Sellin, Charming old Sea Side Resort

Because we traveled by train from Hamburg to Sellin, we had the chance of seeing some of the coast along the Baltic Sea and part of the Island of Rügen before arriving to destination. It was an uneventful trip of about 4 hours and we were happy to leave Hamburg; it is a big noisy city and we felt oppressed by it. We definitively prefer smaller German cities and town…But we know people who just love Hamburg! So!

We crossed a little bridge connecting Rügen to the continent and felt relieved to have arrived in such a marvelous little island.

There is an old scenic train that connects Selling to Bintz (where the train from the continent stops), called Rolling Roland, but we had already arranged a shuttle with our resort in Sellin and it took about 30 minutes to get there. We were amazed by the number of vehicles driving on these small roads. We also noticed the many cyclists on paths beside the roads. Great: they have pathways dedicated to cyclists!

Sellin on the Baltic Sea

As mentioned earlier, the Sellin is on the Baltic Sea and our resort was directly in front of it!

There is a well known quay at the end of the main street that has a few cafés and a contraption, a kind of bathyscaphe, which dives into the sea for visitors to discover the underwater world. It looks like a big dome. Unfortunately, it was so incredibly windy that we decided not to try it: the water would have been simply too murky to see anything. Something to do next time!

Many of the old Victorian villas have been renovated in the last 10 or so years and are now hotels or holyday apartments with restaurants or cafés on the ground floor.  They look simply fantastic: they have wooden ornaments that look like delicate lace and large balcony to look at the sea or the street below.

There is an air of grandeur about them that makes you wish you were back at the beginning of the last century, with Ladies wearing fancy dresses and holding lacy umbrellas while gentlemen open the door of the two horses’ carriage for them.

The truth about them is a bit different, although they were built by rich people before the war.

In front of most of these houses you will see an explanation sign about: when the house was built, when the owners had to vacate them (some of them ended out in jail or in the gulag), what was done to the house after that (mainly becoming decrepit by lack of maintenance), and then, after the reunification of the two Germanys, renovated to their original splendour.  There is some information about the people who built them too. One of them was built by a rich lady with her own money! Quite surprising for the time!

Sellin Beaches

Sellin is along the coast, so let’s have a look at the beach!

There are two main beaches in Sellin and because the beach in front of our hotel was way too windy on the day we arrived, we decided to go to the more sheltered one. It was only a short walk away from the hotel;  less than 20minutes walk through a nice little forest along the coast.

It was still a bit windy, but very acceptable. They also rent chairs with a hood that shelters you from the wind or the sun. In our opinion, these chairs are a must along the Baltic Sea.

Also, don’t be surprised if you see naked people of all ages at the beach: it is NOT a nude beach per se, but in general they are more relaxed about this sort of thing in continental Europe than most North Americans. You don’t have to follow their “back to nature attitude” if you don’t want to.

Actually, most people we saw had a bathing suit on, or they were about to put it on at the beach in front of everyone else (but that’s another story) except for young children under the age of 5 y.o. who go naked.

On the other hand, the sea is really cold! And there were some algae. So, we preferred staying in the big chair, reading and enjoying the sun. It was very relaxing; a completely different world from the big city.

Rügen by Bike

The best way to see Sellin and the island of Rügen is by bikes. There are paths everywhere throughout the island and the signs are good, for the most part. However, like other cyclists around, we got lost after less than 5 km of our starting point.

But that was because we had trouble to understand the thick East German accent of the owner of the shop where we rented the bikes. In any case, as usual in these circumstances, we stopped at a café (in the middle of nowhere, I kid you not!) and asked the patron to show us on the map where we were! What a good laugh we had: we were completely off the path!

We had followed, somehow, a trail (mainly for pedestrians) going through a park and some farm fields. It was nothing at all like the bike paths that we had seen along the road on our way to Sellin. Anyhow, he pointed us to the right direction and it took us only a few minutes to join the right path. So, no harm done. We even got a nice coffee and an apfelstrudel out of it.

Once on the right path, we discovered another beach, close to a town called Baabe, where most people were naked. Maybe this IS the nude beach? Who knows…

Also, like along the North Sea, where it is windy too, they use straw on the pathway to keep the sand down.

Further south along the coast, we stopped at a nice restaurant for fish and, of course, beer. The fish was cooked beautifully, very fresh. They also had a little take-out hut outside of the restaurant.

We wanted to continue on along the coast, but it was really too windy. Thus, we decided to go cross-country and followed a path (a real one this time) that cuts through the fields. This was a good idea as we ended out in a little town called Middelhagen where the oldest Gasthof of Rügen resides. One more Dunklesbier!

St.Katharinenkirche Middelhagen (St.Catherine’s Church in Middelhagen), dating from the 15th century, is just a few steps away from the guesthouse. It is part of the European Route of Brick Gothic and the altar of St. Catherine, which is in display in the church, is from around 1480.

It is believed that it was installed there only after the Thirty Years’ War and that it came from Stralsund, town situated on the continent.

 The wooden tower was built in accordance with the rules of the Cistercian monks some time after the construction of the church. It is a nice little church, very quiet and peaceful,  perfect for a brief break before starting on the journey again.

There were also many old houses with thatched roofs, some of them having just been replaced.  It is rather amazing to still see so many of these houses, here on Rügen, but also along the North Sea, in Germany as well as in Denmark.

Cruise Boats and Ferries

Another way to reach Sellin is by boat. There are a few  cruising boats and ferries that go along the coastline from one little town to another. For example, you could go from Sellin to Gohren to the South or to Binz to the North. You could even go all along the coast, hopping from one coastal town to another, up to Putgarten and take another ferry, a big one this time, to Denmark! Or stop at Neu Mukran to take a boat to St. Petersburg.

Charming Sellin

There are some entertainments in Sellin, some evening concerts on the beach for example, but mainly, one goes there to relax and enjoy the view.

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