Northern Germany Help Needed

May 24th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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Northern Germany Help Needed


Please be patient, I am new to Fodors, and my request seems to have gotten lost. I apologize in advancce if you see this twice.

I need to do some very fast planning for a trip to Northern Germany, specifically to the Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern areas. We normally don’t wait until the last minute like this, so I’m way behind the power curve here. We have traveled through many parts of Germany previously and this is one area we have not seen. We chose it because we do not usually travel in June and it seems like the perfect time for this part of the country – before too many crowds and the potential for some good weather.

My husband and I arrive in Köln on 19 June, 0830. We plan to drive about 4 hours to Lübeck and spend the night. We aren’t willing to do much more driving than that our first day. We have already seen the Mosel and Rhine valleys and we would prefer something new this time.

After that first day in Lübeck, we will have 7 full days to explore the area. We plan to use 27 June as a travel day. We need to be on the German Wine Road for a wedding on 28 June.

Besides Lübeck, we would to like to split our time between two locations and do day trips, if this is feasible. We would like to see Red cliffs near Kampen, Rostock, Strasland, and Rügen, but I’m not sure what is manageable, given the distances involved. I need suggestions for base locations, hotels/pensions, additional “must see” sights/towns and restaurants.

We love nature and hiking, history, and quaint old towns with interesting town centers. We like regional food and drink and enjoy experiencing regional charm. We love seafood. We prefer to avoid large chain hotels and business accommodations. We enjoy a sauna, but we are not looking for a “kur” experience.

I am open to any and all suggestions and I promise a trip report! Many thanks.
wanderfrau is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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Welcome to Fodor's, wanderfrau. I can't offer any help with your fascinating questions, but I will be looking at any responses that you receive! Also your trip report when you return.
noe847 is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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Your other thread isn't lost - here it is

(but it doesn't have any responses) To find all of your posts, click on your name.

I don't know that part of Germany very well so others will probably be able to help more. But I do have one comment -- are you flying in long haul/transatlantic? If so, you might want to wait until day 2 to drive. You won't know how jet lagged you are until you get there - and then it is too late. So I would eithere stay near Koln the first night, or take the train to whereever you want to spend the first night. Then pick up your car on day 2.
janisj is online now  
May 25th, 2007, 04:40 AM
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Hello wanderfrau,
Kampen is on the island of Sylt in Northsea. And quite far away of Luebeck and the other places you wanted to see. All are more or less on or in Baltic Sea.
I would suppose to skip Kampen/Sylt and concentrate on Stralsund (not Strasland) and the nearby island of Ruegen. On Ruegen you have the white (chalk) cliffs and many other interesting places. A sidetrip to the small island of Hiddensee (easy to reach by ferryboat) should be another good idea.
Sorry, no suggestions on Hotels etc., because I stayed at big chain hotels.
But the websites (also in English) of all mentioned places could help.
Have a nice trip!
PS| End of June is already main season on Ruegen. So you better hurry-up with bookings.
wolfmisc is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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Thanks to all for your replies!

janisj - we are flying from the US, so yes, we will be jet lagged. We have done a 4 hr drive day one before, so we will try again, with a back up plan. We will stay in Koln before we depart.

wolfmisc - I have taken Sylt off the plan. Thanks for the suggestion

Any other suggestions?
wanderfrau is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 01:33 AM
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Hi wanderfrau,

just saw your thread this morning because I was busy as guide for friends from Texas in my city in Germany the last days

You picked a very beautiful (and yet not crowded with international tourists) region of Germany for your trip. I spent two or three weeks almost every summer at the Baltic Coast when I was younger. Good decision to skip Sylt given your plan to see Rügen.

If you have 7 days for travelling the area I recommend to spend 3 nights in Kühlungsborn and 4 nights somewhere on the Island Rügen. On the drive from one to the other you can see Stralsund (It is UNESCO World Heritage site but I was not overly impressed when I visited two years ago).

Kühlungsborn is a very nice seaside resort with long promenade and beautiful beach. It has many old houses from the 19th/early 20th century that are now B&Bs and small charming hotels. An old steam train runs from K. to Bad Doberan, a small and charming town with beautiful Gothic Church. Only a few miles west of K. you find the cliffs near Rerik. Wismar is another interesting (similar to Stralsund) town, a good short stop on the drive from Lübeck to K. From K. you can easily daytrip to Rostock.

Two years ago I met up with American friends on the Island Rügen. We stayed in Sellin, a charming small 'white' town in a small, very good 3star hotel. This is their website:

On the island you might visit: the chalk cliffs, Cape Arkona, the most famous 'white' seaside resort/town Binz (quite upscale), the hunting castle Granitz (not a *must*), take the old steam train from Sellin to Putbus, another 'white' residential town with beautiful buildings from the early 18th century. Taking a ferry to Hiddensee is also an excellent idea - it's car-free and unspoilt.
Ingo is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 02:16 AM
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Hello Wanderfrau:

Judging from the responses that you have received, it appears that the experts are on the case. I can't contribute anything on your itinerary except to say that I look forward to your report.

We will be visiting some major cities in northern Germany this September, starting in Koln and ending in Dresden. Ingo and noe847 have been enormously helpful in our planning.

I must ask about a phrase -- behind the power curve--and the date format in your post. Is there some military aviation somewhere in your midst? Just curious; no need to reply. Best of luck on your trip. Gradyghost
gradyghost is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 03:32 AM
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A few years ago we enjoyed exploring the northern section of Germany. We met up with some friends that have relatives there and visit often. We visited several towns that were very nice...everywhere along the Baltic was very scenic.

We were there in June and enjoyed the Kieler Woche-a large sailing festival in Kiel. This year it is June 16 - 24 so you may want to consider checking it out. Two other towns I remember visiting were Flensburg and Kappeln-which was a very nice smaller village. We also visited a castle and a viking museum that was interesting.
chip is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 04:04 AM
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If I were in your position, I would take a drive through from Lübek to the North Sea side of SH.

You can start by riding up the Baltic coast to Scharbeutz. I like it even better than Timmendorfer Strand because it is less "hip" if you know what I mean, and has lots of charm. From there, head inland on the 76 to Plön. Plöner See is really beautiful, and the small cities of Plön and Malente are well worth seeing. You will be near an area called the Holsteiner Schweiz, because the area is hilly and therefore (from a Northern German perspective) resembles Switzerland. From Plön you can head northwest, hitting the Autobahn at Raisdorf, and then go past Kiel to Schleswig (while Kieler Woche might be worth a stop, Kiel is not a very attractive city, IMO, there are other nicer spots). Schleswig is just lovely, very underrated.

After Schleswig, you can go straight west and visit the very beautiful towns of Husum and St. Peter Ording (dikes, extended long beaches which are just sand when it is ebb, and are filled with water at tide, sheep on the innerside of the dikes, incredible National Geographic type nature).

All along this route from Lübeck to St. Peter Ording, there are small towns with old brick homes and farm houses with tin roofs, covered with roses and Lavender this time of year...tons of places to stop and eat fish and asparagus and strawberry cake.

bellacqui is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 08:54 AM
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Many, many thanks. Just what I wanted -- lots of ideas!!

Ingo -- thanks for the suggestions. I will investigate Kühlungsborn. I haved never heard of it... And I will also check out your suggestions for Ruegen.

chip -- We have chosen to not visit Kiel, because of Kieler Woche and the crowds and we are not particularly interested in any of the boating events.

gradyghost -- yes, there is military aviation in my midst, and by your comment, more than I thought! I promise a trip report when I return, which will include Koeln.

bellaacqui -- ooooh...lots of new places and names, things I love. Schleswig is a defintely a possibility. Thank you! I'm looking forward to that spärgel!

Again, many thanks to all.
wanderfrau is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 09:22 AM
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hi, wanderfrau,

I'm another one piggybacking on your thread, looking forward to your trip-report.

hope you have a great trip,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Hello frau;wander:

If you say Breezy Point is familiar, I can figure out the rest.

gradyghost is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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A few years ago, while driving in that area, we stayed a few nights in the town of Schwerin.
There is a pretty neat castle there to see. We also found that they had a nice holiday Inn, american style.
We usually stay at typical small family run hotels, but this is a nice break if you need such a thing.
This town might be on your way, either to stay or just see the castle.
I'd be interested in what other Fodorites have to say about it.
ekellyga is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 12:25 AM
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A few suggestions:

1. Although biased, it completely escapes me why anybody visiting the region would skip Hamburg altogether. Rather than basing myself in Luebeck (as much as I like it), I would opt to stay in Hamburg and daytrip to Luebeck due to more options for a night out on town, restaurant choices (although Luebeck offer a surprising number of godd ones) and the possibility to take a tour of the Alster Lakes with adjoining stately homes, the port, walk of the charming Treppenviertel in Blankenese, good shopping etc. But that's me.
If you indeed stay in Luebeck, I'd strongly recommend a daytrip to Hamburg, though.

2. Restaurants in Luebeck:
2.1 Traditional food prepared with care at:
Zimmermanns Luebecker Hanse, right in the center of town, but a bit tucked away in a side street called Kolk

2.2 Michelin starred cuisine at
Wullenwever, also right in the center of Old Town at Beckergrube 71.

2.3 A bit out of town (in the direction of Timmendorfer Strand and Scharbeutz), if you like roast duck in all variations:
Brechtmanns Landgasthof in Schürsdorf

2.4 A Luebeck classic, a bit touristy, though,
Schiffergesellschaft on Breite Str. 2

2.5 A bit out of town, Schloss Luetgenhof in Dassow can be a nice retreat


2.6 Even better cuisine (at least more consistent) than at Schloss Luetgenhof can be found at Schloss Gross Schwansee, in a very remote location just behind a fabulously unkept beach, but still fairly close to Luebeck:

3. If you are interested in attending a classic concert in relaxed, but festive surroundings, try one of the events at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where concerts are being played in churches, barns, at palaces etc. I particularly enjoy events at Schloss Ulrichshusen. Find the schedule for June at the link below.

4. Accomodation in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern:

4.1 If you opt for Kuehlungsborn, take a look at the Ostseehotel Kuehlungsborn, which is supposedly the stalwart in town

I am not so sure, though, whether Kuehlungsborn would be my choice as a base to explore Ruegen and Stralsund, as it is quite a bit away from the Autobahn (and in fact still quite close to Luebeck). If you look for one base there I'd rather stay on the island of Ruegen and look into Binz or Sellin. Alternatively Rostock would be an option, but it is quite similar in atmosphere to Luebeck.

4.2 There are numerous hotels in small former palaces (which have been restored with lots of subsidies after the reunification) that are worth looking into.

4.2.1 Schlosshotel Klink in the Mueritz area is one example

4.2.2 Schlosshotel Gross Plasten is another (and is affiliated with Schloss Klink)


4.3.3 A list of hotels in palaces in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern can be found at

Other than that, bellacqui's driving tour should be quite nice, although it would make for a long day of driving - but it could well be worth it.
hsv is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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WOW - thanks so much. As usual, too many things to see/do and not nearly enough time.

hsv - We have been to Hamburg. It was our first introduction to the area when we stopped for a few days on our way to Copenhagen. Wish I had your suggestions then! I will defintely look into the concerts and the Schloss hotels.

Right now our plans look something like this:

Night 1 - Bremen It's a shorter drive and we have never been there. We have already seen Lübeck, although we'll likely go back for a meal.

Night 2/3/4 - Stay in Schleswig and do day trips from there.

Night 5/6 - Rügen

Night 7/8 - Somewhere around Wismar/Schwerin

We'll see what changes my additional research brings. Thanks again to everyone!
wanderfrau is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 10:58 PM
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As you will be seing the Baltic Sea a lot when staying on Ruegen, I would recommend that you trade in Schleswig for the North Sea island of Sylt, which is indeed beautiful and will give you a taste of the North Sea, too.

Otherwise a very nice itinerary - have fun!
hsv is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 12:05 AM
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Interested in art? Near Husum, which IMO is a very nice town, there is a museum with pictures by Emil Nolde -very nice! Details on
Ragnar is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 04:18 AM
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Glad you opted for Bremen instead of Lübeck. The city is quite nice, though not as pittoresque as Lübeck. In Bremen you can talk a walk thru the historic Schnoor district downtown or do a harbor cruise.
If you are interested in arts, a trip to the village of Worpswede (few miles NE of Bremen) might be interesting - a former artists "colony". Any hotel congierge in Bremen will tell you how to get there.

I hope that driving all the way from Köln to Bremen right upon arrival will be that easy, but I guess different people have different types of jet-lag. Just keep in mind that you will be traveling some of Germany's busiest sections of the Autobahns on your first 100 kilometers.

Cowboy1968 is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Thanks for the art related replies. I will investigate.

Again, thanks to all for your help. I'm getting very excited about this trip.
wanderfrau is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 02:39 AM
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I think you will like both Wismar and Schwerin. In that area of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern there are alot of lovely lakes as well, beautiful nature areas, remote and with plenty of hiking path and nature trails. I think if give a choice, I would actually prefer to stay in Wismar, but the Schloss in Schwerin is beautiful as is the Altstadt. Wismar has a definite Scandinavian feel-the facades are painted pastel colors in the Altstadt and the town has an energy which I quite like.

Just one, thing, wanderfrau, I reread and see that you are arriving at 8.30 in Köln and will drive straight through to Lübek. It will probably take you longer than four hours. Getting out of the Ruhrgebiet might take you alot more time than you think--driving there is very stressful, because the Autobahns are often completely full due to the number of cities and sheer volume. Getting through on the A1 from Bremen through HH up to HL will may also be slow going. Make sure you take some breaks and relax often and don't put too much stress on yourselves after a long flight.
bellacqui is offline  

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