Vacation with your dog at the Baltic Sea

At the beach in Graal-Mueritz

Our pack loves to go to the Baltic Sea. Lukcily my parents have a vacation apartment there so we go there quite often, as we did a weekend ago.

So we decided to share our experiences  and all the dog-friendly places we've found with you. 

Where to stay

[Unpaid Advertising: Since the holiday apartment is owned by my parents, just in case.]

We always go to a town called Graal-Mueritz directly at the sea side. 

We always stay in my parents apartment. It is part of a small vacation home complex built in scandinavian style just 0.3 miles from the beach.

If dogs are allowed in the individual apartments is up to each owner so please check online before booking. Our apartment is number 17.1 S and dogs are very welcome of course. It is a one bedroom apartment with a sofa bed so it accommodates up to four people. And it has a hot tub. :-) The apartment is on the second floor so your dog should be able to walk steps (or be small enough to carry). 

You can book the apartments online here.

Where to go

Graal-Müritz

The beach

At the beach at Graal-Müritz

 

One of the many reasons we love to go there is, of course, the beautiful long sand beach on which you can hike for miles and miles. In Germany there usually are special areas designated as dog beaches which is okay when you just want to relax in the sun and take a dip in the sea but you can't take long walks at the beach because you'd had to cross parts of the beach where dogs aren't allowed. The good thing is that Graal-Mueritz allows dogs EVERYWHERE on the beach in off-season ( October 1st - April 30th). Officially dogs have to be on a leash but unofficially nobody cares ;-) because the beach is pretty lonely in off-season and there's enough space for everyone. (Please be responsible and make sure that your dog doesn't disturb other people or wild animals). Here you can find the location of the dog-beaches in season.

You can hike for miles and miles in both directions on the beach with numerous possibilities to take a break, a swim or grab a bite to eat or a drink. We like to stop at the Strandhus when we're hiking east and at Tommy's when we're hiking west (also see Where to eat). The Strandhus is a Restaurant that serves very good home cooked local fish. Dogs are alowed, of course, inside and also in the very nice outdoor sitting area. Tommy's is just a small Food Truck that is only open in season but it offers very nice snacks (we recommend the fish buns and the home-made fish soup). The owner Tommy is a very nice guy and he always gives away little free snacks to visiting dogs. :-)

Rhododendron Park

If you feel like seeing something else from sea and beach the Rhododendren Park is the place to go. Especially in May and June when the rhododendren are in full bloom. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.

 

Fischland-Darss-Zingst

Fischland-Darss-Zingst is a very special place. It is a narrow headland with the sea on one side and marshlands (so called Bodden) on the other side. The biggest part of it is the National Park Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft where deer and elk stroll down the beaches, white-tailed eagles circle above and thousands of cranes rest there during their seasonal migration in spring and autumn. Fascinated and inspired by the beautiful landscape with it's white sand beaches and wind-crooked trees many artists have settled down here, especially in the village of Ahrenshoop where you can find galleries, potteries and other kind of art at every corner. Since most of it is a National Park dogs must be kept on leash but are welcome on the trails and beaches (most parts of Fischland-Darss-Zingst have similar regulations for dogs on the beaches as Graal-Müritz). 

Hiking from Prerow to the lighthouse Darsser Ort

One of our favorite hikes in Fischland-Darss-Zingst is from Prerow to the lighthouse in Darsser Ort. The lighthouse is in the core area of the National Park and can only be reached by foot or by horse carriage. The trail starts at the beach, crosses a small coastal forest and leads on winding boardwalks through the dune landscape. 

 

The trail leads over boardwalks through the beautiful dune landscape.

 

Marshlands with red deer in front of the dunes

When you step onto the beach in Prerow turn left and walk on the beach. You will reach a spot where the beach is closed with a fence. This is where the core zone of the national park starts and here even the beach is reserved for birds and deer. Turn left here and follow the trail until you reach a wooden footbridge on your right. Cross the footbridge and turn left into the forest. From here on just follow the signs to the lighthouse ("Leuchtturm") or "Darsser Ort". When you reach a junction you_ll find the signs to the lighthouse in two directions. We recommend to take the longer one on the right because this is actually the most beautiful part of the trail. On that part of the trail you'll find several wildlife observation towers and since the area has been a national park for a long time now and hunting has been forbidden since, the animals come very close and you'll almost always see red deer, eagles, cranes and a lot of different sea birds. On the northern most point of the hike you reach the lighthouse. To visit it you have to pay an entrance fee (about 5 Euro). For that you can climb the top of the lighthouse with a spectacular view over the bay.

Inside the lighthouse there is a small but nice museum about Fischland-Darss-Zingst. There also is a nice café where you can sit outside in the inner courtyard when the weather is fine. Unfotunately, you also have to pay the entrance fee if you only want to visit the café. Since there's nothing else in the vicinity I recommend you bring your own food and drinks for a nice picnic if you don't want to visit the lighthouse. Dogs are allowed in the Café (inside and outside), the inner courtyard and even the museum. Please note that the steps to the top of the lighthouse are very steep and not suitable for dogs and the platform at the top is very narrow and has a wire mesh floor.  When we want to visit the top of the lighthouse we just take turns while one of us waits with Baerbel in the Café. 

 

Lighthouse Darsser Ort

View from the top of the lighthouse

 

Inside the lighthouse there is a small but nice museum about Fischland-Darss-Zingst. There also is a nice café where you can sit outside in the inner courtyard when the weather is fine. Unfotunately, you also have to pay the entrance fee if you only want to visit the café. Since there's nothing else in the vicinity I recommend you bring your own food and drinks for a nice picnic if you don't want to visit the lighthouse. Dogs are allowed in the Café (inside and outside), the inner courtyard and even the museum. Please note that the steps to the top of the lighthouse are very steep and not suitable for dogs and the platform at the top is very narrow and has a wire mesh floor.  When we want to visit the top of the lighthouse we just take turns while one of us waits with Baerbel in the Café.  When done visiting the lighthouse follow the trail with the lighthouse on your left and turn left behind the lighthouse. The trail will lead you back to the footbridge and the beach and finally back to Prerow (there's also a trail leading back to Prerow through the forest that also the horse carriages take but we always choose to walk back on the beach). 

For more information visit the webiste of the lighthouse, Fischland-Darss-Zingst or Prerow.

 

Hiking from Wustrow to Ahrenshoop

The villages of Wustrow and Ahrenshoop are connected by a steep cliff. A trail at the top of the cliff leads all the way from Wustrow to Ahrenshoop and back and offers spectacular views over the sea. 

 

On top of the steep cliff

 

In season there is a ladder that leads down to the stony beach below where the sea is scattered with the remains of bunkers from World War II. Since this hike is no roundtrip we like to hike one way on the top of the cliff and the other down at the beach. The ladder is more like a steep staircase and Baerbel manages to walk down and up herself. You know your dog best and please judge yourself if your dog is safely up to it. Furthermore, the beach is very rocky and can be very narrow depending on wind and weather when the water comes very close to the steep cliff. It might not be possible to walk on the beach on all days even if the ladder is attached during the season. But you can always walk back on the trail at the top. 

 

The stony beach at the foot of the steep cliff

 

Ahrenshoop is a very nice village with a lot of nice thatched-roof houses with carved wooden doors and, as mentioned above, a lot of artists and galleries. So it is always worth it to have a look around the village during the hike. 

 

Warnemuende

At the beach in Warnemuende

 

From Graal-Mueritz we sometime take the ferry that crosses the river Warnow to Warnemuende. Warnemuende has a harbor where ferries leave for Scandinavia and big cruise ships that travel across the Baltic Sea make their stops. There are a lot of nice Restaurants and Cafés and you can buy fish and fish buns directly from the small fishing boats anchored in the habor called "Alter Strom". Our favorite Café is Kaffee Roentgen which has the best cakes apart from the Kurhaus (which only has cakes on weekends). The Kurhaus  (more precisely the Restaurant Paulo Scutarro which is in the Kurhaus) also is our favorite Restaurant where you can sit on the second floor with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea. By the way, you can also rent the whole Restaurant and we celebrated our wedding here. :-) Dogs are allowed, of course. The beach here is also very wide and beautiful but can be quite crowded when the weather is nice. Dogs are allowed on the beach off-season but have to use the dog beach in season which is pretty far away from the city centre. So we mostly only come here off-season.

The magic of the special light at the sea. Warnemuende in the evening light after the rain.

 

Karl's Adventure Strawberry Farm and Farmer's market, Roevershagen

Karl took over his parent's farm after they retired and turned it into a mixture of Strawberry farm, giant farmer's market and amusement park for children (and those adults who cherish their inner twelve-year old like we do ;-)). There even is a strawberry drive-through now! Dogs are allowed everywhere on the premise, even in the farmer's market and all Cafés and Restaurants. The only exception is the area of the self-service restaurant where the food buffet is located but the seating area is seperated so that you can get your food and sit in the seating area with your dog. If you are traveling with more people you can take turns to get your food or you can leave your dog in the dog waiting area where there are hooks to tie the leash to and water bowls. Please note that the farmer's market can be very crowded and there are tantalizing smells for your dog everywhere and the children's play areas can be hectic and loud. Please decide for yourself if your dog is comfortable with that. 

 

In the farmer's market you'll find everything from the home-grown strawberries (in season of course) and vegetables, home-made jams, bread and sweets and home-made soaps, to gardening equipment, clothes and pottery. Oh yeah, and you'll even find a section for dogs where you can buy home-made strawberry or cream cheese dog cookies! Baerbel always gets to choose one by sniffing it. :-)  

There are numerous rides and slides for children, a farm animal petting zoo and show, an indoor playground, an aquarium, a butterfly house and an ice sculpture garden. In our opinion the food is average but we can really recommend the soups of the season served in a whole loaf of bread and the home-made strawberry cake and home-roasted coffee are fantastic. 

 

Stralsund

In our opinion Stralsund is one of the most beautiful Hanseatic cities in the area. You'll find a lot of beautiful Hanseatic architecture with their signature brick structure throughout the city, especially around the town square. There are a lot of nice Restaurants located at the harbour in former Hanseatic storehouses. This time we went to the Stralsunder Jung which has a small but excellent choice of regional food and seafood. Dogs are welcome.

 

Hanseatic architecture at the town square in Stralsund at night

 

Stralsund also has a very famous ocean museum called the Ozeaneum. It has giant Aquariums where you can watch whole school of fish swiming in synchrony and a giant hall with earth's life-sized whales hanging from the ceiling and much more. Unfortunately, only small dogs are allowed and have to be carried in a dog bag at all times. :-( I briefly thought about putting Baerbel in a bag with her feet sticking out so she can walk herself but unfortunately they added a weight limit (10 Kilo which is about 22 pounds). ;-) When you stay close by you could consider leaving your dog at the vacation home. When we visited we where 4 people with two dogs and took turns in the museum in pairs.

 

Ocean museum Ozeanemum

 

The Stoertebeker brewery amd Restaurant

Stralsund also has a very famous ocean museum called the Ozeaneum. It has giant Aquariums where you can watch whole school of fish swiming in synchrony and a giant hall with earth's life-sized whales hanging from the ceiling and much more. Unfortunately, only small dogs are allowed and have to be carried in a dog bag at all times. :-( I briefly thought about putting Baerbel in a bag with her feet sticking out so she can walk herself but unfortunately they added a weight limit (10 Kilo which is about 22 pounds). ;-) When you stay close by you could consider leaving your dog at the vacation home. When we visited we where 4 people with two dogs and took turns in the museum in pairs. 

Stralsund has it's own brewery that makes really good bear called Stoertebeker. The brewery also has a very nice restaurant where you can eat typical German brewery food (like pork knuckle) and local seafood. Dogs are welcome. 

 

There are a lot of more things to see and do, of course but these are our peronal highlights. Maybe I'll update later if I find more places I feel like I have to share with you. :-) 

Pfotenspuren Fotografie  -  linda@pfotenspuren-fotografie.de

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