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The flat, uninterrupted landscape of northern Germany is home to some unique places. One of these is the city of Greifswald. Greifswald is a quirky, compact city that lies close to the Baltic Sea. It’s a beautiful place, with a vibrant history and a unique charm that’s popular with tourists from all over the country. This friendly city is one of Germany’s best kept secrets and the ideal place for a weekend getaway.
Greifswald is equal distance from both Berlin and Hamburg. There are direct train connections to these two major cities, but ticket prices can be expensive. It’s best to book your tickets in advance, so you can enjoy the cheaper prices.
One of Germany’s most celebrated artists was born and grew up in Greifswald. Romantic landscape artist, Caspar David Friedrich, was born in the city’s old soap house. The building still stands today and houses the Caspar David Friedrich Centre. The Centre has a selection of exhibitions that celebrate the artist’s life and works. It also hosts temporary exhibitions which display the works of contemporary artists. Artists who exhibit their work at the Centre usually have links to German Romanticism.
If you want to see the places that inspired Friedrich’s works, then there’s the Caspar David Friedrich walking tour. This moderate to long walk takes you to different areas of the city that inspired his works. You visit 15 spots that feature in Friedrich’s paintings and have remained almost unchanged. This walk is self-guided, but well sign-posted with interesting facts at each stop. You’ll cover a lot of ground, so comfortable shoes are a must.
Greifswald’s St. Nikolai Cathedral dominates the skyline as you approach the city. It’s located next to the main square and parts of the building have been dated back to the late 13th century. You can climb the cathedral’s unique, onion-shaped tower and enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the city from the top.
St. Mary’s Church (“Marienkirche”) is another staple in the city’s skyline. The “Fat Mary” (“Dicke Marie” in German) was founded around the same time as the cathedral and is one of Europe’s oldest churches. Both churches are open to the public to explore and host various events and activities throughout the year.
The fishing village of Wieck lies just down the river from Greifswald and sits at the mouth of the Ryck. This cosy village is home to an impressive, historic wooden drawbridge. The bridge connects the two parts of the village, so you can explore the charming thatched houses that sit along the river. Wieck is a great place to have a coffee and enjoy the expansive views of the Bay of Greifswald.
Eldena Abbey, or Kloster Eldena, is located right next to Wieck and well worth a visit. The Abbey was founded as a Cistercian monastery in 1199. Today, the ruins of the Abbey still stand and are open to the public to explore for free. The ruins are powerful, yet peaceful. Their size and grandeur hint at the Abbey’s vibrant and noble history. During the summer months, there are a series of open-air jazz concerts. These concerts are the perfect way to wind down in the evening and enjoy nature in the city.
There are a few ways to get to Wieck from Greifswald. Starting from the Historic Harbour in Greifswald, you can walk 5km along the River Ryck. This walk is pretty, but long, so best done during the summer when the weather is nice. If you want to enjoy the river but skip the walk, there’s a cruise boat that goes to Wieck. River cruises leave Greifswald’s harbour three times a day and drops you off in the centre of Wieck. There’s also a bus service that runs between Greifswald and Wieck throughout the year. This service leaves from the city’s main bus station.
This is Greifswald’s main museum with exhibitions that take you on an adventure through the area’s rich history. Get to know the colourful and varied history of the city and region through the eyes of contemporary witnesses. The Pomeranian State Museum is a fantastic way to get to know more about this charming area of Germany. Entry is 6.50€ for adults and 4.50€ for concessions with free audio guides. Audio guides are available in German, English, Polish and Swedish. They complement the museum’s thoughtfully curated exhibitions.
Greifswald’s historic harbour is a hive of activity during the summer months. It’s popular with visitors and locals alike thanks to its stunning views of the city and food and drink offerings. There are a couple of delicious Fischbrötchen boats which serve you fresh fish rolls. These delicious carry out snacks consist of local fish, a bread roll, and appetising condiments. The Fischbrötchen are prepared in front of you and best washed down with a beer or cocktail from one of the gazebos in the harbour.
Wind down in the evenings with a tasty Fischbrötchen and a refreshing cocktail as you watch the sun set over the city.
The Störtebeker Brewery and Guest House is located in the city’s main square. It offers a wide range of locally brewed beers and a small, delicious range of meals. Its meals are very much seasonal, so what’s on offer will vary at different times of the year. The brewery has a wide range of beers, but if you’re having trouble choosing just one then there’s the beer tasting platter. You can try 6 of Störtebeker’s speciality beers for 7.50€.
The brewery’s versatile atmosphere is great all year round – warm and cosy during the winter, vibrant and lively during the summer. It’s a superb place to enjoy a refreshing local beer whilst exploring the city.
The Hanseatic city of Greifswald has plenty of activities for your weekend break. There’s so much to discover in this remarkable city, from museums and art galleries to the historic harbour and churches. Enjoy a weekend away in Greifswald and make sure you don’t miss out on visiting one of Germany’s hidden jewels.
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