Hiddensee; an island where cars are banned.

Known as the Pearl of the Baltic, Hiddensee island off the Baltic Coast of Germany is the ultimate get-away-from-it-all destination. Largely undiscovered by foreign tourists, it has become a popular escape for urban Germans who want to leave their mobiles and fast cars behind them.

The island also attracts artists and writers looking for bucolic inspiration and those on the trail of Einstein, Billy Wilder and Thomas Mann who, attracted by its dramatic landscape, visited the island at the beginning of the 20th century.

There are also literary and historical walking tours focusing on the years between 1880 and 1930. English-language group tours can be arranged by prior agreement (49-383-006-42-26).

But for those just wanting to relax and get the feeling of days gone by, as cars are banned on the island, you can potter around in a horse-drawn wagon or hire a bike and enjoy the moors, heaths and salt marshes. Most of the 10-mile-long island is a nature reserve.

Hiddensee is about five hours from Berlin by train and ferry and a perfect two or three-day trip from vibrant Berlin, suggests the New York Times.

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