Rügen is Germany's largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
The "gateway" to the island of Rügen is the Hanseatic town of Stralsund. The island, which is linked to the mainland by road and railway over the Rügen Causeway and Rügen Bridge over the two-kilometre-wide Strelasund, has a maximum length of 51.4 km (from north to south), a maximum width of 42.8 km in the south and an area of 926 km². The coast is characterized by numerous bays (both lagoons known as bodden and open bays known as Wieken), as well as projecting peninsulas and headlands. In June 2011, UNESCO awarded the status of a World Heritage Site. to the Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches.
The island of Rügen is part of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen with its county seat in Stralsund. The towns on Rügen are: Bergen auf Rügen, Sassnitz, Putbus and Garz/Rügen. In addition, there are the Baltic seaside resorts of Binz, Sellin, Göhren, Baabe and Thiessow. Rügen is very popular with tourists because of its diverse landscape and its long, sandy beaches of many tourists.
Rügen, together with the Danish island of Møn on the far side of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, once belonged to a large chalk plateau, which had been pushed by tectonic movements to the earth's surface. The vast majority of this land mass has disappeared as a result of erosion and faulting, leaving the two islands with their characteristic white chalk cliffs