Lübeck is a historic Hanseatic city located on the Baltic coast in the northeastern corner of Germany.
Mostly famous for its marzipan production, Christmas market, and historic churches, Lübeck is the perfect weekend getaway for families and couples. And just outside Lübeck, tourists should visit the beach town of Travemünde with its white sandy beaches, a very popular excursion point during summer.
Fun fact: Marzipan production in Lübeck has some of the toughest requirements in the world, and Lübeck Fine Marzipan cannot contain more than 10% sugar.
With almost one thousand years of history, Lübeck has experienced periods of greatness and wars during the different time periods. Today, the old-town district is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you should visit some of the 500-year-old monuments in the area, or simply grab a coffee at the market square.
In this article, we’ve listed the 12 best things to do in Lübeck according to tourists and reviews.
12. Literaturmuseum Buddenbrookhaus
The Buddenbrookhaus has been a memorial site and museum since 1993. It is the former home of Thomas Mann’s family and served as their headquarters.
The museum is dedicated to showcasing the life and work of the writer brothers, Thomas and Heinrich Mann. The lower floor is committed to giving an extensive biography of Thomas Mann, while the other floors provide various documentation and exhibitions. There is also a shop which sells all books written by the Mann family.
The home is filled with all kinds of luxurious decorations and embellishments. Taking a look around can give you a taste of the dazzling splendor and overbearing pomp which surrounded the house back in its prime.
Visit website: www.buddenbrookhaus.de
11. Lübecker Christmas Market
The Christmas Market of Lübeck is held every year from mid-November to December end. It is an ancient tradition that started in 1648. The market is located on the Baroque old market square.
During this time, the area is decorated with lights and Christmas trees, creating an alluring Christmas charm. The whole sight The market square is decked with booths selling hot food and baked goods. Try the famous hot wine, or Feuerzangenbowle, to keep yourself warm!
Another interesting feature is the ‘Kaak,’ a historical pillar located in the market square. This pillar serves as a meeting spot for friends and family and is a favorite amongst the crowd.
10. Günter Grass House
The Günter Grass House stands as a memorial site for the Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass. It displays rare and unique sculptures and manuscripts made by the late artist and writer.
Günter Grass himself stayed in this historical building until his death in 2015. Today, the house is said to be a conclave of literature and fine arts and is, in itself, a unique piece of architecture.
Walking around the house and taking in all the artwork and writings gives us a profound look into the philosophies, emotions, and beliefs of this captivating artist.
A must-visit if you are a fan of the iconic writer.
Visit website: grass-house.com
9. Lübeck Cathedral
The Lübeck cathedral started its construction in 1173. Built by Henry the Lion, the structure was completed in 1230. Interestingly, there is a famous legend surrounding the events of the cathedral’s creation.
It is said that the young duke, Henry the Lion, did not have the funds for this grand undertaking. Until one day, while he was hunting in the woods, he came upon a huge deer with a diamond crucifix on its antlers. Seeing it as a sign from God, he shot the deer and took the crucifix, using it to commission the cathedral’s construction.
After several renovations, one can visit the cathedral today and check out some remarkable Gothic-style architecture.
8. Maritimes Denkmal Passat
Ahoy Lads! All hands on deck!
If you happen to be a sailing enthusiast, then this next stop is perfect for you.
The Maritimes Denkmal Passat is an infamous museum ship docked at the Trave river. This four-mast flying P liner is a favorite amongst the crowd. The ship was originally launched in 1911 and saved from the wreckage in 1956. It now serves as a museum with many fantastic stories to offer.
Inside, visitors can watch videos depicting life in the ship during its prime. There are various exhibitions that display all aspects of the transatlantic trade. If you are visiting Travemünde, then we highly suggest visiting this place.
7. Lübeck Town Hall
Located at the very heart of Lübeck, this beautiful town hall started as a 13th-century cloth hall. It was destroyed in the second world war and reconstructed in 1951. In contrast to the surrounding red brick buildings, Lübeck Town Hall was instead crafted in dark bricks.
Visitors here soon learn that the true beauty of this magnificent structure is on the inside. The hall’s interiors are decked with opulent staircases, which says a lot about the abundant prosperity of this Hanseatic city. The medieval walls of the town hall are lined with fascinating murals. Each of these paintings functions as a symbolic representation of what an ideal government ought to be.
6. St. Petri church
The St. Petri church, also known as Petrikirche, was erected between 1227 and 1250. It is easily amongst the most notable brick churches in the center. The Romanesque building does not function as a church anymore but instead holds events and exhibitions. The inside of the church glows with a distinctive white shine. The 50-meter-high tower, from where you can view all of the old town, is an exciting experience.
It is said that on a good day, one can even get a view of the Baltic sea.
During the Christmas season, you can find a beautiful craft market taking place, an ideal vacation spot for families.
Visit website: www.st-petri-luebeck.de
If you love beaches, then this place is a must-visit.
Travemünde became a town in 1317 and was passed into the possession of the free city of Lübeck in 1329. It has been a seaside resort since 1802 and is Germany’s largest port to the Baltic Sea.
Take off your shoes and enjoy a walk around the fantastic German beach. Feel the sand on your feet, caress the wind and smell the fragrance of the ports. If you’re hungry, grab a fish sandwich from one of the many snack shacks.
Here, you can find the oldest lighthouse on the German Baltic coast. Another main attraction is the Flying P-Liber Passat, which has been converted into a museum.
4. Lübeck Altstadt (Lubeck Oldtown)
Lübeck Altstadt is a World Heritage Site and home to marvels such as the Holstentor and Mariekirke.
You might be surprised to see the streets lined with 16th-century houses, all beautifully maintained through the ages. That’s because Lübeck Altstadt is considered the medieval old town of Lübeck.
It is an interesting place to visit and offers many picturesque sights. The Trave river surrounds the town. The area is ideal for walks or bike rides as everything is close by.
So take a look around, immerse yourself in the vibrant medieval setting. Being here feels like you’re back a hundred years ago.
3. European Hansemuseum
This unique museum dedicated to the Hanseatic League is the largest of its kind. Located in the northern part of Lübeck’s old town, the museum boasts a distance of 7,405 square meters. The Hansemuseum is mainly devoted to showcasing the history and growth of trade and commerce in the region.
Inside, visitors can find staged presentations and interactive displays on personalized screens. These displays share insight into the lifestyle and workings of the Hanse merchants. One can get an informative look at the various trade relations built by the Hanseatic League. It also features rare items such as silver and gold belonging to The Lübeck Hoard. These treasures were buried underground since the 16th century and were only uncovered recently.
Official website: www.hansemuseum.eu
The Marienkirche, or St. Mary’s church, is the third-largest church in all of Germany. It was constructed between 1250 and 1350 in north German Brick Gothic style. It is said that this architectural style was followed by 70 other churches across the Baltic region. Talk about a trendsetter!
It is located in the merchant’s quarter close to the market and town hall.
Sadly, the church was destroyed during an air raid in the second world war and had to be reconstructed. During the attack, one of the bells from the tower was damaged and fell to the ground. The bell was preserved and left on the floor as a reminder of the horrors of war. Glancing at those bells today is a profound and sentimental experience.
The Marienkirche continues to stand today as a symbol of strength and endurance.
Braced gates, raised walls, and good canons to defend them, the Holstentor has stood tall against invaders for 600 years. It was built in 1642 using Brick Gothic architecture and has since become a beacon for the city. The gate has played a significant role in protecting the town of Altstadt. Its two round towers armed with medieval fortifications must have been an intimidating sight for invaders. But lucky for us, that’s all in the past! Today, one can take a quick tour of this symbolic structure for just 7 euros. You can find this symbolic gateway inside the Lübeck city wall complex. Peep into its museum and check out some cool medieval weapons, armors, and even torture devices!
If you’re a fan of medieval history, you might find this place worth the visit.