Ahrenshoop is a Baltic beach destination in Germany developing on a thin stretch of land between the sea and a lagoon, the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula, right on the border of Vorpommmersche Boddenlandschaft‘s national park.
Them Mecklenburg-Vorpommern‘s German coast offers a great variety of charming places and very inviting sea, even for the Mediterranean standards, and especially in summer. But what really struck me was the light of this place, which until a few decades ago was basically ‘at the end of the world’.
Only reached by boat or by horse, in 19th century Nineties Ahrenshoop was the favourite destination of many artists who left their heritage in the houses now turned into galleries or art schools. The first artists were attracted by the untouched landscapes and the unique light reflections over the Baltic Sea. But they also enjoyed to part from a society which limited their lifestyle as well as their artistic choices. Women, in particular, were allowed to experience in Ahrenshoop complete equality with their male counterpart, both at a professional and personal level.
In 19th century Ahrenshoop was already hosting an important naval academy. Today the visitors can explore the Baltic coast and the lagoon by boat. Or you could just enjoy the sea on the 14-kilometre long stretch of white sand – all of them free – also appreciated by nudist families that don’t really annoy anyone: after all there is enough place for all.
Sea, nature, arts and good food are the characteristic features of a stay in Ahrenshoop, where you will enjoy moving by bike or just walking, and can breath fresh surrounded by green. An extended network of biking paths make it also an ideal destination for bike tourism.
The Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop is a recently renovated arts museum, just as lovely as the whole town. It hosts a number of precious works, but while walking around it is also worth to visit the little shops and ateliers of the artists working with different styles. And who knows, you even might find out the artistic soul in yourself!
Although a few buildings belonging to a past authoritative regime, Ahrenshoop owes part of his charm to its peculiar houses, most of them new or renovated and sporting the traditional can roof, which is at the same time a nice sight and an excellent thermic isolation. The little Sailor’s Church, in the shape of a reversed ship, hints to the sailing tradition of this place and is perfectly embedded in the surrounding environment.
Ahrenshoop is a small place, with less than 700 inhabitants. But in summer the population grows considerably thanks to 3700 beds in hotels and guest houses, mostly family run. But there aren’t any camping places, which is quite unusual for German standards.
The town’s administrators are very strict about preserving the place’s peculiar beauty, and won’t allow any new buildings that might disrupt the atmosphere of this small jewel between sea and lagoon. The houses for sale are rare and never last for long on the market. And the renovations as well have to respect the town’s traditional style.
High season starts with Easter and ends in September, but there are passionate visitors who also appreciate Ahrenshoop’s special winter feeling, when the lagoon freezes. The Schifferberg – 14,60 metre-high – might not be much of a peak for skiing, but many enjoy to slide on a bob on its snowy slopes.
Photo credit: Edvige Meardi and Roberto Vilbi