Germany off the beaten track

Würzburg: Mozart Festival in the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Residenz" (Residence) © Oliver Lang

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1 City 5 Ways: Rostock

Another installment of my mini series called “1 City 5 Ways,” showcasing the surprising number of ways you can experience some of Historic Highlights of Germany’s magnificent cities.

Today's post focuses on Rostock
, Historic Highlights of Germany's only coastal city.


You may already know Rostock as Germany’s seaside gateway to Scandinavia, just a short ferry ride away from Denmark and Sweden. What you may not know is that by hosting everything from cutting edge research to world class sporting events, Rostock is so much more than mere beauty and brawn. It’s clearly cultured and darn brainy too. 


The Outdoor Enthusiast

The birthplace of the world's first “beach chair,” Rostock has clearly had beach culture covered as far back as the 1800s.

But these days don’t expect to spend all day in a beach chair. Unless you want to, that is.

From windsurfing to beach volleyball, virtually all water sports are accessible in Rostock. And then there’s the gorgeous seaside path
in neigbhoring Warnemünde that is absolutely perfect for leisurely bike rides, walks and jogs… And every summer, for pure viewing delight and entertainment, hundreds of tall ships -- from around the world -- cruise into harbor for the epic Hanse Sail.  

The Lux Traveler

If some downtime at the spa is more your style,
Warnemünde’s Hohe Dune Yachting and Spa Resort is the perfect retreat for you. It’s a grand resort with boutique style attention to detail.

Relax on the terrace overlooking the Baltic Sea. Stroll on a quiet stretch of beach. Eat, drink and relax in 6 restaurants and 5 bars. And, if fitness is part of your plan, a large fitness facility, pool or steam bath is all at your disposal.

Despite feeling a world away from the regular beach bustle, it is all set just across from the main harbor. So you’re just moments away from all the action whenever you’re ready to step back into it. 

The Foodie Traveler

It almost goes without saying that seafood lovers will delight in the fresh year round offerings found in Rostock.

But even if you don’t fancy seafood, Rostock has an impressive selection of internationally inspired fare. The waterfront, in Rostock as well as in
Warnemünde, is overflowing with great restaurants. A favorite for many visitors is Al Porto, an Italian restaurant located directly on the water (on “the strand” in Rostock). It serves traditional thin crust Italian wood-fired pizzas so deliciously authentic that they’ll leave you wondering whether you’re overlooking the Mediterranean and not the Baltic Sea…

The History Buff

A city with a more than 800 year history, Rostock boasts plenty of world history and charm.

The city’s real history began when it joined the Hanseatic League in the 1200s. Taking you back to that time period are the city’s multiple original city and water gates. The Kröpelin Gate (Kröpeliner Tor), first mentioned is 1280, is the most magnificent one remaining.

If educational history is more your interest, Rostock University is one of the oldest in Northern Europe, founded in 1419. Five Nobel Prize laureates have had connections to Rostock University, including Einstein. He was given an Honorary Doctorate of Medicine there in 1919.

Possibly the city’s masterpiece though is its Astronomical Clock. Installed in Rostock’s Church of Our Lady, in 1472, it is a technical masterpiece and one of the oldest such clocks in Europe. It is also the only one that still precisely functions with all of its original parts. A visit to this clock may remind you on the one Prague, which was built in the same era, in 1410.

Like a Local

If you visit in summer and want to blend in like a local Rostocker, simply put on some sunglasses and stroll along the beach, through the town center or along the docks…with a jumbo soft ice cream cone in hand.

“Eis cafes" or ice cream stands line the street in Rostock or
Warnemünde. Germans truly love their ice cream (or "eis” as they call it).  However, this is also quite common in Nordic countries like Sweden, Norway and Denmark. So, while you can hang out in the many outdoor cafes, to truly blend into this northern city on the Baltic Sea, you should really indulge in some eis...

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