Fischland-Darß-Zingst is a typical example of northeastern Germany's graded Baltic Sea Cost. Created by the tides and currents, it forms a barrier which separates a lagoon (German: Bodden), the Saaler Bodden, from the open sea. While the relatively straight seaside has some of Germany's finest sand beaches, the quieter lagoon side—divided into many small bays and surrounded by reeds—is a unique natural habitat, protected as a National Park.
Even though Fischland-Darß-Zingst (FDZ, for short) is geographically speaking one single peninsula, there are three different names for its distinct sections, for historical reasons. Arriving from the mainland, you first reach the elongated, very narrow Fischland (only 300 metres wide on its narrowest point), that used to belong to the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg. Next comes the bulkier Darß that historically is a part of Western Pomerania. Finally Zingst used to be a separate island, until a storm tide in 1872 created a dam and closed the Preerow strait, thereby joining it with the peninsula. The geography is still changing, with sea currents carrying sand off the already narrow Fischland section, making it even thinner, and dropping it at the growing Darßer Ort promontory. Moreover, the uninhabited former island Großer Wieck east of Zingst has become part of the peninsula due to silting.
Fischland-Darß-Zingst has long been popular with artists, especially during the late 19th and early 20th century when there was a whole artists' colony in Ahrenshoop, but there still is a number of artists who either live here permanently or visit the peninsula regularly.
There are six municipalities on the peninsula, each consisting of one or more villages or townlets: (from west to east) Wustrow, Ahrenshoop, Born, Wieck, Prerow and Zingst.
There are basically two ways to enter the peninsula: either on the land bridge in the west (from Ribnitz-Damgarten) or by crossing the (manmade) bridge from Barth to Zingst.
There is no rail route on the peninsula itself. The nearest stations are Ribnitz-Damgarten, on the mainland end of the Fischland isthmus, and Velgast which is closer to the Zingst bridge. Both are served by intercity trains from Hamburg, Rostock and Stralsund every two hours, with infrequent direct links from Bremen, Hanover, Cologne and Stuttgart. In Ribnitz-Damgarten you may transfer to bus 210 that crosses the whole peninsula and stops in each of its boroughs. From Velgast you have to change one more time, taking the local "UBB" train to Barth, where you can catch bus 210 in the opposite direction. In total, the ride from Hamburg takes at least 3½ hours, from Berlin 4½ hours.
The most convenient way to go to FDZ is by car. Motorists take autobahn A 24/A 19 from Berlin or A 20 from Hamburg to exit Rostock-Ost, from where the B 105 leads them to the starting point of the peninsula's main road. From Hamburg it is a two or 2½ hours drive, from Berlin 2½ to three hours. On Saturdays in summer however, the peninsula's only road link may be heavily jammed, as guests of most holiday flats arrive and leave on this day.
Cycling enthusiasts can get to FDZ on the international Baltic Sea Cycle Route.
As there is only one main road for cars, cycling is a very popular option, with most guesthouses offering bicycles for rent (or having a bike rental nearby). The landscape is flat and there are many well-paved and signposted cycling paths with beautiful views, so this is advisable even for untrained cyclists. As a bad-weather alternative, there is bus line 210 that links all townships on the peninsula once an hour.
- 1 Darßer Ort lighthouse and natureum, Darßer Ort 1-3, 18375 Born am Darß (Not accessible by car; best to go by bicycle or walk, alternatively there are horse carriages and a trackless train), ☏ . Jun-Aug: daily 10:00-18:00; May Sep Oct: daily 10:00-17:00; Nov-Apr: Tu-Su 11:00-16:00. Landmark on the peninsula's northernmost point; the "Natureum" is a branch of the German Maritime Museum of Stralsund, informing about the Darß natural space, its coasts, animals, history etc. Tickets €5, children €3.
- 2 Darß forest and western beach (Darßwald und Weststrand). Unspoiled coastal forest, touching the unfrequented beach, many windswept trees
- 3 Ahrenshoop art museum (Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop), Weg zum Hohen Ufer 36, 18347 Ahrenshoop. Apr-Oct: daily 11:00-18:00; Nov-Mar: Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Architecturally unusual building, houses a collection of paintings, graphics and sculptures by artists who have lived, worked or visited Ahrenshoop or nearby places. Adult €8, student €3–4.
- 4 Wustrow Church. 19th-century Gothic revival brick church. The 18-metre-high steeple offers one of the most panoramic views of the peninsula.
- 5 Zingst local museum (Museumshof Zingst). Museum of local history, art, model ships, history of shipbuilding and navigation.
- Picturesque fisherman's houses thatched with reeds and painted in different bright colours are omnipresent.
Apart from the obvious swimming and sunbathing, the peninsula is perfect for cycling and horseriding. You may take a diving, sailing or kitesurfing course, sail on a traditional Zeesenboot, or watch birds such as cranes.
- 1 Gut Darß, Am Wald 26, 18375 Born, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Organic farm with a climbing forest and miniature golf course. The farm's café, restaurant and shop offer food from local production and a boar barbecue buffet twice a week from May to October.
- Kiteschule Darss, Strandübergang 34, 18375 Prerow (beach section no. 34), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Kitesurfing courses for beginners and advanced; stand-up paddleboarding tours; children's holiday-camp. Two-day beginners' course €195.
- 2 Wassersportzentrum Zingst (Surf+Kite Club), Strandübergang 6, 18374 Zingst (beach section no. 6). May-Sep: daily 08:00-20:00. Kitesurfing and windsurfing courses of different levels (from one-day trial course to advanced courses); catamaran sailing, stand-up paddleboarding. Two-day beginners' course €169–269 (depending on dates).
- 3 Zeesboote sailing boats "Sannert" and "Blondine" at Althagen harbour, Contact "Räucherhaus", Am Hafen, OT Althagen, 18347 Ahrenshoop, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular sailing trips daily at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 (18:00 only by prior appointment); all trips may be cancelled at short notice due to bad weather. 90-minutes trip €14 per adult, €7 for child under 13, free for children under 3.
Each of the boroughs has dozens of small shops that sell clothing, accessories, art, souvenirs and other "odds and ends" to tourists. Each of the townships has at least a small supermarket, but many visitors prefer to do their groceries for a whole week at Dierhagen, the mainland's "gateway" to Fischland where there is a big Edeka supermarket with more variety of goods and an Aldi discounter.
- 1 Bunte Stube, Dorfstraße 24, Ahrenshoop, ☏ . Popular and well-stocked bookshop, especially on arts and culture topics; traditional meeting point of local and visiting artists and arty public. Sometimes there are exhibitions and performances in the salesroom.
- 1 Binnen un Buten, Hauptübergang 2a, 18375 Prerow (near the pier), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Popular fish restaurant and beer garden.
- 2 Café Buhne 12, Grenzweg 12, ☏ . March–October: Tu-Su 12:00-22:00, closed on Mondays; November–February: Sa 12:00-22:00, Su 12:00-18:00, closed M-F. Despite its name not just a café, but also a restaurant, mainly offering fish (but not only), directly on the steep coast, terrace with sea view. Best to come here in the evening to watch the sunset. Mains around €16.
- 3 Zum Deichgraf, Am Bahndamm 1, 18374 Zingst, ☏ . Daily except Wednesdays from 17:30. Located on a campsite, but surprisingly different from your ordinary camping diner; offers a variety from (outstanding) Angus beef cheeseburgers to high-quality steaks and refined fish and vegetarian dishes.
- [dead link] Eichenstübchen, Postreihe 1, 18375 Wieck a.d. Darß, ☏ . Rustic tavern, serving down-to-earth (but excellent) German and Ukrainian cuisine.
- Schifferwiege, Karl-Marx-Straße 30, 18347 Ostseebad Wustrow, ☏ . Traditional fish restaurant (also serves steaks and a few vegetarian dishes).
- 4 Restaurant Sprizz Zingst, Hafenstraße 14, 18374 Zingst, ☏ . Upmarket modern restaurant, serving Mediterranean-style cuisine using regional products.
There are countless accommodation facilities, with nearly every house on the peninsula offering at least one holiday flat or room for rent. If you are spontaneous and not arriving in the high season, you may simply go on the off-chance without prior booking and simply look out for one of the many Zimmer frei or FeWo frei (vacancies) signs along the main road. If you prefer to play it safe, you may contact the tourist information of the respective municipality; they keep a list of all hosts and are usually informed about vacancies.
There are campsites in Born, Prerow and Zingst.
Each of the peninsula's municipalities charges a visitor's tax of €2–2.80 per day in high season, €1–1.40 in low season (reduced rates for children, students, severely handicapped persons). By paying it, visitors acquire free admission or discounts for some public facilities and events. There is a visitor's tax for dogs, too.
- 1 Ostseehotel Wustrow, Fischländer Weg 35, 18347 Wustrow. Family-owned medium-sized (57 rooms) hotel directly on the beach, bicycle rental, massage and beautician's practice within the house. Double rooms €30–70 (depending on season and standard), holiday flats €45–120 (depending on size and season).
- 2 Hotel Restaurant Marks, Weidenstraße 17, 18374 Zingst, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small (25 rooms), family-owned hotel. Double rooms €55–130.
- 3 Steigenberger Strandhotel and Spa Zingst, Seestraße 60, 18374 Zingst, ☏ . Relatively big (121 rooms) plush hotel directly on the beach and pier; spa area with indoor and outdoor pool. Double room at least €150.
- Stralsund, historical trade city, the medieval old town belongs to the World Heritage.
- Rostock, biggest city in the state, international port and university city.
- Hiddensee, car-free island near Rügen, possible as a day-trip by ferry from Zingst.
- Rügen, Germany's biggest island, its coast is shaped by several peninsulas and lagoons, but the hinterland is scenic, too.