Another important and interesting northern German town, only about 70km from Hamburg towards the east coast, which makes a wonderful weekend trip in you live around here or a stop during a longer road trip through Germany. Not only is the city known as the city of seven spires, it is also listed on UNESCO´s World Heritage list and there is plenty of really nice historical buildings to see. It used to be the capital of the Hanseatic league which was an important trade route between various cities and countries. Also, this is the seat of the world famous marzipan products brand, Niederegger. Lots of museums, galleries, restaurants, historical buildings, magnificent city gates a vibrant river promenade area and much more. I´ve had the chance to visit this city on two different occasions, so here´s a post about what all you can see and do in Lübeck.
HOLSTENTOR | spectacular city gate, museum & park and entrance to the old town
One of the most interesting and known architectural buildings in the whole country is representing a striking and memorable entrance to the city´s old town. Especially if this is your first time visiting I suggest you park somewhere in this area (search for the main railways station which is located near this city gate) and walk through the HOLSTENTORPLATZ park to the gate.
This MIGHTY RED BRICK DOORS with 2 massive round TOWERS and the middle part in front of which you can also see cannons and sculptures, are not only interesting to look at, they are also home to a smaller museum called HOLSTENTOR MUSEUM. This one is dedicated to the city of Lübeck, the former capital of the Hanseatic league and one of the most important cities in German history. You can check out armours, weapons, ship models and other historical artefacts in the museum. Together with the park this city gate is also on UNESCO´s World Heritage list, actually already since 1987.
BURGTOR | the other city gate in the northern part of the old town
If you enter the old city centre FROM THE NORTHERN SIDE, over the bridge called Burgtorbrücke, you will not enter through Holstentor but the second city gate, built in Gothic style but will Baroque elements, named BURGTOR. Now this one may not be as spectacular as the other but still, it is worth a look. While you are there make sure you also stop by at the famous museum HANSEMUSEUM, later on you can continue your sightseeing by walking towards the centre on one of the main streets here, called GROßE BURGSTRAßE.
LÜBECK ALTSTADT | the old city centre surrounded by Trave river an dthe city of 7 spires
The old part of the city is actually located ON AN ISLAND which is surrounded by RIVER TRAVE, which makes the location even more idyllic. Countless narrow streets, cobble stone alleys and courtyards, beautiful old buildings and architecture, lively atmosphere along the river, multiple bridges, churches, museums, a gorgeous old city hall and other historical buildings make this part of the city surely the most attractive and this is where you should head first too.
The most recognizable feature of Lübeck, ONE OF THE LARGEST GERMAN HISTORICAL OLD TOWNS, are the 7 SPIRES OF THE CITY´S 5 MAIN CHURCHES, which have over the time become the SYMBOL OF LÜBECK. Some of them were damaged during the WWII but have been nicely restored. Together with Holstentor city gates they form and important TRADE MARK of the city – they can also be seen on one of the euro souvenir coins.
LÜBECK RATHAUS | gorgeous city hall and market square
One of the most beautiful and interesting buildings in Lübeck, which might even resemble some kind of fairytale castle, has to be this GOTHIC BRICK TOWN HALL, which is also on UNESCO´s World Heritage list.
The building was often transformed and rebuilt during centuries, but it was first mentioned already back in 1225. Today, with over 800 years of tradition, it is still the same old city hall and it is also OPENED TO THE PUBLIC. Meaning you can visit and take a look at its interior, also you can ave a bite to eat in the traditional RATSKELLER RESTAURANT in the basement.
NIEDEREGGER MARZIPAN | world known marzipan brand, Cafe Niederegger and marzipan museum
NIEDEREGGER marzipan brand was established already back in 1806 right in the town of Lübeck and is today with over 200 years of tradition still one of the most recognisable and leading brands making these delicious MARZIPAN GOODIES in the world.
Therefore you should not miss visiting at least the most famous cafe place called CAFE NIEDEREGGER while you are in the city. This cafe is so beautiful that it also got quite some prizes, including a prize for THE MOST ATTRACTIVE CAFE IN GERMANY. They offer pretty much everything from breakfasts to brunch and proper meals, coffee and stronger drinks and of course marzipan delicacies. You can also visit the MARZIPAN MUSEUM, where you learn more about the production behind the scenes. If you still didn´t have enough you can head to another cafe just around the corner, called NIEDEREGGER ARKADENCAFE.
AN DER OBERTARVE | lively promenade along Trave river
My favourite part of the town has to be the lively area along the RIVER TRAVE, especially the around 700m LONG PROMENADE, full of RESTAURANTS AND BARS in the shade of the trees, benches for relaxing with a view and people watching while strolling the narrow streets with beautiful architecture. This is simply the place to be especially over the weekends and on sunny days when everybody comes out here to catch some sun.
HEILIGEN – GEIST – HOSPITAL | one of the oldest social buildings in the world
One of the oldest buildings of such kind, where the old, sick and poor people were taken care of and given food, care and attention since it opened its doors back in 1286. Today you can admire this over 700 years old facade and if you happen to be here in December you can visit the craft market as well.
CITY CATHEDRAL AND CHURCHES | over 10 churches in the old town
In Lübeck´s old town there are so many churches, around 10 to be more precise. The CITY CATHEDRAL from 12th Century is one of the oldest and is located in the southern part of the island.
Second most important and famous church is ST. MARY´S CHURCH located directly at the city hall. This one was built in the 13th Century and has 2 TOWERS with an impressive 125m metres of height and an interesting ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK, which can be seen inside the church. As the old town centre is not so large it is easy to walk to some of the other churches while sightseeing as well.
SALZSPEICHER | 6 historical buildings used for salt storage
If you enter the old city centre through the famous Holzentor, you might make your first stop directly close by and check out the magnificent 6 HISTORICAL SALT WAREHOUSES – the oldest building is from 1579 and the youngest from 1745. Interestingly, the salt which was stored here was later on distributed to the Scandinavian countries and it came to Lübeck from the wonderful town of Lüneburg, just south of Hamburg.
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
I´ve already mentioned some of them, but let´s put them all together here under this chapter. So, if you have limited amount of time I suggest you visit the best of the best and that would be the HANSAMUSEUM which is the largest and most important one of this kind in the world. Here you learn about the historical HANSA LEAGUE, which Lübeck was the capital of and one of the most important trade cities connected in this league. Other than this one, you can visit the smaller museum in HOLSTENTOR, MARZIPAN MUSEUM, BUDDENBROOK HAUS, WILLY BRANDT HAUS, KUNSTHALLE and other galleries.
DAY TRIPS TO THE BALTIC COAST | Travemünde, Scharbeutz and Timmendorfer Strand
It is really just a short drive from the city up to the GERMAN BALTIC COAST and if you have an extra day in Lübeck I suggest you do exactly that. Also, if you happen to be on a longer road trip through this parts of Germany, make sure you don´t leave out the coast. For a DAY TRIP FROM LÜBECK I recommend going to either TRAVEMÜNDE, which is a port town, or, if you are a beach lover, head over to TIMMENDORFER STRAND and SCHARBEUTZ which are TWO WELL KNOWN BEACHSIDE TOWNS in this area and are located very close to one another.
There is so much going on in these two towns and you certainly will not get bored. If you don´t have your own transportation, you can also come here with public trains, it is also possible to either bring your own or rent bicycles there – there is a very long walking / cycling path along the sea, lots of playgrounds for the kids, many good restaurants and beach bars, a very long sandy beach with water sports possibilities besides swimming of course. It is very lively, but enjoyable.
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