PUTBUS is a surprise among the cosy villages and gently undulating wheatfields of south Rügen. Prince Wilhelm Malte I was ahead of his time when in 1818 he gave Rügen its first bathing resort, and it was not merely villas behind the beach; he planned, instead, a small Neoclassical spa-town. With its handsome layout and solid white boxes, Putbus fancies itself a cut above other villages on Rügen, boasting of its cultural weight and "Italianische charme". Its core is the Circus where wedges of lawn and stolid nineteenth-century manors encircle a self-congratulatory obelisk to celebrate the town's completion in 1836. West along main road Alleestrasse, Rügen's only theatre is a splendid statement of princely delusions, with a portico fit for a city and an interior of sun-like wrought-iron balconies (free tours, times posted by side entrance). The Markt at its shoulder is a similarly noble space. For himself, the prince commissioned Berlin's finest, Johann Gottfried Steinmeyer, to design a magnificent Neoclassical Schloss. The GDR regime saw instead a symbol of feudal repression and dynamited the lot in the 1960s – the story goes a local mayor hoped to impress visiting top brass. Nevertheless, a handsome orangerie, which sheltered pot plants from frost, and, most impressively, the mature Schlosspark itself remain. The former doubles as the tourist office and an exhibition centre. The latter's naturalistic gardens – planted with exotic species and dotted with the former stables (Marstall), the boxy parish church which began life in 1845 and a memorial of the prince himself – are a lovely spot for an amble.