Greece: The myth of Atlantis comes to life on Santorini

Dhe earth trembles. A dull rumble and a cloud of ash herald something ominous. A huge explosion follows, which rips apart the top of a volcano with a deafening bang. Lava rock the size of a truck flies towards the viewer, glowing red streams, murderously hot, roll over the land, into the bubbling sea.

What follows are tidal waves as high as a house, which sweep over the sea at breakneck speed. Instinctively you raise your arms to protect yourself from the elemental forces, that’s how realistically you experience the apocalypse today, which destroyed all life on Thera three and a half thousand years ago.

Thera – that’s what Santorini was once called. For a year now, an Atlantis museum has been welcoming visitors to the Greek Aegean island, which it claims to be the first in the world. It is equipped with the finest high-tech.

The Atlantis Museum explains Thera

In a cinema with 3D film material, visitors sit on hydraulically operated chairs and can enjoy even more: water splashes out of the armrests. When entering the “Lost Atlantis Experience”, as the museum calls all of its illusionary magic, you have to make your way over virtually glowing lava rocks.

Watch out, it splashes: water shoots from armrests during the screenings in the museum cinema, which illustrate elemental forces for visitors

Quelle: Lost Atlantis Experience Museum/Thanasis Damopoulos

At the end of the Feuerstraße you will find a touchscreen on which you can follow Plato’s life. The world-famous Greek philosopher reported on Atlantis for the first time around 360 BC in his late works “Kritias” and “Timaeus”.

A few meters further, Plato comes to life. As a projection, it answers questions from museum visitors. Shortly afterwards you stand in front of rotating holograms that trace the geological development of Santorini from prehistoric times to the present in three dimensions.

The viewer learns about research results from 1989. According to this, Thera looked surprisingly similar to Plato’s Atlantis image 3600 years ago: a hill surrounded by rings of seawater and earth. On the upper floor, a huge Atlantis diorama provides insights into the daily life of the residents.

At the end of the exhibition there is a reality check: Plato’s descriptions are compared with the reality of Santorini using examples.

After the beach to the archaeological site of Akrotiri

The similarities with Atlantis have not stopped Giorgos Koukoulas since he came to the island 13 years ago. In 2012 he wrote a novella with “Atlantis will never go down”. Seven years later his dream of a museum came true, which he and five friends had planned and financed himself; today he is its director.

Promises a multimedia historical experience with holograms and 3-D films: the Lost Atlantis Experience Museum on Santorini in Greece

Promises a multimedia historical experience with holograms and 3-D films: the Lost Atlantis Experience Museum

Quelle: Lost Atlantis Experience Museum/Thanasis Damopoulos

“Plato wanted to embed his idea of ​​an ideal state in a real environment,” he is sure. “With its highly developed culture, its geological features and its dramatic history, it is very obvious that Santorini and the surrounding islands are the origin of Atlantis.”

If one goes in search of evidence that supports this thesis, a holiday on Santorini can also be a journey of discovery outside the museum. The first stop is the archaeological site of Akrotiri.

The place Oia is picturesquely located on the steep coast of Santorini in Greece

Blue church domes, white cube houses: the place Oia is picturesquely located on the cliffs of Santorini

Source: Getty Images / Sylvain Sonnet

Bathers who relax in intense sunshine in the 20 degree warm water on Red Beach until the end of October like to combine their beach stay with a walk through the nearby archaeological site, where a city reached the height of its culture in the Bronze Age three and a half thousand years ago. Plato saw Atlantis sink in his work through earthquakes and floods, Akrotiri was also destroyed by an earthquake around 1620 BC.

A society as described by Plato

In 1967 the excavations began in Akrotiri – which will drag on for many years. However, the work has been very insightful so far. The roughly two hectare part of the archaeological site that has been exposed so far provides information about a society as outlined by Plato as a “great and wonderful empire” in his works.

Santorini (Greece): At Red Beach with its imposing red rocks, bathers can relax in the sun until the end of October

At Red Beach with its imposing red rocks, bathers can relax in the sun until the end of October

Quelle: Getty Images

Wall paintings show a civilization shaped by trade and seafaring, which at that time was far ahead of its time. Currently they are hidden from visitors, but mostly still in the museum’s magazine. Particularly noticeable is the frieze found in the so-called West House with an armada of ships, which comes very close to Plato’s description of “The largest port teeming with ships and merchants”.

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The location of the Cycladic island of Santorini and a reconstruction of Atlantis

When walking through the alleys of the 3600-year-old city, one can hardly stop being amazed at the techniques that people already had at their disposal. Houses up to three floors high, cantilevered stairs, sewers, cobblestone streets, bathtubs and toilets in the buildings illustrate the prosperity in the city, which is so well preserved under volcanic ash, that is otherwise only found in Pompeii or Herculaneum. Plato had also reported on canals and bathhouses in his “Kritias” dialogue.

When hiking on Santorini you can see the stones

Unlike in Italy, no human remains have been found in Akrotiri so far. Archaeologists suspect that in the face of increasing earthquakes, people saved themselves on their ships from the great volcanic devastation. It is unlikely that they could escape the lava flows and sea waves up to 30 meters high.

Museum guide Eugenia Liodaki considers another explanation: “The residents of Thera were used to earthquakes. Perhaps they only evacuated the city temporarily. ”Bed frames in front of the uncovered houses indicate that clean-up work began after the earthquake. Obviously, the population was not ready to give up the prosperity achieved through trade and seafaring and the fertile soil of volcanic origin.

There was also plenty of building material on the island. Once again there are parallels to Plato’s Atlantis, whose inhabitants built “towers and gates” from it. “The stones for it,” he wrote, were “partly white, partly black, partly red” – typical stone colors for a volcanic island.

Atlantis or Santorini?  Museum visitors can find out how similar the islands are - with a touchscreen and insights from Plato

Atlantis or Santorini? Museum visitors can find out how similar the islands are – with a touchscreen and insights from Plato

Quelle: Lost Atlantis Experience Museum

On a hike from Oia in the north of Santorini to the island’s capital Fira, the black and white layers of rock on the cliffs can easily be made out. The cliffs themselves are covered with a sea of ​​whitewashed houses as if they were snow-covered.

The color contrasts are the black volcanic pebbles of many island beaches, the most beautiful Santorini can be found near Perivolos. Imposing red rocks can be found on Red Beach or on the way from Oia down to the port of Ammoudi.

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So far, however, archaeologists have not come across traces of the Temple of Poseidon, whose location Plato established in the center of Atlantis. The islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni are located in the middle of the crater, which is now filled with seawater, the remaining rim of which Santorini is semicircular. Some of the hot springs praised by Plato bubble there.

If you sit on a restaurant terrace in Oia or Imerovigli with a glass of local Assyrtiko wine on a mild autumn evening, the islands enchant you in the light of the setting sun. Myth and reality slowly merge in front of the orange, then deep red horizon, which inevitably stimulates the imagination.

Santorin in the Aegean Sea (Greece)

Source: WORLD infographic

Tips and information

Getting there: From Berlin, for example, with the Greek airline Aegean, stopover in Athens. Lufthansa flies non-stop from Frankfurt, and Condor from Düsseldorf. For entry by sea, air and land, there is an online registration requirement due to Covid-19. An online form (“Passenger Locator Form”) on the website must be completed at least 24 hours before departure for Greece.

Accommodation: From the “Mystique Hotel Santorini” in Oia you can enjoy a spectacular view of the crater, a night in a double room costs from around 320 euros, depending on the season and the offer (; It is cheaper to stay in the “Heliotopos Boutique Hotel” in Imerovigli, double rooms from 165 euros (; The “Istoria” is located directly on the beach of Perivolos near the archaeological site of Akrotiri and the Atlantis Museum, double rooms from 260 euros (

Lost Atlantis Experience Museum: The museum is located in Megalochori in the south of the island; admission is normally 12 euros, children from 6 to 12 years pay 6 euros. Due to Corona, you have to register and inquire about opening times ( Closing time in the low season from November to the end of April.

Akrotiri archaeological site: The archaeological site of Akrotiri is open daily, entrance fee 12 euros (

Information desk:

Participation in the trip was supported by Marketing Greece. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at


Gotland in Sweden: Quirky Viking-style competitions

Gotland Island

Ahe Gotland is perhaps the most famous house in Sweden: Villekulla, known in this country as Villa Kunterbunt, the wooden house of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking. Those who visit the “Kneippbyns” amusement park – a magnet for visitors to the second largest island in the Baltic Sea – can visit the original setting of the “Pippi” films shot on Gotland.

Typical for Gotland: the many pretty fishing villages on the 800 km long coast with wide sandy beaches, ideal for walks. Gotland, island, municipality and historical province at the same time, is one of the sunniest spots in Sweden. The Swedes in particular like to vacation on Gotland and the offshore islets, enjoy the almost Mediterranean climate: in the interior of the island even vines thrive.

Once the Goths gave the island its name, later the Vikings came, and during the Hanseatic League the island’s capital, Visby, became an important trading center. It offers the feeling of the Baltic Middle Ages: its old town is surrounded by a city wall from the 13th century, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

Source: WORLD infographic

Tree trunk throwing is part of pentathlon

Throwing a tree trunk as far as possible in Obelix fashion – it sounds strange, but it is a serious discipline of the Gotland pentathlon. It is part of the Gotland Olympic Games, which in turn have a long tradition. The competitions have been taking place since 1924, most recently with over 2000 participants, the roots going back to the Viking Age.

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Stone throwing is also an old discipline of pentathlon Warp throwing, a kind of Scandinavian boules. Sprinting, jumping up and playing the ball are also measured. The winner is whoever wins the final wrestling match. The next one will take place in July 2021 The bar games instead of.

Sweden: Tree trunk throwing is a discipline of the Gotland pentathlon

Tree trunk throwing is a discipline of the Gotland pentathlon

Source: Christophe Boisvieux / laif

Natural reef art on the beach

The story that Gotland’s stone landmarks, the Raukar, have to tell is splendid: Because the island, or what it was as part of an ancient continent millions of years ago, was on a geological journey for a long time.

Land masses pushed their way from the southern hemisphere to what is now the Baltic Sea area, while a coral reef formed at the equator as it were passing through. Today Gotland is based on a limestone plateau, which the iconic Raukar remind of.

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The washed-out, imaginative structures can be found on many of the island’s stone beaches that have the funny name cobblestone beach as well as further inland where the coastline once ran. The tallest of these reef limestone towers at seven meters, Virgo (Virgo), is half an hour’s drive north of Visby on Lickershamn beach.

Entire rock fields can also be found on Gotland’s small neighboring island Fårö in the north. Famous all over the island are, for example, a dog-shaped Rauk in the shallow water on the beach at Gamle Hamn or the Rauk, reminiscent of a head, in the Langhammars Nature Reserve.

Near Gotland (Sweden): On the island of Fårö, the head-like Rauk in the Langhammars nature reserve is known

On the island of Fårö, the head-like Rauk in the Langhammars nature reserve is known

Quelle: Getty Images/imageBROKER RF/MLNG

Wild horses in the heathland Ljosta Hed

Anyone visiting the Ljosta Hed heathland in the interior of the island on guided tours can discover the last of Gotland’s wild horses. Around 80 Gotland ponies, largely left to their own devices, live there in a spacious area.

The horse breed is considered to be one of the oldest in Europe and almost became extinct around 1900. Domesticated animals live on farms and in riding stables as good-natured riding horses.

Wild horses on Gotland (Sweden)

Source: WORLD infographic

Church ruins in the old town of Visby

Nine church ruins stand as memorials in Visby’s old town. When troops from the Hanseatic city of Lübeck invaded and started a fire in the 16th century, that was the end of the once 14 magnificent sacred buildings within the city wall.

Where today there are only round arches and dome ruins, there are no longer any services, but you can rent the ruins for weddings. Only the cathedral remained undamaged.

Pancakes with saffron is a specialty

The precious spice saffron, which first came to the island at the time of the Hanseatic League, is the coloring ingredient of the golden yellow national dish Saffron pancake, Saffron pancakes. So delicious that it is also served at the Nobel Prize Banquet in Stockholm.

Pancakes with saffron in Sweden

Source: WORLD infographic

The quote

“Here I want to live and here I want to die”

After the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman set foot on the neighboring Gothic island of Fårö for the first time in 1960, he was enthusiastic about the landscape and solitude. He moved into a house, made films, in addition to cinema strips, “Fårödokument” (1970), a TV documentary about the islanders. And he died on Fårö, where he is buried. The Bergman Center Fårö documents his life and work.

Quirky, record-breaking, typical: You can find more parts of our regional geography series here.

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We will be happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

Welt am Sonntag from September 13, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Baltic Sea: Usedom is wild and quiet apart from the imperial baths

Dhe imperial baths are the flagship of Usedom. Ahlbeck, Heringsdorf and Bansin simply have to be experienced. Its beaches are great, and the beach promenade with its parade of villas is the longest of its kind in Europe at 12.5 kilometers.

But because of the crowds, the pretty places have also become bazaars, with cheap stalls, plunder shops, and people jostle on the streets. In Ahlbeck there is a ferris wheel on the edge of the dunes, from above you can look down at the overcrowded beach from a little more distance.

Usedom has many other attractions, they are called Korswandt and Kamminke, Garz or the city of Usedom. In addition, the Szczecin Lagoon, forests with beautiful beeches and small lakes. They are island places without the crowds.

Heringsdorf brought it to the fore on the Baltic Sea

The island is one of the most attractive holiday resorts in this country, the Kaiserbad Heringsdorf has made it number one on the Baltic Sea among its peers. It is expected that not only will more guests come by the end of October, but that they will also stay longer than in previous years, an average of seven days. This is also the result of tourist surveys by the HRS Group tourism company.

Because of the large number of visitors, traffic in the direction of Zinnowitz, the approach from the west, is already backing up again and again at the Peene Bridge. But only a few head for the hinterland on the “sunny island”, with pretty villages that are hidden in the second row and are wrongly misunderstood.

The Szczecin Lagoon is the second largest lagoon in the Baltic Sea. Here you can sail on traditional Zeesenboten

Quelle: picture alliance/ imageBROKER/ Andreas Vitting

For example Korswandt. The 600-inhabitant village is located on Wolgastsee and is surrounded by old trees. If you turn off the road from Heringsdorf to Ahlbeck, you will come across a five kilometer long serpentine, which has it all with its dashing curves. If you want to go to Korswandt by bike, you have to overcome the gradients that formed on this slope in the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago.

It crunches and pounds when stones burst under the tires and meter-long tree roots have to be overcome. If you go hiking on the robust path, you think of a mountain hike, although Korswandt is only 15 meters above the sea. It goes steeply up, down and back up to the Korswandter Berg with the oldest red beech in Usedom.

Hiking in the wild forest or around the Wolgastsee

The Korswandter Forest is part of the Usedom Nature Park, but is not a trimmed park, but a wilderness that is home to pine marten, badger, polecat, raccoon, weasel, hare and deer. In addition to mighty beech trees, spruces and oaks, as well as ferns and yews, stretch out of the thicket into the sunlight. In autumn, withered leaves tumble down gently, they rots together with the dead wood on the forest floor.

Korswandt in the Usedomer Achterland was first mentioned in 1243 and belonged to the monasteries Stolpe and Pudagla, both of which dominated the island for a long time. For centuries there was prayer and supplication in German, Swedish from 1648 and German again from 1720 when the Prussians accepted Usedom into their empire.

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The 16 meter deep Wolgastsee glistens with clear water, in which all kinds of fish romp and finds from the Bronze Age have been located. A 3.8-kilometer hiking trail leads around the lake, where anglers ride in boats without a motor and others practice stand-up paddling.

In the wild bushes, paths lead to niches, the soft sand of which can compete with the Baltic Sea beach. Here you can swim naked, which is frowned upon on the main beach. The hotel “Idyll am Wolgastsee” is built in a seaside architecture suitable for promenades, including a sun terrace from 1924.

A hotel with a golf course in the center of Korswandt

In Korswandt, thatched brick buildings stand next to simple houses. The center of the village is a new hotel building with a 19-hole golf course, inaugurated in 2009, which is separated from the glamorous main building by a pond.

The Dorint Group is the first to have found a location in the hinterland of Usedom, hotel director Delf Küllmei had his house upgraded during the strict Corona restrictions, the new bar is supposedly the best one far and wide. There could be something to it.

Other hotel groups have not yet dared to go to Usedom’s second row. Only the “Hotel Balmer See” in Benz am Achterwasser and the hotel in the west wing of the moated castle Mellenthin can keep up in the four-star sector. It is located in a rural area on a canal and dates back to a mansion building from 1575.

Usedom (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania): Today there is a hotel in the moated castle Mellenthin, in the castle courtyard there is a beer garden

A hotel is now housed in the Mellenthin moated castle and there is a beer garden in the courtyard

Quelle: Getty Images

One can hardly speak of an interior of the island given the water that is always close. And the wide Szczecin Lagoon is a veritable substitute for the sea. It is located at the mouths of the Oder and Peene, belongs to Germany and Poland and with around 900 square kilometers is the second largest on the Baltic Sea after the Curonian Lagoon.

The brackish water, separated from the open sea by islands and headlands, mixes fresh and salt water. In summer it gets three to four degrees warmer than the sea water, and it cools down slowly. Perfect for autumn vacationers.

A bike tour along the Szczecin Lagoon

A bike tour leads from Korswandt – sometimes directly on the shore, sometimes backwards – along the lagoon. In front of the romantic fishing village of Kamminke with its steep coast, the Kleine Haff, the German part, spreads out with shallow water, a refuge for water birds and water sports enthusiasts.

The port of Kamminke on Usedom: This is where the bicycle ferry from Uckermünde arrives on the other side of the lagoon

The small port of Kamminke: This is where the bicycle ferry from Uckermünde arrives on the other side of the lagoon

Quelle: Getty Images

The area between Kamminke, Garz and Zirchow appears quiet, almost isolated. There nature appears untouched, from the Golm, Usedom’s highest “mountain” (a modest 69 meters), the view sweeps over the lagoon and the Polish border to Swinoujscie on one side and the Baltic Sea on the other.

The St. Jakobus Church in Zirchow was built in the second half of the 13th century as a defense room made of field stones – Usedom’s oldest church building. The most extensive museum on the island awaits visitors in Dargen, a town of 500 inhabitants. You can see everything that rattled and bumped on the island in GDR times, from tractors, ambulances, fire brigades and military technology to small cars. In addition, household items and consumer goods “made in GDR”.

The "Countess room" in Stolpe Castle on the island of Usedom (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)

This is how people slept around 1900: the “Countess’ Room” in Stolpe Castle

Quelle: picture alliance / ZB

Stolpe, six kilometers away, has a mini harbor and a massive castle. It is probably the earliest populated place on the island. Slavs and Teutons reliably smashed their skulls here over the centuries. The 120 meter long castle crushes the village, which almost sinks into the surrounding fields. The city of Usedom, already on the Achterwasser, exudes charm with an island cheese dairy and shops full of regional specialties.

The Zecheriner bridge in the west of the island leads over the Peene and is Usedom’s southern mainland connection. The bascule bridge was opened in 1931, blown up by the Wehrmacht at the end of the Second World War, rebuilt in the workers and peasants period in 1955 and renovated after its end in 2000. It is 325 meters long and allows views of the largest brick barns on the island, as if left behind from the distant past.

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Another tip from the second row: the Gnitz peninsula between Peenestrom and Achterwasser. A circular path at the so-called southern tip of Gnitz leads over sandy trails above a steep bank, through juniper-pine forest and dunes, meadows and to the water. Even in midsummer you will hardly meet anyone there, but you may spot a sea eagle. You can’t beat that in autumn either. But it will always be relaxing and exciting at the same time.

Usedom (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)

Source: WORLD infographic

Tips and information for Usedom

Getting there: By train to Anklam, from Berlin a regional express takes a good two hours. From Munich in around seven hours with a change in Berlin ( By car via the A11 and the B110.

Accommodation: In Korswandt in the “Dorint Resort Baltic Hills Usedom”, modern house, double rooms from 89 euros including breakfast for two people (; at the Achterwasser in Benz in the “Hotel Balmer See”, double rooms from 80 euros (; If you like it more stately, you can book a double room from € 88 including breakfast at the “Wasserschloss Mellenthin” ( The hotels mentioned offer half board.

To eat and drink: The Dorint Hotel’s restaurant is located on the hillside with a beautiful view of the golf course; The “Peene-Idyll” restaurant on the Zecheriner Bridge in the west of the island is also recommended, serving local pikeperch, pike and salmon from the Peene River and the lagoon (

Information desk:


Autumn? Summer continues on these islands

Europe Near Sicily

Is summer over soon? Not on these islands!

From seething mud lakes to picture-perfect fishing villages: each of the seven inhabited Aeolian Islands is unique in its own way. The archipelago near Sicily is a worthwhile holiday destination until well into autumn.

| Reading time: 3 minutes

Dhe Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, have been a Unesco World Heritage Site for 20 years. The archipelago is a worthwhile holiday destination well into autumn. Bathing is still done in November, hikers climb extinct and not extinct volcanoes or walk between vineyards and caper fields.

Each of the seven inhabited islands is unique in its own way. Salina, for example, consists of two volcanoes that are almost 1,000 meters high. Both are long extinct, but their black, mustard-yellow or bright red rocks shape the spectacular landscape.

The locals are proud of the beauty of their island, but kept it to themselves for a long time. They did not want mass tourism, and so the creation of tourist infrastructure was deliberately neglected. In the meantime, there are more visitors, but places like Malfa still seem sleepy and pleasantly provincial even in the high season, especially in Corona summer 2020.

Aeolian Islands near Sicily in Italy

Source: Infographic WELT / Jörn Baumgarten

Some consider Salina to be the most exciting of the Aeolian Islands. The neighboring islands have their own charms and invite you to go island hopping:

Vulcano: Bathing in Schammseen

Admittedly, the island smells like rotten eggs. Hot steam flows from various holes in the ground, in places Vulcano looks like a bizarre moonscape. All kinds of sulfur springs feed natural mud lakes, whose healing properties were already appreciated by the Romans and which locals and tourists serve as a health-promoting meeting point. You just have to pinch your nose there.

You can bathe more elegantly in the Therasia Resort Sea & Spa, which is considered to be one of the best wellness hotels south of Rome.

On Vulcano, tourists take a sulfur bath in the fango pool

On Vulcano, tourists take a sulfur bath in the fango pool

Source: mauritius images / Werner Otto

Lipari: The largest of the Aeolian Islands

On the largest of the Aeolian Islands there are cars, schools, a hospital, an archaeological museum and a long sandy beach with bathing establishments. There are also plenty of hotels and pensions, trattorias and cafés.

In the evening, when the day-trippers are gone, you meet at the port of the pretty fishing village of Marina Corta and have an aperitivo in peace. Then the best thing to do is to order shrimp tartare and pistachio pasta in one of the restaurants.

Coast Guard frees sperm whale from fishing net

The coast guard has freed a sperm whale from a fishing net off the coast of Italy. The ten-meter-long animal was caught in the net off the Aeolian island of Salina.

Those: WELT / Coast Guard

Stromboli: an active volcano and black beaches

When you think of Stromboli, you think of the film of the same name by Roberto Rossellini with Ingrid Bergman in the leading role. Almost 400 people live on the island in two enchanted villages at the foot of a volcano that regularly spits lava.

Sun worshipers are drawn to the black beaches of Ficogrande, where the chic hotel “La Sirenetta” with a pool and a view of the Strombolicchio rock is located. Gourmets appreciate the Ristorante “Punta Lena” with the best island cuisine and a terrace directly above the cliffs.

Stromboli is an active volcano that regularly spits lava

Stromboli is an active volcano that regularly spits lava

Those: Getty Images / Gianni Sarasso

Panarea: excursions by boat

Although the postcard-pretty island doesn’t have a single beach, it does have a large number of offshore islets and enough fishing boats that can be hired for excursions. Insiders buy lunch in the mini market and later dive into the crystal clear water around the rocks of Basiluzzo, Dattilo or Lisca Bianca.

Panarea is also suitable for people watching: If someone in the “Hotel Raya” looks like Naomi Campbell, it’s Naomi Campbell, and in the “Bar del Porto” you can see the who’s who of the Sicilian hotspot having an evening aperitif.

Aeolian Islands (Italy): On Panarea there are also hiking trails with breathtaking views

There are hiking trails on Panarea with breathtaking views

Those: Getty Images / Antonio Busiello

Filicudi: A rugged rock with beautiful grottos

The island is a roughly ten square kilometers large, rugged rock. The three volcanic cones are extinct, during their active time they gave Filicudi a number of beautiful grottos. Almost exclusively Italians holiday here with their own villa and boat, so it’s quiet.

The port village of Pecorini, which consists of a few houses, can only be reached by water. The restaurant and beach club “La Sirena” offers the only public social meeting place far and wide.

Approach by boat: one of the caves on Filicudi (Aeolian Islands, Italy)

One can get closer to the Filicudi caves by boat

Those: De Agostini via Getty Images / DEA / S. MONTANARI

Alicudi: 150 residents and a couple of donkeys

Those who find it too stressful on Filicudi can go to Alicudi. Only 150 residents and a few donkeys live there.

Aeolian Islands near Sicily (Italy): Only 150 people live on Alicudi

Quiet is really guaranteed here: only 150 people live on Alicudi

Quelle: Universal Images Group via Getty Images/Marka

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

WELT AM SONNTAG from September 6, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag


New Caledonia: 2000 species of fish in the largest lagoon in the world

New Caledonia and its islands

AAt the other end of the world – that’s New Caledonia. The South Pacific archipelago, around 17,000 kilometers from Paris, was a colony until 1946, then an overseas territory of France until 2003, and since then it has been an overseas community with special rights. This includes the right to independence.

Many indigenous people want to break away from France, but a majority has not yet been achieved: In a referendum in 2018, 56 percent voted to stay with the mother country, but another referendum is scheduled for October 2020. Since 2010 the flag of the independence movement has been hoisted alongside the flag of France.

The name New Caledonia goes back to James Cook. The explorer was the first European to set foot on the islands in 1774, and because the main part of the island reminded him of Scotland, he gave the group of islands the name New Caledonia – Caledonia was called part of Scotland by the Romans. France then took possession of the islands in 1853 under the name Nouvelle-Calédonie and made them a penal colony – for example for revolutionaries from the Paris Commune.

Source: WORLD infographic

Melanesian natives, European settler descendants and new immigrants live here today, baguette and boules are widespread. French is the only official language, the languages ​​of the indigenous people have been systematically pushed back, today they are neither spoken nor understood by the majority of the 280,000 inhabitants.

The largest lagoon in the world

The largest attraction in the South Sea region is literally under water: the New Caledonian Barrier Reef measures around 1500 kilometers, the second largest in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. It forms the largest lagoon around the globe, which at 23,500 square kilometers is slightly larger than Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and, in addition to the main part of La Grande Terre, surrounds several smaller islands.

In the always warm shallow water, maximum depth 40 meters, almost 2000 species of fish feel at home, including parrot fish, manta rays and many species of sharks. Baby humpback whales, sea turtles, manatees and, of course, divers exploring New Caledonia from below also float through the turquoise water.

New Caledonian Barrier Reef

Quelle: Getty Images/Southern Lightscapes-Australia

Aborigines call themselves Kanaks

The Melanesian natives of New Caledonia now make up more than 40 percent of the population. They call themselves Kanaken, which means human in the local languages. Their ancestors inhabited the South Sea islands 2800 years ago, as ancient ceramic finds show.

The indigenous people still organize themselves in clans and maintain their traditions: dances in honor of the ancestors, totem pole carvings, and they try to preserve their almost 30 Kanak languages, which are understood by fewer and fewer natives.

Those who want to immerse themselves in Kanak culture should visit the island of Ouvéa or the Tjiabou center near the capital Nouméa, a pavilion ensemble designed by Renzo Piano in the style of traditional Kanak residential huts.

Kanaks in New Caledonia (France)

Source: AFP via Getty Images

Rodeo in the South Pacific

In some places Grande Terre resembles the Wild West: savannah, hills, pastureland. Here the cowboys of the South Seas ride around, the Stockmen, and keep their flocks in check.

There are several cattle farms around Bourail, which have brought the small community the largest event in the country with over 20,000 visitors: Organized for the first time in 1877, the agricultural fair, where cattle breeders and Bushmen meet in August, is now a fair. The biggest spectacle is the rodeo, but the flip-flop throwing is also popular.

Unique animals and plants

77 percent of the animal and plant species in New Caledonia are only found there. The giant pigeon Notou, up to half a meter long, for example, the super-clever straight-billed crow (builds its own tools!) Or the straight columned pine, a species of araucaria, can be admired especially on the Île des Pins.

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A terribly nice family: crows, ravens, magpies and a few other species belong to the corvids

There is a reason for the natural wealth: as a former part of the ancient continent Gondwana, New Caledonia has been isolated in the South Pacific for 100 million years.

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The delicacy La Bounga

Eat what Mother Earth has to offer: La Bounga is cooked in a dug hole in the ground. Pour coconut milk over fish or meat, add taro, yam and cassava roots, wrap everything in banana leaves, then cook on hot stones for hours in the covered pit – the South Sea specialty, which is traditionally served as a feast in New Caledonia, is ready.

Variants are prepared with banana or sweet potato. The meat comes either from chicken or pork, less often from dogfish, sometimes lobster is also given into the ground.

The quote

“The island that is closest to paradise”

This is how the Japanese writer Katsura Morimura called her bestseller in the 1960s. The novel is set on Ouvéa, around 100 kilometers east of the main island. Ouvéa became known through Morimura’s love story in Japan, which triggered a small tourist boom at the time.

With the seemingly endless picture-book beach (which measures 25 kilometers), the tropical rainforest and coconut palms, Ouvéa fulfills all the requirements for the cliché of the perfect South Pacific.

Quirky, record-breaking, typical: You can find more parts of our regional geography series here.

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

WELT AM SONNTAG from September 6, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Ranking 2020: The most popular beaches in Europe for holidaymakers

Europe Travellers’ Choice

These ten European beaches are most loved by vacationers

Hidden bays, great diving conditions, white sand: a travel portal has identified the most popular beaches in Europe for vacationers. One country even made it into the ranking of the ten most beautiful beaches three times.

| Reading time: 2 minutes

This means the lifting of the general travel warning

From October 1st, the general travel warning for countries outside the EU will be lifted. Even then, unlimited travel will not be possible. In the future, the Federal Foreign Office intends to assess the situation in each individual country very differently.

TTurquoise blue water, snow-white sand and lots of sun – the Spiaggia dei Conigli in southern Italy is a dream for sun worshipers and bathers. The beach is located on the Isola dei Conigli off the south coast of Lampedusa. Translated, Spiaggia dei Conigli means Rabbit Beach. Long-ears don’t hop over the sand here, but visitors can expect Caribbean flair without having to fly halfway around the world.

So it is hardly surprising that the Spiaggia dei Conigli is at the top of the Tripadvisor ranking of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. For the “Travelers’ Choice Awards 2020” ranking, the travel portal evaluated ratings from travelers on Tripadvisor over a period of one year. Both the quality and the quantity of reviews from vacationers played a role.

Kleftiko Beach on Milos Island came in second. It is located in Greece, which is represented three times in the top ten. The beach on the south coast of the small island of Elafonissi ranks seventh and the bay of Balos on Crete landed ninth.

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Not only in southern Europe, beaches make the hearts of many holidaymakers beat faster, as shown by Luskentyre Bay on the island of Lewis and Harris, which made it to third place. In view of the water temperatures, bathing can be a real challenge here, but the landscape is all the more enchanting. And surfers also get their money’s worth, because there is plenty of space and wind.

Spain should of course not be missing in such a ranking and is represented in fifth place with Platja de Ses Illetes on the Balearic island of Formentera (fourth place) and Playa de La Concha, the beach in the Basque city of San Sebastián. Right behind is Woolacombe Beach in Devon, a county in the south-west of England, eighth place went to Italy with Cala Mariolu in Sardinia, and tenth place went to Black Sand Beach in Iceland:

Platz 1: Rabbit Beach (Rabbit Island, Italien)

Rabbit Beach (der Kaninchenstrand) on the Rabbit Island vor Lampedusa, Italien

Off the south coast of Lampedusa, on a small island, is the Spiaggia dei Conigli, the Rabbit Beach. There are no rabbits here, but fantastic conditions for bathing

Quelle: Getty Images/Maremagnum

Rank 2: Kleftiko Beach (Milos, Cyclades, Greece)

Kleftiko beach on the Cyclades island of Milos in Greece

Rock gates and protective rock ledges – Kleftiko Beach is one of the most spectacular places on the Greek Cycladic island of Milos

Which: Getty Images / Manuel Breva Colmeiro

3rd place: Luskentyre (Outer Hebrides, Scotland)

Luskentyre - Lewis and Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Luskentyre Bay is on Lewis and Harris Island. The beaches in the Hebrides are an insider tip in the surfing scene because there is space here and there is always wind

Quelle: Getty Images/Paul Carroll and Mhairi Carroll

Platz 4: Ses Illetes Beach (Formentera, Spain)

Ses Illetes Beach, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain

It doesn’t always have to be Mallorca: The dream beach of Platja de Ses Illetes is located in a nature reserve on the Balearic island of Formentera

Quelle: Getty Images/David Navarro Azurmendi

Platz 5: La Concha Beach (San Sebastián, Spain)

Fifth place in the ranking shows that city beaches can also inspire enthusiasm: La Concha beach in the Basque town of San Sebastian (Spain) is 1.5 kilometers long

Fifth place in the ranking shows that city beaches can also inspire enthusiasm: La Concha beach in the Basque town of San Sebastián is 1.5 kilometers long

Quelle: Getty Images/

Platz 6: Woolacombe Beach (Devon, England)

It can be stormy in Devon, a county in the south-west of England.  But that doesn't detract from the beauty of Woolacombe Bay

It can be stormy in Devon, a county in the south-west of England. But that doesn’t detract from the beauty of Woolacombe Bay

Quelle: Getty Images/Sandra Clegg

Rank 7: beach of Elafonissi (Crete, Greece)

Greece: This wonderful beach is located on the south coast of the small island Elafonissi, which is located in the southwest of Crete.  A nature trail leads through the nature reserve of the island

This wonderful beach is located on the south coast of the small Greek island of Elafonissi in the southwest of Crete. A nature trail leads through the nature reserve of the island

Quelle: Getty Images/David C Tomlinson

Rank 8: Cala Mariolu (Sardinia, Italy)

Italy: Cala Mariolu is a small hidden cove on the Sardinian coast that is difficult to reach by land.  Here it is not only worth your while in the sun, but also diving or snorkeling

Not only nice for sunbathing, but also for diving: Cala Mariolu is a small hidden bay on the coast of Sardinia, which is difficult to reach by land

Quelle: Universal Images Group via Getty Images/REDA&CO

Rank 9: beach of Balos (Crete, Greece)

And once again Crete: The bay of Balos with the lagoon of Gramvousa is one of the highlights in the west of the island, alongside Elafonisi and the Samaria Gorge.  The lagoon beach consists of fine white shell and coral sand

And once again Crete: the bay of Balos with the lagoon Gramvousa is one of the highlights in the west of the island, along with Elafonisi and the Samaria Gorge

Quelle: Getty Images/maydays

Place 10: Black Sand Beach (Vík í Mýrdal, Iceland)

Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland proves that there are spectacular beaches not only in southern Europe.  The beach consists of black lava, basalt columns and rock formations make this place unique

Reynisfjara in Iceland is a magical place. Basalt columns line the black lava beach, and bizarre rock formations rise off the coast

Source: Getty Images / Suttipong Sutiratanachai

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“Colossus of Prora”: The kilometer-long, never completed Nazi holiday complex on Rügen has been luxuriously renovated in part

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Denmark: At 128 meters, the chalk cliffs on the Baltic Sea island of Mön tower over the Königsstuhl by 10 meters

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The author at the age of eight in 1968 on a roof terrace in Wenningstedt

Are women allowed to sunbathe topless on the beach?

An incident on the Cote d’Azur sparked a heated discussion in France. Gendarmes asked several women to put their tops back on. The Minister of the Interior also intervened.


North Sea: These five beaches are simply terrific

Eit doesn’t exist the North Sea. In this sea there are ebb and flow, sand and mud flats, wind and waves in very different forms. And coastal dwellers with many customs of their own. Every island, every shore here is different – and always something special. We present five of the most attractive places on the water.

Denmark: fishing trawler right on the beach

And that too, one involuntarily thinks – the fishing trawler ran aground, here in Jammer Bay on the northwest coast of Jutland in Denmark. The ship is lopsided and sways in the waves.

A sailor stands at the bow and throws a line. The surf tugs at the cutter. But it doesn’t have to be rescued, just pulled ashore.

Thorup Strand in northern Denmark: Here the cutters land directly on the sand and sell freshly caught fish to tourists

Quelle: Getty Images

Thorup Strand in Denmark is one of the last and largest landing sites for fish in Northern Europe, where the local fishermen and captains let themselves be pulled ashore with their cutters by a bulldozer, there is no pier or quay.

When the weather permits, the ten skippers of the local fisheries association extinguish their catch every day – mainly plaice, sole and cod. If you want, you can buy these fish right here from the ship.

EU fisheries ministers agree on new catch quotas

After a negotiating marathon, the EU fisheries ministers agree on new catches for the North Sea and the north-east Atlantic. Significantly less cod can be caught in 2020.

Source: WORLD / Sebastian Struwe

Of course, you can also eat freshly caught North Sea fish in the small town: In “Thorupstrand Fiskehus”, for example, fish sizzle in butter that recently swam in the sea.

And in the snack bars you can get fried fish dumplings on hand for the beach. This is the best way to sit down in the fine sand, listen to the surf, look at the blue cutters and have the taste of the sea on your tongue – more North Sea is not possible (Info:

Netherlands: Show of the stars on the mudflats

In the alleys of Schiermonnikoog, a few lanterns provide some light. But the small village is quickly left behind – and you are, in the literal sense, completely in the dark.

Schiermonnikoog is the smallest inhabited island in the West Frisian Wadden Sea in the Netherlands. In 2006 it was named the “most beautiful place in the Netherlands” by the Nederlandse Christelijke Radio Vereniging.

Beaches on the North Sea

Source: WORLD infographic

Also because of the darkness – on the island, which is just four kilometers wide and 16 kilometers long, nothing disturbs the view of the night sky. The few lanterns in the village and two lighthouses – these are the only artificial light sources.

Only a handful of residents live in the postcard-beautiful island village. The feeling of being far away from the rest of the world is therefore particularly intense on Schiermonnikoog. There is always a place on the island where you can be all to yourself. Just nature and the sea. And the sky above, which is most beautiful at night.

It’s a 20-minute walk from the village to the beach, first through the heather, then through a pine forest – and the sea spreads out in front of you, dark and unfathomable. A ghostly atmosphere, also because long-eared owls and nightingales are calling and the surf is rumbling.

More can be seen from the sky than from the dark water, such as the constellation of the Big Dipper. There is orientation, the fivefold extension of the rear axis leads to the North Star. It is one of the brightest stars in the sky and is exactly north.

Netherlands: The island of Schiermonnikoog should definitely be explored at night

The Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog should definitely be explored at night

Quelle: Getty Images

A bright band stretches out up there: the Milky Way. The stars sparkle like diamonds on the velvety black. Depending on the season, Venus can also be seen; sometimes it is the evening star for months, sometimes it announces the approaching morning. Jupiter and Saturn are in the constellation Sagittarius. In spring the lion sneaks up as its constellation.

More and more stars can be seen – in the deep darkness you almost have the feeling of being drawn into space. And sometimes even a shooting star pulls its orbit through the loneliness of the universe and ensures an unforgettable goosebumps moment in the loneliness at night on the beach of Schiermonnikoog (

Helgoland: The home of the gray seals

The little ferry has hardly left Heligoland when it arrives at the dune opposite. The little sister island with its snow-white beach and the holiday village is a bathing paradise and at the same time the nursery for Germany’s largest predator – the gray seal.

531 young animals were born on dune in 2019. The population has grown significantly in recent years and Heligoland’s side island has become a hotspot for seal fans from home and abroad.

Researchers waited almost 20 years for these recordings of gray seals

British researcher Ben Burville spent almost twenty years trying to capture these gray seals on camera. Now he has finally managed to record the animals’ breeding behavior, which is quite surprising.

In summer several hundred animals hunt for fish in the waters around Heligoland, often taking a break on the beach of their native island. Nowhere on the North Sea can you see the seals better.

However, a safety distance of at least 30 meters must be maintained on dunes – the sluggish-looking animals can, if they feel threatened, come out of cover at up to 20 kilometers per hour. And they do it without hesitation!

Helgoland is one of the best places on the North Sea to spot gray seals

Helgoland is one of the best places on the North Sea to spot gray seals

Quelle: picture alliance / imageBROKER

Those who want to be on the safe side prefer to take part in a guided tour. A specially created panorama path offers views of the sea again and again – and with a bit of luck you will see hairy snouts emerge from the waves.

It is not always seals, it can also be seals. They don’t use Helgoland as a nursery, but they also love trips to the island to do the same thing as human visitors: enjoy sunbathing (

St. Peter-Ording: sailing on sand

How was that with the braking? The sand yachts are fast and have foot pedals as a steering wheel, but no brake pedal. Several of these three-wheeled speedsters with sails whiz across the beach of St. Peter-Ording. A constant wind blows on the kilometer-long sand ridge and puffs up the sails.

“The beach here is particularly suitable,” says Sven Harder from the Nordsport beach sailing school. He offers courses for beginners on one of the largest beaches in the North Sea. “Beach sailors have a lot of space here, hard sand and mostly good wind.”

Wind strengths between 3 and 6 are ideal, adds Harder, as it is a wonderful way to escape the stress of everyday life. If you know how to slow down the beach runabouts, you would like to add.

The course starts with some theory, the rules of avoidance, flag signals, safety instructions and fitting the helmet. It is particularly important because the lower, horizontal rod on which the sail sits just above the head swings back and forth when driving.

And how do you even get going? “With a line that we call a sheet, you let the sail loose or pull it in,” says Harder. “The sheet serves as a kind of gas pedal. If you pull the sheet tighter, the sand yacht accelerates. If you loosen the sheet, you reduce the speed again and thus determine the pace. “

North Sea: You can learn sand sailing on the beach of St. Peter-Ording

As fast as the wind: you can learn sand sailing on the beach in St. Peter-Ording

Quelle: picture-alliance / dpa/dpaweb

And brake? “You let the sheet as loose as possible, but not let go! You steer against the wind and take the car away from it. “

Dealing with the sand yachts seems child’s play. Feel, think, do – and the box starts running. Soon the course participants were racing on the firm sand of St. Peter-Ording.

Even beginners get going quickly, and they can soon manage a speed of 50 and more. And apparently the beach yachtsmen have been paying close attention during training, because everyone manages to brake without an accident. Without a brake pedal (

England: castles overlooking the North Sea

You can literally hear the blades clapping and the screams of rough men echoing through the walls – in your mind, of course, because it is more than 1200 years since native Celts and invading Vikings crossed their blades here in what is now Northumberland.

The defiant castles, of which there are many in this part of the English and Scottish North Sea coast, fire the imagination of the visitors. They are silent witnesses to an eventful history – and a wonderful backdrop for a walk on the beach.

One of the most beautiful North Sea beaches in Great Britain is the one in front of Bamburgh Castle. The castle itself is now a place for cultural events, you can visit it, walk in the footsteps of sagas and legends.

England: Visitors can also spend the night in Bamburgh Castle on the North Sea coast

Visitors can also spend the night at Bamburgh Castle on England’s coast

Quelle: picture alliance / Loop Images

And you can live here: On a clear day, the view from the room in the Neville Tower extends across to Holy Island and out to the Farne Islands. With binoculars you can see seals and dolphins, sometimes even whales.

The late light sets the huge castle in a picturesque scene and lets the walls light up like brass, the clouds in the sky are the color of mallow, the surf shimmers silvery and light gray.

The beach is clean and beautiful, the lords of the castle and the nature conservation organization Natural England are in charge. Bamburgh Beach is sweeping, ideal for long walks; however, the water is too cold for bathing.

Surfers in their wetsuits have it better, they appreciate the wind-blown coast, where steadily passable waves roll. Those who love lonely walks will get their money’s worth here, and everywhere you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the sea and the beach, the drama of the landscape and the sky.

But you can also just sit in the slipstream of the dunes and watch birds for hours. Or you can practice as a lord of the castle – and build a sand castle in the form of Bamburgh Castle (

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The author at the age of eight in 1968 on a roof terrace in Wenningstedt

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The North Frisian Wadden Sea: in front right Blauortsand, far right Blauort

Vacationers come back to a new normal

Much is no longer the same as it was before the Corona crisis. And it will probably stay that way for a while. Holiday destinations on the Baltic Sea prepare for visitors with strict rules.

Source: WELT / Marcus Tychsen

This article was first published in May 2020.

The text comes from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.




Holiday complex on Rügen: will Prora be a normal seaside resort?

“I would never voluntarily spend a night here,” says Christian Schmidt from Sassnitz. “Great holiday apartments right on the sandy beach, we’ll be back,” enthuses a family from North Rhine-Westphalia. Welcome to Prora – no state-approved resort in Germany, perhaps even worldwide, is likely to polarize more. And that’s because of its history. Today the colossus is becoming a controversial vacation spot.


Salina near Sicily: the beauty of the island kept secret

Fif you ask any islander about his ancestors, you often hear the story of visionary entrepreneurs who emigrated to Australia or America and returned to Salina with fresh money and new ideas. From wealthy Malvasia wine merchants or at least from farmers who have grown the valuable capers in addition to grapes and almonds. And who, thanks to their wealth, were able to put a few splendid palaces on the slopes above the coast.

“Our island has always been special,” says Salina-born artist Pippo Cafarella. One volcano wasn’t enough, there had to be two. Both are long extinct, but their black, mustard-yellow or bright red rock shapes the spectacular landscape.

It is also special that the 2500-person island of Salina governs itself, in contrast to the other Aeolian Islands – the film diva Stromboli is one of them, but also Panarea, Vulcano and the rocky spots Alicudi and Filicudi, which are administered from the main island of Lipari . Salina has three independent municipalities, each with a port, a city council and its own mayor.

Salina is considered the most beautiful of the Aeolian Islands

The archipelago north of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea has been a Unesco World Heritage Site for 20 years and is a worthwhile holiday destination well into autumn. Bathing is still in November, hikers climb extinct and not extinct volcanoes or stroll between vineyards and caper fields. Each of the seven inhabited islands is unique in its own way, but Salina is considered by connoisseurs to be the most beautiful and special of all.

Source: Infographic WELT / Jörn Baumgarten

The locals kept it to themselves for a long time. They wanted to prevent Salina from becoming as glamorous as Panarea or as famous as Stromboli. The creation of tourist infrastructure was deliberately neglected, only a few hotels offered a few rooms, anyone who wanted to go on holiday on Salina needed their own house.

Then director Michael Radford came and shot “Il Postino” (“The Postman”) in 1994. The story of friendship between the poet Pablo Neruda and his postman moved many cinema viewers to tears and aroused their curiosity: Where is the village of Pollara, through which the postman cycles? Where is the lonely bay that Neruda walks along? And where is the poet’s pink house? The answer to all three questions is: Salina.

Even the Ferrari boss flashed here

With the film, the island became popular. Pippo Cafarella, who owns the picturesque film house, could have sold his property several times: actors, industrial captains, public offices and even the Belgian royal couple were interested. But he is not thinking of giving up his house with its overgrown garden.

Villa on Salina (Sicily, Italy)

There are some villas on Salina with a great view

Quelle: Getty Images/ RM

“No”, said Patrizia Lopes when the former Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo offered four million euros for her weathered villa above the port of Rinella. “Villa L’Ariana was my grandparents’ holiday home, I live here, why should I sell?”

She prefers to rent a few rooms in the peach-colored property with its terraces and the striking bust trellis on the roof to vacationers: “Some guests have been coming for 30 years, should I put them in front of the door?” And anyway: “What does Signor di Montezemolo want in Rinella? “

In fact, the place doesn’t offer much: a small supermarket, an ice cream parlor, a church and a tiny beach, which – like most on the island – consists of dark gray lava sand. But with the motorboat you are quickly in a Caribbean blue bay and with the Vespa in one of the osterias.

Salina: The village of Pollara with its boat houses carved into the rock and a bay for diving

The village of Pollara with its boat houses carved into the rock and a bay for diving

Those: Getty

For example in the “Villa Carla” in Leni. There is a handful of tables between blooming rose bushes, the view overlooks the sea, island specialties such as ravioli with caper filling and fish in a crust of breadcrumbs, mint and orange peel come from the kitchen.

The straw-yellow Malvasia from the Capofaro winery, which towers high above the sea, goes well with this. It belongs to the Sicilian noble family Tasca d’Almerita, who not only grow this wonderfully dry white wine on Salina, but also run a luxurious hotel.

The rooms and suites are located in houses overgrown with bougainvilleas between vines or in the lighthouse built in 1884 and score points with their chic, pleasantly cool island design.

Despite more holidaymakers, not full even in midsummer

From here it is only a stone’s throw to Malfa, a village with narrow streets, photogenic faded house facades, a church square with palm trees and a few cafes where large cups of almond or mulberry granita are served. On the outskirts of the village, the Scario Beach, which is surrounded by dark cliffs and valued for its crystal-clear water, is attractive, but also for the tiny “Maracaibo” bar, where you get filled foccacia, beer and colorful air mattresses.

Salina: Malfa is a village with narrow streets, a church square with palm trees and a few cafes

Malfa is a village with narrow streets, a church square with palm trees and a few cafes

Quelle: REDA&CO/Universal Images Group v

Malfa’s mayor Chiara Rametta is closely watching what is happening on her island: “We are seeing more holidaymakers than ten years ago. In the past only Italians came and they only came in August. Now the first holidaymakers arrive at Whitsun, the last come in October. And international vacationers also come. But it is still a very discreet tourism. ”It can hardly be felt anyway – Malfa looks sleepy and pleasantly provincial even in the high season, especially in the Corona summer 2020.

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Santa Marina is a bit more urban, simply called “la città” by the 900 residents. There are restaurants, a marina and a shopping street with lovely shops like “Le Signorine”, where Rossana and Serena Cervellera offer their own line of saline jewelry and Mediterranean home accessories.

The “Mercanti di Mare” hotel on the promenade also belongs to the elegant sisters. They inherited the beautiful building with a spacious loggia from their grandparents. Of course they could have sold it, there were enough interested parties. But that is out of the question for her: “It’s our family’s house. We don’t give it up. “

Salina: The Cervellera sisters run a hotel in Santa Maria - and they don't think about selling it

The Cervellera sisters run a hotel in Santa Maria – and don’t think about selling it

Quelle: Patricia Engelhorn

Tips and information

Getting there: Flight to Catania or Palermo, for example with Lufthansa or Easyjet. Most of the ferry connections to Salina and the other Aeolian Islands are from the port of Milazzo, e.g. with Liberty Lines ( or Siremar (, tickets from 20 euros (one way ).

Accommodation: “Hotel Mercanti di Mare”, nine rooms furnished in a pretty island style, some with a view of the Santa Marina promenade, double rooms from 100 euros, “Hotel Signum”, charming 30-room hotel in Malfa, which is spread over several renovated island houses in a garden landscape, restaurant with Michelin star, double rooms from 200 euros, “I Cinque Balconi”, ten rooms with beamed ceilings, antique floor tiles and family antiques in two historic merchant houses in Santa Marina, double rooms from 80 euros, The “Capofaro” is a magical Relais & Châteaux resort in a vineyard with a sea view, 27 minimalist, elegant rooms, spacious pool, gourmet restaurant, double rooms from 260 euros, (not until 2021).

Further information:;

Sicily: Salina Island, Malfa, Hotel Signum, pool

The “Hotel Signum” in Malfa has a pool

Source: pa / DUMONT Bildar / Sabine Lubenow

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

Source: Welt am Sonntag


Römö, Denmark: North of Sylt is the perfect island for autumn

Dhe sea can be felt everywhere on Römö, this island in the Danish Wadden Sea, but it is still a long way to the North Sea. The trail leads us from the heather over a kilometer-wide, reflecting surface swept empty by the eternal wind. Only horizon and high sky. The cries of birds blow away, the sand grinds between your teeth. Then the blurred transition to the water in the distance. And finally the sea is reached.

Islands like Römö are subject to the regime of wind, water and waves. Traces are lost. Sand covers them and water washes them away. Melancholy lies over this large, empty room, fingers of light reach out from the cloudy haze. It is an island with an ambivalent relationship to the sea, which took and gave. Romo is an island of seafarers, their graves and stories.

Almost 600 people live on Römö, this barren and once poor island in Denmark, which one had to leave for a chance in life and whose island church, named after the patron saint of seafarers, Saint Clemens, is visited by 80,000 people every year. Whoever wanted to become something went to sea, went to the Arctic Ocean, went to the East Indies. These were risky undertakings that cost some emigrants their lives, while others returned home rich.

Stories from the glory days of the seafarers

A faint gallop can be heard in the distance, and soon the horses and their riders are standing in the surf. As suddenly as they came, they disappeared again. A flock of birds flies up, flighty and fleeting. The animals also seem to sense the presence of the North Sea and its volatility.

Before the water comes, we make our way back, again over the heather, then through a forest, and suddenly the white island church in front of us. St. Clemens looks like a defiant castle as it rises from the country.

Source: WORLD infographic

Jörn Carl leads through the cemetery, he is a church leader. Some of his ancestors are buried here. “My great, great, great-grandfather drove into the Arctic Ocean as a commander,” says Carl while walking around the tombs. He knows countless stories from glorious seafaring times, has written a book that keeps this memory alive, that describes the tombstones and votive ships inside the church.

He is a teacher of history and religion and can tell of adventures at sea, which are about danger and luck, faith and gold and are unbelievable – but naturally belong to the life story of the sailors of Romo.

Seafaring brought prosperity to Romo

In 1982 a grave was dug and the sexton found three gold coins. Two came from Flanders, one from England, and they weren’t simply lost, says Carl. These are probably so-called Charon coins, because they lay next to the dead man’s left hand and were intended as payment for the crossing to the realm of the dead.

In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman and drives the dead from this side over the river Styx to the next. “In the course of the Middle Ages this myth became a Christian tradition – and the coin find of St. Clemens shows the importance of seafaring for Romo.”

Denmark: A boat is lying on the pier of Romo in the fog

A boat lies on the pier of Romo in the fog

Quelle: Getty Images/D.Reichardt

Seafaring brought prosperity. Anyone who knew how to handle a ship here on the unpredictable coast was good at it, went fishing or sailed as a sailor. And then things really started: at the end of the 16th century, English and Dutch sailors tried to find a passage to China via the northern ocean.

“They did not find an alternative to the long sea route around Africa, but very large populations of whales in the Arctic Ocean. The whale hunt soon began between Greenland and Svalbard. “

Whales and seals were popular

The oil of whales and seals was particularly popular as fuel, seal skins were a valuable commodity. “At the height of whale and seal fishing, almost a third of the 1500 inhabitants on the island of Romo went to sea.” As skilled and capable seamen, some made it to the captain of a fishing ship. So they got rich and had tombstones made that tell their life story.

Gravestone of a whaling captain, so-called commander stone (18th century)

Commander stone: Section of the gravestone of a whaling captain from the 18th century

Source: pa / akg / Bildarc / Bildarchiv Steffens

40 of these stones are in the cemetery of St. Clemens, and seemingly forever they tell of how dangerous the journey into the Arctic Ocean was. One of them is the tombstone of Anders Michelsen List – who first sailed as a child and later as a captain on ships, who sank off Greenland and survived.

“When he was twelve he was taken whaling,” says Carl. “In 1777 14 whaling ships got caught in the pack ice off Greenland, were trapped and crushed, five of these ships were led by men from Romo.

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450 sailors fled from their destroyed ships onto the pack ice and began the long march to the east coast of the ice island, 300 of them drowned and froze, died of starvation and exhaustion. ”Anders Michelsen List spent the winter of twelve years on Greenland, he was 56 years later buried in the churchyard of St. Clemens on Römö.

The North Sea is also present in the church

Jörn Carl opens the heavy door, there is complete silence in the church, and soft light falls through the window. Inside, too, St. Clemens looks like a castle, the building has been expanded again and again over the centuries. The ceilings have remained low. As if the people wanted to seek protection, at least security for the soul. But even in here the sea is always present, as a memory.

Seven of the ship models hang from the ceiling. For example the “Flora”, a pretty three-master, detailed, equipped with dinghies. “This ship came back in 1836 with its biggest catch, laden with the bacon from five whales and 5000 seals.”

The votive ships show the enormous importance of seafaring for Romo and, like Carl’s concentrated knowledge, keep memories alive and in honor. In keeping with this, the metaphorical designation of the church interior as a ship: The congregation, Carl explains, treads the path from this world to the hereafter.

She is on a journey through life with an unknown destination, as are the sailors on the “Flora”, the “Danmark”, the “Aurora Borealis” and the other ships that are heading for the altar in St. Clemens.

Pirates kept attacking ships

A warship also hangs in the church, the “frigates”. Because it happened again and again that mostly merchant drivers were victims of pirates. That is why civilian ships sailed under the protection of armed convoys, explains the church leader.

“The ‘Danmark’, a merchant ship, was equipped with cannons to defend itself against pirates – the cannons were also incorporated into the model.” For Andreas Sörensen, this help came too late: In 1724 he got caught in the Mediterranean during a trade trip Algerian pirates were imprisoned, they sold him on, and a North African ruler finally demanded the horrific sum of 2000 thalers for poor Andreas, 20 times the annual wages of a helmsman.

This news reached Romo. Pastor Anders Andersen Amders organized a collection on the island. “Most of the ransom came from the state slavery fund, which was set up specifically for such purposes, and a wealthy citizen of Romo also provided a larger deposit,” said Carl.

In 1725 Andreas Sörensen was released – and he soon went with his wife on a trip to the west coast of Römös to collect money for the bail of his release. “He must have done that in winter, because in summer he went to sea again.”

So at the time of year when some of the most interesting stories in Römös happened. Such of adventures at sea, of faith, hope and a spiritual triumvirate of seafarers: a large church on a small island somewhere in the North Sea.

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Tips and information

Getting there: The island of Römö is located north of Sylt in the Danish Wadden Sea. It can be reached via a road embankment from the mainland by car or by ferry from List / Sylt to Havneby / Römö. The regular trip there and back by car costs 83 euros, until December 20 a reduced price of 55 euros. Those arriving by train to List pay 12.30 euros for the ferry as an individual, children up to 14 years 8.10 euros (

Accommodation: For example, in the cozy and modern “Havneby Kro” hotel in Havneby, double rooms from 111 euros including breakfast, the hotel is within walking distance of the ferry to Sylt ( Providers such as Novasol ( or Dancenter ( offer a large selection of holiday homes, some of which have reduced prices in winter.

Going to church: St. Clemens, island landmark, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in winter. It is named after St. Clement, patron saint of seafarers. Around 80,000 visitors come every year. Jörn Carl speaks fluent German and you can request tours by email (

Information desk:;

This article was first published in December 2019.

Participation in the trip was supported by Visit Denmark. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at