Yes, it’s true that times have changed and here, along the quays, the mulling crowds are more tourists than sailors just in from the sea. Likewise, the dockers now pilot complicated robotic cranes and no longer walk up and down the gangways with their traditional woolly hats and a jute sack on their back. However, the port continues to endow the city with an irresistible atmosphere. Here, a number of important events are organised, such as the Hanse Sail festival, which attracts hundreds of sailing ships and a million visitors to the location every year in August. The centre is characterised by the typical buildings in red brickwork and the city fortifications. Three of the four monumental churches built over the years in the city are located within the city walls. The largest is the Gothic Marienkirche church, whereas St Petri rises up in the Alter Markt square. From its bell towers, visitors can enjoy a breath-taking view of the city and the Baltic Sea. Other places of interest include the Gothic city hall, the late Gothic Hausbaumhaus building and the Neo-Gothic Ständehaus palace. One of the city’s beloved symbols is the old Warnemünde lighthouse, which is well worth an excursion. The ancient seaside resort of Warnemünde, with its pretty coloured fishermen’s houses, is a peaceful place in which to go for a stroll and lose oneself in the beauty of the panorama. Small shops, cafés and restaurants invite you to make a pit stop and the Alter Strom promenade, with its ships and fishermen’s boats, floating peacefully on the water, ooze with the typical romanticism of seaside locations. A number of interesting examples of architecture in this area can be dated to the period of the DDR (this city was part of Eastern Germany), such as the extension of the Lange Straße road, or the experimental Hyparschalen buildings, created between 1966 and 1972 and still one-of-a-kind today. The most famous of these include the “Teepott” in Warnemünde, the Kosmos commercial building in the southern part of the city and the multi-purpose space in the district of Lütten Klein, today a shopping centre. For fans of shopping, the in places to visit are the Doberaner Platz, Neuer Markt and Universitätsplatz squares, while the port and the Kröpeliner Straße shopping road are the city’s pedestrian areas. And if you want to get to grips with the local specialities, choose a little restaurant in the Kröpeliner-Tor-Vorstadt district, where you can taste excellent delicacies accompanied by good beer.
The undisputed queen of the Hanseatic League, the city of Lübeck was founded in 1143 as the first “western city on the banks of the Baltic Sea” and became a model for all the other members of the league in the area of the Baltic Sea. The medieval town centre is one of the most significant testimonies of the brick Gothic period and recalls the city’s legendary past as one of the first world trade centres. It is no coincidence that the declaration of the medieval centre of the city of Lübeck as a World Heritage Site (1987) is the first case in northern Europe of a whole town centre being recognised by UNESCO. Since the medieval, seven bell towers have distinguished the skyline of this city surrounded by water. For centuries it was considered the symbol of freedom, justice and wellbeing. And today, its buildings from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods, its roads and churches, stately homes, craftsmen’s yards and city defences are all reminders of Lübeck in its prime. The centre includes the district round the city hall, the monastery of the castle, the majestic stately homes between the church of St Peter and the cathedral, the salt warehouses on the River Trave and the Holstentor gate, symbol of the city and interactive museum. No visit would be complete without a ride round the port in a boat and a trip to the buildings dedicated to the three Nobel prize-winners who hailed from Lübeck: Thomas Mann, Willy Brandt and Günter Grass. Lübeck is also a vibrant city when the sun goes down, and the signs of its many restaurants, bars, clubs and discos light up. The local delicacies on offer include the famous Lübeck marzipan: for centuries it has been the city’s pride and joy.