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Baltic or bust

All you need is a convertible – and some midsummer sun.

After months of non-stop work, I convinced my sister Mia to get away for a few days and spend some quality time together, on a luxury trip along the Baltic Coast of Germany.

Our starting point was to be Berlin, but before we set off northwards for our ten-day scenic drive, we had a bit of time in the city for a little sightseeing.

The last time I was in Berlin was back in the winter for a friend’s art exhibition and it rained the entire time, so now, with gorgeous early summer weather, I was excited to walk around a bit. We headed out and hit the classic sights, grabbing a quick lunch at a bistro on Alexanderplatz, a square where much of Berlin’s urban history is captured, and then walking along the remains of the Berlin Wall. Mia had never been to the East Side Gallery before, where the Wall is covered in murals, and that’s one of my favourite places in Berlin. It is such a strong statement.

We were lucky enough to be staying in the Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome, right by the Museum Island, and walked back to the hotel past Berlin’s iconic monuments as the sun started to set. Dinner in the hotel’s La Banca restaurant was a foretaste of the sea: I had salt baked cod with wild herbs.

Next day we hopped into our rented convertible and headed for the coast. The drive was serene and remarkably beautiful, and the Baltic, when it came into sight, was a hue of deep cobalt blue.

Our first stop was Stralsund, a charming Hanseatic town, and the gateway to the beautiful island of Rugen. We took a short walk around the city’s old square before crossing the bridge.

Rugen itself is spectacular and was undoubtedly the highlight of our trip. The island is untouched and picturesque, surrounded by vast strands of white sandy or pebble beaches set against chalk white cliffs. In our time here, we went on a hike along the cliff-lined peninsula to Rugen’s easternmost point. We then emerged from amongst the thick trees onto the white sandy south beach, where it was bathed by crystal clear water.

Rugen is famous as a spa destination, and our hotel, the Travel Charme Kurhaus Binz, housed the splendid Puria Spa, so after an active day we could sign up for the likes of Hawaiian hot stone treatment.

After Rugen, we turned the car towards Hamburg, stopping in Schwerin to visit the city’s castle, a veritable Disneyland, complete with turrets, fortifications and elongated spires.

And then we were in Hamburg itself, a fashionable and artistic city, which provided the perfect final destination. Our trip ended with some dazzling shopping and a great dinner in the Jacob’s Hotel restaurant, which has two Michelin stars.


Nicole Harris is a travel and lifestyle journalist for Luxuria Magazine, a publication of Europe Luxury Car Hire

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