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Whether hiking through vast dune landscapes in the national park, stand-up paddling on the coastal waters of the Bodden or building rockets in the Experimentarium - boredom doesn't stand a chance on vacation here. Five highlights for a great family vacation on Fischland-Darß-Zingst.

Variety is the name of the game here: the 45-kilometre-long, narrow Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula on the Baltic Sea coast between Rostock and Stralsund is a dream destination for a family vacation. Great beaches for romping and digging, vast forests with lush flora and fauna, colorful galleries in thatched-roof houses in quaint villages - young and old alike will have a great time here. Here are some examples of activities that are guaranteed to be fun on a family vacation. 

Vacations for the whole family in Fischland-Darß-Zingst

Watching animals and hiking in the national park

Is that a doe back there, or a deer? The children are fascinated. In the reed belt next door, a spindly great egret stands motionless, and further away over the sea, the mighty sea eagle circles. It's not just the youngsters who enjoy the exciting wildlife in the Western Pomerania Lagoon National Park, even big nature lovers are often amazed. Ornithologists in particular go into raptures at the abundance of birds, with around 160 species breeding in the park. Fallow and red deer, roe deer, wild boar and all kinds of small animals also live here, and the waters of the Baltic Sea are home to Grey seals and Otter - So there's a lot going on. 

The national park offers plenty of space for extensive flora and fauna, as it is the largest of its kind in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern at 800 square kilometers and the third largest in Germany. Part of it includes the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula, which also offers the most beautiful hiking routes. The four-kilometre "Darßer Ort" circular trail, for example, is ideal for families and is also suitable for children. It starts at the Natureum information center with the Darß lighthouse, then leads through wooded areas full of gnarled pines. Later, it leads over boardwalks through the dune landscape down to the beach, where the children romp happily by the water. A magnificent mosaic of fragrant flora, fresh Baltic Sea air, the sound of the sea and birdsong - and isn't there a doe back there?


Stand-up paddling and more on the Bodden

Put on your tight wetsuit, grab your SUP board and paddle and head out onto the water, which stretches out calmly like a mirror in front of the fishing village of Born on the Darß. The water sports center in the small village offers both hard epoxy and light, family-friendly air SUPs (inflatable stand-up paddle boards) for hire, as well as two-hour beginners' courses for young and old on request. The Bodden coast is an ideal place for children to practice: separated from the sometimes rough Baltic Sea by the peninsula, the shallow lagoons, which are often only two meters deep, rarely have waves, so with a little talent, nothing stands in the way of gliding calmly over the glistening sunshine. 

Kitesurfing and windsurfing can also be practiced on the Bodden, before perhaps crossing the narrow island ridge over to the open Baltic Sea - such a change of location is quickly made with the short distances on Fischland-Darß-Zingst. For even more action, the water sports center in Born has something special in its program: you can also learn the trendy eFoiling here. With efoil, an underwater wing and an electrically powered propeller allow the board to take off and whiz along up to 80 centimetres above the surface, controlled by a remote control in your hand - great fun, at least for the older members of the family!


Experience art in Ahrenshoop

The small artists' village of Ahrenshoop with its 700 inhabitants, situated on one of the narrowest parts of the peninsula, ensures a brief separation of the vacationing family. While the little ones explore the riding stables, the grown-ups wander through the romantic village with enchanted eyes. So many beautiful things in such a small space! For more than 100 years, artists have been enchanted by the light and location of the fishing village, resulting in rows of thatched-roof houses to the left and right of the thoroughfare, which often house small, fine galleries. Good taste lives in Ahrenshoop, where guests can buy better art than anywhere else in the region.

And travelers can take workshops and creative courses! Several studios offer lessons, either by the hour or for longer. For example, the Schnepel III Gallery run by artist couple Nana Vossen and Dr. Rüdiger Vossen. She is a qualified Indian designer and ethnologist, he has a doctorate in ethnology, is former head of the Eurasia department at the Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg and author of many non-fiction books. Ceramics, wooden statues and all kinds of other works of art are on display in the entrance to the bright thatched-roof house. Then it's a matter of hatching, portraying, working on a piece of wood with a rubber mallet and chisel, and slowly the work takes shape. By the way, children are also welcome to join in.


Experience all kinds of adventures at the riding stables

The anticipation is great, the adventure day at the riding stables is about to begin. The children stroke their patient ponies' manes and caress their soft nostrils. Now the riding helmets are brought in and they set off under expert guidance. Riding vacations have a long tradition in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and the Bernsteinreiter Hirschburg facility near Ribnitz-Damgarten is one of the most modern of its kind far and wide. There is a huge range of activities especially for children here, starting with a day in the stables, where pedagogically trained supervisors instruct the little ones in horse feeding and care. In the pony club, the kids can cuddle and snuggle with the animals, while their parents or grandma and grandpa walk alongside them on their first pony ride - a great way to build trust.

It goes without saying that older children and adults want to ride out on big horses. For beginners, one-hour tours lead along easy paths through the coastal forest with its gnarled trees. Experienced riders can trot along the Baltic Sea beach from October to May, which is great fun. Horse lovers aged 6 to 16 can also book complete riding weekends or even 6-day riding vacations, including campfire and barbecue evenings and a riding test. Special trail rides lead across the beach to the Ahrenshoop artists' colony with a visit to the art museum - a photographer is then waiting at the most beautiful spots to take the perfect souvenir photos.


Building rockets at the Experimentarium Zingst

In the bright, blue and white house with its large windows, tools are lined up in rows. Screwdrivers, saws, drills, files of all sizes, everything is there. The vacationing family is currently building a small rocket; instructor Jens-Uwe Kock is giving good tips. Under the motto "Ahoy, researchers, explorers and craftsmen", the Experimentarium not far from the Baltic Sea in the Baltic Sea spa resort of Zingst captivates young and old tinkerers alike. They can put their creativity to the test at around 70 interactive experiment stations and in workshops; no previous knowledge is required. What they do need is a good dose of curiosity - and the courage to simply try out unknown things.

Experiment with sand, light and energy. Using muscle power to make water flow and swirl. Create your own works of art with natural materials, for example mobiles or pictures made from driftwood, feathers or shells. The children can take their pieces of jewelry home with them immediately, or they can express their creativity in other ways, for example at the Helleum knowledge show or at the hands-on circus. And there are even more attractions all around, such as a large pirate ship or the small lighthouse called Alter Lutz, which is surrounded by a water playground. The vacationing family has now finished their rocket. "It looks like it could fly 300 meters high," praises instructor Jens-Uwe Kock. And awards the brave constructors an engineer's medal - a medal, so to speak, for the successful family project.

Cover photo: The SUP boards glide gently across the Bodden © TMV/Petermann

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