Hiddensee is a separate secondary island of the Rügen archipelago, to which people usually travel by ferry (Reederei) during a 30mn cross.
It is a popular destination for cyclo-tourists for many reasons: With no roads, cars are banned, and the island owns only a cycling track along its stretched shape, from north to south. It is a perfect place to cycle totally relaxed, knowing there is no danger.
Hiddensee, with rare and fragile flora, is also the second national park of Rügen (along with Jasmund). With hills ended by steep cliffs on the North, white beaches on the west, wet polders with grazing cattle on the east, and the southern tail fading out into the sea in ever moving sandbanks, it presents an incredible variety of landscapes on a small size.
Finally, the few harbours show the real face of the local life in such places, without too many of these posh villas with brand new thatch roof. On a clear day, like on Cape Arkona, Sweden and Danish islands can be seen in the distance.
The excursion involved the the biggest logistic of all trips for us, traveling by car, then by boat, then packing hiking gear over the trailer in order to walk the hills till the lighthouse. It might sound simple to sort out for normal people... But we did it with a one-and-half year old baby, keeping in mind he should enjoy as much as we do.
The effort was worth and the trip rewarding. I will always remind Nicolas exploring restlessly the path across pines and yellow blooming gorse, in this surrealist warm Mediterranean atmosphere... remembering those people who said "northern seaside of Germany... You're crazy or what ?".
All went successfully, and this achievement will remain as one of the nicest days ever for the three of us. And my biggest sunburn of 2010 !
Cycling Hiddensee is commonly done on the section from Neuendorf, south end of the cycling track, till the north, either in Kloster, or slightly further, the very end, cape Enddom.
The only place where more than one trail goes across the stretched island is the section between Kloster and Vitte, where it is possible to cycle either on the east side, on a polder dam, via the middle and the city centre of Vitte, or via the western seaside, in front of the patrolled beaches where most swimmers go.
More trails exist, marked in red on the map. But for most of them, only pedestrians are allowed to go (Hiddensee is a National Park don't forget). The only one not marked so where I've seen bikes is the Vitte seaside, on asphalt however. Do not attempt to reach the Dornbusch lighthouse by bike even if it seems feasible by the track.
As we leave Neuendorf, we soon reach a the western shoreline in a magnificent area, made of pristine white beaches, wild dunes where heather grows with blooming yellow gorse. Further, the path takes us back again to the east coast, totally different, made of salt marshes with cows and horses grazing in.
We pass a settlement of villas named "Heiderose". During June 2010, on a significant section near this part till Vitte, roadworks took place in order to feature the track with new cobbles. These works are probably finished by now.
We reach the port of Vitte, where junction to the left allows reaching the sea on west again. The pristine beaches give place to a crowd of umbrellas and bathers. We can see the hills north of the island as we reach Kloster. As mentionned, this last location, the largest on Hiddensee, can also be reached via the Vitte central avenue where beautiful old houses and a windmill can be seen, or, via the eastern seaside, riding over a polder dam.
Two parallel streets form the end of Kloster, where we usually find most of the restaurants, souvenir shops, and so on. There are places to lock bikes just in front of the terraces, a safe place to take a hike to the lighthouse. However, one can decide to cycle as far as cape Enddom. However this northernmost end isn't too different from what we saw so far on the east seaside, endless flat marshes.
There are several ways to reach the Dornbusch Lighthouse. A large track that we see in the continuity of the the NE end of Vitte is the simpliest way, but not the most beautiful. A better option is to pick a trail (there are several) heading into the forest somewhere nearer the west beach of Kloster. A network of beautiful trails elevate through a forest to reach the ridge of the Bakenberg hills, some big sandy dunes covered with dwarf vegetation. This kind of landscape is quite unique.
As we cross a pine forest further, we discover the Dornbusch Lighthouse, red and white, standing as on a postcard. Passing the lighthouse, we reach a promontory overlooking cliffs over the sea. The viewpoint is magnificent.
Between the viewpoint and the lighthouse one can notice a large junction of several trails, allowing to return via another route into the forest and the Bakenberg hills.
There are several places from where the Reederei ferries operate from Rügen and around (Stralsund, Wiek, Dranske, Barth), but if you wish to make the most of a one-day ride returning the same day, only Schaprode, the harbour facing Hiddensee, is convenient.
On Hiddensee, three harbours are served : Neuendorf (not to confuse with an homonym on the "main" Rügen island), Vitte and Kloster.
Neuendorf, southernmost, is the closest, then quickest of the three. But you may consider an alternative return route or something of this kind, for timetable reasons. However, be aware that the same ferry serves successively the three harbours before returning, or after departing from Schaprode. Study carefully the timetable to make your choice.
Bikes are allowed (and very frequent) on board. Beware, on sunny days during the high season, sometimes the ferry is so full of bikes that you may have to wait for the next one, a couple of hours later, which wastes significantly the journey if you consider the price of the travel. Use preferably the first ferries of the day, early in the morning, to enjoy your time as much as possible.
As for Schaprode, it is the westernmost place of the "mainland" of Rügen. It is reached by car quickly from Bergen via Kluis, or from the Stralsund bridge via Samtens and Gingst. There are accomodations and campsites in the area of Schaprode, and not the most expensive of Rügen.
Note: There is a "tax" for staying on Hiddensee. When you buy tickets, you are given another paper that looks like an advert. Don't throw it, that's your tax receipt and you can be asked for it anywhere on the island, especially on the patrolled beaches in Vitte.
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When to Bike
All year long, as long as the ferry operates (don't forget !)