Itinerary: Germany

ITINERARY: GERMANY

EXPLORING NORTHERN GERMANY'S UNESCO HERITAGE SITES BY CAMPER.

We use the UNESCO Heritage Sites as the basis for a journey to discover northern Germany. A wonderful camper trip to the borders of the Netherlands and Denmark, through unique cities and natural landscapes.

We set off on board our camper towards Germany, on the roads that will take us towards the Netherlands and Denmark. Northern Germany is a treasure trove of surprises to be discovered, with its beautiful landscape and natural wonders, not to mention the must-see nooks and crannies of its cities, brimming with history and art. We advise you to bring bikes with you, as there will be no shortage of opportunities for using them on the ultra-long cycle tracks along the way, which are also safe for children. The locations chosen take into consideration the indications provided by UNESCO, for both the natural sites and historical cities of the Hanseatic League, including Bremen, Lübeck, Wismar and Stralsund.

BREMEN

  

Bremen is the capital of the land of Bremen, the smallest territory in Germany: It is full of tradition and history with a welcoming, hospitable spirit, holding its heritage in high regard. The history of the city of Bremen dates back more than 1,200 years and clearly shines through in the extraordinary Baroque Renaissance complex of the Markplatz, with its city hall - a UNESCO World Heritage Site -, the statue of Roland, its patrician houses and the “Schütting”. The city pulls out all the stops to put its visitors at ease: indeed, a total of two thousand brass and steel nails have been used to trace the tourist trail that will take you through the city, from the Liebfrauenkirche church to the Böttcherstraße, once the narrow street on to which all the craftsmen’s workshops looked, and now a cultural and artistic centre of great prestige. To truly get the feel of Bremen, you must sit in its famous cafés, taste its excellent chocolate or a tasty snack made with ocean delicacies or sip a beer. The city hall is one of the most beautiful municipal buildings in Germany. Its façade is the emblem of the renaissance of the Weser family in the regions of northern Germany and, together with Roland, it constitutes the “statue of freedom”, symbolising the pride of the citizens of Bremen and the sovereignty they enjoy. When visiting the city hall, inside don’t miss the “Obere Rathaushalle”, a luxurious room containing reproduced models of the ships in use between the 16th and 17th centuries, as you stop to admire the nearby Chamber of Florins and its Jugendstil decorations. The floor below is also interesting: get ready to raise your glass and drink to good health, because this is the oldest wine cellar in Germany. You can admire the statue of Roland in Markplatz, the Market Square. Standing five and a half metres tall, it is the largest independent sculpture created in Germany during medieval times. It represents Hanseatic freedom but also conceals an interesting fact: the distance between its knees corresponds to the ancient Bremen unit of measure known as the Elle. This leads us to believe that the traders would use the statue to sell their fabric by the “metre” to end customers. And if you want to step into the shoes of the real Bremian locals for a moment, don’t forget to touch the statue’s pointed knees before venturing into the alleyways of the old town centre. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Remember the fable of the Town Musicians of Bremen by the Brothers Grimm? A dog, cat and cockerel leave their farm on the back of a donkey to go to Bremen, the city of freedom, and become musicians. So you can’t leave the city without having a souvenir photo taken beside the statue of the three animals, one on top of the other. And don’t forget: touching the donkey’s paw is said to bring good luck! But the inhabitants of Bremen, who love to joke around, say that if you don’t use both hands, your gesture is nothing other than two donkeys shaking paws... If you’re not in a hurry, you might also want to take the time to enjoy everything that Bremen has to offer in its role as a centre for culture: indeed, it is full of museums and galleries exhibiting avant-garde pieces. For instance, the Neues Museum Weserburg, hosts the largest collection of modern art in Germany. The River Weser deserves a chapter all to itself, and is one of the city’s great tourist attractions. The Weserburg complex, which hosts the museum of modern art, is located here, surrounded by the waters of the Weser river. The river bank of Bremen, the Schlachte, offers many romantic parks and open air beer gardens with views overlooking the water. A stone’s throw from the river you can go for a stroll in the characteristic Schnoor district with its narrow alleys and timber-framed houses, almost stacked one on top of another. This is also the ideal location in which to stop, have a coffee and browse in the many old-fashioned shops.

  

BREMERHAVEN AND THE WADDEN SEA, HAMBURG

  

The ships would leave their moorings and those who wanted to would set off to change their life, leaving the past behind and sailing towards America, the promised land. The stories of these hopeful travellers all ended differently and sometimes with more than just a little drama. The city is relatively young, having been founded in 1827. Here it is well worth visiting the beautiful museum about immigration, the Deutsches Auswandererhaus, which contains multimedia installations that enable visitors to relive the destinies of these Europeans intent on fleeing their homelands. Now we are going up the most northern peninsula of Germany, the one that runs into Denmark, and we get to the Wadden Sea, a unique habitat for many species of flora and fauna. The site is of great interest, spanning a surface area of 10,000 square metres and comprising the three national parks of the Wadden Sea in Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Hamburg and the reserve of the Wadden Sea in the Netherlands. Its unusual landscape will lead us to encounter entire sandbanks covered in shells. Banks of shells, meadows of aquatic plants that become forage for the fauna, and then salt water swamps in the large region in front of the dams, on the islands and on the Halligen alternate with white beaches and natural sand dunes. This is the location chosen by millions of birds for a restorative stopover during migration. In geological terms, the Wadden Sea is a young landscape. It is not yet 10,000 years old and it is unstable, modelled by the wind and the succession of tides that repeat their miracle every six hours. At low tide, it is possible to venture into the mud flat or reach the islands or the Halligen, setting off from dry land. In certain periods of the year, it is common to spot seals relaxing in the sun on one of the sandbanks.

 

Hamburg is a city full of surprises, a metropolis crossed by many different faces arriving from all over the world. But it is also the Germany of the port, the gateway from the continent towards the Atlantic. Taking a trip in the port in Hamburg is a unique experience. And naturally, not just on foot: take a trip in a river boat, a true guided tour, dribbling through gigantic container ships and colossal transatlantic liners, but also among the luxurious motor boats and many sailing ships of Hamburg, a city proud to harbour a true passion for sailing. The locals in Hamburg have a strong link with the port: when the transatlantic liner Queen Mary 2 enters the port, thousands of visitors welcome her along the shores of the Elbe, and often accompany the salute by setting off fireworks. The tour continues in the old town centre, once the heart of the trade of goods arriving from the New World by sea. Another symbolic place is the Speicherstadt, where you can admire the spectacular industrial archaeology of the largest complex of warehouses in the world. The style is that of buildings made with visible red bricks slightly blackened by time, but everything rests on thousands of oak stakes and is crossed by small canals, the Fleetens. Instead, the new face of the port is HafenCity. The Übersee district has witnessed the birth of one of the largest city development projects in Europe, which highlights the contrast between the tradition of maritime sailing and modern architecture. To enjoy a splendid panorama of the city’s maritime activity, you can visit the panoramic viewpoint of the Cruise Center and stroll along the banks of the Elbe, overlooked by majestic villas and restaurants. From the futuristic Dockland building, an office complex positioned 40 metres above the Elbe boasts a panoramic terrace that is accessible to the public and affords an awe-inspiring view.

  

STRALSUND AND WISMAR

  

These are exciting centres for history buffs, characterised by their original medieval floor plans. Their brick Gothic buildings are typical architectural elements of a vast Baltic geographical area. The six parish churches in brickwork built in Stralsund and Wismar, along the coast of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania offer a panorama that is representative of the sacred Gothic architecture of the end of the medieval age. A permanent exhibition hosted by the church of Saint Mary in Wismar illustrates the techniques of Gothic brickwork masonry and medieval craftsmanship. Considering its dimensions and compact volume, Wismar is the city which has best preserved its ancient appearance and, like Stralsund, easily wins over its visitors with the charm of its characteristic family restaurants in the port and its beautiful views at every turn. The historical port of Wismar also gives us a fair idea of the power of this centre and “Alter Schwede”, the most ancient stately home in the city, which today hosts the Alter Schwede restaurant, is an effective symbol of the wellbeing and creativity of its citizens. This building is also a reminder that Sweden reigned over both cities in the 17th and 18th centuries. Several splendid Baroque constructions can be dated to this period, such as the arsenal of Wismar or the building of the Swedish government in Stralsund. On the islands of the port of Stralsund, the Ozeanum Museum awaits you. From here that you can embark on a fascinating journey into the underwater universe of the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. With its modern architecture, the building creates a charming contrast with the medieval beauty of the city.

  

ROSTOCK, LÜBECK

  

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.

  

<asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageTitle" runat="server"/>