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Home » Travel Guides » Germany » 15 Best Things to Do in Lübeck (Germany)

15 Best Things to Do in Lübeck (Germany)

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lübeck is a must-visit city in Schleswig-Holstein. As the capital of the Hanseatic League the city was a central node in a network of ports around the Baltic Sea. For hundreds of years Lübeck has been the “City of the Seven Spires”, and even after a devastating bombing raid in 1942 those towers decorate the skyline of the Old Town on its island in the River Trave.

Down on the streets are gabled merchants’ houses, guildhalls and warehouses, all signs of the trade that brought prestige and power in the Middle Ages. The town hall is suffused with that prosperity, while the five main churches are still decorated with Medieval and Renaissance art.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Lübeck :

1. Altstadt


Germany’s largest historic centre is 100 hectares of historic streets under the watch of those seven spires.

A classic Lübeck street scene has would be rows of Renaissance gabled houses broken by passageways.

The city is designed in a way that rewards anyone who with spirit for adventure.

You can turn off the main streets and follow these alleys to hidden courtyards or find yourself deposited by surprise onto a familiar street.

The courtyards are mostly found in the well-preserved Kober area in the north along Engeslwisch, Glockengießerstraße and Engelsgrube, and in the south around the cathedral.

And if you’re in the mood for some shopping you can stay on the straight and narrow at Breite Straße and Königstraße where big name brands jostle for position beside one-of-a-kind boutiques and confectioners.

2. Holstentor


More than just a building, Holstentor, guarding the western entrance to the Old Town is a landmark known all over Germany.

Started in 1464, the gate has Lübeck’s signature North German Brick Gothic design.

There are two rounded towers flanking the passageway and smaller ornamental towers on the pediment.

You can see how subsidence has brought the south tower a little lower than its neighbour.

There are two terracotta friezes running around the gate while on the city side the facade has three tiers of small ogival arched windows.

Inside is a small museum about Lübeck’s might as a Hanseatic and Free Imperial City, using period measuring instruments, ship models, armour and weapons.

3. St Mary’s Church

St Mary's Church

Like the Holstentor, you can’t overstate the significance of St Mary’s Church.

Dating to the 13th and 14th centuries, its Brick Gothic design would be replicate at dozens of churches around the Baltic in the Middle Ages.

In the style of Germany’s medieval Hall Churches, the building doesn’t have a transept.

The nave is exceptionally high, and at 38.5 metres has the highest brick vaults in the world.

These are reinforced outside by flying buttresses.

The two towers meanwhile are a staggering 125 metres high and were the last elements completed in the 1350s.

In the south tower’s chapel you can see the broken bells that fell from the tower in an air raid in 1942. A surprising amount of art came through the war, like the 14th-century bronze baptismal font, the 15th-century Darsaw Madonna, reassembled from hundreds of pieces and the winged altarpiece from 1495 by Christian Swarte.

4. Town Hall

Town Hall

Among Germany’s largest medieval town halls and another photogenic landmark in Lübeck, the town hall was first mentioned in 1225. It started out as a Romanesque building and you can still spot a Romanesque blind arch in the shield wall.

But the first town hall was destroyed by fire in the middle of the 13th century, and the pointed arcades on Markt are from that time.

Renaissance additions were made on the north side in the 1570s, and the light sandstone used in this phase contrasts beautifully with the dark brick of the earlier constructions.

There are three tours a day, Monday to Friday, leading around the various halls like the Audienzsaal.

In this former courtroom-turned-audience hall, the doorways have different heights: Innocent defendants could leave with their head held high while guilty ones had to stoop.

5. Hospital of the Holy Spirit

Hospital Of The Holy Spirit

At Koberg square in the Altstadt’s northern Jakobi Quarter, the Hospital of the Holy Spirit is one of the oldest social institutions in the world.

Founded in 1286 and secularised after the Reformation, the hospital is a sign of Medieval Lübeck’s social conscience, taking care of its poor, elderly and sick residents, provided they lived a near-monastic existence.

They would get food, shelter and a warm bath eight times a year, and the hospital continued to operate all the way up to the 1960s.

Now you can check out the architecture, which has come through more than 700 years.

There are 14th-century frescoes in the porch and in the nave of the church, as well as an altar from the 16th century.

At Christmas this dignified setting welcomes an international arts and crafts market.

6. European Hansemuseum

European Hansemuseum

The capital of the Hanseatic League is the logical place for a museum about this international confederation of market towns and merchant guilds.

The Hansemuseum maps the birth, rise and fall of the Hanseatic League across more than half a millennium.

There are thorough outlines of the trade networks, and reconstructions of port scenes at cities as far afield as London, Bergen, Bruges and Hansa Novgorod in Russia.

If you’re fascinated by the governing mechanisms of this Medieval organisation the museum is rich with historic documents.

These record the oaths taken by its members and ingenious contracts and agreements that helped keep the Hanseatic League alive for so long.

There’s a hoard of gold and silver coins discovered in Lübeck.

7. Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral

Built by Henry the Lion after Lübeck had become an episcopal “see” in the 12th century, Lübeck Cathedral is one of the oldest monuments in the city.

It was severely damaged in 1942 and the restored building wouldn’t be re-consecrated until 1973. As a break from Medieval norms, the cathedral isn’t the tallest church in the city, and this is down to the tensions between Lübeck’s bishopric and the city’s powerful merchants who were patrons at St Mary’s.

You have to go in to see the Late Gothic and Baroque art that survived unscathed.

The rood screen carvings and 17-metre triumphal cross are the work of Bernt Notke from the 15th century, while the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus produced a series of works for the funeral chapels on the south aisle.

8. Lübeck Museum of Theatre Puppets

Lübeck Museum Of Theatre Puppets

In a lovely set of five Medieval brick buildings, the Theatre Puppet museum has 300 years worth of puppets and puppeteering props gathered from Europe, Africa and Asia.

These are a private collection, assembled by Fritz Fey, one of a long line of puppeteers, and they reveal one of the uniting themes of the art-form, which is to be a reflection of the society in which they’re produced.

Together with puppets there are small stages, posters and barrel organs, and you’ll learn a little about the culture of each region, as the puppets embody Indian legends, Chinese social mores and African tribal rituals.

If all this whets your appetite for a puppet show there’s a theatre next door to the museum.

9. Willy-Brandt-Haus


A Nobel prize-winner and One of Germany’s most beloved statesmen, former Chancellor Willy Brandt was born in Lübeck in 1913. The museum opened in 2007 on what would have been his 94th birthday, and the property chosen was a cultivated Burgher house that needed restoration.

From his youth Brandt lived a life out of the ordinary, and this is retold by the exhibition, calling on newsreels, interview transcripts and documents like Brandt’s school leaving certificate.

You’ll discover his resistance efforts, exile to Norway and role as a reporter during the Nuremberg Trials.

He was mayor of Berlin when the wall was built, and the museum has a letter he wrote to John F. Kennedy at that time.

The largest space is dedicated to Brandt’s efforts to bridge Germany’s North-South divide, promote human rights and encourage friendlier relations with the GDR.

10. St Peter’s Church

St Peter's Church

The Romanesque St Peter’s Church was first mentioned in 1170 but was a ruin for the second half of the 20th century and was only restored in 1987. This church no longer has services and instead is an exhibition and function space.

If you’re in Lübeck at Christmas, call in at the arts and crafts market.

The rest of the time the main objective has to be the church’s observation platform, which at 50 metres high provides the best panorama of the city.

If the skies are clear you can see as far as the Baltic on sunny days.

Outside look for the Danziger Glocke bell, cast in 1647.

11. Burgtor


Maybe overshadowed by the more famous Holstentor on the former western wall, Burgtor is Lübeck’s other remaining gate is still warrants a visit.

Just next to the Hansemuseum, the gate defends the northern approach to the Altstadt and was constructed in the Late Gothic style in 1444. That Baroque copper dome on the main tower is from 1685. From the lawn on the east side you can also see a rare fragment of the city’s fortifications: A circular tower and curtain wall with arrow loops.

If you cross the Burgtorbrücke (bridge) you’ll come across two lions guarding the entrance by the 20th-century sculptor Fritz Behn.

These are partners for the lions at the Holstentor produced by Daniel Rauch in the 19th century.

12. Günter Grass Haus

Günter Grass Haus

The great 20th-century author Günter Grass spent most of his later life in Lübeck and passed away in the city in 2015. A museum in his honour opened as a forum for literature and visual art in 2002. Grass is mainly known for his writing, but also produced paintings, sculpture and graphic art.

There are more than 1,300 visual works in the museum’s collection, and these give a more rounded idea of Grass’ ideas, message and creative process.

If you’re an avid Grass reader, his pictorial worlds offer a fresh perspective on recurring themes like National Socialism and post-war Germany, but also settings like the Baltic Sea.

13. Schiffergesellschaft (Seafarer’s Guildhall)


Lübeck’s seafarer’s guild was founded at the beginning of the 15th century.

In 1535 it bought and revamped a house opposite the Jakobikirche, which would be the guild’s base until it was broken up in the 19th century.

Now the guildhall is a traditional tavern and has looked after all of the old-time decorations.

Hanging from the ceiling’s wooden beams are historic model ships, while the benches are still carved with the insignia of the guild’s individual companies.

Even after the reformation the guild had a strong religious code, and above the wooden panelling are nine frescoes from 1624 evoking passages from the bible.

14. An der Obertrave

An Der Obertrave

The southwest curve of the Old Town’s island was spared major damage in 1942 and is full of Medieval and Renaissance architecture.

The best way to take it all in is on a walk along An der Obertrave, the 720-metre promenade next to the River Trave.

The way is lined with gorgeous listed houses that have crow-stepped and rounded gables.

It will be hard to resist taking detours into the seven courtyards reached via narrow passageways from the street.

Summer is a fine time to be in this part of the city, when cafe terraces take over the promenade and you can watch the river and green bank opposite from a bench.

15. Salzspeicher


After passing through the Holstentor, one of the first sights to greet you in Lübeck is the row of six historic warehouses on the Obertrave.

The oldest of these is from 1579 and the newest dates to 1745. Salt brought to the city from Lüneburg to the south, would be stored here to be exported to Scandinavia for the herring trade.

In the past there used to be wooden homes belonging to herring merchants in front of the warehouses by the water.

Fans of Weimar cinema will be excited to know that these gabled buildings appear in F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu as the vampire’s home in Wisborg.

15 Best Things to Do in Lübeck (Germany):

  • St Mary's Church
  • Hospital of the Holy Spirit
  • European Hansemuseum
  • Lübeck Cathedral
  • Lübeck Museum of Theatre Puppets
  • Willy-Brandt-Haus
  • St Peter's Church
  • Günter Grass Haus
  • Schiffergesellschaft (Seafarer's Guildhall)
  • An der Obertrave
  • Salzspeicher

Overview of waterfront city of Lubeck.

James Bedford

A 12th-century gem boasting more than a thousand historic buildings, Lübeck’s picture-book appearance is an enduring reminder of its role as one of the founding cities of the mighty Hanseatic League and its moniker ‘Queen of the Hanse’. Behind its landmark Holstentor, you’ll find streets lined with medieval merchants’ homes and spired churches forming Lübeck’s ‘crown’.


Must-see attractions.


Built in 1464 and looking so settled-in that it appears to sag, Lübeck’s charming red-brick city gate is a national icon. Its twin pointed cylindrical…

luebeck new Hanseatic museum and historic facades; Shutterstock ID 312039476; Your name (First / Last): Gemma Graham; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: Northern Germany destination page

Europäisches Hansemuseum

Opened in 2015, this brilliant museum tells the remarkable story of the Hanseatic League, Lübeck and the region. For 600 years, city states in northern…

Museumsquartier St Annen

Museumsquartier St Annen

This museum quarter includes an old synagogue, church and medieval buildings along its uneven streets. The namesake St Annen Museum details the diverse…



Thomas Mann, winner of the 1929 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Lübeck in 1875, and his family’s former home is now the Buddenbrookhaus. Named…

Günter Grass-Haus

Günter Grass-Haus

Born in Danzig (now Gdańsk), Poland, Günter Grass had been living just outside Lübeck for 13 years when he collected his Nobel Prize in 1999. But this…


Sometimes described as a ‘fairy tale in stone’, Lübeck’s 13th- to 15th-century Rathaus is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in Germany. Inside,…



This fine Gothic church boasts the world's highest brick-vaulted roof and was the model for dozens of churches in northern Germany. Crane your neck to…



The former Heiligen-Geist-Hospital has an elegant old entryway and a few resonances of Germany's first hospital (dating back to 1227). Through an early…

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Top 20 Things To Do In Lübeck [Don’t Miss Them!]

Considering going to Lübeck and want to know all the fun things to do in Lübeck Germany? We have you covered! Below you will find our full guide to all the best things to see in Lübeck to plan your ultimate trip.

Lübeck is one of the best cities to visit in Northern Germany. From its UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town to its long and interesting history, there is much to captivate you here in Lübeck.

I was first fascinated by Lübeck when I was researching places to go on our drive south into Germany from Copenhagen. As soon as I saw photos of Lübeck’s Old Town, I knew it was somewhere we had to stop. Just. So. Gorgeous.

And as I read more, I wondered how I hadn’t heard of Lübeck before. From being the administrative capital of the powerful Hanseatic League to making its way into many lists of Germany’s best Old Towns, it was a must visit on our list.

So did it live up to the hype?

River in Lübeck

Definitely! Lübeck is a great place to visit and I highly recommend a stop here on your own Germany adventures. It has a great range of attractions with just about all handily located in an easy to access Old Town that you won’t be able to get enough of. It’s awesome.

Ready to plan your own trip?

Below, you will find our Lübeck travel blog with everything you need to know about what to do in Lübeck Germany, the top Lübeck tourist attractions as well as the best places to stay for your ultimate Lübeck holiday. There is also a handy map of all the top Lübeck things to do.

Traveling to Germany?  Click here to download your free Germany Trip Planning checklist .  We’ll help you get ready for your trip!  

Table of Contents

An Introduction To Lübeck

Hansestadt Lübeck (“Hanseatic City of Lübeck”) is located in the northern part of Germany about 14 kilometres from the Baltic Sea. It has the largest Baltic harbour in Germany and a population of over 200,000.

Lübeck has a long history of being an important commercial centre after being founded in 1143. From 1230 – 1535, it was one of the main cities in the Hanseatic League , a powerful force at the time. It was even the administrative headquarters of the League for a period.


In the 1200s, Lübeck was briefly part of Denmark and in the 1800s, was briefly under French control. In 1815, it became part of the German Confederation.

In World War II, a large part of the Old Town was destroyed. However, it was restored postwar and the basic structure of the Old Town remains.

In 1987, Lübeck’s Old Town became the first in northern Europe to be UNESCO World Heritage listed.

You can learn more about Lübeck’s past here .

Top 19 Things To Do In Lübeck Germany

Here are the best Lübeck places to visit. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe. If you only have one day to visit Lübeck top attractions, find our one day itinerary below.

The good news is that our list of what to see and do in Lübeck is all centered on the Old Town except for one item so it’s very easy to visit everything you want.

Altstadt (Old Town)

Lübeck Old Town

Lübeck’s UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town is exactly what tempted us to visit Lübeck. It’s so picturesque in photos and the real thing is even more amazing.

Walking around the Old Town has to be my #1 of the things to do in Lübeck. The 13th – 15th century buildings here are well restored and it’s fun to just walk in whatever direction you want to see what you’ll discover.

So don’t just follow a map but walk around and try to get lost. You’ll never stay lost for long, but it’s part of the fun.

Find some hidden courtyards (more on this below), look out for the merchants’ houses and warehouses that show the importance of this trading hub. Explore museums, look our for steeples, eat the local food, enjoy half-timbered houses and more.

Lübeck’s Old Town is surrounded by the Trave River on a small island. I recommend you don’t just stroll within the Old Town but try walking around its edges by the river. It’s all very picturesque.

Lapping up the edges of the Old Town by the beautiful river  Lubeck

The whole area is like a living museum and you can easily enjoy strolling around this area for a couple of hours.

While you are doing it, you can take in some of the following…

Holstentor (Holsten Gate)

Holstentor Lübeck

The most famous landmark in Lübeck, Holsten Gate was originally built in 1464 and is well known throughout Germany.

Once one of four medieval gates into the Old Town, only two now remain and this is by far the most impressive. If you are arriving by train, this will be your entry point into the Old Town. If you aren’t, still enter this way if you can. It does add to the whole experience.

It’s been rebuilt twice but has kept its grand appearance with twin towers leaning towards each other. A weak foundation makes it appear like they are sagging inward.

Inside the towers is the Museum Holstentor which documents the history of the gate as well as Lübeck’s history as a Hanseatic and Free Imperial City.

Petrikirche (Church Of St Peter)

Petrikirche (Church Of St Peter) Lübeck

Not far from Holstentor, Petrikirche is the perfect place to head next on your Lübeck adventure.

While it’s no longer a church, it is an exhibition and function space and, most importantly for tourists, it has a great viewing platform at around 50 metres high which can be accessed via a lift – so no steep stairs to climb up in this church tower.

Looking out towards Marienkirche from the tower at Petrikirche

This is the best place to get great views in the city. In clear weather, it’s possible to see the Baltic Sea. Either way, it’ll give you great views over the Old Town and I found it useful to understand the lay of the land.

At Christmas time, it’s also home to an arts and crafts market.

First mentioned in 1170, this church was in ruins in the 20th century until it was finally restored in 1987. You can see the towers from all around.

Lübeck Rathaus (Lübeck Town Hall)

Lübeck Rathaus

Regarded as one of the most beautiful in Germany, you’ll want to at least stroll past the Lübeck Rathaus. It dates back to the 13th century and was built in a Romanesque style along two sides of the Markt Platz (Market Square).

In the 1570s, Renaissance additions were made in light standstone with the darker brick coming from earlier times.

Inside is beautiful as well with interesting art work and the stunning Audience Hall (Audienzsaal).

The only way to venture inside is on a tour which take place three times a day Monday to Friday. Unfortunately, this is only in German.

Marienkirche (St Mary’s Church)

Marienkirche (St Mary's Church) Lübeck

While there is no shortage of churches in Lübeck, this is the one to visit if you want the (in my opinion) best one. It’s also Germany’s third largest church and has the highest brick-vaulted roof in the world at 38.5 metres. The towers are 125 metres high and the whole church makes for quite a sight.

Built between 1250 and 1350, the brick Gothic design inspired many others around the Baltic.

Today, it is also known for its broken bells which fell during a bombing raid during World War II and have been left where they fell.

The bells at Marienkirche

There are beautiful stained glass windows and also an astronomical clock which performs at midday when eight people figures pass by a Christ figure who blesses them.

The whole inside of the church is quite lovely and it’s a great place to explore and take a moment to reflect.

Buddenbrookhaus (Buddenbrook House)


Literary lovers will want to consider a visisit to Buddenbrookhaus, the former family home of Nobel Literature prize winner, Thomas Mann who was born in Lübeck.

Buddenbrookhaus is a museum devoted to Thomas Mann and his “family of writers”. It aims to help people experience his book in real life as well as giving a history of their writing work.

The house itself is a stunning white Rococo-style house which dates from 1758 and is named after Mann’s novel about a wealthy Lübeck family that fails, The Buddenbrooks.

Europäisches Hansemuseum (European Hansemuseum)

Europäisches Hansemuseum Lübeck

If you want to learn more about the Hanseatic League, this museum should be on your list of must visit attractions. Opened in 2015, it does a magnificent job of detailing the history of the Hanseatic League and Lübeck.

It’s interactive and chock-a-block with information.

One of the cool aspects of this museum is that you get an RFID chip in your ticket which lets you select which town in the Hanseatic League you are most interested in (from a list of 50), what you are most interested in learning about (like how life was like for people at the time) and which language you want information in. As you walk around the museum, you can use this chip to display information related to this.

The story of the Hanseatic League is fascinating and it played such a big part in Lübeck’s history that I recommend you dedicate at least a couple of hours to this museum if you can.

On-site is also the restored Castle Friary which was formerly a monastery and worth a look if you have the time.

Click here to read our full review of the Hansemuseum.

Burgtor (Castle Gate)


We already talked about Holstentor, Burgtor is the other remaining medieval gate.

Located on the north side of the Old Town by the Hansemuseum, Burgtor may not be as grand but is still worth a look.

Built in late Gothic-style, construction started in 1227 but did not finish for another couple of hundred years. Its five floors have pretty arched windows, and it used to be the residence of prominent Lübeck residents.

While you can’t go inside, it’s worth walking through.

Museumsquartier St Annen (St Annen Museum Quarter)

Museumsquartier St Annen

Another top attraction in Lübeck, Museumsquartier St Annen is well worth a visit.

Not just a museum, St Annen is home to a church, old synagogue and medieval buildings. The museum tells the history of this area and Lübeck over the last 700 years of art and culture.

Included is St Annen Kunsthalle which is home to art from the area both old and contemporary.

Günter Grass-Haus (Gunter Grass House)

Günter Grass-Haus (Gunter Grass House)

Another place to visit for literary lovers, this museum is in honour of the 20th century author, Günter Grass. He spent much of this later life in Lübeck and passed away here in 2015. He is known for being a political writer and for winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1999.

Günter Grass-Haus was opened in 2002 and focuses not just on his writing but also his art including paintings, sculptures and graphic art.

Other writers and artists are also featured.

Katharinenkirche (St Catherine’s Church)


This stop is for art lovers with sculptures by Gerhard Marcks and Ernst Barlach as well as some other art works.

It’s also a pretty building with some great decoration that was built in 1300. It is one of three former monastery churches that have been preserved in Lübeck.

It has limited opening hours so make sure you check before you go. At the time of publishing, this was only Thursday – Sunday in warmer months.

Willy Brandt Haus

Willy Brandt Haus Lübeck

Another Lübeck Nobel Prize winner is Willy Brandt, perhaps Lübeck’s most famous person. He was born here in 1913. The chancellor of West Germany from 1969 – 1974, Willy Brandt won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 thanks to his efforts to reunite West and East Germany.

Willy Brandt Haus is a museum which not only follows the career and life of Willy Brandt but also documents The Cold War era in Germany.

Brandt certainly lead an interesting life from being the mayor of Berlin when the wall was built to working as a reporter during the Nuremberg Trials. However, most space is dedicated to his efforts to reunite Germany, bridge the North-South divide and promote human rights.

Entry is free.

Behnhaus Drägerhaus Museum

Behnhaus Drägerhaus Museum

The Behnhaus Drägerhaus Museum is an art museum housed in two former patrician villas. It’s home to a big collection of paintings and sculptures from the 19th century and classical modernity with a focus on the art of Romanticism and the Nazarenes.

The buildings that it calls home are the Behnhaus and the Drägerhaus, and there are also typical furniture displays.

Heiligen-Geist-Hospital (Hospital Of The Holy Spirit)

Heiligen-Geist-Hospital Lübeck

This hospital, founded in 1286, is one of the oldest social institutions in the world. It has been taking care of poor, sick and elderly residents from Medieval times to the 1960s.

Today, you can explore the architecture with 14th century frescoes and an altar from the 16th century in the Gothic hall church. It’s been well preserved and it’s worth a quick wander through its warren of cubicles where people used to live.

Heiligen-Geist-Hospital cubicle

Entry is free but do note there isn’t that much to see here so you’ll be quick!

Dom (Lübeck Cathedral)

Lübeck Cathedral

Another church worth the visit is Lübeck Cathedral at the southern end of Lübeck’s Old Town. It’s the oldest building in Lübeck and dates back to 1173 although the original Romanesque church was changed and enlarged using a Gothic style in the 14th century.

It was also bombed in WWII and was restored over nearly 40 years. Details and pictures of this restoration can be found inside as well as sculptures, a large organ and the 17 metre Triumphal Cross.

Hidden Courtyards

Hidden Courtyards Lübeck

Lübeck’s Old Town is famous for its “hidden” courtyards and walkways. These date back to the Middle Ages when Lübeck’s burgeoning population meant that housing was is short supply. As a solution, single-store tiny homes were built in courtyards behind existing houses.

These courtyards were then accessed via walkways from the street.

If you love the idea of hidden homes and unexpected courtyards reached by little walkways, you’ll love looking for Lübeck’s courtyards with almost 90 still existing today.

They can mostly be found in Kober which is the northern area of the Old Town. Try looking along Engeslwisch, Glockengießerstraße and Engelsgrub. Around Lübeck Cathedral is also a good place to look.

Hidden courtyards Lübeck

If you don’t have any luck, try Füchtingshof and Glandorps Gang in Google maps for two more well known options. We did not find some examples hard to find though.

It’s quite a treat when you find them. Many are home to pretty flowers, timbered houses, cobbled paths and tiny gardens. They were a highlight of my time in Lübeck.

City Bus Tour

For an easy way to see more and learn more about Lübeck, consider a city bus tour. This is especially a good idea if your time in Lübeck is limited or you have limited mobility.

This 50-minute tour will take you around the Old Town starting at the Untertrave near the Holstentor. The tour price includes a headset so you can listen to the tour in your preferred language.

Find more information here.

Eat Marzipan

Cafe Niederegger

If there’s one thing in Lübeck you have to eat, it’s marzipan. Lübeck is so serious about its marzipan that there are even rules about the fact that Lübeck marzipan must be at least 70% almond paste and no more than 30% sugar and oils.

This pays off as I am usually not a fan of marzipan as I don’t like how sugary it is. However here, I loved it!

There are many places you can try marzipan across the city with the most iconic being Cafe Niederegger. There are so many marzipan items you can try from cakes to ice cream. You can even have some marzipan liqeur (so good, I recommend it 🙂 )

Cafe Niederegger inside the store and marzipan options

You won’t regret trying some Lübeck marzipan even if, like me, you don’t usually like it.

Travemünde beach Germany near Lubeck

Looking for things to do near Lübeck Germany? Head to Travemünde on the Baltic Sea for some beach time.

A popular seaside resort town for hundreds of years, the beach has white sand and is around 1.7 kilometres long. The promenade by the beach is the place to stroll.

If you can leave the beach, Travemünde’s Old Town is pretty to explore having remained largely unchanged for centuries.

Just 20 minutes from Lübeck, Travemünde is at the mouth of the Trave River (münde means mouth). You can catch the train here from Lübeck.

Fun Things To Do In Lübeck In December

While most of the things to see in Lübeck Germany listed above are possible in winter time, there is a particular fun thing to do in Lübeck which is especially in the winter months.

Lübeck Christmas Market

Lübeck Christmas Market

First mentioned in 1648, Lübeck Christmas Market has a long history and a fabulous setting in the Old Town around the Rathaus, Breite Strasse and in Koberg Square. With thousands of colourful lights, it makes for quite a sight.

With more than 400 wooden huts and stalls, there’s plenty to buy here from handcrafts to hot chestnuts, candied almonds and Glühwein. There’s a ferris wheel and other amusement rides. Close by, you’ll also find a market around Marienkirche with a fairy tale theme.

The market generally runs from mid to late November until the end of December.

But this is not all, by the railway station is another market that runs until Christmas. Petrikirche also has an arts and craft market.

All in all, you’ll have no problems getting into the Christmas spirit in Lübeck.

Overview Of Lübeck

You can check out many of the above attractions in this quick video overview of Lübeck.

What To Do In Lübeck In One Day 

Only have one day in Lübeck? What a shame! But it’s ok, it’s still worth going to Lübeck if you only have one day.

With one day, I recommend you stick to the Old Town which is home to all the top Lübeck attractions apart from the beach at Travemünde.

With a day, you can visit most places apart from all of the museums. I recommend you head to the Old Town via Holstentor and then wander and enter the attractions that most interest you.

I especially recommend you make sure you get to:

  • The viewing platform at Petrikirche
  • Walk past the Rathaus
  • Marienkirche
  • Europäisches Hansemuseum
  • And find some hidden courtyards

You can pick other attractions based on your interests.

The bus tour is also a great way to go if you are short on time.

In winter, definitely check out the Christmas Market if you are in town at the right time.

Lübeck Attractions Map

Best Things To Do In Lübeck map

Best Place To Stay In Lübeck

When it comes to where to stay in Lübeck, there is a great range of hotels and other accommodation options. You won’t have any problem finding somewhere to stay.

Below I’ve listed a few different places to consider depending on what type of accommodation you are looking for.

If you want more options, you can use this map to help you find hotels and home rental accommodation around Lübeck.

BEST – Hotel Die Reederin Review

lubeck tourist guide

Located near the Hansemuseum in the northern part of the Old Town, Hotel Die Reederin is in a great position for exploring Lübeck. With only seven rooms (named after ships), this is a boutique, atmospheric hotel in a renovated old town house that used to be the seat of the shipping company FH Bertling.

Rooms here range from king rooms to family rooms for five to a king suite option. The rooms are themed and set up using their shipping heritage in unique and interesting ways. For example, sea containers were used in the bathrooms as wall cladding for the showers.

All rooms have toiletries, safes, free wifi and TVs and are beautifully presented. Some have balconies. Breakfast is included.

This is the place to stay in Lübeck if you want somewhere beautiful and unique in the Old Town.

Click here for the latest prices.

VALUE –  B&B Hotel Lübeck Review

lubeck tourist guide

Located by the train station and just a short walk from Holstentor and the Old Town, B&B Hotel is a great choice if you want a budget price tag within an easy walk of the Old Town.

Rooms range from double and twin to triples and family rooms with a bunk bed. Rooms all have private bathrooms, desks, TV and wifi.

Buffet breakfast is available for a reasonable extra fee and pets can also stay for an extra fee.

A big pro of this hotel for us was the free on-site parking although it does fill up.

5 STAR – Radisson Blu Senator Hotel Review

lubeck tourist guide

If you like your hotels 5 star, this is the choice for you! Located on the Trave River opposite the Old Town, it’s just a few minutes walk to Holstentor and the Old Town as well as being close to the train station.

This hotel has everything you need with three eating options including a cafe, tavern and a fine dining restaurant. You can also get room service. There’s a pool and sauna as well as a billiard table, a playground and play corner for kids.

There are great outdoor spaces by the river as well.

Rooms are double or twin and come in standard, superior or suite options. The suites also have a living room. All rooms come with air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, bathrobes and TVs.

Parking is available for an extra fee.

How To Get To Lübeck

We travelled to Lübeck by hire car which made it very easy to get here. It’s easy to make your way here from anywhere in Germany. We actually travelled here from Copenhagen and a ferry takes you from Denmark about an hour from Lübeck very easily (Rødby Sogn – Puttgarden ferry).

There are also ferries to Travemünde from places in Finland and Sweden.

You can hire a car to get you to Lübeck by clicking here.

Lübeck has an airport with flights from key places in Germany and a few places in Europe. A better bet can be Hamburg Airport which is about an hour’s drive away as it has much better connections.

Click here to see latest flight prices and options.

Lubeck Train Station

There are regular trains and buses here. You can find timetables and all your options here.

Once in Lübeck, it’s easy to get around as everything you’ll want to see is in the Old Town. Simply get here and then explore by foot. It’s an easy walk from the main train station.

Lübeck With Kids

Hansemuseum Lego exhibit with kids

Lübeck is a fun place to visit with kids as long as they love exploring Old Towns as that’s mostly what you’ll be doing!

We visited Lübeck with our three kids aged 6 to 12 and they had a great time. However, we did keep the museum visits to a minimum and made finding hidden courtyards into a game. And, of course, there was the reward (bribe) of marzipan for well behaved kids!

The city bus tour also worked well for us. For an hour, they love riding around in a bus listening to a tour and it’s a good break for all of us.

If you visit during summer, Travemünde is a great distraction for kids as some beach time is sure to make a great break from history for travel weary kids.

Final Words

Lübeck is a fun, beautiful and easy place to visit and explore. It has one of my favourite Old Towns of any in the world and I recommend a visit here, even if you just have a few hours to wander and enjoy.

It has a good amount of attractions. In a couple of days, you could get to just about everything while still having plenty of time to just enjoy. We loved it.

I hope you found this guide to Lübeck useful and you have a great visit as well.

Find our full guide to nearby Bremen here , Celle here or Hameln (home to the Pied Piper) here . Don’t miss our one week itinerary for Northern Germany here which includes Lübeck . Read more guides to visiting  Northern Germany here.

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Sharon Gourlay in the Rhina Valley

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon first fell in love with Germany back in 2000 on her first visit. She loves the long history, the picturesque Old Towns, the castles, the food, everything really! Since then, she has visited many times and loves writing about Germany here so you can enjoy it too. In fact, Sharon loves German culture so much that she sent her kids to a German primary school in Australia. She especially loves Berlin and towns with charming Old Towns like Celle and Quedlinburg. Sharon also has a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and understands the nitty gritty of travel planning. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to Germany whether it's your first or tenth time!

An outstanding article. I have visited Germany many many times whilst working on time off visited most of the places that you mention Keep up the good work

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lubeck tourist guide

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17 Top Tourist Attractions in Lubeck, Germany

By Carl Austin · Last updated on May 4, 2024


The northern Germany town of Lübeck has a rich history. It was once the most important city in the Hanseatic League when it was known as ‘Queen of the Hanse.” It was then, and is now, an important port on the Baltic Sea. Lübeck was so great that in 1375 Emperor Charles IV compared it to Venice, Rome, Pisa and Florence, which he referred to as the “glories of Europe.”

The city has a fascinating historic center just begging to be explored on foot. Some of the historic center was destroyed by World War II bombs, but attractions in Lübeck remain to give visitors a hint of the city’s former greatness.

Map of Lubeck

Lubeck Map

For those keen on experiencing Lubeck’s vibrant culture, there are lively events like the annual Medieval Fair and the popular Lubeck Christmas Market. In addition, there are several other things to do in Lubbock with charming cafes and restaurants, serving delectable treats such as the famous Lubeck marzipan.

17. Gunter Grass-Haus

Günter Grass-Haus

The Günter Grass-Haus is an interesting attraction in Lübeck’s old town, dedicated to the life and works of the Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass. This museum offers a fascinating insight into the writer’s life, his novels, and artistic creations.

Located in a beautiful historic building, the museum showcases an extensive collection of Grass’s original manuscripts, illustrations, and photographs. Visitors can also explore the interactive exhibition area, where multimedia installations bring Grass’s literary world to life.

For those interested in learning more about the famous writer, the museum offers guided tours. Not surprisingly, there is also an on-site bookshop, where you can find all of Grass’s novels, as well as related books and souvenirs.

16. Gothmund


The quaint fishing village of Gothmund is located near Lübeck and offers visitors a charming experience of well-preserved historic houses and picturesque scenery.

The village is situated along the banks of the Wakenitz River, providing an ideal setting for leisurely strolls or relaxing picnics. Be sure to take a walk along the narrow, cobblestone streets and admire the colorful, thatched-roof houses. These traditional homes date back to the 18th and 19th centuries and are a testament to the region’s rich architectural history.

For nature lovers, Gothmund is home to a variety of bird species, making it a birdwatching paradise. In addition, visitors can also enjoy recreational activities like fishing or kayaking in the river.

15. European Hansemuseum

European Hansemuseum

The European Hansemuseum in Lübeck offers a fascinating journey into the history of the Hanseatic League, a powerful trading alliance that dominated Northern Europe from the 13th to the 17th century. As you explore the modern, interactive museum, you’ll discover the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Lübeck and its role as a key player in the Hanseatic world.

Highlights of the European Hansemuseum include a meticulous reconstruction of a medieval merchant’s house, as well as a series of interactive exhibits that bring to life the daily experiences of traders, sailors, and artisans during Lübeck’s Hanseatic heyday.

Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll through the picturesque gardens of the museum and take a moment to enjoy the stunning views of the city’s historic skyline from the café’s rooftop terrace.

14. Willy Brandt House

Willy Brandt House

Located in the heart of the Old Town, the The Willy Brandt House lets you dive into the life and political career of one of Germany’s most influential leaders.

As you stroll through the exhibits, you’ll learn about Brandt’s early life, his rise to political prominence, and the lasting impact he made on German and international politics. Key moments in his career include his stance against National Socialism, influence on the Social Democratic Party, and his pivotal role in the Cold War.

Interactive displays, personal belongings, and a wealth of information make the Willy Brandt House an informative and engaging stop for both history buffs and casual visitors alike.

13. Salzspeicher


The Salzspeicher, or Salt Storage Warehouses, is a group of six historic brick buildings located next to the Holstentor. Built between the 16th and 18th centuries, they were once used for storing salt imported from the nearby salt mines.

These iconic structures serve as a testament to the economic power that Lübeck held during its days as a prominent member of the Hanseatic League. The warehouses are fine examples of the Brick Gothic architectural style that was prevalent in the region.

If you’re keen on making insta-worthy photos, the Salzspeicher offers a picturesque backdrop with local fishermen’s boats lining the River Trave in front of the warehouses. You can also enter one of the warehouses to explore the history of the Hanseatic League and its relation to the salt trade in a small museum.

12. Eat Marzipan


Lubeck is known for its delectable marzipan treats. The city’s long history with marzipan dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was first introduced to Europe from the East.

Niederegger, Lubeck’s most famous marzipan maker, located in the heart of the city. The store offers a variety of marzipan creations, from simple bars and shapes to intricate, handcrafted designs. Take a look at their small museum to learn more about the craft and its importance to Lübeck’s history.

In addition to Niederegger, there are several other marzipan shops and cafés worth trying. Look for locally-produced marzipan products and let your taste buds guide you in discovering the best of what Lubeck has to offer.

11. Burgtor


Burgtor is the northern city gate in Lubeck. Built in 1444, it is one of two remaining from the four towered gates that were built in medieval times. It takes its name from the castle that stands across the Trave River.

Located in old Lübeck, the castle gate has buildings constructed on top and around it. A Romanesque tower was added to the Late Gothic gate. This medieval gate is quite impressing, though the paved streets carrying automobiles somehow seems incongruous to its historic past. A plaque on the gate walls commemorates Napoleon entering the city in 1806.

10. Passat Ship

Passat Ship

This tall sailing ship was built in 1911 in Hamburg and sailed between South America and Europe. Although she no longer carries heavy freight across the world’s seas, this elegant sailing ship reminds visitors of the time when the Passat defied high waves under full sail and has become the maritime symbol of the Baltic resort of Travemünde.

While visiting the Passat Ship, you can explore its four masts, stroll on the expansive deck, and learn about the ship’s history and maritime traditions. Inside, you’ll find exhibitions detailing the ship’s past adventures, including its former roles in the international grain trade and as a training vessel for young sailors.

Additionally, the Passat Ship hosts special events and gatherings, such as maritime festivals, markets, and even weddings.

9. Buddenbrookhaus


Buddenbrookhaus is an elegant townhouse at Mengstrasse 4 in Lubeck. Built in 1758, it was the boyhood home of writers Thomas and Heinrich Mann. Located across from St. Mary’s Church, the house was almost totally destroyed during World War II bombing; only the façade remained standing.

The house was not rebuilt as it once was, but the façade was left and a museum honoring Thomas Mann was built behind it. The house was a setting for the family saga Mann wrote about in his book Buddenbrookhaus. This museum is a must-see for Mann’s fans.

8. Lubeck Cathedral

Lubeck Cathedral

Lubeck Cathedral dates back to the 12th century when Henry the Lion had the Romanesque structure built for the bishop of Lübeck. The imposing structure is one of the oldest monuments in Lübeck. The Lutheran cathedral was partly destroyed during an air raid in World War II.

An altar dating back to 1696 and a priceless organ were destroyed, though a large crucifix and many medieval polyptychs were saved and can be seen today. Reconstruction of the church ended in 1982. Restoration efforts included adding an elevator to take visitors to the top of the bell tower.

7. Lubecker Rathaus

Lubecker Rathaus

Lübecker Rathaus is one of the most spectacular and important town halls in Germany. It is particularly splendiferous when lit up at night. The town hall started out in 1230 as three gabled houses built on the market place. It expanded over the years until it was large enough to hold Hanseatic meetings.

The interior of the town hall can be visited on daily guided tours. Once inside, visitors should note the different heights of the courtroom doors. Persons found innocent of crimes left by the higher door, while criminals left the courtroom via the shorter door.

6. Heiligen-Geist-Hospital


From the outside, Heiligen-Geist-Hospital doesn’t look much like a hospital with its pointed roofs and spires reaching into the sky. But, the Holy Spirit Hospital has been caring for the sick and aged since the 13th century. Parts of it are still in use as a hospital today.

Today‘s visitors rave about the beautiful chapel and original frescoes; they say the church-like building is one of the must-see attractions in Lübeck. The city’s Christmas market is held here every year, giving shoppers the chance to see cubicles where retirees lived.

Located in the old town, the hospital also hosts a November crafts fair featuring items made by senior citizens.

5. Marienkirche


Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church) dominates the Lübeck skyline with towers reaching more than 120 meters (400 feet) toward the sky. Built more than 700 years ago, this Brick Gothic church was the model for many other churches in the Baltic region.

Located in the old Hanseatic merchants quarter, Marienkirche is the most important church in Lübeck. With the tallest brick vault in the world, the church resonates with music, from organs to 11 historic bells to the Lübeck boys choir, famous for singing St. John Passion on Good Friday.

The church and many important pieces of art were destroyed in the 1942 air raid. Many paintings, however, were saved and can be seen in the reconstructed church.

4. St. Petri zu Lubeck

St. Petri zu Lübeck

The St. Petri is the place to go to see great views of Lübeck. Heavily damaged by World War II bombing, restoration work on this 12th century church is still underway, mainly on the interior now. Reconstruction efforts include an elevator to whisk visitors to the top for impressive 360-degree views of this medieval city; the best time to make the trip is sunset.

If you’re interested in architectural details, take the time to explore the church’s intricate medieval carvings, the notable organ, and the interesting mix of Gothic and Renaissance elements at St. Petri zu Lübeck.

Regular church services are not held yet but this stately church is used as a venue for cultural and art events.

3. Travemunde


Travemünde is an old seaside resort at the mouth of the Trave River that ends in Lubeck Bay on the Baltic Sea. Founded in 1187, this picturesque sleepy section of Lübeck was once important in the Hanseatic League and is also a port where visitors can catch ferries to Scandinavia and other Baltic states.

The community has less than 15,000 permanent residents, with thousands of tourists flocking to the area on weekends. The sandy beach is its most popular attraction. The old town, with its nautical-named streets, is worth exploring on foot. Travemünde was the setting for many scenes in Nobel laureate Thomas Mann’s novel, Buddenbrooks.

2. Explore the Altstadt


One of the most fun things to do in Lubeck is wandering through it’s beautiful Altstadt, or Old Town. The area boasts UNESCO World Heritage status and invites you to discover its many treasures.

Begin your journey at the famous Holstentor, an iconic 15th-century gate that has become a symbol of Lubeck. With its distinctive twin-tower design, it’s impossible to miss

Wandering through the cobblestone streets of the Altstadt will take you past several impressive churches like St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s, both boasting Gothic-style architecture and exquisite artwork. Some other notable sights include the Rathaus, an ornate Gothic and Renaissance-style building, and the elegant Willy Brandt House.

History buffs may want to visit the Buddenbrookhaus, a museum dedicated to the works of Thomas Mann, one of Germany’s greatest novelists. If you’re a fan of marzipan (and who isn’t), make sure to stop by the famous Niederegger Café, where you can enjoy delicious marzipan treats and learn about the history of this sweet confectionery.

While exploring the Altstadt, don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll along the lovely Trave River promenade. With its picturesque setting and vibrant atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to relax and soak in the unique charm of Lubeck.

1. Holstentor


The Holstentor is one of the two remaining city gates of the city of Lübeck. Built between 1464 and 1478, it is regarded as a symbol of Lübeck due to its two captivating round towers and arched entrance.

Oddly enough, in 1863 it was decided by a majority of just one vote not to demolish the gate but to instead extensively restore it. The gate was in very bad condition, since every year it had sunk a few centimeters further into the ground. The Holsten Gate was thoroughly restored and the movement was halted.

Within the Holstentor, you’ll find a fascinating museum that offers insights into the gate’s history, weaponry, trade, and on Lübeck’s medieval mercantile glory days. Discover authentic artifacts and interactive exhibits that bring the past to life.

Where to Stay in Lubeck

When visiting Lübeck, there are a variety of accommodation options to choose from, catering to different budgets and preferences.

For those who appreciate history and charm, consider staying in a traditional Altstadthaus (Old Townhouse) or a classic Lübeck-style guesthouse. These accommodations offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past and often feature unique architectural details, such as exposed wooden beams and ornate stucco work.

If you prefer modern amenities, several chain hotels and boutique establishments are scattered throughout the city.

The four-star Atlantic Hotel Lübeck is located in the heart of the city in walking distance from the historic Market Square and other popular attractions. The hotel boasts modern and spacious rooms with all the amenities you could want.

Hotel KO15 is a great budget option for travelers looking for a comfortable stay in Lübeck. This boutique hotel has a stylish atmosphere, with contemporary design and high-quality furnishings. It is centrally located, close to the Marienkirche and the Buddenbrooks House.

How to get there

Lubeck Train Station

Lübeck is easily accessible by various modes of transportation. It’s located in northern Germany, just a short distance from the popular city of Hamburg. The nearest international airport is Hamburg Airport, about 67 kilometers away. From the airport, you can take a train or rent a car to reach Lubeck.

Lubeck has its main train station, Lubeck Hauptbahnhof, which is well-connected to other German cities such as Hamburg, Kiel, and Berlin. Intercity-Express and regional trains frequently operate in and out of Lubeck Hauptbahnhof, providing a comfortable travel experience.

If you prefer driving, Lubeck can be reached via the A1 and A20 motorways. The A1 runs from Hamburg to Lubeck, while the A20 connects Lubeck with Rostock and other cities along the Baltic Sea coast.

Approximate travel times:

  • Hamburg – 45 minutes by car, 30 minutes by train
  • Kiel – 1 hour by car, 1 hour by train
  • Rostock – 2 hours by car, 2 hours by train
  • Berlin – 3 hours by car, 2 hours 30 minutes by train
  • Copenhagen (Denmark) – 3.5 hours by car, 3 hours by train and ferry
  • Amsterdam (Netherlands) – 6 hours by car, 6 hours by train
  • Frankfurt – 6 hours by car, 4 hours 30 minutes by train

Best Time to Visit Lubeck

As it lies just inland from the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Trave River, Lubeck’s climate is massively impacted by the bodies of water around it. While its summers are reasonably warm and sunny, winters are long, cold, wet and rainy.

With average temperatures ranging from around 17 to 22°C (62-71°F), May to September is the best time to visit. This is when the weather is perfect for both sightseeing and enjoying scenic boat trips up the river. You can even lounge on its Baltic beaches and swim in the sea if you don’t mind quite cool water! It can rain though even in summer so pack a light coat.

The summer months also see a sailing regatta, concerts and other events take place for the Travemunder Woche festival, just up the coast, while the Duckstein Festival instead focuses on art and gastronomy. This period is, however, the busiest and priciest the Altstadt gets.

While April and October can still be pleasant, if unpredictable weatherwise, November til March is best avoided due to the cold and increased rain. The only exception is in December when the wonderful Weihnachtsmarkt and famous handicrafts Christmas market take place.

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  • 1 Understand
  • 2.1 By rail
  • 2.2 By plane
  • 2.3 By road
  • 2.4 By boat
  • 3 Get around
  • 5.1 Theatres
  • 5.2.1 Cinema-related events
  • 5.4 Other regular events
  • 7.2 Mid-range
  • 7.3 Splurge
  • 8.2 Clubs and discotheques
  • 9.2 Mid-range
  • 9.3 Splurge

The Hanseatic City of Lübeck ( Hansestadt Lübeck ) is the largest German port on the Baltic Sea and the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein , situated at the mouth of the river Trave (hence the name of its port suburb Travemünde ). The city has been an important port since the 12th century. Lübeck and nearby Hamburg founded what became the powerful Hanseatic League of ports and trading towns. History also has a sweeter side for Lübeck - it is globally known for the finest marzipan.

lubeck tourist guide

The old town ( Altstadt ) of Lübeck, although considerably damaged during the Second World War, has survived from medieval times in a pretty much unchanged or truthfully rebuilt form. It is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site . The city centre's medieval skyline, mainly composed of seven Gothic-style church towers, is still intact. Lübeck is surrounded by parts of the old city walls with two of the original four city gates left. Most notable is the Holsten Gate ( Holstentor ) which was the motif on the German 50-Deutsche Mark banknote prior to reunification, when the bills were redesigned.

Lübeck is perhaps Germany's finest example of "brick Gothic " architecture, which uses the locally available brick (as opposed to "proper" stone, which was not available to medieval builders in northern Germany) to produce quite stunning buildings. The most notable being the seven spires that form Lübeck's medieval "skyline" but also a range of more or less secular buildings, including the Heilig Geist Hospital (despite being built as a hospital, it cites the Holy Spirit in the name, so whether it is a secular building is debatable) and the medieval town hall.

Understand [ edit ]

lubeck tourist guide

Lübeck was an independent city state until 1937, when it lost that status due to a Nazi era law. Lübeck accumulated considerable wealth as the "first among equals" of the Hanseatic League from the 11th to the 17th century. Many merchants made a fortune on shipping salt to other Baltic port cities in exchange for valuable goods needed in Germany. Many impressive warehouses are located at the old harbour and can be accessed by tourists since they host museums, shops, restaurants or pubs today. Unlike fellow Hanseatic Cities of Hamburg and Bremen , it has lost its "Free" ( Freie Stadt ) status and has been incorporated into the surrounding state of Schleswig-Holstein.

lubeck tourist guide

After sea trade substantially shifted away from the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic in the 17th century, Lübeck was slowly marginalised as a trading city against the North Sea ports of Bremen and especially Hamburg. This led gradually to a noticeable decay in wealth and eventually inspired contemporary writers to draw a resigned picture of the city's residents, most famously in the novel Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann, who earned a Nobel Prize for it in 1929. In the second world war Lübeck - not unlike Hamburg - was a target for allied (primarily British) bombings and in one particularly "successful" raid much of the densely built old town burned down. While most of the landmark buildings have since been restored, the New Lübeck has a lot less wood (for obvious reasons) and historic style residential buildings (mostly for financial reasons).

After World War II , the city was marginalised due to the nearby "Iron Curtain" which impeded access to many trading partners in the eastern Baltic, and even cut off two minor urban districts of the city. As a traveller you might notice two effects of the Cold War still visible today. First, some bridges have something that looks like undersized manhole covers at either end. These were in fact holes that could be filled with explosives to destroy the bridge, should the Soviets ever attack. The other thing you might notice is that there is a lot of (for Central European standards at least) untouched wildlife just outside the city to the east. While it was preserved by happenstance and East Germany's attempt to shut its border airtight, there are now efforts to preserve this "green band" of wildlife all through Germany. A curiosity in this area are Nandus, flightless birds native to South America that escaped in the early 2000s and roam free since. Despite efforts to boost commerce in the Baltic region, the city is still struggling from the Cold War era with a fragile economy that leads to a comparatively deteriorated infrastructure outside the picturesque city centre. Ironically the end of the Cold War dealt a further blow to the city, as it lost its "border town" status that made it eligible for big subsidies. Add to that a nearly total wipeout of the once huge ship building industry in the 1990s and you have an economic crisis the city hasn't quite shaken off to this day.

Lübeck sits at the confluence of the rivers Wakenitz and Trave. The "-itz" ending just like the original name of Lübeck "Liubice" indicate Slavic settlement in the early middle ages. The rivers have historically played an important role in the city's economic life and in city defense and they were extensively rerouted and redesigned, forming an "island" on which most of the old town and most of the sights are to be found. Travemünde , the port of Lübeck for all boats too small to sail up the river has been a part of Lübeck since medieval times and its name just means "mouth of the Trave". Another body of water which historically played an important role is the Elbe-Lübeck-Canal which replaced predecessors dating to the 14th century and was built during the turn from the 19th to the 20th century. While its role for cargo traffic is next to zero these days, it is a popular route for joggers, cyclists, rowers and people in pleasure craft. Thanks to the shoreline protection made from tree-trunks the canal looks rather "natural" and much less "artificial" than canals like the Main Danube Canal .

Get in [ edit ]

By rail [ edit ].

On working days, commuter trains to and from Hamburg leave every 30 minutes, on weekends and on holidays every 60 minutes. Local trains from Lüneburg , Kiel , Schwerin and the beach resorts Travemünde and Timmendorfer Strand depart on an hourly basis. Additionally, InterCity trains via Hamburg leave/arrive every two hours, with some trains coming from Berlin , Munich , Cologne and Frankfurt . There are also regular trains from Copenhagen , Szczecin and the island of Fehmarn .

By plane [ edit ]

Hamburg Airport ( HAM  IATA ) is just one hour away, and offers many international connections. From the airport you can take the S-Bahn to Hamburg main station with an hourly train connecting to Lübeck main station.

By road [ edit ]

Lübeck is about 60 km northeast of Hamburg and easily accessible by car through the Autobahn A1. The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania borders Lübeck to the east. Via Autobahn A20 (Baltic Sea highway) there is about 120 km to the other large German sea port on the Baltic Sea — Rostock . As Autobahn A1 is the backbone of the cargo transport from Hamburg to the Travemünde port, there will be heavy (and rather slow) traffic on the right of the three lanes.

lubeck tourist guide

By boat [ edit ]

There are many ferry connections to and from Lübeck. Passengers ferries arrive and depart from Skandinavienkai, a quay in Lübeck's borough Travemünde . Most of the ferries run 1 or 2 times every day:

  • Helsinki , Finland, operated by Finnlines [dead link]
  • Malmö , Sweden, operated by Finnlines [dead link]
  • Trelleborg , Sweden, operated by TT-Lines

Skandinavienkai is served by buses 40, 30, and 31 ( timetable ), which travel between Travemünde Strandbahnhof and Lübeck ZOB. There is also a train station called "Travemünde Skandinavienkai"; it is about 1 km from the ferry terminal building. However, the only way between the ferry terminal and the train station is by those same buses. It is not possible to walk.

By bus [ edit ]

The liberalisation of the national long distance bus market benefits Lübeck. Companies like FlixBus offer service from Berlin for as little as €15 four times a day. Several other companies and lines are in the planning process. For detailed information on the market and other companies see Long distance bus travel in Germany . Buses stop at or close to the ZOB, which is also the hub for local buses and just a few hundred meters from the main train station.

Get around [ edit ]


As most of the attractions are within or close to the compact Altstadt , you can get everywhere quickly on foot. There is a local bus service hub at the Hauptbahnhof/ZOB (central rail station) with services to all parts of the town and nearby towns. For medium to long distances within the city cycling is also an option and becoming more and more popular with the locals. Taxis are available nearly everywhere.

Because local bus tickets are quite expensive in comparison to other German cities, a taxi is generally cheaper for a group of three and up if your destination is less than 10 km away. You have to go by taxi at night anyway, because there is no nightly bus service. Check here for bus fares and schedules.

Tourist information can be obtained in the city hall (Rathaus, Breite Straße) or at the "Welcome Centre", opposite Holstentor.

lubeck tourist guide

See [ edit ]

lubeck tourist guide

The main attraction is the medieval Altstadt (old city) located on an island surrounded by the Trave river and its various channels. Listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site , it offers an astonishing variety of different architectural styles. The streets of Lübeck are a delight for a connoisseur of architecture.

Lübeck's Altstadt is not an open-air museum but a living city centre, so don't expect a complete medieval site. You'll find many beautiful old buildings intertwined with modern ones and a modern infrastructure. A particularly well-preserved 13th-century part of the Altstadt is the Koberg area at the island's northern end. And don't miss the Gänge, small streets off the bigger roads, with small houses and a peculiar atmosphere.

lubeck tourist guide

Noteworthy historical buildings include:

There are two houses dedicated to Lübeck's two Literature Nobel Prize laureates:

The borough of Moisling has a special Jewish history. An old 53.8406 10.6339 17 Jewish cemetery is still to be found there.

Dedicated to the maritime heritage of the Hanse glory days:

lubeck tourist guide

Dedicated to 20th century aspects of Lübeck's history:

With such a rich history and literary heritage to draw from it is perhaps not surprising that there is little room for other kinds of museums, but there are some:

Do [ edit ]

lubeck tourist guide

  • Take a bus/boat/train ride to Travemünde , a sea side resort and enjoy the view of the Baltic Sea. A bus journey is fastest, as it takes about 20 minutes. A boat ride however, is much more scenic. The train stops at the iconic "Travemünde Strand" Station and is another good option.
  • Take a seat on one of the tourist boats and ship around the city (boats go off every hour or so on the Holstentor side of the Altstadt island). For example you get a beautiful view of the Salzspeicher (Hanseatic salt warehouses; fans of classic horror movies might be interested by the fact that one of these Salzspeicher was the house of Count Nosferatu both in the Murnau film and the Werner Herzog remake with Klaus Kinski). If you've got more time to spend ship on along the Wakenitz river which links the Trave river with the Ratzeburg lake. Parts of the river offer an astonishing flora.

Theatres [ edit ]

  • Puppet theatre
  • Several smaller theatres

Cinema [ edit ]

Lübeck is the origin of the now ubiquitous Cinestar chain of multiplex cinemas and has had its share of interesting as well as run-of-the-mill cinemas through the years. As less and less money is to be made running a cinema, many have shut down in Lübeck, too. These are the three that remain:

Cinema-related events [ edit ]

Sports [ edit ], other regular events [ edit ].

  • May: Maifest (May festival) Punk Rock/alternative open air music and art festival at the so-called Walli at Willy-Brand-Allee
  • July: Travemünder Woche sailing festival in Travemünde ;
  • August: Duckstein Festival;
  • November/December: Artificers' market on Koberg;

Buy [ edit ]

lubeck tourist guide

  • Lübecker Marzipan is the most famous export from the city. It is available in several varieties. The excellent Cafe Niederegger is a café in the old Viennese style and has outlets throughout the city. The Niederegger Café in Travemünde is worth a visit for its special pancakes. Its main store on the Alter Markt is a tourist attraction in its own right. It includes a museum dedicated to the manufacture of marzipan, as well as many marzipan sculptures.
  • Walk down the Hüxstrasse and the "Fleischhauerstrase", Lübeck's famous shopping streets and enjoy shopping. You may find artists, painting various interpretations of the Holstentor, which make an excellent souvenir.
  • Rotspon wine, available in nearly every shop.
  • Souvenirs and Lübeck-related literature can be purchased at the Rathaus bookshop (between market place and Marienkirche) and elsewhere.

Eat [ edit ]

lubeck tourist guide

There are several restaurants within the city centre which will satisfy most tastes. At the pinnacle is the Michelin starred Wullenwever. Other good options include Markgraf and Schabbelhaus while the most popular spot for tourists is the Schiffergesellschaft. If you're in for locally brewed beer, check out the slightly Bavarian-themed Brauberger in Alfstraße. Lübeck is well known for its high density of cafés and "Kneipen" (pubs), so peep into some of the smaller streets as well and see if you can find something that fits your taste.

Budget [ edit ]

All these are in the Old Town:

  • 53.869625 10.682448 1 My hummus , Beckergrube 67 , ☏ +49 176 21353684 . Vegetarian cuisine. ( updated May 2022 )
  • 53.865862 10.681294 2 Kartoffelspeicher , An d. Obertrave 6 , ☏ +49 176 22669541 . M-Sa 11ː00-20ː00, Su closed . Restaurant specializing in potato dishes. ( updated May 2022 )
  • 53.864173 10.685791 3 Restaurant Alte Schmiede , Mühlenstraße 9 , ☏ +49 451 7070126 . ( updated May 2022 )
  • 53.863838 10.686184 4 Bei Ulla , Mühlenstraße 19 , ☏ +49 451 76441 . M-Sa noon-22ː00, Su closed . German cuisine. The restaurant has been in existence since 1967. Homemade dishes. ( updated May 2022 )
  • 53.866929 10.684528 5 Café Erdapfel , Markt 1 , ☏ +49 451 58698390 . ( updated May 2022 )
  • 53.867104 10.686647 6 Das Flammkuchenhaus , Fleischhauerstraße 14 , ☏ +49 172 4013111 . M-Sa noon-19ː00, Su closed . An Alsace restaurant. ( updated May 2022 )
  • 53.865667 10.689752 7 La Vigna , Hüxstraße 63 , ☏ +49 451 74088 . M-Sa noon-23ː00, Su closed . It is a small Italian café in the middle of the old town of Lübeck. ( updated May 2022 )

Mid-range [ edit ]

  • 53.86626 10.68249 8 Taste , Holstenstr. 21 , ☏ +49 451 20229566 . M-F 08:00-19:00, Sa 08:30-19:00, Su 09:00-17:00 . Bagels, fresh juices, soups and other tasty things with many vegetarian options ( updated May 2022 )
  • 53.8718 10.6853 9 Marae , Engelsgrube 59 , ☏ +49 451 98 950 782 , [email protected] . Tu-F 12:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-19:00, closed Su & M . Vegan restaurant with homemade lemonade and raw cakes. ( updated May 2022 )
  • 53.871216 10.690118 10 Kartoffel-Keller , Koberg 8 , ☏ +49 451 76234 , fax : +49 451 75344 , [email protected] . M-Th 11:30-23:00, F Sa 11:30-23:30, Su 11:30-22:00 . ( updated Aug 2018 )
  • 53.86696 10.6854 11 Ratskeller zu Lübeck , Markt 13 , ☏ +49 451 72044 , fax : +49 4 51 72052 , [email protected] . Daily 12:00-22:00 . ( updated Aug 2018 )
  • 53.86384 10.68479 12 Restaurant Korfu , Pferdemarkt 6-8 , ☏ +49 451 73155 . Greek food.  
  • 53.86543 10.6884 13 Neue Rösterei , Wahmstraße 43–45 ( Hinterhof ), ☏ +49 451 77773 , [email protected] . Tu–Sa 09:30–24:00, Su 09:30–18:00 . They roast their own coffee. ( updated Aug 2018 )
  • 53.86541 10.691028 14 NUI to go – Sushibar , Hüxstr. 91-93 , ☏ +49 451 9 89 92 66 . A sushi place also offering Thai food.  

Splurge [ edit ]

  • 53.868735 10.681946 15 Schabbelhaus , Mengstraße 48-52 , ☏ +49 451 72011 .  
  • 53.869558 10.682197 17 Wullenwever , Beckergrube 71 , ☏ +49 451 704333 .  
  • 53.87057 10.68967 18 Die Zimberei , Königstraße 5 ( in the rooms of the Gesellschaft zur Beförderung gemeinnütziger Tätigkeit ).  

Drink [ edit ]

lubeck tourist guide

Walli [ edit ]

The following three venues are all on "Wallhalbinsel" ("Walli") and known as "leftist" or "alternative" spaces, which in the past has led to conflicts with centre-right Christian Democratic Union politicians.

  • 53.869882 10.676625 1 Treibsand , Willy-Brandt-Allee 9 , ☏ +49 451 7063311 , [email protected] . A music venue run by volunteers of a leftish/alternative bend. Prices are moderate as they only charge enough to cover costs. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 53.869844 10.677176 2 Cafe Brazil , Willy-Brandt-Allee 9 , ☏ +49 451 7020284 . Run by volunteers of a leftish/alternative bent. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 53.869906 10.677195 3 VeB . ( updated May 2020 )

Clubs and discotheques [ edit ]

Some of the biggest/most frequented clubs in Lübeck are:

  • 53.878099 10.668314 4 A1 Musikpark , Bei der Lohmühle 7 , ☏ +49 451 81 04 39-0 , [email protected] .  
  • 53.864704 10.694588 5 Hüx , Hüxterdamm 14 , ☏ +49 451 76633 , [email protected] .  
  • 53.846105 10.667802 6 Eishaus , Geninerstraße 199 , ☏ +49 451 58249579 , [email protected] .  

Sleep [ edit ]

  • 53.870091 10.691931 1 Jugendherberge Altstadt ( Youth Hostel ), Mengstr. 33 ( from central bus station ("ZOB") (almost) in walking distance, closest bus stops: "Lübeck Beckergrube", "Lübeck Holstentorplatz" ), ☏ +49 451 70 20 399 , fax : +49 451 77 012 , [email protected] .  
  • 53.873304 10.684378 2 Jugendherberge Vor dem Burgtor ( Youth Hostel ), Am Gertrudenkirchhof 4 ( from central bus station ("ZOB") with various bus lines towards Gustav-Radbruch-Platz ), ☏ +49 451 33-433 , fax : +49 451 34 540 , [email protected] .  
  • 53.873304 10.684378 3 RuckSack Hotel , Kanalstr. 70 ( get off bus 6 (airport bus) at Sandstrasse or Koenigstrasse and walk to hostel ), ☏ +49 451 706892 , [email protected] . Friendly and helpful owner. Clean and well kept rooms. Opposite Aldi food store and next to the hostel is a restaurant. Located on north side of old town next to river. Dorms for €14, double €20 per person .  
  • 53.87593 10.69777 4 Hotel garni Stadtpark , Roeckstr. 9 , ☏ +49 451 3 45 55 , [email protected] .  
  • 53.876689 10.693147 5 Holiday Inn Lübeck , Travemünder Allee 3 ( just north of the city gate (Burgtor) and opposite bus terminal and taxi rank ), ☏ +49 451 37060 . Practical location. Good reasonable size rooms, good breakfast choice. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 53.876689 10.693147 6 Ibis Hotel Lübeck , Fackenburger Allee 54 , ☏ +49 451 400-40 . Budget hotel located quite close to the main railway station. from €55 .  
  • 53.867123 10.676688 7 Park Inn by Radisson Lubeck , Willy-Brandt-Allee, 1-5 , ☏ +49 451 15040 , [email protected] . ( updated Oct 2018 )
  • 53.867834 10.678641 8 Radisson Blu Senator Hotel , Willy-Brandt Allee, 6 , ☏ +49 451 1420 , [email protected] . ( updated Oct 2018 )
  • 53.88108 10.68616 9 Lübecker Krönchen , Einsiedelstraße 10 , ☏ +49 451 30436065 , [email protected] . ( updated Mar 2018 )

Learn [ edit ]

Go next [ edit ].

There are several options to spend your time around Lübeck.

  • Travemünde Still part of Lübeck and only a 15-20 minute drive away. The railway station Travemünde Strand is right next to the beach and its big clock tower displays the departure time of the next train.
  • Timmendorfer Strand /Niendorf about 20-30 minutes and a more stylish resort and very popular with people from Hamburg

Somewhat north of Travemünde is a cliff (Brodtener Ufer) that has a hiking way from Travemünde to Niendorf (1-1½ hr walk) with good views on the Baltic coastline. Niendorf/Ostsee is somewhat more cosy and family oriented with its fishery port and a public swimming pool and a well-known bird zoo (Vogelpark Niendorf, situated in a small nature resort).

The Baltic coast resorts in Mecklenburg Pommerania are about 1-2 hr drive on the Autobahn A20 away and might be worth a day trip

Hansa-Park is an amusement park in Sierksdorf

For nature lovers a trip to the lakes south of Lübeck may be of interest as there are great opportunities for bird-watching (e.g. the Ratzeburger See and the Schaalsee). Ratzeburg (with its Ernst-Barlach and A.-Paul-Weber museums) and Mölln are also worth a visit, especially as they are easily accessible by train. Near Ratzeburg is also one of the rare places to see the nearly extinct European bison—not a very spectacular facility, just some buffaloes on a pasture, but if you're in the area and have never seen one you might want to look out for the "Wisentgehege".

lubeck tourist guide

If you're travelling on northwards to Kiel , consider a (train) stop in one of the three small towns of Eutin , Plön , and Preetz . Among other sites, each of them boasts a "Schloss" or former aristocratic mansion. The towns are situated in a lake district which is popular for rambling and canoeing in summer (you can rent a canoe in Plön and go to Preetz by Schwentine River and through various lakes, then the canoe-centre people will get you and your canoe back to Plön by car).

And don't forget that it's 50 minutes by train to Hamburg (they go each hour).

During the summer the Schleswig-Holstein music festival is one of the largest events in northern Germany. An abundance of concerts with world-famous artists and orchestras attracts many people every year.

lubeck tourist guide

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Germany Travel Guide

Lübeck Germany: 1-day Itinerary and Map

Lübeck Germany

Lübeck is a city in Germany located in the state of Schleswig-Holstein . The old town center ( Altstadt ) has maintained its medieval appearance with old buildings and narrow streets.

In the past, the city could only be accessed through four gates, and, two of them, the Burgtor and Holstentor still exist.

Lübeck Germany

How to spend 1 day in Lübeck Germany

In this 1-day itinerary in Lübeck , discover the main attractions of the city.

Day 1 in Lübeck

Start the day by visiting Holstentor , one of the city’s main attractions and symbol. It is a medieval gateway and today houses a museum dedicated to the city’s history.

Near the Holstentor is the Petrikirche , built between 1227 and 1250 and expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries. From its observation platform, visitors can enjoy a magnificent view of the city.

Head to Lübeck Cathedral , one of the oldest monuments in the city. 900 meters (0.5 miles) from the cathedral is Lübeck City Hall ( Lübecker Rathaus ), one of the most beautiful city halls in Germany .

220 meters (0.1 miles) from the town hall is Marienkirche , the third-largest church in  Germany  and St. Jakobi is 450 meters (0.3 miles) away.

Be sure to take a walk along the Trave River and also visit the Café Niederegger and try the famous “ marzipan ”, located in front of the city hall.

Things to see

  • Petrikirche
  • Lübeck Cathedral
  • Lübecker Rathaus
  • Marienkirche
  • Café Niederegger

Day 1 Itinerary Map

Sights in Lübeck

1. holstentor.


The Holstentor is a symbol of Lübeck and one of the main attractions.

Holstentorplatz, 23552

2. Petrikirche


The Petrikirche was built between 1227 – 1250 and enlarged in the 15th and 16th centuries.

During World War II the roof of the church was destroyed. The reconstruction was completed in 1987.

The Petrikirche is no longer used as a church but rather as a vibrant center for events and exhibitions.

From its observation deck, visitors can enjoy a magnificent view of the city.

Petrikirchhof, 23552


The Lübecker Rathaus is one of the most beautiful town halls in Germany .

Breite Str. 62, 23552

4. Marienkirche


The Marienkirche is the third-largest church in Germany . Numerous works of art can be found inside the Marienkirche .

Marienkirche, 23552

5. Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral

The Lübeck Cathedral is one of the oldest monuments in the city.

During World War II it was partially destroyed by airstrikes. The reconstruction of the church took several decades and was completed in 1982.

Mühlendamm 2-6, 23552 

6. Aegidien


The Aegidien is the smallest of the 5 main churches in the historic center of Lübeck .

It is decorated with Gothic wall paintings and elements from the Baroque period and the Renaissance period.

Aegidien, 23552

7. Buddenbrookhaus


The Buddenbrookhaus is dedicated to Thomas Mann and the novel “ Buddenbrooks “, published in 1901 when he was 26 years old.

The second publication in 1903 “ Buddenbrooks ” became a great literary success and led Mann to a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929.

Mengstraße 4, 23552

8. Altstadt


Taking a tour and exploring the alleys and courtyards of the old town of Lübeck is like going back to the Middle Ages.

9. Café Niederegger

Niederegger Café

The Café Niederegger  is located in front of the City Hall . In the hall of the “ marzipan “, you will be able to discover how this delicacy of Lübeck is made.

Breite Str. 89, 23552

10. St Jakobi

The St Jakobi was built in 1334 and suffered no damage during World War II.

A lifeboat is dedicated to the wreck of the boat “Pamir” in 1957. It is located in the north tower of the chapel.

Jakobikirchhof 3, 23552

11. Burgkloster

The Burgkloster is the most significant medieval monastery in northern Germany .

Hinter der Burg 6, 23552

Where to stay in Lübeck

1. radisson blu lübeck.

The Radisson Blu Lübeck is located 4 minutes from the Holstentor .

Rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, safe, and minibar.

W illy-Brandt-Allee 6, 23554 Lübeck, Germany

2. Hotel H+ Lübeck

The Hotel H + Lübeck is a 4-star hotel located near Central Station and offers excellent value for money.

The hotel has 96 modern rooms equipped with a flat-screen TV, and safe.

Am Bahnhof 12-14, 23558 Lübeck, Germany

3. Hotel Anno 1216

Located in one of Lübeck’s oldest brick buildings , Hotel Anno 1216 offers a historic atmosphere and modern design.

Rooms have a TV, minibar, and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Alfstraße 38, 23552 Lübeck, Germany

Shopping in Lübeck

1. karstadt lübeck.

Karstadt is a German department store chain with many stores in Germany .

The company features brands like Cacharel, Clarins, Coach, Desigual, Estée Lauder.

Königstraße 54-56, 23552

2. Haerder Center Lübeck

The Haerder Center Lübeck is located at the intersection of the main shopping streets of Breite Strasse , Holstenstrasse, and Königstrasse .

Brands: Essanelle, Fexcom, New Yorker, Pandora.

Königstraße 84-96, 23552 

Plan your Trip

Lübeck  has easy train access from various cities in Germany . Famous cities nearby: Hamburg , Schwerin , Bremen , and Kiel .

Hamburg – 67.6 km (42 miles)

Schwerin – 72.2 km (44.9 miles)

Bremen – 180 km (112 miles)

Book a Train Trip

Lübeck Germany Map

Book your trip, book your accommodation.

Book your hotel with as they consistently provide the cheapest and lowest rates.

Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights to Germany by using  Momondo . Momondo is a flight search engine that searches a lot of different airlines, including many budget carriers.

Book a Train Ticket

Check the train routes and schedules with Omio . Omio is an authorized Deutsche Bahn ticket seller, which compares and combines transport options for complete flexibility.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, and cancellations. It’s a protection in case anything goes wrong. You can book your travel insurance with .

10 Suggested Itineraries for Germany + Top Destinations

Outlets & Department Stores in Germany: Shopping Guide

40 Popular Train Routes in Germany

German States Map

German States and Regions

lubeck tourist guide

Lübeck: Planning Your Trip

lubeck tourist guide

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

A Bit of History

Planning your trip, things to do, what to eat and drink, where to stay, getting there, money saving tips.

For a healthy dose of medieval history, architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historic ships, Christmas markets, marzipan, and epic hikes on your next European vacation, head to Lübeck, Germany.

Located in Northern Germany about an hour from Hamburg, the city has come a long way from its early beginnings as a Trave River trading post on the way to the Baltic Sea. Today, Lübeck appears much as it did in medieval days and has regained its throne as the Königin der Hanse (Queen City of the Hanseatic League). It's one of several major German ports, and like other Hanseatic cities (medieval merchant hubs like Bremen , Rostock , and Stralsund), everything seems to revolve around its connection to the water.

So where do you begin? Consider this your guide to the best places to see, stay, eat, and play on your next trip to Lübeck, one of Germany’s most underrated cities .

Originally founded in the 12th century as a trading post along the Trave River, which leads to the Baltic Sea, Lübeck's oldest section is on an island, completely encircled by the river, a strategic location that allowed the city to flourish. By the 14th century, it was the largest and most powerful member of the Hanse (Hanseatic League), with Emperor Charles IV placing it on par with Venice , Rome, Pisa , and Florence as one of the five "Glories of the Roman Empire.”

World War II had a dramatic effect on Lübeck, just as it did the rest of the country, with RAF bombs destroying about 20 percent of the city, including the cathedral. Miraculously, many of its 15th- and 16th-century residences and the iconic Holstentor (brick gate) were spared. After the war, as Germany was divided in two, Lübeck fell in the West but lay close to the border with East Germany , and the city grew rapidly with the influx of ethnic German refugees from former Eastern provinces. To accommodate its growing population and reclaim its importance, Lübeck rebuilt the historic center, which in 1987 was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The Burgkloster (castle monastery) contains the original foundations of the city's long-lost castle, while the Koberg area, including Jakobi Church and the Heilig-Geist-Hospital , is a fine example of a late 18th-century neighborhood. More churches (Petrichurch in the north and the Dom , or cathedral, to the south) surround Patrician residences from the 15th and 16th centuries. Seven church steeples punctuate the city skyline; Marienkirche (Saint Mary's) is one of the oldest from the 13th century. The Rathaus (town hall) and Markt (market place) each display the effects of WWII bombings but are still quite spectacular. Elements of Lübeck's working past remain on the Left Bank of the river in the form of Salzspeicher (salt storehouses), while the Holstentor , built in 1478, is one of only two remaining city gates; the other, Burgtor , dates back to 1444.

  • Best Time to Visit : Shoulder season months like May and September are best for mild weather and fewer crowds. Summers are warm with lots of humidity, while winters can be particularly cold due to the city's proximity to the Baltic Sea.
  • Language: German is the official language, while Danish and other regional German dialects can also be heard throughout the Schleswig-Holstein state. English is typically taught at schools in Germany, but learning a few phrases in German can certainly go a long way toward endearing you to the locals.
  • Currency: The euro is the official currency of Germany. Cash is preferred and is used almost exclusively in smaller cities and towns, though Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted (American Express and Diners Club cards, not so much).
  • Getting Around: Lübeck is a very walkable city, with many streets open to pedestrians only or for cars driven by guests of local hotels. Buses and trains are available at stations located just outside the city center, linking it to other locales around northern Germany.
  • Travel Tip: Lübeck has an enchanting Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) from late November until Silvester (New Year’s Eve) .   Just remember to pack your parka.

History buffs will love Lübeck, home to a historic Old Town that’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site and medieval churches and structures dating back to the 12th century. It’s also where you’ll find interesting museums like the Günter Grass-House, a fine arts museum named for the Nobel laureate, and the Buddenbrook House, a stunning Baroque-style building dedicated to the life of Thomas Mann, another Nobel laureate.

  • Lübeck was the only other city besides Berlin to be located along the border between East Germany and West Germany during the Cold War and you can learn more about its unique position at the Lübeck-Schlutup Border Documentation Site. If you’re really into hiking, take on the German Border Trail , an 865-mile (1,393-kilometer) path that passes through Lübeck along the former site of the Iron Curtain and stretches south to the German city of Mödlareuth.
  • A visit to Lübeck is not complete without taking some time to enjoy the waterfront, where historic ships like the Fehmarnbelt and the Lisa von Lübeck are moored in the harbor and welcome visitors (pending Germany’s Covid-19 restrictions).
  • To get in the water, visit one of Germany's best beaches at nearby Travemünde, or Timmendorfer Strand, each about a 20-minute drive from Lübeck's city center.

After a classic German meal of sausage and sauerkraut , satisfy your sweet tooth with an original Lübeck treat. Proud Lübecker claim marzipan as their own (although contrary theories place its beginnings somewhere in Persia). No matter its origin story, Lübeck is famous for its marzipan, with renowned producers like Niederegger . You’ll also want to try Kolsteiner Katenschinken (cured ham that’s smoked for eight weeks), Holsteiner Tilsiter (a favorite regional cheese), and locally sourced fish like herring and carp. The region is also known for Dooley’s, a liqueur made with vodka, Dutch cream, and Belgian toffee, as well as Pharisäer , a tasty concoction made of coffee, rum, and whipped cream.

Read more about the best foods to try in Germany and our in-depth guide to schnapps, German wine, and everything else you should be drinking besides beer .

Whether you prefer to stay in big-brand or independently owned hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, or vacation rentals, there are accommodations to suit every taste and budget in Lübeck. To really experience the city and meet its people, consider renting a local apartment through a vacation rental service like Airbnb or VRBO. If you plan to base yourself in Lübeck, stick to the easily walkable Old Town, where most chain and independent hotels are located in historic buildings. Accommodations are also available just outside town in the greater Schleswig-Holstein region for those who prefer to spend more time in the German countryside. If you're short on time and only plan to visit Lübeck as part of a day trip, consider staying an hour away in Hamburg or in nearby Travemünde if you'd prefer to be near the beach or are planning to take the ferry.

Discover some of the best places to stay during your visit, including Germany's most unique hotels, castle hotels, and top hostels .

The closest international airport is about an hour away in Hamburg, though if you’re coming in from the U.S., you’ll likely need to connect via another European airport or a larger German airport like Frankfurt, Munich, or Berlin first. The city is well connected by motorway and train. If traveling by car , take the Autobahn 1, which connects Lübeck with Hamburg and leads all the way up to Denmark. If traveling by train, the Hauptbahnhof (train station) is located within the city to the west of the island, offering commuter trains to and from Hamburg every 30 minutes on weekdays, plus connections around the country and abroad.  Ferries from nearby Travemünde offer connections to Finland, Latvia, and Sweden. For ferries to Denmark, make your way to Kiel, Fehmarn, or Rostock along Germany’s Baltic Coast.

  • To travel frugally in Germany, do as the locals do: stick to public transportation, pick up food from local markets instead of constantly eating at restaurants, diversify your accommodations (try renting an Airbnb or VRBO instead of splashing out for a fancy hotel) and walk or hike as much as possible.
  • Lübeck’s tourism board website lists a number of free self-guided walks so you can set off and explore the city's historic sites and medieval churches at your own pace.
  • Each year, Lübeck hosts events like Museum Night (when museums remain open until midnight), Theatre Night (when you can see puppet, dance, improv, and musical performances in any theatre around town), and Große Kiesau Night (open house at several literary houses around Old Town), that let you experience several museums, shows, or readings for the price of one ticket.

Save even more money with our guide to the cheapest ways to get around Germany by train .

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Colourful illustration of the spires and riverside buildings of Lübeck

A local’s guide to Lübeck, Germany: maritime gem full of history and club culture

This ancient Baltic port is the epitome of brick gothic. Local restaurateur Tristan Wilken shines a light on its many charms

Schiffergesellschaft is the oldest restaurant in town, founded 500 years ago by captains of the Hanseatic League, who met there to debate, eat and drink. Soak up the maritime atmosphere at the long, weathered dining tables and try the famous northern dish Labskaus – beef stew with sweet-and-sour garnish, fried quail’s egg and chopped salted herring. It may look a bit strange but it tastes great. In the winter months, traditional pork and kale plates are a speciality.

Illustration of ice cream with fruit

In the Fleischhauerstrasse area, Erbse specialises in vegan dishes, Soulmates is a boutique ice-cream parlour offering flavours such as black forest cherry, and Nitsche serves delicious veggie deli bowls. Excellent coffee can be found at Cycle Roasters , and the best breakfast – homemade bread, coffee and croissants – is at Konvent , a really nice spot next to the Aegidien church.


Book a tour to climb the stairs of the Marienkirche, the “mother church of brick gothic” – the model for the other brick gothic churches around the Baltic – and one of the tallest churches in the world. From the top, there are magnificent views over the old town island with its seven spires, which is a Unesco world heritage site. For an alternative view, take a cruise on the waterways that encircle the old town ( Boat Now , €44 for an hour). You can even take the helm yourself if you want.

The Kulturwerft Gollan is the modern cultural hub of the city. It’s a renovated 19th-century shipyard that hosts concerts and festivals. Inside there’s a really cool brewery called Sudden Death, and a DIY design centre, MachBar, offering workshops, such as sewing for beginners.

Green space

The Drägerpark lies on the banks of River Wakenitz, and it’s where I go with my friends to swim in the natural open-air pool, the Marli, where there’s a three-metre diving board, water slides and paddleboards and canoes for hire. There’s plenty of space for a picnic, a large playground and a kiosk selling drinks and snacks.

About an hour’s train ride away is the beach at Travemünde, with its extensive sands, characteristic wicker-roofed beach chairs and lots of stalls selling fish sandwiches along the harbour.

A bus, not far from a riverbank, up to its wheels in the water


My favourite neighbourhood is the area right next to the Drägerpark, Jürgen-Wullenwever Strasse and its surrounding streets. You can see the status the city enjoyed in former times in the enormous old houses of its former traders. Some of these are still owned by the descendants of the trading families, while others have been divided into apartments. It’s an exclusive area to live in but the abundance of trees and varied architectural styles make it pleasant to walk through. You will pass through this area when walking from the old town to the Drägerpark and taking the Moltkestrasse route crossing the River Wakenitz.

Lübeck’s students tend to meet in Clemensstrasse, which gets really crowded at weekends. Dietrich’s is a cosy little bar with a great range of gins, while Torrios is an American-style cocktail bar which sells its own craft gin, and La Havanna is a small club where Hector puts on salsa dances. Sounds is the most popular club in town, with live bands on Friday nights, and A1 is the biggest and puts on theme nights, such as Sounds of Goa. Over summer weekends, Drehbrückenplatz features musicians and outdoor parties.

The Ringhotel Jensen (doubles from €130) is on the banks of the River Trave, with some rooms and suites facing Lübeck’s medieval brick gothic Holstentor gate. The hotel dates from the 14th century and is in the “patrician villa” style, with rooms that are tastefully furnished and comfortable.

Tristan Wilken is co-owner, with Constantin Teichert, of Lübeck modern seafood restaurant Fangfrisch

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Travel Guide To Lubeck

Free travel guide to Lubeck Germany

Located on Germany's Baltic coast, Lübeck is close to the beach and has plenty more to offer than beer and bratwurst. It is a striking town steeped in history, literature and architecture and has been declared a world heritage site – and the Baltic Sea has brought many different cultures to the city, redefining it as a colourful port that is full of surprises.

Where to eat out in Lubeck

Coastal Germany is the one part of the country where fish and vegetables take precedence over meat. The most prevalent and delicious local dish is cod ( dorsch ) in a mustard sauce, and fillets of plaice ( scholle ) with tiny brown Baltic shrimps. Herrings in many different guises – fresh, grilled, pickled – are widely available, too. Northern Germans are mad for asparagus ( spargel ), and if you are there in the spring, you'll find entire menus devoted to it: steamed with hollandaise, with potatoes, with ham, as soup. The pudding of choice is Rote Grütze , a compote of red fruits - currants, raspberries, morello cherries – served with vanilla ice cream.

Naturally Lübeck boasts a good locally brewed beer. More surprisingly it also has its own very drinkable red wine, Rotspon, a legacy of its 14th-century wine trading days. The wine itself is French, mostly from Bordeaux, but it is aged in special oak casks kept in cellars under the Trave, which impart a mellow woodiness and give Lübeckers the right to call it their own. It is usually served by the carafe or glass, but is available by the bottle in some of the city’s smarter restaurants. Here are a few of the more elegant places to try:


Beckergrube 71 (00 49 451 704 333). Has a Michelin star.


Mengstrasse 48–50 (00 49 451 72011). Situated within an antique-filled, 16th-century merchant's house.


Koberg 8 (00 49 451 76234). Slightly less expensive, but every bit as elegant, the Historischer Weinkeller is set in the vaulted cellars of the Heiligen-Geist-Hospital. It has two cheaper sister restaurants next door, where the decor is rustic and the menu less ambitious.

Markt 13 (00 49 451 72044). Here you sit in discreet booths, with doors you can close for absolute privacy should you desire it, each decorated in homage to one of Lübeck's most glorious citizens.


Breite Strasse 2 (00 49 451 76776). The food isn't great – stick to the simpler dishes of grilled fish or meat – but the house itself, built as a sailors' canteen in the 16th century, is extraordinary and can have changed very little in 300 years (this may be what is wrong with the menu). Its great hall is furnished with four very long tables, each flanked by settles with elaborately carved ends. And from the lofty coffered ceiling hang ancient models of ships, and vast brass chandeliers holding real candles that are the room's principal light source.


On the Strandpromenade, Travemünde (00 49 4502 74161). The Promenadentreff has a large terrace overlooking the beach and an impressive number of herring salads (salted and pickled) on its menu.


Breite Strasse 89, (00 49 451 53010). There are plenty of cafès in both Lübeck and Travemünde, but once you have tried Niederegger, there's not much inclination to venture elsewhere. The cafè conforms to the clichè of Mittel European kaffee-und-küche palaces, and the coffees, especially the flavoured varieties, are excellent. Established in 1806, this is also the place that invented marzipan, but the succulent, scented almond confections on sale here bear no relation at all to the English version. Niederegger marzipan is sold not just in blocks, chocolates and replicas of every imaginable animal or fruit, but moulded into elaborate models of the city itself. Appropriately, there is a museum of marzipan on the second floor.


Königstrasse 64. There is good ice cream (including an extravagant marzipan sundae) to be had at the Eis-Cafè Venezia, an ice-cream parlour stuck in a 1950s time warp. Closed during the winter.

Things to do in Lubeck

Travemünde is a seaside resort 20km up the River Trave. It's a pleasant place for a day out: the beach is expansive and sandy, covered in summer with strandkorb – literally beach baskets, but in reality more like two-seated wicker sofas. Available to rent by the day, the brightly-coloured, well-padded chairs have a hood to keep the wind off, pull-out footrests and ledges on which to put your drink. There's a promenade lined with cafès and restaurants, an elegant 19th-century kursaal (spa) and casino, and some fine belle èpoque beach houses. If you continue north beyond the prom you reach some cliffs, one of the few places on this coast where you can look down and behold the Baltic. The path takes you through coppices of poplar, carpeted in wild strawberries, with open country on one side and the sea on the other, but if the weather is fine, it's unlikely to be secluded.

Travemünde can be reached by train, bus or boat. The boat leaves from the An der Untertrave quay and takes an hour and 20 minutes. Take it in one direction only, though, as the journey is more than twice as long as the bus.

How to get to Lubeck

Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel ( ) is the city's international airport


Ryanair (0541 569569; fax: 580588; ), Lufthansa (0845 773 7747; ) - and catch a train to the city, which takes about 40 minutes.



Lovely things to do in Lübeck, Germany: a city guide

Things to do in Lübeck, Germany | PACK THE SUITCASES

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Considering it’s only a small city, there are loads of things to do in Lübeck. In fact, it’s one of Germany’s best-kept secrets in my opinion. Lübeck has a charming old town full of pretty architecture, punctuated by lots of church spires, with the Trave river running alongside it. Lübeck is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which isn’t a surprise when you see how lovely its historic old town is. There are beautiful cobbled courtyards lined with flowers to explore, not to mention some excellent places to eat and drink. I visited as a day trip from big, bustling Hamburg . Lübeck was just the breath of fresh air you need on a city break.

Lübeck was the capital of the Hanseatic League, which you may have heard of, especially if you’ve been to Germany before. It was a very powerful merchant guild, which started in the 1100s and controlled the maritime trade region from the Baltics to the North Sea for over 300 years. So Lübeck was a really big deal being in the midst of all that.

Lübeck was also known as the ‘City of the seven spires’, obviously due to its amount of churches. And now it’s mainly known for its marzipan, which is one of my most hated substances on earth. But it’s such a gorgeous place that even the slight stench of marzipan didn’t put me off.

With all that in mind, here are the things to do in Lübeck that I really enjoyed and would recommend…

Things to do in Lübeck, Germany | PACK THE SUITCASES

1. Explore the Altstadt  

Lübeck’s Altstadt (old town) should be your first place to wander and get a feel of the city. You’ll find rows of merchants’ houses and former warehouses, harking back to the Middle Ages when Lübeck was an important trading hub. The good thing about these in the modern day is that they’re beautifully ornate and picture-perfect. 

The old town has the Trave River flowing on all sides, the perfect backdrop to its pretty half-timbered houses. Strolling around and taking it all in is definitely one of the best things to do in Lübeck; it’s like being in a living museum. You can easily cover it in an hour or so.

It really reminded me of Bruges, but without the annoying crowds and overpriced cafés.

lubeck tourist guide

2. Check out the magnificent Holstentor

The Holstentor is a massive OTT brick-built gate, which acts as the grand entrance to Lübeck’s old town. It’s an iconic landmark known all over Germany and very distinctive looking. You’ll naturally pass through it if you arrive in Lübeck by train. 

Lübeck once had four of these big medieval gates but only this and another (less exciting) one remain. It was built between 1464 and 1478 but has since been rebuilt twice. Despite all that building work, you’ll notice it’s sort of sagging in on itself. Even German engineering can’t fight subsidence. But it makes it all the more quirky and endearing IMO.

Inside the Holstentor is a small museum about Lübeck’s history, which would be a good rainy day stop-off. It’s 7€ to get in (at the time of writing). Check opening times at the Holstentor museum website ; I don’t want to write them here in case they change.

Things to do in Lübeck, Germany | PACK THE SUITCASES

3. Discover the magical hidden courtyards

Of all the things to do in Lübeck I’m recommending here, this is my favourite. I can’t resist a pretty cobbled courtyard lined with flowers and nice doorways, so I was chuffed when I read about them being a big thing in Lübeck. And I wasn’t disappointed. I only wish we’d got there earlier in the day as by the time we started exploring them we were losing the light with it being winter. That’s my excuse for disappointing photographs, anyway.

You can find many of the courtyards in  Kober, the northern area of the Altstadt. Look up Engelswisch, Engelsgrube, and Glockengießerstraße on your maps. There are also some further south around the cathedral. Look out for Glandorpshof and Füchtingshof: the latter was used in the 1920s silent horror film Nosferatu .

The courtyards were where tradesmen and artisans lived in medieval times. From the outside, they don’t look that exciting. You go down little arched alleyways between buildings on main roads, through iron gates. But they then open into these hidden beauties. You’re met with pretty timbered houses, colourful benches, cobbled paths and loads of tiny gardens and windowboxes overflowing with flowers.

Apparently, there are almost 90 courtyards and passages like this in Lübeck. I think we only went down about four of them but they were all stunning to the point where I filled my camera’s SD card at an alarming rate.

Obviously, you need to bear in mind that the houses are people’s homes. Respect their privacy when you’re having a full-on Instagram photoshoot.

lubeck tourist guide

4. Admire the gabled houses along the beautiful An der Obertrave

While you’re exploring the courtyards, you’ll naturally find yourself walking along An der Obertrave, a promenade next to the River Trave. It’s only a 10-minute stroll from one end to the other, but it’s well worth following to the end.

The way is lined with absolutely stunning listed houses with really ornate gables. Some of them are brightly coloured and it’s all very ‘chocolate box’. Stop off at one of the many cafés with outdoor seating if you have a nice day for it.

Things to do in Lübeck, Germany | PACK THE SUITCASES

5. Buy some famous Lübeck marzipan from Niederegger 

Despite my hatred of the stuff, no list of things to do in Lübeck would be complete without including marzipan.

Lübeck is the marzipan capital of the world. Its marzipan is special because the city has some unwritten rules about its quality, including a high almond % and low added sugar. It’s even controlled under EU law as a Protected Geographical Indication food , which means it can’t be made anywhere else. Impressive stuff.

There are plenty of places around the city to sample it. But Niederegger on Breite Strasse in the old town is probably the most famous. It’s been marzipanning away since 1806 and is renowned for its artistic creations. It even exports to John Lewis and Waitrose, so my UK readers will get the picture. If you have a weird friend who loves marzipan, they’re going to be thrilled if you bring them home something from Niederegger.

Niederegger’s shop facade and windows are a sight to behold. It’s like if Hansel and Grettel opened their own business. Inside, you can peruse every kind of marzipan in all sorts of shapes. There’s the traditional handpainted (very realistic) fruit and veg but also unique little animals and a strange amount of Christmas-themed things. Germany bloody loves a bit of year-round Christmas, doesn’t it? Even if you can’t stand eating the stuff, Niederegger’s shop is fascinating to look around. Just be prepared for the overpowering smell.

Upstairs is a cafe, where you can have a hot drink and some marzipan-based cakes/pastries. On the second floor, there’s even a marzipan museum (free entry). It offers an insight into Niederegger’s history and has some terrifying life-size marzipan figures on display.

lubeck tourist guide

6. Have a beer at Paulaner am Dom

Although Paulaner isn’t my all-time favourite German beer (that title goes to Augustiner, also of Munich ), a pint of Paulaner is always worth a detour for. Even if you’re in Lübeck, miles away from Paulaner’s home in Bavaria. It’s probably sacrilege not to have a local beer from around Hamburg, but sometimes rules are made to be broken. I’m over it.

We spotted Paulaner am Dom when we were at the brink of freezing to death in the early evening and it was a perfect, cosy stop off for a drink before our evening meal. It does food too, the usual hearty German meaty fare but I noticed that even a Bavarian beerhouse now has a handful of vegan options (we’re getting there!).

It’d be great in summer as it’s got a beer garden and there’s nothing better in Germany than a beer garden on a sunny day. Bliss.

Things to do in Lübeck, Germany | PACK THE SUITCASES

7. See the stained glass windows of death at St Mary’s Church

Now I’ve lured you in with that irresistible heading, let me expand.

St Mary’s is apparently Germany’s third-largest church (who measures these things?!). It was built between 1250 and 1350 and became the template for lots of other brick-built Gothic churches in the Baltic region. It’s massive inside and has the highest vaulted brick ceiling in the world, at 40 metres. Another very specific claim, but this is actually pretty impressive to see.

One of the most unique things in St. Mary’s is its stained-glass windows. These aren’t that old in the grand scheme of things, only installed in the 1950s. But they’re interesting because instead of the biblical scene or pretty pattern you’d usually find on a stained-glass window, they show some creepy depictions of dancing corpses and skeletons. This is a version of the ‘danse macabre’ motif, which dates back to the Middle Ages. It represents the idea that, in the end, death unites us all. Cheerful stuff, eh?

On an even less cheery note, another sight to see in St Mary’s is the broken bells. During an air raid in 1942, the church was hit and set alight. Most of its interior was lost in the fires, and the two bells in one of its towers fell over 100 metres down from the roof. Although everything else has been restored, the bells were left where they shattered. They’ve become a memorial to WW2 and a symbol of Lübeck.

St. Mary’s Church is 2€ to get in. Check opening times on its official website , as they do change throughout the year. You might want to time your visit for just before noon, when its astronomical clock does its thing. It isn’t quite as fancy as Prague’s astronomical clock, but it’s worth viewing.

lubeck tourist guide

8. Meet the little Lübeck devil just outside St Mary’s Church

Legend has it that, in the 13th century when they were building St Mary’s, the devil popped into the building site to see what was happening. He asked the builders what was going down. They were scared to say that it was going to be a church. Fair enough I suppose. So they lied and told him it was going to be a wine bar, which is quite amusing when you consider how many old buildings are now trendy wine bars in the 21st century. Anyway, the devil was really into the idea of a wine bar. He loved getting dressed up and heading #outout on a Friday. In fact, he was so excited that he decided to help with the construction.

When the basilica was nearly finished, the devil cottoned on to the fact it wasn’t a wine bar. He was obviously fuming, not being a big fan of churches and seeing his new weekend haunt go down the drain. He was all geared up to lob a big slab at the church to flatten it, but one of the builders stopped him by promising to build a really trendy wine bar nearby. The devil calmed down, dropped the slab, and agreed that was fair enough.

The slab still remains at that spot. It has scratches on it that are meant to be the devil’s claw marks. In 1999, the artist Rolf Goerler provided a bronze statue of the devil to sit on the slab. He’s looking chuffed because the builders kept their word. To this day, you can go for a drink in the Ratskeller, the town hall’s wine cellar, just across the road from the church.

A happy ending all round. Cheers to that.

lubeck tourist guide

9. Visit the Rathaus (town hall)

It wouldn’t be a trip to a German city without a bit of Rathaus action, would it?

Lübeck’s town hall dates back to the 13th century and is a beauty. You can do a guided tour inside it, but they only do the tour in German. I didn’t bother, and I generally prefer looking at the facade of buildings rather than the interior.

The Rathaus is built with a collection of other pretty buildings surrounding a central courtyard. There are cafés and restaurants on the ground floors and street artists performing in a bustling atmosphere. Really nice. I bet it’d be a treat at Christmas. It’s just opposite the Niederegger marzipan shop, too.

lubeck tourist guide

10. Look round the European Hansemuseum

As I mentioned in the intro to this post, Lübeck was at the helm of the Hanseatic League. The European Hansemuseum is a fairly new museum (opened 2015) dedicated to all things Hanseatic. It features exhibits on various maritime things like piracy, plague, trade boycotting, power struggles, and the movers and shakers involved. I won’t lie to you, although it’s interactive, it involves a lot of reading to get the most out of it. If you’ve got decent weather, you probably won’t want to spend ages lingering over every feature in the museum and might have to speed up your visit. It’s a great rainy day activity though, where you could easily spend an hour or two. 

The European Hansemuseum costs 13€ to get in. Check the official website for opening times.

11. Eat delicious seafood at Fangfrisch 

I’d researched ahead of our trip to Lübeck where we could eat. As we don’t eat meat/cheese, researching ahead in Germany is vital to avoid an avalanche of pork knuckle.

I’d narrowed down the options to Fangfrisch , a little seafood restaurant on An der Obertrave. I reserved a table, which is always wise in Germany because they do love booking and being organised, and I was so glad I did. This was one of the best places I’ve eaten on my many (many!) visits to Germany overall. We still talk about it now, a few years later.

Fangfrisch is beautiful inside, with metro tiles, rustic wooden tables, exposed brick and pendant lighting. But despite how Instagrammable it is, it’s 100% not style over substance. The food was all brilliant. We had crispy scampi and chips and some of the nicest salmon I’ve ever had. 

I really enjoyed the food in Hamburg too (where we were based for the week). But this was one of the stand-out meals of this trip.

Side note: I apologise for the crappy photographs that don’t do this lovely restaurant or its food justice. My camera was unhappy with the cosy lighting! And I was too hangry to fiddle with its settings before eating.

lubeck tourist guide

12. Learn about Lübeck’s famous author, Günter Grass, at his house

I must admit I didn’t have any idea who Günter Grass was before going to Lübeck. Well, I’d heard of his novel The Tin Drum . But that was about all. However, as a former English Lit student and an avid reader (and the fact it was freezing cold), I felt like it would be a good use of an hour to go into Grass’s museum and learn a bit more about him (and warm up for a bit). Turns out it was actually really interesting. Grass was one of the most important political writers of his day, and won the Nobel Prize for literature in the 90s.

Like any author-based museum, there are plenty of manuscripts and the typewriter on which he wrote. But Grass was also an artist and sculptor. So the museum also houses his lesser-known artworks, including some paintings and sculptures. There were also exhibits from other authors and artists, which made it a bit more varied. You can browse a small gift shop on site and buy a copy of one of Grass’s works if you’re inspired. I left having added The Tin Drum to my ever-growing reading list. 

The Günter Grass Haus museum was 7€ to get in. Check opening times on the official website.

13. Try some craft beers at Brauberger 

Brauberger zu Lübeck  was the only place I could find in my pre-visit research that did craft beer – the hoppy IPA-type stuff – so we hunted it out for an early evening drink.

It’s unusual to find somewhere brewing its own craft-style beer in Germany, rather than the more traditional beers. Germany has something called the Reinheitsgebot, a set of regulations limiting the ingredients allowed in brewing, which was enshrined in law until the 90s and is still followed by a lot of beer producers. This means they do extremely high-quality traditional beers but don’t do quite as many of the hoppy American ones as some countries.

So it’s interesting when you find somewhere making them and doing it so well, like Brauberger. Definitely worth going to sample its excellent craft beer if you’re in Lübeck and want something different from generic mass-produced stuff. 

14. See the unusual half-tower house

I love an unusual building and this is one of the strangest, but prettiest, I’ve spotted on my travels. It’s a leaning half-timbered house (dating back to 1672) which is built into a bit of semi-derelict Medieval wall that features half a tower. There’s a lot going on here! The original architect built it like this, rather than it being a modern thing, which makes it even more appealing in my view. Despite it being a mad bit of design, it works.

You can find it on the street An der Mauer, which translates as ‘On the wall’, naturally. Here’s a Google maps link for you to get to it. The Medieval wall once stretched along this whole street, so you can imagine how impressive it once was.

Things to do in Lübeck, Germany | PACK THE SUITCASES

15. Find out all about puppets 

I always enjoy an unusual museum and Lübeck’s Theaterfigurenmuseum (puppet museum) is something I’ve never seen anything like before. Set in a beautiful Medieval brick building, it’s home to a collection of puppets and props from all around Europe and the world. For a small museum, it packs a punch.

Fritz Fey, a puppeteer, put the collection together originally. He’s managed to find all sorts. There are also stages and posters that relate to the puppet theme. There’s a lot of genuinely interesting information on traditions of puppetry from around the globe, such as Indian legends and Chinese tales.

Please note that at the time of writing, the puppet museum is closed for renovation. Visit the official website to check whether it’s reopened yet. And let me know in the comments if you spot that it has so that I can delete this line!

16. Take in the city views from St Petri Church’s tower

St Petri is no longer a working church, instead serving the city as an exhibition space. If you’re in Lübeck at Christmas, it hosts a little arts and crafts market, which sounds good. The church’s interior is simply an empty space with white walls, which gives it a very contemporary feel and means that the regular art exhibitions it now hosts are showed off beautifully.

Like much of Lübeck, it was badly damaged in WW2, which is why it’s nothing like how it used to be. However, the tower has been rebuilt so that visitors can go up it (there’s a lift so no climbing!) and enjoy panoramic views of the city from a 50-metre-high viewing platform. It costs 4€ each. Well worth it. The view is spectacular, particularly in good weather when apparently you can see as far as the Baltic Sea. It wasn’t quite clear enough when I was there, but beautiful nonetheless. The birds-eye view gives you a really good feel for how the old town of Lübeck is laid out. I’d recommend visiting as the sun is starting to go down, for some perfect photographs with a golden glow.

lubeck tourist guide

Things to do in Lübeck, Germany – useful information for your trip

Where to stay in lübeck.

I only did one day in the town as a day trip from Hamburg (which is also deffo worth a visit) but you could stay overnight to do a bit more around Lübeck and to see it first thing in the morning. You might even get a beautiful courtyard to yourself for a bit. I’ve done a bit of research into where I’d recommend staying. Prices are all accurate at the time of writing but do double-check before you book. Here are three options that I like the look of:

  • Treat yo’self: If you’re splashing out, I’d go for Fisher’s Loft Hotel . At around 165€ a night, this is a real splurge by my book. But it’s stunning. I love the industrial-style decor. You’re right in the middle of the old town so the location couldn’t be better.
  • Mid-range: If you’re like me and somewhere in the middle when it comes to spending/saving on accommodation, you’ll like Atlantic Hotel . It’s around 138€ a night, so a little more than I’d normally spend, but look how nice it is. Really good-sized rooms and a great location. 
  • Budget: If you’re not keen to spend loads of money on accommodation, I would go for B&B Hotel Lübeck . It’s a bargainous 65€ a night for a functional and modern room, and it’s handy for the station. 

How to get around Lübeck

It’s entirely walkable. Sometimes with walkable cities, it’s still worth looking into buses to save a bit of time, but with Lübeck you’re fine on foot.

When to go to Lübeck

I went in late October/early November. It was unseasonably cold, even for that time of year, but I’d still recommend it for an autumn or winter city break. There’s plenty of indoor stuff to do and cosy places to eat/drink.

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I love this post! This is now on my to go to places 😍

What a great guide! That devil outside the church is the happiest depiction I’ve seen! 😉

How gorgeous is this place! Love your description of the devil story and the trendy wine bar ahahaha xx

Wow, I’ve never even heard of Lubeck before but it looks so pretty! Holstentor looks spectacular! What a lovely place to explore and admire the incredible architecture! Thanks for the great guide!

I’ve never heard of Lubeck before. It looks so magical! Definitely putting this on my list.

What a fun post! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Lubeck before. The old town looks so charming, and it would be so cool to see the half tower house in person!

What a pretty place. Would love to explore. Great post!

I love how medieval this city still looks – definitely adding it to my list of places to visit in Germany!

This looks amazing, what a great little place. I love small cities like this and exploring the historical looking areas like the old Town. The Holstentor is beautiful. And I definitely would want some Paulaner as it is my favorite beer

I love charming German cities like this. So beautiful! 🙂

I’ve been to Germany several times and never heard of this place! Adding it to the list to visit, post-pandemic.

Thankfully the town avoided serious damage during WWII so all those wonderful buildings survived.

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Lubeck Tourist Information and Tourism

(lubeck, schleswig-holstein, germany), lubeck tourist information and tourism: top sights, more lubeck information / fast facts and orientation.

  • Country: Germany (North Germany)
  • Location: Schleswig-Holstein
  • Status: city (state's second-biggest city)
  • Area: approximately 6,085 square miles / 15,760 square kilometres
  • Population: approximately 220,000
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Time zone: GMT + 1 hour
  • Electricity: 220 Volts AC, 50 Hz - flat two-pin plugs or third round pin are used, adaptors may be necessary in Germany
  • Country dialling code: +49
  • Telephone area code: 0451
  • Religion: numerous Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Protestant churches
  • Average daily Lubeck January temperature: 1°C / 34°F
  • Average daily Lubeck July temperature: 21°C / 70°F

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The classical city tour

Public guided tour through the old town.

On this tour, you are guaranteed to see the most important sights in Lübeck’s Old Town.

The tour kicks off in the Tourist Information Office right next to Lübeck’s emblem, the Holsten Gate, from where the tour first takes you to the neighbouring salt warehouses. From there you cross the Trave and arrive at the heart of the Old Town which offers you a warm welcome with its magnificent, brick Gothic silhouette. Lübeck’s Old Town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. Back then, this was the first time in northern Europe that an entire Old Town had been included in the list of World Heritage sites chosen by UNESCO. The jewels of the Old Town include Lübeck’s magnificent Gothic churches which to this day crown Lübeck as the “city of the 7 spires”. St. Mary’s represents an architectural highlight in the development of Gothic church architecture not only in Lübeck but also in the entire Baltic region. The picturesque residential passages and sponsored courtyards, the medieval, social institutions such as the Hospital of the Holy Spirit or the Seafarer's Guild put their special mark on the look and feel of the city. To round off this two-hour tour of the city, you will visit the historical Town Hall with its magnificent audience chamber. Even those who already know Lübeck will learn much they didn’t know on this excursion into the past and present of this proud “Queen of the Hanseatic League”.

Our recommendation: Take some time before the tour, order a fresh café in our Schneckenhaus at the Holsten Gate and get in the mood for the coming tour of the city with a view of the Holsten Gate.

Guided tours in English

Meeting point:   Tourist-Information Duration:  approx. 2 hours Price:  € 15

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Things to Do in Lubeck

Along the ancient streets of Lübeck’s Altstadt you’ll find more buildings from the 13th to the 15th centuries than in any other city in northern Germany—more than just about anywhere else in Germany or in Europe, for that matter, since it’s said that within an area of 5 sq. km (2 sq. miles) around the Marktplatz stand 1,000 medieval houses. The overall effect of all these high-gabled houses, massive gates, strong towers, and towering steeples is outrageously picturesque, providing a dip into the past when Lübeck was one of the founding cities of the mighty Hanseatic League, a confederation that controlled trade along the Baltic as far as Russia.

The Hanseatic merchants decorated their churches with art treasures and gilded their spires to show off their wealth. Much of this remains, earning the city a place on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list of international monuments. You’ll want to work a day trip to Lübeck into your Hamburg itinerary, but the city is so captivatingly picturesque, with quite a bit to see and do, that you might want to spend the night.

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Lubeck Travel Guide

In the farthest reaches of northern Germany lies the small UNESCO World Heritage town of Lubeck. Situated right on the Baltic Sea, Lubeck has been the capital of the Hanseatic League of traders since the 13th century. Today, it is still an important center of commerce and a good base for exploring Scandinavia, just across the water.

Lubeck’s skyline is most notable for the seven splendid church steeples which give the town its unique and inspiring atmosphere. The wealth of the ancient Hanseatic merchants is evident in the opulent churches and high-gabled houses that characterize the town. Although this is a legacy of its past, the massive gates and high towers of these mansions still define its character.

Although heavily bombed during WWII, Lubeck’s Altstadt (Old Town) is remarkably preserved. Interlaced with canals, and surrounded by the Trave River, the Altstadt feels like an island and is perfect for exploring on foot. Chances are you’ll spend all your time in the Old Town, as this is where the best sights, eating, drinking and shopping can be found. But the harbor area is another great part of town where you can watch the endless stream of trading ships and ferries coming and going.

Holstentor (Holsten Gate): this original town entrance contains a wealth of architectural details, as well as the Museum Holstentor, which shows Lubeck in miniature as it looked in the 15th century.

Lubeck Harbor: a key component of Lubeck, this is the place to catch an excursion boat where you can get some amazing views of the skyline from your watery perspective.

Petersgrube: considered the finest street in Lubeck, it is completely lined with beautifully restored medieval houses, and part of the larger surrounding Marktplatz, where some 1,000 medieval buildings still stand.

Rathaus (Town Hall): with origins traced back to 1230, this remarkable building is one of the architectural highlights of Lubeck and it’s worth taking one of the daily tours to learn about its history.

Salt Lofts: during the 16th century, these six distinctly different Renaissance-gabled buildings stored the salt before it was shipped to Scandinavia; they offer one of the most picturesque views in Lubeck when viewed from the riverside.

St Mary’s Church: Lubeck’s most spectacular church is built on the highest point in the Altstadt and boasts stunning flying buttresses and massive towering windows that are considered among the finest in northern Germany.

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Ideal duration: 1-2 days

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"Hanseatic Beauty and Gothic Architecture"

Lubeck tourism.

Lubeck, located in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, is a captivating city that draws in visitors from all over the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, Lubeck's medieval city center is filled with beautiful old buildings along the narrow alleys and picturesque canals which make it a great destination for exploring.

The main reason to visit Lubeck is its magnificent architecture, which is best seen around the Holsten Gate, the city's iconic landmark. Other highlights include the St. Mary's Church, the Marienkirche, the Holsten Gate, and the Town Hall. There are also numerous museums including the Buddenbrooks House - the former home of Thomas Mann - and the Lubeck Museum. A visit to Lubeck wouldn't be complete without a shopping trip. The city is renowned for its specialty shops, selling everything from handcrafted wooden carvings to locally made chocolates. There are also many excellent restaurants and cafes offering traditional German cuisine. When it comes to activities, there are plenty of things to do in Lubeck. Visitors can take boat tours along the city's canals, or take a stroll around the old town and explore its narrow streets. In summer, the city hosts numerous festivals and events, such as the annual Lubeck Music Festival. When visiting Lubeck, it is important to remember that most shops and attractions close early in the evening, so plan accordingly. The city is also incredibly bike-friendly, so it's worth renting a bike to explore the city.

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