Once the main road coming into Wustrow, Germany, is flanked by the Baltic Sea on one side and the Saaler Bodden lagoon on the other, you’ve arrived. Welcome to ‘Germany’s most beautiful peninsula’, as the region of Fischland-Darß-Zingst itself calls it. And it’s pretty hard to argue otherwise. After all, the 45 kilometre long-peninsula has managed to retain a naturalness that has long since been flattened by hotel complexes in other parts of the world. On the Darß (pronounced ‘Darss’), hotels are in the minority. Instead, you’re much more likely to be greeted by dreamy villages and fine sandy beaches, which from time to time are decorated with piers, beach chairs and cliffs.
In some places, the beach is guarded by unspoiled forests where bison called home until 1945. The dense Darß Forest has long been part of the Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park, which at 786 square kilometres, is the largest national park in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the third largest in Germany. So, why have we chosen this little corner of the world for our experiment with the white Opel Zafira Life? We’ll get to that. But first, here’s a bit of trivia for you about the Baltic Sea, which pleasantly sloshes around the shores of the Darß: The inland sea is actually a huge glacial lake, a remnant of the last ice age.
It’s now finally time to turn our attention to the Zafira, the seated model of which is called the Zafira Life. Opel offers three chassis lengths to choose from. We opt for a happy medium and our gaze falls upon a 4.956 meter-long living room on wheels, and it looks pretty sharp. That’s right, the Zafira has its most angular design ever, opening up a whole new range of possibilities. The aim of our journey is to find out just how suited it is to being a hobby camper. And that’s exactly what brings us to the Darß peninsula, and more specifically, to the entrance of the Wustrow Surf Centre.
Every summer, a group of surfers transforms the large carpark into a small camp for water sports enthusiasts and anyone who wants to get as close to the beach as they can with their vans. Tents? No way. Buses only. This is where people celebrate van life. You can be out of your own sliding door and hit the first waves in under four minutes. As a trade-off, many are happy to give up the luxury afforded by a high-end campsite as well as the shade provided by trees, and are content with a simple bathroom block.
We find a nice spot between two converted vans, the owners of which are blown away by the Zafira Life. “It’s really spacious,” Dietmar calls into the right sliding door and knocks on our bed construction. A comfy mattress is sat on top of some planed boards where the rear seats would normally be. There’s ample space for luggage underneath it, while the supplies and camping stove fit neatly in front. “Simple and comfortable,” summarises Dietmar. Hailing from Berlin, he has converted his bus in a similar way to ours and is a regular visitor to the peninsula. “If you love the sea and peace and quiet, then this is the place to be.”
Down on the beach, the late summer wind is wonderfully warm as it gently caresses the pale sand. A few kiteboarders dance through the waves, their power kites waving through the air. The beach is pleasantly empty, but that’s probably also because nearest village is just three kilometres away. Rental bikes are available everywhere for around five euros a day, and it takes under ten minutes to cycle to Wustrow the next morning. Part of the beautifully laid out cycle path runs along the coast, making for some spectacular views, and leads directly to the pier in Wustrow..
Our destination is parked in the next town – in Ahrenshoop. Anna Küste owns a cute little mobile coffee van, from which she regularly brings caffeinated joy to the markets on the Darß peninsula in the form of her finest coffee creations. Anna has turned her back on the hectic everyday life in Berlin so she can live more freely here, just as many artists have before her. Anna’s motto is: “Wanna bet that we’ll meet again?” We don’t think there’s any doubt about that! Preferably it’ll be in the Zafira Life, which performs perfectly as a weekend camper. It also serves up an additional, extra-special treat in the form of a view of the starry sky above the bed – provided the large panoramic sunroofs are installed. They should be.
Crosscamp Turns Opel Zafira Life into Camper
The Opel Zafira Life is as adaptable as a Swiss Army Knife. The spacious van is available in three lengths and with a highly variable interior. As an option, the sliding doors open and close electrically, while the narrow turning circle, all-round visibility and good handling make the Zafira Life ideal for holiday trips with the family. The conversion specialists at Crosscamp clearly agree: the youngest brand of the Erwin Hymer Group offers the Crosscamp Life for €41,999 in Germany (RRP including VAT) at selected Opel dealerships.