The Chalk Cliffs Walk in the Jasmund National Park is not to be missed. Our first day on Rügen was a Sunday and we thought the Park would be busy so we opted for it to be our second walk on the Monday.
Jasmund is one of 2,200 National Parks in 120 states worldwide. National Parks protect our last wildernesses. Jasmund NP was founded in 1990 during the course of German reunification. The natural diversity, character and outstanding natural beauty are protected by law. This is a unique chalk landscape with characteristic forms and special, unique vegetation. The area has been largely undisturbed by human impact and has a natural diversity of animals and plants. But it also serves recreation, nature experience, scientific research and environmental education. It has no economic purpose.
“Take nothing but impressions – leave nothing but your footprints”
There are various ways to see the park but in the end we opted to do the linear walk by parking the car at the first car park after Sassnitz and taking the bus to Königsstuhl. From there we walked the approximately 13km back, along the cliffs to the Waldhalle Cafe and Information Centre and then turning inland back to the car park.
The cliffs lie north of Sassnitz and in the most northeasterly part of the island of Rügen. Königsstuhl is the big tourist centre. Coaches and cars drop visitors off at a modern, pay-to-enter complex where they can see and read about the cliffs but not actually experience the views for themselves so we were glad to get on our way.
Our first glimpse of the chalk cliff
The path is well-marked and quite a few people would be walking along with us to the famous Victoria Viewpoint.
The viewpoint is not named after our Queen Victoria but for her daughter the Princess Victoria who married Emperor Frederick III and became Empress and Queen of Prussia.
After the enjoying the beautiful views we continued our path through the beech forests keeping close to the cliffs. Often we came across gorges and ravines where the wooden steps took us safely up and down.
Eventually we arrived at the Stubbenkammer; the chalk outcrops made famous by the artist Caspar David Friedrich in his painting of the same name, 1818.
The view as painted no longer exists and in fact painting ‘en plein air’ was not done at the time but always in the studio and Friedrich made his own picture from his memories and imagination but based on the pinnacles of chalk and the view we see today.
From here we turned inland to the newly refurbished Waldhalle where only a few days before the ceremonies had been held to celebrate the Primeval Beech Forest as one of the newest UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The best views of the chalk cliffs are to be had from the sea – and this we should have had as we sailed by ferry from Sassnitz to Bornholm but unfortunately we could hardly make them out due to the foggy, rainy sailing.