One of the most charming and wonderful places is a huge, wooden restaurant on the pier. In Ahlbeck we can also have a swim in a warm sea water of Baltic Spa (Ostseethermen – Lindenstrasse 60). This small and cosy aqua park is situated on the border of Ahlbeck and Heringsdorf. The swimming pool complex has 2 steam baths and 5 indoor swimming pools ( brine, mini-jungle for children, pool for infants and 2 big swimming pools with water at 30-32°C) and one outdoor swimming pool with water at 31-33° C. The visitors can also use the sauna or have a massage. There is a possibility to rent or buy a towel or a dressing-gown.
- May – October: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 22:00; Sunday: 10.00 – 20.00
- November – April: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 21:00; Sunday: 10.00 – 20.00
Tickets: up to 3 hours: adults:16€; children – 12€; family (2+2) – 42€
Daily: adults:18€; children – 14€; family (2+2) – 48€
Prätenow- 40km from Karlshagen
In Prätenow there is a European bison enclosure, which was created thanks to 4 bison from Woliński National Park from Poland. The animals found their way from Wolin island in Poland to Usedom in Germany in 2004. In the enclosure there can be maximum 8 bison at a time.
The European bison enclosure is well marked, there are bilingual (Polish – German) informative boards. There is an observation terrace on the bison and a playground for children. There is also a very interesting arbour with painted birds inhabiting the surrounding area. Next to each painted bird there is a button, having it pressed, it gives a sound of a chosen bird. The visit to the enclosure is a wonderful lesson about the nature, fauna and flora.
- April – October: 10.00 – 17.00
- November – March: 10.30 – 15.30
- Bison feeding: 10.30 – 14.30
Tickets: 2 €
Telephone: +49(0)38376 / 2 05 54
Świnoujście- 40 km from Karlshagen
When being in Karlshagen, it is worth visiting Polish city Świnoujście. On the promenade there are lots of opportunities to eat a fresh and tasty fish or sit at a cafe and have a coffee or a dessert. Świnoujście is also full of tourist attractions. It is recommended to reach the Golm hill, climb the lighthouse and walk along the breakwater towards the windmill.
The Golm hill is not within the city boarders, however it is inseparably connected to the city. Before the war the hill was a very popular tourist destination. On the top of the hill there was a viewpoint, where the visitors could admire the landscape of the city and the Świna river estuary. During the II World War a cemetery was created there. Massive graves can be found on the Golm, where 20 thousand victims of the raid from 12. March 1945 were buried. Nowadays the Golm hill is treated as a symbol of both difficult Polish – German history but also as symbol of future chances that both countries have ahead.
The lighthouse was built in 1857 and completely rebuilt in 1900. Its main terrace is at the height of 65 metres and the light at 68 metres. It makes this lighthouse the highest building of this type in Baltic area. A few years before it was renovated and opened for tourists. On the ground floor there is a small marine museum. To reach the terrace 303 stairs must be climbed. However it is worth the effort, as the reword is a magnificent view of Świnoujście, Pomorska Bay, Wolin island and the Świna river estuary.
A walk along the breakwater is a must of every visit to Świnoujście. At the end of the breakwater there is a navigation landmark – a windmill. It has become a symbol of this city and it is treated as a logo of Świnoujście.
Stralsund – 64 km from Karlshagen
The most significant communication building of Stralsund is Rügenbrücke bridge. It is the longest – over 4 kilometres long – suspension bridge in Germany, built over the Stralsund straits in 2007. The bridge connects touristic island of Rugia with Baltic seaside. The clearance for ships below is measured at 42 metres.
Oceanographic Museum is one of the most visited touristic attraction of this region. Visitors can see variety of sea lives starting from Greiswald lagoon ending at open Atlantic ocean. The biggest aquarium has the capacity of 2,6 million litres, and its depth is over 9 metres. The panoramic window weighs 22 tons and is over 30 cm thick. In the museum there are: Baltic Sea Aquarium, North Sea Aquarium and a number of theme exhibitions like showing the variety of sea life and its influence on the surroundings. The Oceanographic museum was designed as an open building, which thanks to its wonderful location, provides a convenient access for all visiting groups.
- October – April: 09.30 – 19.00
- June – September: 09.30 – 14.30
Tickets: adults: 14-19,50€; discount/ reduced ticket:8-12,50€; Family ticket (2 adults + 1 child):
31-45€; Family ticket (2 adults+2 child): 34-51€
Address/ Telephone: Hafenstraße 11,18439 Stralsund; +49 (0) 3831 – 26 50 610
Meersmuseum (The museum of sea) – it is one of its kind sea museum in Central Europe. There are specious exhibitions and aquaria, showing in a comprehensible way not only the life of marine, colourful fish, turtles and other sea creatures but also history of the fishery, oceanography and other related branches. Every year hundred thousands of guests visit the museum.
- May – October: 10.00 – 18.00
- November – April: 10.00 – 17.00
Entrance fees: adults: 6,50 € , discount ticket/ children: 4,50 € ;family ticket (2 adults + 2 children): 19,00€
Ueckermünde- 77 km from Karlshagen
The zoo in Ueckermünde is a picturesque place created for children. The visitors need about 3 hours to walk peacefully through the whole zoo. There are playgrounds with slides, rope ladders and swings. At the entrance a wooden carts or one-wheel horses for children can be rented. In the zoo there are over 400 animals from 100 species. Lions, wolves, kangaroos, dromedaries, deer, lamas, otters, meerkats, lemurs, monkeys (it can be visited from the platforms suspended a few metres above the ground), zebras, goats, guinea pigs and many more. There are a number of birds as well: flamingos, ducks, black swans, storks, parrots, canaries, owls, eagles. Next to the cages there are information boards and some walks can be entered. Almost every day there are show feeding. In the main building there is a souvenir shop and a restaurant with a garden.
- March – October: 10.00 – 18.00
- November – February: 10.00 – 15.00
- Show feeding in the summer: Monday-Thursday: 13.00 – lamas, 15.00 – macaques
Saturday-Sunday: 13.00 – lamas; 14.00 – lions and lemurs; 15.00 – macaques
Summer: adults: 8,00 € , children (3-15): 4,50 € ; children (0-3): free; dog – 4€; family ticket (2 adults + 2 children): 24,00€
Winter: adults: 5,00 € , children (3-15): 3,00 € ; children (0-3): free; dog – 3€; family ticket (2 adults + 2 children): 15,00€
Address/ Telephone: Chausseestraße 76 Ueckermünde / +49 39771 / 54940