After our recent, now already my third, visit to the largest national park in the German state Mecklenburg Vorpommern, it is really about time to post somehting about these beautiful places on the Baltic coast. For most of you these are probably less-known spots with names you can´t pronounce out loud, but trust me, these enchanting forests, wild lonely beaches, mighty cliffs and dreamy sand dunes will leave you speechless once you are here. I´d highly recommend this place for every nature lover, especially if you like bird-watching, long walks on the beach and cycling. Plus, there are quite some interesting culinary experiences as well.
Places: Wustrow, Ahrenshoop, Prerow, Zingst, Born am Darß, Hiddensee, Rügen
How: our LR Defender
Stayed in: Regenbogen Camping Prerow, Naturdüne Camping Zingst
We visited Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft national park this summer during a longer road trip in northern Germany with our LR Defender. A couple of years ago I was camping around here with Lu and a few years ago we visited the largest German island, Rügen. In this post, you can read more about what you can see and do in the are of this national park, based on the experiences gathered on my 3 visits.
For a better perspective let me first write a few words about the NATIONAL PARK´S LOCATION and what it has to offer. It stretches over the area of FISCHLAND – DARß – ZINGST PENINSULA, with towns called WUSTROW, AHRENSHOOP, PREROW, BORN AM DARß, PREROW, ZINGST and PRAMORT. Around and between these there are numerous WALKING AND CYCLING PATHS, I´ve mentioned some of them below. Then there are the BEACHES, with WESTSTRAND BEACH being my absolute favourite due to its remoteness and wilderness. Also an important part of the national park is a beautiful wild forest under the name DARßWALD. Between the peninsula land and the continental Germany there are two important water habitats called SAALER BODDEN and BARTHER BODDEN. Inside the national park area we also find the ISLAND HIDDENSEE and western parts of island RÜGEN.
The easiest to come here is with a car, if you are coming from either Hamburg or Berlin it will take just a little over 3 hrs of driving. Larger cities in the area are Rostock, Stralsund and Greifwald. If you have more time (a week or two) it is a very nice road trip along the whole Baltic coast and if you are living in northern Germany like us, this national park is a wonderful location for an extended weekend trip.
WÜSTROW AND AHRENSHOOP | cliffs, bunkers, nice beach and pretty coastal towns
Coming in from Hamburg or Rostock these will be your first points of interest on the peninsula. There are quite some nice smaller hotels and private rooms and the beach in Ahrenshoop is pretty as well. There is a lovely WALKING / CYCLING PATH between the two and you also get to see SPECTACULAR CLIFFS AND ABANDONED BUNKERS on the way.
We´only stopped relatively quickly here this time but we liked our short visit. Everything is tidy and organised, lots of beautiful galleries and handmade shops, many restaurants and as mentioned, nice beach. Pretty much all you need for a great beach vacay.
WESTSTRAND | the best wild beach at Darßwald forest
This is without a doubt MY FAVOURITE BEACH IN THIS AREA. Because it is so wild. Abandoned. Mysterious. Almost scary. No soul around. Especially if you come here before 10am. Later on you can spot a family with kids here and there and a few older couples who come here to swim naked. Other than that here are kilometres and kilometres (14km to be exact) of lonely beach, sounds of waves, sun rays (if you are lucky) and light sea breeze (if you are lucky).
There are many paths leading to this beach, but you can´t reach it with a car. So you´ll need to walk or cycle to it. We parked the car at DREI EICHEN PARKING and had a wonderful stroll through the forest (a bit over 1km) before we arrived on the beach. Of course we didn´t turn around straight away, instead we enjoyed a longer walk on the beach, towards REHBERGE and MÜLLERWEG. I guess the place would look even nicer in sunset colours but it was awesome in the morning as well.
Not just the beach and the sand dunes, the forest is wild here as well, since it is left to its own destiny and is protected with laws. Well, the only one interfering with the forest image is of course the wind, which we immediately noticed as well. Bended pine trees look magnificent and I´m just so happy to find such untouched places.
And the sea – just perfect! I haven´t seen such CRYSTAL CLEAR SEA WATER in a while and it looked so inviting despite the fact that it is of course not the warmest. If you do go swimming here just take care of the currant as they are quite strong here.
RUNDWANDERWEG DARßER ORT | circuit hike from Prerow do Darßer Ort Lighthouse
As already mentioned, here are NUMMEROUS HIKING / CYCLING WAYS and this is one that I can really recommend. WALKING THE 10km CIRCUIT felt quite long though (even though it is very easy to walk since everything is flat here) and in the end we were a bit sorry we didn´t RENT A BICYCLE. So in case you are there, my advice would be to bring something with wheels or rent it in PREROW, which is also THE STARTING POINT OF THIS WALK.
The most convenient would actually be if you are staying in REGENBOGEN CAMPING as this is the point where the road ends and the walk starts. In other case you will have to leave your vehicle either in Prerow town or on the LAST PARKING LOT (fees apply) just before the camping. From here on the walk first takes us through a really nice fairytale-like forest and later on on broad gravel paths, wooden walkways and in the end on the sand. The main point of interest is the DARßER ORT LIGHTHOUSE with NATUREUM MUSEUM, but unfortunately we could only see those from the outside due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Nevermind, it was nice also like this and after a short break on the beach, we continued the walk on a shorter SCENIC LOOP, which you can´t do with bicycles. Here there are a few VIEWING PLATFORMS with stunning views, just look out for signs saying „Aussichtsplatform“.
About halfway on this one, we took a turn back to the circuit which eventually brought us back to our parking lot. Those of you who don´t like to walk and don´t have bicycles, can also take a small train which saves you a few kilometres of walking, or a horse carriage which takes you all the way to the lighthouse. We walked of course, cause I like to walk and Charlie has to make some sacrifices sometimes.
PREROW | lovely holiday coastal town with a 5km long sandy beach
Prerow is an extremely NICE SMALLER BEACH HOLIDAY HOTSPOT with so many nice shops, restaurants and the vibe here is just very pleasant, I can´t even explain why but I was here 3 times and loved it every time. It might be a bit more pricey compared to similar spots along the coast but nothing too fancy. The star of the day is of course the beautiful SANDY BEACH, which is 5km long and up to 80m wide so there is plenty of space even during the weekends or in high summer season. Also interesting fact – here is one of THE LARGEST NUDISTS BEACHES IN GERMANY, so if you are into that this is the place to be.
A few years ago Lu and me tent-camped in REGENBOGEN CMAPING and absolutely loved every minute of it. The camping is very special because you are allowed to pitch your tent on the top, or between, the sand dunes. It is a very special feeling and I believe there are not many places where you can do this in Germany. The camping ground is not directly in the city center but it´s a nice walk on the beach and it is very peaceful. If you are camping and are searching for a place to stay I highly recommend this one, but you might have to book it well in advance during the summer. At that time we also visited the city of ROSTOCK – if you are interested in reading more about these two places please click the button below the picture for a full blog post.
read more about PREROW
ZINGST | another larger tourist coastal spot
Another lovely coastal town, architecture-wise and character-wise similar to Prerow, with all the necessary infrastructure for a perfect beach holiday. We stayed in NATURDÜNE CAMPING in Zingst this time and loved its location as it is just a minute walk from the beach. Warm sunshine and less wind have decided for us and we spent more time at the beach than we did in the town itself. Also, I have done one very heroic thing here – I´ve finally ticked off “swimming in the Baltic sea” after almost 10 years of visiting these parts of Germany. SWIMMING IN BALTIC SEA yes or no? Now, that I´ve done it I can say it´s definitely a yes! It is a bit colder that´s for sure, but more than this I am usually bothered with the strong wind. In any case, try it out, you might not regret it.
You will not get bored easily here spending your time between the beach, shops, restaurants and other activities for both young and old. Just like in Prerow, there is also one typical wooden pier called SEEBRÜCKE on German – it is a common thing to take a stroll until the end of the pier and suck in the views. In my opinion Zingst is also a good base for exploring the peninsula, either with bicycles (again, there are SO MANY AWESOME CYCLING PATHS) or your car.
PRAMORT | lonely sand dunes and wildlife on the eastern part of the peninsula
On the easternmost parts of the peninsula there USED TO BE A VILAGE, but more than its remains, you might be interested in WONDERFUL WILDLIFE AND NATURE. A paradise for everyone who loves birds and BIRDWATCHING – especially the CRANES, but also NATURE AND FPHOTOGRAPHY in general. For these purposes, choose one of the VIEWING PLATFORMS, for example the VOGELAUSGUCK PRAMORT, but also make sure you hike / cycle around the area and visit the sand dunes (HÖHE DÜNE) on the northern coast.
HIDDENSEE ISLAND | wild oasis not too far from Rügen island
Hiddensee island is a true gem of this national park. It is most famous for its important BIRD NESTING PLACES AND HABITATS, wild COAST WITH TYPICAL SAND DUNES and HILLY PINK HEATH FIELDS (full in blossom towards the end of the summer, which is a great period to visit). Also don´t miss visiting DORNBUSCH LIGHTHOUSE and RENTING A BICYCLE (or bringing your own) – it is the best way to go around. You will find the most peace totally in the south as well as totally in the north of the island.
From Rügen island you can arrive on a BOAT FROM SCHAPRODE to Kloster, Vitte or Plogshagem towns on Hiddensee island. If you don´t have much time you can easily do a DAYTRIP, but if you enjoy peace and quiet I definitely recommend staying a few nights.
RÜGEN ISLAND | the largest Germn island
At the end of this post I would like to add a few words about GERMAN LARGEST ISLAND, RÜGEN, even though its land is not technically inside the national park completely, but while you are in the area it is well worth visiting. Plus this is also the STARTING POINT TO VISIT HIDDENSEE ISLAND and you can also catch a FERRY TO SWEDEN from here. We loved Rügen and I have a longer blog post about it – read it by clicking the button below the picture.
read more about RÜGEN
So, mabye I´ve inspired some of you to visit these wonderful parts of Germany. I would love to return again one day but considering my situation right now, this might not happen so soon. The way up to there might be a bit longer, but trust me, it´s all worth it and I´m sure you won´t leave disappointed.