Greifswald – The German Coast´s Best Kept Secret
“Take a detour.
Discover small towns
and friendly faces
that don’t grow along the highway.”
― Khang Kijarro Nguyen
The Hanseatic League
In Northern Germany every child has heard of the Hanseatic League. Probably because a football club here is named after it 🙂 To quote Wikipedia, it was an “alliance of Low German merchant guilds and privileged market towns which dominated trade along the coasts of northern Europe from the mid-12th to mid-17th centuries.”
One of those privileged market towns is Greifswald, tucked into the North East corner of Germany. They also pride themselves on being home to the country´s smallest comprehensive university. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the town by two local students, so now I can share some real off-the-beaten-path Germany travel advice.
Ready? Here´s what you need to see.
Greifswald old town Brick Gothic
Town square, churches and cathedral – you know the drill. Let the pictures speak for themselves.
Cuuuuuute river with tons of fisher boats lined on the sides.
Camino de Santiago
Did you know that pilgrim from the North went through Greifswald on their way to Santiago de Campostela in Spain? Neither did I, until I saw the signs. 3400km is 2100 miles. Just saying. On foot.
Note: car charging stations!
It´s not all about being historic – Germans can be quite progressive, especially when it comes to renewable energy. So in case you´re driving up in your Tesla, not to worry, you can charge it right in the center of town.
They say the city is the campus. University buildings are spread out around the city, so are libraries and uni canteens. They range from classrooms that remind you of 100 years ago to modern concrete and glass buildings.
Of course this is a seasonal attraction J They have a pond with water lilies and lots of Asian plants – adjacent to some of the campus it´s a nice green break in between all that architecture I am making you look at!
Dinner at Kontor
Kontor – die Pizzamacher was where we went for dinner. I loved this place with its rustic athmosphere. Not least because you will find something on their menu regardless of the food intolerances you may have. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose free, no problem at all. They server mainly Pizza and Burgers. Outside seating available in the summer months.
Eldena / Wieck
Wieck is a picturesque suburb with thatched houses, cobble stone roads and a wooden bascule bridge. A stroll through the streets of Wieck will take you the entire morning as you will want to stop constantly to take pictures.
Best soft-serve ice cream in town
While you´re there make sure to stop at Ryck 7, an ice cream parlor named after the river, to get some of the best soft-serve Greifswald has to offer. Other options for lactose intolerant ice cream lovers are on offer also.
Munching on your ice cream, wander through the ruins of the brick monastery Eldena Abbey. It was a favorite inspiration for the painting of the local Romantic era German artist Caspar David Friedrich.
Crossing the bridge to the other side of the river you can walk on the dunes of the Bay (Greifswalder Bodden) and lock a padlock engraved with lovers´ initials on the pier. They offer boat tours of the harbor in case you feel like sea breeze in your hair.
Grab a snack on the way back! Fischhandel & Räucherei Kruse sells fresh fish sandwiches out of a seasonal booth by the river. I am told by the fish-eaters that they are delicious 😉
Have you been to any Hanseatic League cities and what is your favorite off-the-beaten-path destination? Comment below!
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