Moving to Germany gave me the opportunity to use some of the weekends (especially those few longer ones) for short trips to different parts of the country where I have never been before. Especially the NORTHERN COASTAL PART is so different to anything I knew before and that´s why I always love to go there. Last year in the early spring we spend 4 days visiting HAMBURG, LÜBECK and a few BEACHES on the way to KIEL. Then it was already time to return home. Some of the places are well worth a stop even if you are just passing by on your way to Denmark or the Scandinavian countries.
HAMBURG | NORTHERN GERMANY
First stop, Hamburg! We´re quiet often in Hamburg, so we kind of know it a bit and we don´t feel the need to see everything in 2 days, because we know we will come back again soon. So we sometimes end up doing things which a normal tourist would not do. Taking the BOAT RIDE around Europe´s third largest port is a great way to start your Hamburg visit – you can listen to interesting information about the city coming out of the speakers while you drink a beer on the deck and enjoy the views.
After that you can WALK AROUND CITY CENTRE and visit all the main tourist attractions – even though the city is big, it´s manageable to go around the centre on foot. In case you are there in the winter, there is a huge Christmas fair just right outside the town hall, you really can´t miss it. In the summer you can relax in many parks, sit down at river banks and walk around the lakes! Oh and don´t forget about the evenings, there is much going on so no fear of getting bord ;). I like Hamburg, it has a very different feeling that most other German towns, it actually deserves a longer post on its own (coming up when I find the time ;)).
LÜBECK | NORTHERN GERMANY
We were soon off to Lübeck, which is just 70 kilometres away. We were really lucky with the weather this time (it can be very unpredictable here in the north) so after checking in at the hotel we went straight out again and walked towards the town centre. And for that we had to first go through the famous HOLSTENTOR.
The MASSIVE BRICK GATE is one of the two left in the town and was built to protect the HANSEATIC CITY in the old times. The central building is accompanied by two towers and has four floors. There are cannons and sculptures in the park belonging to the city gate and the place is also a part of UNESCO´s World Heritage since 1987.
Besides these city gates which really are the most recognisable city landmark, the next most photographed place is the space around the TOWN HALL. The amazing architecture and brick stone colours plus some cafes make it a nice corner of the town to sit down for a coffee and watch the locals pass by.
All the way along the RIVER there are restaurants, bars and cafes – since it was a sunny day the area was very lively and there was even an open air concert which attracted many people in that afternoon. The city centre is not too big, so you can easily walk around.
There are many CHURCHES in the city – even if you don´t specificity look for them, you will see them. We took a look into some of them and found one very interesting feature in St. Mary´s church. An astronomical clock, made around 1560!
I´m not one of those who would die for a piece of chocolate or anything sweet – but if you are, then you might know that Lübeck is world famous for its MARZIPAN PRODUCTION, NIEDEREGGER being the leading company selling all kinds of products. There is even a Marzipan Museum you can go to here.
SCHARBEUTZ | NORTHERN GERMANY
After visiting two cities in a row we were looking forward to the BEACH! Especially Lu, who was happy to run around freely without us worrying he runs to the street. We decided to make a stop in SCHARBEUTZ which is probably the most famous in this area. It´s quite modern with many hotels, apartments, shops, restaurants, playgrounds and so on. It was still (in my opinion) too early and too cold for swimming, but some of the northern Germans had obviously different opinion about it and were already jumping inside in the beginning of May. The famous “STRANDKORB” is ever present of course and Scharbeutz is no exception. It was nice to be back to the beach – I really like these beaches for WALKING more than for swimming, that´s why I think spring is the best time to visit!
There is a long pier at one side of the beach and in this area at the beach you will find a nice CHILDRENS PLAYGROUND and a BEACH BAR. If you are there on a nice sunny day, it´s just perfect for a coffee with a sea view.
We found Scharbeutz very CHILD FRIENDLY, there were many really nice playgrounds and a great CYCLING PATH along the beach. The beach itself is sandy, long and offers lots of space to run around. Besides, they can play in the shallow water, which goes for quite some metres before it gets deep – sometimes it feels even a bit muddy and you don´t really see your feet. For the kids it´s very appealing ;). For me the whole village/town was missing some good old charm a bit, everything looked very modern, with big houses /hotels close to the beach, but I guess that´s just the usual consequence of developing tourism.
KIEL | NORTHERN GERMANY
Soon the beach time was over and we were off to Kiel. This was kind of a spontaneous decision so we had no idea what to do or see there, we just went. Our first thought was to go to the PORT, because after all that´s usually the place where much is going on. And so it was, we found BARS and RESTAURANTS and sat down outside in the sun, enjoyed a cold beer and a fish lunch.
Kiel is known for its “Sailing week”, called KIELER WOCHE, a sailing regatta where hundreds of sailing boats are seen in the bay – we missed to see this, but I´m sure it´s a great event! Seems like everything here lives around water, sea and ships. There are many ferries that can bring you to Scandinavian and Baltic countries, Kiel is also a starting point for many cruise ships.
As always, time flew and we had to turn back home. We closed a circle on the way back to HAMBURG and continued for another couple of hours before we were back at where we started. It´s a great idea how to spend a longer weekend if you live somewhere in the near of Hamburg and in case you are just passing by on the way to the more northern countries you can consider spending one night in Hamburg, Lübeck or at the beach on your way!
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