On the way to the largest German island, Rügen, a few years ago we also stopped in a picturesque small town on the German Baltic coast, Stralsund. If you would like to visit Rügen you will have to pass here anyway, the island is connected to Stralsund by a bridge, but otherwise these are still quite remote places for the average tourist – from Berlin or Hamburg for example it is a 3 hours drive. Nevertheless, I warmly recommend a planned visit to the coast, which inspires me again and again. Not only kilometers of secluded sandy beaches or historically and architecturally interesting towns with a very special atmosphere, as we also find UNESCO heritage sights in Stralsund. Read more about what you can see and do there in this new post.
OLD CITY CENTRE | Altmarkt square an dother important sights in this area
So the city really isn’t big and even if you only stop for one day, you see quite a lot. Of course, you can also walk around, hotels and apartments are significantly cheaper here than over on the island of Rügen, from which you are separated only by a short drive across the bridge. Since most of the island is also included in the railway network, day trips by public transport from Stralsund are just as easy.
I suggest you start the tour in the OLD TOWN CENTER, which will certainly not disappoint. If you are coming with your own car follow the signs for “ALTSTADT”, there are quite a few parking lots and garage houses available. You can start your day at the old square ALTERMARKT, which is located in front of the town hall and is surrounded by beautiful CAFES and architecturally interesting buildings.
In the immediate vicinity of the above-mentioned square in the old town area, you can also see the CITY HALL and the neighboring church of ST. NIKOLAIKIRCHE, JOHANNISKLOSTER convent, HANSEGALERIE gallery, VORPOMMERN THEATER, the remains of the CITY WALLS (Stadtmauer), the interesting WULFLAMHAUS and COMMANDANTENHAUS buildings as well as the KNIEPERTOR which is an over 20m high city gate.
RATHAUS | beautiful Gothis city hall
ONE OF THE OLDEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS IN THE NORTH GERMAN GOTHIC BRICK STYLE is located next to the lovely Altmarkt square and you can hardly miss it. Its unique façade has also become a trademark of the city over the years and together with the neighboring church of St. Nikolaikirche is the most recognizable structure of the city of Stralsund.
Originally, the building was intended for TRADING, inside there were smaller shops and stalls and a passage leading through the building, which connected two squares or courtyards. Like many other STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT CITIES in this part of Germany, Stralsund also belonged to the former important HANSEATIC LEAGUE, as reminded by the coats of arms of Lüneburg and Bremen on the east and Hamburg, Lübeck, Wismar, Rostock, Stralsund and Gerifswald on the north. The town hall was completely renovated between 2001 and 2011 and is truly one of the most beautiful in Germany.
Another view of the square in front of the town hall, where it is especially pleasant on a beautiful sunny day. In many cafes you can treat yourself with a dessert and coffee while people watching and the children will find fun in the outdoor water installation which can act as a playground.
CITY CENTER | shopping streets and pedestrian areas inthe center
From the Altmarkt you can continue walking around the city towards the marina and the harbor, or take a turn through the lively streets inside the PEDESTRIAN ZONE first. Head on to OSSENREYERSTRASSE for example, especially if you are willing to shop as there are a number of known chain shops and brands, but also lovely boutiques with handicrafts, not to mention the bakeries.
GORCH FOCK | historical museum ship
In Stralsund port, you can take a closer look at the interesting GORCH FOCK HISTORICAL SHIP, built in Hamburg in 1933, which until 1945 served the purpose of training for the German Navy Forces. Today, this retired sailboat operates as a MUSEUM SHIP and you can also visit and see the interior (ENTRY FEE 5€ for adults).
The ship historically fell into the hands of the Soviet Union (where it was renamed Tovarishch) and eventually landed in Great Britain later on. But due to lack of funds it was RETURNED TO ITS HOMELAND, German, where it anchored right on this pier. In 2003, it was also given back its original name. In 1958, the German government built a new, replacement sailing ship of the same name, the latter still active at sea today.
OZEANEUM & MEERESMUSEUM | maritime museum and aquarium
In the area of the port and marina, you must visit another of the biggest attractions of the city, the OZEANEUM museum, which can be visited as part of a visit to the MARITIME MUSEUM (Deutsches Meeresmuseum). Together they are one of the largest museums of its kind in Europe, the Ozeaneum was also named the BEST EUROPEAN MUSEUM in 2010 so it is really worth visiting.
The ozeaneum actually acts as a huge AQUARIUM as an addition to the maritime museum. Inside the building you can see the marine life of animals and organisms of the North and Baltic Seas. I’m not usually into this kind of thing myself, but this one is really nicely arranged.
HAFENRUNDFAHRT | panoramic touristic boat cruises
Those who have enough time can also afford a one or more-hour cruise on the bay and canals between Stralsund and Rügen on a beautiful sunny day. There are several providers, usually you can also enjoy lunch and of course a refreshing drink on board.
CHURCHES | the most recognizable and interesting churches in Stralsund
Built as early as 1234, the OLDEST AND MOST KNOWN CHURCH in the city is definitely ST. NIKOLAIKIRCHE, located directly next to the town hall, together with which they form a wonderful architectural duo. You can’t miss this one during your sightseeing, but you can also visit, a couple of other churches. For example, MARIENKIRCHE, ST. JAKOBI, HEILGEISTKIRCHE and also and and the monastery JOHANNISKLOSTER.
STRELASUNDQUERUNG | bridges connecting Strasund on the mainland with island Rügen
The term STRELASUNDQUERUNG refers to two bridge connections from the town of Stralsund to the island of Rügen across the ISLAND OF DÄNHOLM and the sea waters called Strelasund. The first connection, the newer modern bridge, is called RÜGENBRÜCKE, and then there are two older bridges with walking and cycling routes – ZIEGELGRABENBRÜCKE and RÜGENDAMMBRÜCKE.
In the foreground you can see the most famous EAST GERMAN car called TRABANT or „TRABI“, which is not so rare to spot in this parts of Germany, and in the background the above-mentioned bridges connecting Stralsund with Rügen island.
A visit to Stralsund is not perfect if you do not visit the island of Rügen, which I mentioned oh so often already here, too. Usually, the island is the final destination of many travelers who only stop in Stralsund for only a day or two on the way over to Rügen.
The largest German island is absolutely beautiful, in addition to secluded as well as more lively SANDY BEACHES, you will find UNTOUCHED NATURE, a NATIONAL PARK inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, kilometers of CYCLING TRAILS, beautiful little TOWNS, a bunch of other interesting sights and a lot of ACTIVITIES FOR THE KIDS. We spent 4 days on the island got to know it pretty well. There is also a longer post about it on the blog – read it by clicking on the link below.more about RÜGEN
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