Usedom BRINGS physical and mental well-being into harmony
After reading about the Emerald Isle and its in recent articles sustainability goals as well as over five different accommodations reported, this article is about physical and mental well-being during a relaxing holiday on Usedom.
Why do we actually travel?
...to experience a change of scenery, to get out again, to see something different. But also to have a nice few days. What exactly it takes to make the days beautiful can of course only be answered individually. What I'm sure everyone agrees on, however, is that good food shouldn't be neglected. Tasty dishes enjoy sipping a refreshing drink here and there, all without a guilty conscience. The bad conscience does not refer to "sweet temptations", but to the fact that one does not feel comfortable not knowing where the individual ingredients in the dishes come from, where they were delivered from and what that ultimately means for the ecological balance of a single dish means. Luckily there is another way. Many islanders want to be part of a change by checking where the food they use comes from. In this way, delivery routes can be kept short and cooperation with local companies can be entered into and maintained.
What is the best thing to do after a delicious meal?
...go for a spin, just do the so-called digestive walk. Because, as is well known, you can start this from anywhere, I would like to present special excursion destinations where the focus is on exercise and physical well-being through deceleration. In addition to the long beach promenades, there are various places on the island of Usedom, in the forest and up to 23 meters high. And because the island is surrounded by both the Baltic Sea and the backwaters, a relaxed experience on the water should not be missing either.
In this article, I present some great addresses on the sunny island of Usedom that process regional food or offer it for sale, as well as restaurants that are worth a visit because of their concept. In addition, I report on my experience during varied activities.
Forest bathing in Trassenheide
I had an appointment to go swimming in the forest in Trassenheide. The appointment was supposed to last three hours, at first I admittedly wondered what we were going to be doing in the forest for so long. But I got involved in the forest experience, which Yvonne Woltanski, certified forest mindfulness trainer, had prepared for me. The three-hour forest bathing had its starting point and destination at the UBB stop "Trassenmoor", which was great for all users of the Usedom bathing railway is very practical. Our route went through the coastal forest at different heights. In between, we also made a stop at the Baltic Sea beach of Trassenheide.
Forest bathing originated in Japan where it is called “Shinrin Yoku” and was developed in the 1980s. The concept is to literally immerse yourself in the forest, consciously spend time there, switch off, perceive your own body, give it fresh forest air and feel all your senses.
Yvonne Woltanski loves the forest and spends several hours a week there, which she recommends to all course participants. Forest bathing should be incorporated into everyday life as a change. In addition to exercise in a healthy environment, the healing atmosphere of the forest can be felt. The forest air is good for the lungs and bronchi and strengthens the immune system. It also ensures that fewer stress hormones are produced or released.
There are always moments of pause during the tour. Yvonne answers questions, passes on her broad knowledge about the forest and the animals and insects that live there and pays attention to the needs of forest bathers. For example, when I took a break, I was not only allowed to consciously feel and smell a pine tree, but also to taste it - yes, you can really eat the needles. The taste of the essential oils is reminiscent of the last sauna session. Another station invited people to lean against a thick tree trunk, close their eyes and consciously listen to the sounds of the forest. Thanks to the mirror tiles brought by Yvonne Woltanski, I was able to admire the forest from very unusual perspectives, watch the treetops and see how they move with the gusts of wind. A barefoot exercise rounded off the bathing in the forest. The three hours really flew by, after that I went into the afternoon full of inspiration and was very grateful for this special experience with dear Yvonne.
Restaurant Pier 14 in Zinnowitz
At Pier 14 in the Villa Gruner, freshly prepared dishes are served - from salads, tapas, homemade cakes to homemade burgers. The idea of gourmet cuisine combines culinary craftsmanship with passion, which is reflected in regional and seasonal creations. In addition to fresh fish and braised meat dishes, various vegan and vegetarian delicacies are served. When the weather is nice, you eat in a beach chair on the beautiful sun terrace. Afterwards, guests can take a stroll along the extensive beach of Zinnowitz with its fine sand. The Baltic Sea resort in the northern part of the island invites you to take a leisurely stroll with its various shops.
With the electric boat on the backwaters from the natural harbor of Krummin
At the natural harbor of Krummin, with its floating suites, visitors to Usedom can take part in a natural experience on the water. Thomas Heller from Outdoor Usedom offers a variety of tours on land and water, from guided bike and kayak tours, amber hikes to “Pirate Treasure Hunts” for families on the water. He also rents out gravel bikes and kayaks for anyone who wants to do an individual tour.
The starting point for our trip with the electric boat was the natural harbor of Krummin, from which we went to the natural Krumminer Wiek. The trip lasted a good hour and led to the opposite Gnitzer Ufer. During the trip I could marvel at the coastal landscape with reeds and the beauty of nature. Due to the electric drive, the boat glides almost silently over the water, without any exhaust fumes, so that the ride is not only pleasantly quiet and relaxed for the guests, but the animals that live and nest near the shore are not startled and scared away. It is therefore possible to spot the variety of birds in the Krumminer Wiek, such as the white-tailed eagle, also known as Usedom's king, the white stork and the kingfisher. Thomas is well equipped and always carries binoculars with him so that his companions can observe the animals from afar.
After a successful and impressive trip, tasty food awaits you on the terrace of the Krummin natural harbor to round off the experience with pleasure. With a view of the water and the boats lying there, regional dishes from “Ofen, Pött and Pann” taste even better.
In 2021 the pier in Koserow was reopened. The construction with the curved arches extends around 290 meters into the sea and offers various seating and sunbathing areas that offer a wonderful, wide view of the open Baltic Sea. In the evening, the pier lights up, bringing an atmospheric end to an exciting day. If you want to stop off for dinner before or afterwards, you can visit the restaurant of the Forester's house Damerow visit, as well as the natural harbor of Krummin is not far away.
Exhilaration on the treetop path in Heringsdorf
For all guests of Usedom who are not afraid of the height, I would like that Treetop Walk recommend. The treetop path, which opened in 2021, is located directly at Seebad Heringsdorf train station and can be easily reached on foot from there. With a total length of 1.350 meters and a height of up to 23 meters, the path offers a great walk above the forest path through the treetops of the mixed forest typical of the island. There are various learning and adventure stations for young and old along the treetop path. They answer questions about nature and the landscape, point out the possible consequences of climate change and give tips on how to treat nature with care.
The highlight of the treetop walk is the 33 meter high observation tower, which at its highest point is 75 meters above sea level. From there, visitors can enjoy a magnificent 360-degree view over the island, the treetops, the Baltic Sea coast, the imperial baths and, if the sky is clear, even as far as the island of Rügen.
The path and lookout tower, which is open all year round, is barrier-free and, due to the only 6% incline, easily accessible in a wheelchair or with a stroller. The in-house gastronomy "feed manger" rounds off a trip with delicious dishes that can be consumed indoors or in the adjacent beer garden.
Walk through the spa and healing forest in the seaside resort of Heringsdorf
Directly below the treetop path, walkers can enjoy the spa and healing forest, which extends over 187 hectares and was awarded the first spa and healing forest in Europe in 2016. The unique and healing combination of forest and coastal climate is called the "green pharmacy" because it does more than good for the human body. The soothing air together with exercise are ideal for the respiratory tract, the cardiovascular system and for orthopedic and psychosomatic diseases - both curative and preventive. The tree population of the coastal forest, which consists of 53% coniferous wood and 27% beech, as well as oak, alder, birch and other tree species, is responsible for the special climate.
The forest topography shows various paths with different lengths and gradients, whereby the path network is clearly signposted. Again and again, walkers will find boards with various instructions for mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises, as well as benches for short breaks in between or a conscious pause. There are also panels presenting literature and poetry through poems and stories. As you walk on, you can philosophize about it and let the words you read linger. A walk through the spa and healing forest is also healing for the skin and helps with depression, burnout, exhaustion and insomnia - the ailments of our time. The forest should therefore be visited by all guests of the island in order to enjoy the large "natural health studio" and to do something for their own well-being.
From the spa and healing forest you can then still another little bike ride along the resort architecture to the Baltic Sea resort of Ahlbeck.
Restaurant Sarah's Mediterranean Secrets in Ahlbeck
If you fancy a culinary trip south, you'll find what you're looking for at Sarah's Mediterranean Secrets. Directly on the promenade in Ahlbeck, guests not only enjoy a great view of the Baltic Sea, but also the taste of various dishes with Persian, Israeli and Lebanese influences. The freshly prepared dishes are just the thing after a long walk through the spa and healing forest in Heringsdorf or after a visit to the treetop path. If you are traveling in a larger group, it is advisable to order different salads, hot and cold appetizers to share.
Inselmühle – Natural Manufactory in Usedom (City)
Grain was ground in the historic mill building of the Inselmühle for 160 years. In the Naturmanufaktur, which opened in 2020, a large number of foods for the region are produced with passion. The selection ranges from cold-pressed cooking oils, natural juices, tasty spreads, various types of mustard and ketchup to the finest liqueurs and fruit wines. The products can be bought and tasted in the modern pavilion right next door. The offer is rounded off by products from friendly companies that also produce on the island of Usedom, as well as by the excellent Mecklenburg wines from the Schloss Rattey winery. In the restaurant, which is also located in the pavilion, guests enjoy à la carte dishes, home-baked goods and various daily specials that reinterpret regional dishes.
The ingredients for the products of the Naturmanufaktur grow practically on our own doorstep. The Inselmühle owns around 90 hectares of land on which the various types of fruit grow and thrive. These include apricot trees, the sea buckthorn typical of Usedom, cornel cherries, old cider apple varieties, quinces, blackberries, but also oilseeds and walnut seedlings. The products contain no artificial flavors or preservatives and are bottled in a natural factory. They are also about one Online-Shop available, so that visitors do not have to do without the unusual products even after their vacation on Usedom.
The ambition of the young Inselmühle team to do something good for the island is obvious. That is why it is grown on site and many islanders are offered a workplace where they can actively contribute ideas. I could see the joy of the employees in their work. The focus on regionality is absolutely convincing, and I'm excited to see which new product variants Inselmühle will bring to the market in the future.
The bison enclosure is not far from the Inselmühle. Not only were field hedges laid out around the enclosures, but the existing natural forest and heath were also maintained. The focus is on the breeding of bison in order to protect the endangered animal species. Numerous bird and insect species also feel at home there again.
Farm shop Villa Kunterbunt in Neuendorf
Located on the small peninsula of Gnitz in the village of Neuendorf, Villa Kunterbunt has been offering fresh local produce for sale since 2001. In addition to two orchards of their own, the owners run an ecological animal husbandry. The farm shop also sells products from friendly farms. Guests can look forward to wood-fired bread just like grandma used to have, as well as lamb sausage and meat, beef from Usedom highland cattle, honey, seasonal fruit and vegetables, vegetarian spreads, fresh milk, homemade jam and fresh pasture eggs, which can also be bought in the chicken mobile outside the opening hours. The Villa Kunterbunt is just a stone's throw from Manor house Neuendorf, so that guests can stock up on regional groceries there. The Café Gnitzer Seelchen is also around the corner.
Café Gnitzer Seelchen in Neuendorf
The café with an enchanting garden and a great interior offers delicious, handmade cake creations that are served with coffee specialties. In addition, bikers and walkers can get the refreshment they need on warm island days in our own ice cream stand.
Southern tip of the Gnitz Peninsula
There is a nature reserve on the southern tip of the Gnitz Peninsula. The path through the nature reserve, on the Gnitz, to the southernmost place, the Möwenort, offers a beautiful view of the backwaters or the Kumminer Wiek and the mainland. The agricultural diversity can be admired on the hiking trail, such as nutrient-poor grassland, salt grass, wild roses, sloe and juniper. The tranquility there is magical. The White Mountain and the meadows are also formative for the nature of the island and are definitely worth a visit. The different colors in the evening until sunset, which are reflected on the water and in the forest areas of Usedom, are particularly impressive.
A holiday for all the senses
Well-fed and relaxed, varied days can be spent with various excursions and activities on Usedom - a holiday for all the senses that will definitely be remembered.