Holidays on the Darss and in Zingst on the German Baltic Sea can be so wonderful. It is such an impressive place. Vacation in Germany? Clear! Let’s go to Fischland-Darss-Zingst on the Baltic Sea.
The Fischland-Darss-Zingst peninsula is considered one of the most beautiful and varied coastal regions of the Baltic Sea in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
The sea, the fine sandy beaches, and the varied nature make this part of Germany the perfect vacation spot for all nature lovers and families. But also, for those who, always have a strong longing for sea air, the island offers many sights and great beaches.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know: Things to do, the most beautiful places, and our opinion on the question: “Where is it nicer: on the Darss or in Zingst?”
Have fun while reading.
We have summarized the best sights.
The most beautiful places of the peninsula:
Zingst is located in the northeastern part of the peninsula. With around 3,000 inhabitants, Zingst is the tourist center. I have stayed here twice. Zingst is known above all by professional and amateur photographers for the festival with its many workshops and exhibitions.
A special attraction and meeting point is the Max Hunten Haus, a photography center in Zingst. The “Zingst Photography World of Experience” is located here and there are changing exhibitions. You can also borrow camera equipment or binoculars here and print out your favorite pictures on the spot and take them home as a souvenir.
Of course, Zingst also offers pretty nice beaches and a well-known pier. The following applies here: the further you get away from the pier, the quieter and emptier the beach becomes.
My tip: Take your bike (or rent one from one of the many bike rentals) and cycle in the direction of High dune in Pramort.
We particularly liked the idyllic town of Ahrenshoop. The place, known primarily as an artists’ colony, has only 640 inhabitants. At the end of the 19th century, many artists were drawn here. New motifs tempted people, accommodation was cheap and the seclusion was ideal for fully developing your creativity. Today, however, it is anything but quiet, especially in summer.
The thatched houses in the village are a popular photo motif. During the summer months, many holidaymakers on the Baltic Sea are drawn here. In the meantime, many high-priced hotels and accommodations invite you to vacation in Ahrenshoop.
Baltic Sea Resort of Wustrow
Wustrow on the Fischland peninsula is a former fishing village with only 1200 inhabitants. The place is at the narrowest point of the peninsula between the Baltic Sea and the Saaler Bodden.
Wustrow is particularly popular with families with children because the sandy beach is long and, above all, very quiet.
A path runs directly behind the beach, on which you can comfortably cycle to Dierhagen or over the cliffs to Ahrenshoop. Of course, you can also go jogging near the Baltic Sea or enjoy long walks.
Especially the long and 80-meter-wide sandy beach attracts many visitors to Prerow. In addition to the northern beach, the western beach of the Darss, which you can reach from Prerow, but also from a parking lot behind Ahrenshoop, is particularly recommended. A longer walk or a short bike ride is necessary, but it’s worth it!
Another popular sight is the pier in Prerow and of course the Darss place lighthouse, the oldest still active lighthouse in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania! Prerow itself has about 1500 inhabitants.
Natureum And Darsser Place
The most beautiful place for me is around the Darsser Place lighthouse. Here you can walk for miles by the sea or relax in the sun.
The 170-year-old lighthouse is located in the Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park. The German Maritime Museum NATUREUM is also located here, a branch of the museum in Stralsund.
During my visit in 2020, the exhibition was unfortunately not open due to Covid. But in the courtyard, you can have breakfast or lunch. We were lucky and managed to get a seat before it got pretty crowded.
The Darss Forest with its many pines, pedunculate oaks, and alders is also beautiful, and you can best explore by bike – we definitely recommend mosquito spray here in summer, because we were completely bitten after a few minutes!
Barth offers you complete peace and relaxation right on the Bodden because Barth itself is not directly on the sea, which is why fewer tourists usually “get lost” here. However, the beautifully restored houses and medieval streets are definitely worth a visit!
Have you heard of Vineta? No? Vineta was said to be a legendary town on the Baltic Sea coast of Western Pomerania. According to a legend, however, it sank during a storm flood. There has been speculation for a long time about which city it could be…
The possible location of the sunken city in the Baltic Sea ranges from Arkona via Koserow/Damerow (Usedom) and Wollin to Barth. There are many theses and assumptions. But only in Barth, you will find the Vineta Museum! In addition to the exhibition of the same name, there are changing exhibits by contemporary artists. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to visit the museum and can’t give a personal opinion. If you make it there, please tell us about your experiences.
Strictly speaking, the Baltic Sea resort of Dierhagen does not belong to Fischland, as it is located directly in front of it. We count Dierhagen as the “gateway” to the Fischland-Darss-Zingst peninsula, because we also found it very idyllic, especially on the beach in Dierhagen.
Between Bodden and the Baltic Sea, you will find a varied landscape, and since the beach is very fine and at least 7 km long, we can especially recommend Dierhagen for families with children.
7 Sights & Attractions
1. Observe Cranes in Zingst
Up to 70,000 cranes stay in Zingst in autumn (September – beginning of November) during the crane resting period. That’s about 3/4 of the entire northern and eastern European crane population! Predominantly Gray Cranes gather on the peninsula along the southern Bodden landscape to fly further south before winter.
- On the B 105 federal road between Ribnitz-Damgarten and Stralsund, you can discover the cranes at the edge of the field.
- At the Pramort bird lookout, in the eastern part of Zingst, there is a resting place for the gray crane.
- Meiningen bridge and Kranichdorf Bresewitz: South of Zingst with a view towards the island of Kirr you can see the cranes flying in large swarms.
Tip: Better pack your telephoto lens or binoculars to be able to observe the animals better.
You can also book a crane safari directly on-site. But please always remember: Do not disturb the cranes and do not come too close to them. The birds need rest to take in enough food before the strenuous onward flight.
2. Cliff (Ahrenshoop – Wustrow)
The steep coast near Ahrenshoop is another popular destination. You can walk directly on the beach or via the path on the High Shore.
If you choose the beach, you should keep an eye on the weather! Depending on the wind direction, the water can reach right up to the cliffs and you have to walk through the shallow sea in sections. Depending on the season, you can see many swallows that have built their nests directly in the rocks.
Up to 10m of the cliffs fall off every year when the coast breaks off. This is particularly impressive in the former GDR bunker ruins, which are now completely submerged in the sea. Years ago you could easily reach them on foot, but now they are surrounded by water. Clubs and volunteers are committed to protecting the coastline, and groynes, for example, are intended to better protect the peninsula from coastal erosion in the future.
3. West Beach Darss
The west beach on the Darss is regularly voted one of the most beautiful beaches in Germany and even Europe! This is probably also due to the fact that it has hardly been developed for tourism to this day.
The particularly pristine beach stretches 14 km in length, completely without beach chairs. No restaurants, cafes, or other entertainment options. Here there is only the beach and the sea.
The west beach borders directly on the Darsswald and can only be reached by bike or on foot. There is no access via a parking lot. If you are looking for seclusion, you will definitely find it here.
4. Hike to the “Darsser Ort” lighthouse
Next to the cranes, the lighthouse is the most famous sight on Fischland-Darss-Zingst. For me, next to High Dunes, the most beautiful place. Just not in summer during the peak travel season.
A hike on foot or by bike will take you to the Darss lighthouse, which has been shining its light into the night for over 170 years!
The ideal starting point is Prerow, near which the lighthouse was built in 1848 is located. Take the chance and climb the 35-meter-high lighthouse, because from the top you have a great view of the Darss West Beach and the Darss Forest.
The best place to park is at the Bernsteinweg car park, from here it is a 5 km walk. Alternatively, you can cover about half of the distance with the Darssbahn.
More information about the lighthouse
- Note: You cannot access the lighthouse by car. Only on foot, by bike or (not recommended by us) by horse-drawn carriage.
- Entrance to the lighthouse: 5 euros
- Opening times :
- May, September, and October: 10 am – 5 pm
- June – August: 10 am – 6 pm
- November – April: Wednesday – Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm
- On foot from the Prerow car park: 8.8 km (tracked by us), about a 1.5 – 2 h hike
5. Zingst Pier
The 270 m long pier in Zingst is one of the newer buildings in the Baltic Sea spa. Its history only goes back to 1993, when the old jetty was too dilapidated and had to be replaced.
Here tourists meet locals. Whether in the Seebrücke restaurant or at the Zuckerhut, here you can cater for yourself with culinary delights and enjoy the sunset.
However, if you want to take photos, you shouldn’t be too late: the impressive natural spectacle attracts many people and the tripods are sometimes lined up closely!
At the end of the Zingst pier, you will also find the Zingst diving gondola, with which you can dare to dive into the Baltic Sea. Up to 30 people fit in the gondola, sea conditions permitting. A dive trip takes 30-40 minutes and costs 9 euros for adults. From the end of the jetty directly in front of the diving bell you also have a great view of the beautiful coastal panorama.
6. Environmental Photo Festival “Horizonte Zingst”
Every year from the end of May the well-known environmental photo festival “Horizonte Zingst” takes place. There are workshops, lectures, and discussions on the subject of the environment and photography every day.
In particular, the large-format pictures that can be seen throughout the town convey the moving stories behind the pictures, which touch deeply: environmental pollution and endangered animals, but also wonderful nature shots.
There is also a photo market where you can test cameras and lenses from all manufacturers and buy any accessories directly.
We have already been there and, in addition to lectures, have also given workshops and photo walks. Maybe see you here sometime? The festival is not only worthwhile for photography fans.
7. View from the Wustrow Church Tower
Those who would like to go high up to enjoy the view can not only do so on the lighthouse: the church tower in Wustrow is also perfect for this! At a height of 18 m, you have a 360-degree view of the landscape, Wustrow, the Bodden, and the sea.
The church tower is open Tuesday – Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 and Sunday 11:30 – 12:30. If you also take a look inside the church, you will find three ship models hanging from the ceiling. This makes the connection to the sea particularly visible.
Insider tip: high dunes
Grab a bike and cycle to the High Dunes. The path from Zingst always leads straight ahead, with the wind. The way back can be really exhausting. But the bike tour is worth it. The idyll is a dream even during peak travel times! Because only a few visitors come here (especially in the morning).
You can find Fischland-Darss-Zingst in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, between Rostock and Stralsund. The best-known places are Zingst, Prerow (Darsser Ort), Ahrenshoop, Wustrow, Barth, and Dierhagen.
The Baltic Sea Peninsula lies between the Bodden and the Baltic Sea. It consists mostly of the national park “Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft” and the former islands of Fischland, Darss, and Zingst.
The flood channels were closed in the 14th and 19th centuries. A peninsula was formed from three individual islands. This measures a total of about 45 km. So it is perfect for long walks or relaxed bike tours.
So that you can see better what Fischland, where Darss and Zingst is, I have drawn a map for you:
Useful Travel Tips & Information
Tips for Eating & Drinking
Those who live in a holiday apartment or holiday home often cater for themselves. In the main season, for example, the supermarkets are also open for a few hours on Sundays. You can stock up on fresh groceries at any time.
For everyone who still likes to eat out and try the local specialties, we have a few restaurant tips, especially in the towns of Zingst, Ahrenshoop, and Prerow.
Pizza Garden (Zingst)
A cozy atmosphere awaits you in the Pizza Garten Zingst. However, the places are coveted! The pizzas are freshly prepared in the wood oven and taste wonderful. The menu is quite small and there are no alcoholic drinks, but the pizza is also available to take away. We love coming here every time we visit.
- Address: Klosterstrasse 5, Zingst
Beach Cottage (Zingst)
We visited the small restaurant in the center of Zingst on our last evening. We were recommended this restaurant when we were looking for a good fish restaurant.
In the Strandkate there is a nice outdoor area. The menu is of course fish-heavy, but vegetarians and meat lovers will also find what they are looking for.
Our positive criticism of the beach cottage: In our opinion, the medium-high prices are absolutely reasonable. For dessert, we can definitely recommend the storm sack. The oversized cream puff filled with ice cream and cream is really worth the sin! The Strandkate doesn’t take reservations during the high season, so you’ll have to pop in on your luck. But it’s definitely worth it.
- Address: Klosterstrasse 8, Zingst
Zingster Stuben (Zingst)
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the Zingster Stuben. But since it was an explicit recommendation from a local, the assumption is that you can’t go wrong here.
We wanted to reserve a table for a larger group, which unfortunately was not possible. Early planning for a maximum of 6 people is a must here! The food is rather hearty and the beer and the “Swatten Hasen Schnaps” are absolute tips to try. Write to us if you ever make it to the Zingster Stuben!
- Address: Strandstrasse 36, Zingst
Tea Bowl (Prerow)
In search of special features, we came across the tea bowl in Prerow. In the meantime, a nice café has moved into the old thatched roof house, which used to be home to a grocery store. The new owners have furnished this restaurant with great attention to detail, creating a cozy atmosphere.
As the name suggests and as befits a tea room, tea is mainly drunk here. In addition to homemade cakes, there are also hearty salads and other small items on the menu. If you want to take a souvenir from Prerow home with you, you can choose from over 130 varieties in the adjoining tea shop.
- Address: Waldstrasse 50, Prerow
A perfect destination for a bike tour is the mill in Ahrenshoop. Here you will also find the Muhlencafe with a wonderful outdoor terrace that borders directly on a pasture. Tea, coffee, homemade cakes from the tin, soups, and casseroles are served.
Unfortunately, when we visited, all the seats were already occupied, so we could only catch a glimpse. It all looked really tasty though and we’ll definitely try again next time we’re in the area.
For all drivers, however, the following applies: Run! Because there is no parking at the mill itself.
- Address: Feldweg 7, Ahrenshoop
Please avoid: Don’t let yourself be “pulled” into the Hirsch restaurant in Zingst! The food is not good, the chef praises everyone for their rum, which he then proudly charges at 5 euros per “tester”. Better not “Cheers!”, because: We have seldom eaten worse! Katrin’s tarte flambée was bought (we assume Wagner) and warmed up. A few fresh spring onions were garnished on top. For 9.90 euros absolutely no bargain.
What To Do When It Rains?
Those who go on vacation by sea usually want to spend as much time as possible outside. Because most of the sights and excursion destinations are also in the fresh air. And as long as it doesn’t rain, outdoor activities can be endured even in cooler temperatures. If the weather doesn’t play along at all, here are our best tips for Fischland, Darss, and Zingst in the rain:
1. Library in the Max Hunten House (Zingst)
A very special tip for rainy days is the library in the Max Hunten house in Zingst. Here 12,000 media are available to you free of charge. All you have to do is register with your ID on-site and you can then borrow books, magazines, board games, and DVDs. This is the perfect way to bridge a rainy day in the holiday apartment.
2. Amber Museum (Prerow)
The Baltic coast is of course also known for its amber. There is an amber museum in Prerow. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it this time, but if you’re interested in this topic, you’ve definitely come to the right place. You can find information about the Amber Museum on the website.
3. Experimentarium (Zingst)
A trip to the Experimentarium in Zingst is also worthwhile for all families with children. The laws of physics and mathematics can be experienced here. Young and old can playfully test and expand their knowledge at over 70 experimental stations. In the summer months, there are also many workshops on various topics, such as rocket building or a discovery tour on the beach in the Experimentarium. All current information can be found on the website.
4. Art Museum (Ahrenshoop)
In Ahrenshoop, the density of galleries is extremely high. If the weather is bad, visit the art museum and marvel at the paintings by the artists who have captured the beauty of the Darss landscape in unique images.
Do you have any other tips for a family holiday in Zingst and the surrounding area? Write it to us in the comments.
Apartments and tips for camping
Almost all holidaymakers rent one of the numerous holiday apartments or an entire holiday home. However, there are also campsites and RV parks in Prerow and Zingst, which I can highly recommend.
Apartment or holiday home
Most of the holiday apartments and holiday homes on the Darss are still privately owned, which we find very positive. In this way, private individuals also benefit from tourism.
We found our holiday apartment in Zingst on AirBnB. Two bedrooms with a large living room and kitchen were perfect for us. Four people could comfortably fit here. In the best case, you only stay in the holiday apartment to a limited extent.
When booking, make sure that bed linen, towels, and a washing machine are provided or whether you need to bring them with you. In our holiday home, for example, we had to book a cleaning package with dishwasher tabs, dishcloths, and washing-up liquid. However, that was not enough for a week and we had to buy various things again in the supermarket.
In addition, the Internet on mobile phones is often bad. If high-speed Internet is also important to you on vacation, you should book accommodation with WiFi.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel, you can book into the Steigenberger Hotel directly at the pier in Zingst. Here you can enjoy an oyster bar and have walking access to the pier. Even as a non-hotel guest you can book a treatment in the wellness area there. Friends of ours tested the wellness offer and were extremely satisfied.
Campsite on the Darss
The rainbow Prerow campsite is located in the Baltic Sea resort of Prerow directly on the long sandy beach. Unfortunately, the place has quite a lot of parking spaces (1200), which we actually like to avoid. The direct location by the sea is still ideal.
Ingenious above all: You can stand directly on the dune on the wide, white beach. This is unique, which is why this campsite is very popular!
Camping am Freesenbruch is located directly in Zingst. The place is also by the sea and is much smaller and cozier.
For campers, the atmosphere at the RV site at the Zingst surf school is great. We really felt at home here. Due to its location on the outskirts of Zingst, the beach is not overcrowded, so you can enjoy the idyllic sunsets. I would come back here anytime.
Best Travel Time
The mild climate of the Baltic Sea in the Fischland-Darss-Zingst peninsula from spring to autumn makes this region a recommended travel destination from May to October. Due to the direct proximity to the sea, however, the weather can sometimes change quickly and be difficult to predict!
It is therefore advisable to pack appropriately warm clothing, even in summer. However, what begins as a rainy day can often end in bright sunshine. After sunset, however, it sometimes gets cool quickly, especially by the sea. The fresh breeze is simply a key feature of the Baltic Sea.
The main travel months on the German Baltic Sea coast are definitely July and August for the national school holidays. From September most holidaymakers, especially families, have left the island and the beaches are lonelier again. The sea is often still warm enough to swim and the hustle and bustle of holidaymakers have disappeared from the villages.
Autumn is especially popular with nature photographers. From the end of September to the beginning of October the first cranes fly in and offer a unique natural spectacle.
If you want to visit Zingst or Darss in winter, you should do some research beforehand. Many businesses and restaurants are then closed or only have limited opening hours.
Tourist Card and Visitor’s Tax
The communities on Fischland-Darss-Zingst charge a visitor’s tax – also known as visitor’s tax – for the duration of your stay. This allows you to visit many cultural institutions and events either free of charge or at a reduced price. In addition, there are no entrance fees for the beaches.
The fees vary depending on the season and municipality. Upon arrival, you will receive the spa card from the owner of your accommodation. You should always carry this card with you. Attention: Dogs also have to pay a residence tax per day.
Arrival in Fischland-Darss-Zingst
Getting to Fischland, Darss, or Zingst by car is easy. You can either take the Autobahn via Hamburg/Rostock or, coming from the west, via Stralsund. On the island itself, there is only the L21, the bathing street, which connects the individual villages with each other. Traffic jams can often occur here, especially in the high season. If you drive over the Meinigenbrücke over the Bodden, you should definitely note the bridge opening times.
By Bus & Train
There is no train station on the peninsula itself. The final stop is Ribnitz-Damgarten West, from there you can take the bus across the island. Bus line 210 goes to all towns on Fischland-Darß-Zingst.
With the Long-Distance Bus
In the high season (March – October) you can take the Flixbus several times a week from Berlin or Graal-Muritz to Zingst. Without changing trains, the journey only takes 4.5 hours.
The nearest airport is Rostock-Laage. Especially from Munich, a flight can save a lot of time. Depending on the traffic situation, it takes another 1-2 hours from the airport to get to the Fischland-Darss-Zingst peninsula. For emission reasons, we would still recommend traveling by train or bus.
On the Way to Fischland-Darss-Zingst
Anyone who decides to spend their holidays on Fischland-Darss-Zingst will find a true cycling paradise. There are bike rentals in every town, as well as plenty of bike paths that lead across the island.
Especially in the high season, we would recommend everyone to leave their car behind and jump straight onto their bikes. Many of the sights and excursion destinations can only be reached by bike or on foot anyway.
We rented our bikes for €2.50 per day in Zingst and were able to easily explore the area. In addition, the number of parking spaces, especially in front of restaurants and cafés, is often limited, so it really makes sense to prefer bicycles (especially in Zingst).
Summary of the vacation
Zingst and Darss in the low season
During the week on Fischland-Darss-Zingst, we fell in love with the peninsula. We felt incredibly comfortable, especially in the Baltic Sea spa town of Zingst and Darsser Ort.
The small town is very tranquil in the off-season, the people are really friendly and you get the feeling that “the world is still okay here”. I wasn’t constantly worried that my bike would be stolen, and even at night I always felt very safe on my way home alone.
The hustle and bustle of the big city is absent here and you can just sit back, relax and enjoy. There is enough time for a book, a walk on the beach or just to sleep in. And all without the constant feeling of missing something.
I can fully recommend Fischland-Darss-Zingst and its sights in the off-season for all families, travelers with dogs or people who long for peace and quiet.
Let yourself be carried by the fresh breeze of the Baltic Sea and enjoy the silence. Holidays in Germany can be so beautiful. Whether it’s a holiday home, holiday apartment, or hotel in the Baltic Sea resort: you too will find your perfect accommodation here.
Zingst and Darss in high season
A year later: traveling in July. Summer holidays in Germany, Corona. Zingst? Totally overrun. No sign of distance. At the Darss place? Completely overcrowded from 11 a.m. Idyllic and calm non-existent. Zingst itself resembles a construction site.
The idyll from last year? Blown away. Large hotel complexes are being built, and the place is becoming more touristy every year. Unfortunately, I don’t like this development at all. Especially since the culinary offer does not grow with it.
Some places to relax remain the beaches outside of the towns: from Zingst in the direction of Hohe Düne and on the Darss somewhere between Darsser Ort and Prerow.
It’s also ironic that cafés often don’t open until 11 a.m. for breakfast. Too bad, because many a tourist would be happy if he didn’t have to stand in the kitchen himself from time to time.
But don’t let the negatives scare you off, I honestly have to point out that this beautiful region in Germany doesn’t always have to be quiet and relaxing.
FAQ about Fischland-Darss-Zingst
We found the whole region with its long, fine sandy beaches to be very suitable for a family holiday. The offer is large, and every beach slopes gently. Ideal for children.
The variety is great. For a holiday apartment or holiday home, we recommend Ahrenshoop, Zingst, Prerow, or Dierhagen. The place in Zingst or Prerow is ideal for camping.
We find the months of May and June to be ideal with 9 hours of sunshine a day. Alternatively, autumn from the end of September. In summer it is warm (over 25 degrees), but also very crowded.
Drive on “baths street” coming from Zingst in the direction of Prerow. Park in the “Drei Eichen” car park and walk the rest of the way. The well-known western beach in Born is several kilometers long, so everyone can find a quiet spot on the beach.
You cannot reach the lighthouse by car, only by bike or on foot on a nice hike. The ideal starting point is Prerow, from here it is a 1.5-2 hour hike.
Our top 3 when it rains: The Experimentarium in Zingst, the Amber Museum in Prerow, and the Art Museum in Ahrenshoop. Or you can borrow books, DVDs, or board games from the Max-Hünten-Haus in Zingst for a cozy rainy day in the holiday apartment.
What was your highlight? If you have any other tips, I welcome your comments at the end of this article. If you are planning your trip and have any questions, feel free to leave them here as a comment!