Explore the cultural, historical, and culinary blessings that make a North Germany road trip an all-time winner for travellers everywhere. A region that really boasts the perfect recipe - and one that reveals there’s far more to Germany than Berlin’s techno beats and bratwurst.
Begin in Hamburg: bustling, business-savvy, and brilliantly entertaining. Head on to Bremen, a place where fairy tales begin — and the German Fairy Tale Road ends.
Next up, more princess-worthy wonders at Schwerin, with its palace that completely upstages the creations of Disney’s. And then bring down the pace with the easy-going and oh-so-easy-to-enjoy beach resort of Warnemünde. Not a bad way to spend a few days on the road.
Success is no stranger to Hamburg. Throughout history the city has done well for itself through international trade and today has more millionaires than any other German city.
But don’t panic if your bank balance isn’t quite so impressive. You can still have a great time in this vibrant port city, the first stop on your North Germany road trip, and which has something to for every traveller, no matter your mood or taste.
Begin with the Altstadt, the historical heart. Then move into modernity with a visit to the Elbphilharmonie, a futuristic building of glass and brick.
For a bit of old-school sleaze, wander through the Reeperbahn red-light district — Hamburg was a sailors hang-out, after all. Relax with a view of the Binnenalster, one of the city’s enormous lakes.
Get up early to check out the fresh fish at Altona Fischmarkt, which also, randomly, sells parrots and palm trees. And go on a tour of Holsten brewery — because this is Germany, isn’t it?
from Hamburg depot
One of the most important art museums in Germany.
Everything from gingerbread to woodcarvings.
The largest model train installation in the world.
French brasserie in an Art Deco setting.
Lebanese food, very popular, book ahead.
Alt Helgoländer Fischerstube
Modern take on traditional seafood dishes.
Landesbetrieb Verkehr, Hopfenmarkt
Central uncovered parking.
Wohnmobilstellplatz Elbepark Bunthaus
Peaceful campsite; bus to city.
Bremen is the final stop on the 600 km long German Fairy Tale Road — which should give you some idea of what you’re in for. The popular fairy tale of the Bremen Town Musicians by the Brothers Grimm is just one reason for this city’s magical, romantic feel.
While Hamburg calls itself the "gateway to the world”, Bremen likes to retort, "But we have the key." Head on to the next stop on your North Germany road trip itinerary to see what they’re on about.
Begin with the Marktplatz, bordered by a majestic Gothic cathedral and those quintessentially German gabled houses. And, of course, check out the bronze statue of the four Bremen Town Musicians — whose story is re-enacted each Sunday by performers.
Explore the narrow streets of Schnoorviertel, full of artists selling everything from porcelain dolls to pipes — consider getting all your Christmas shopping done in one go. Then trade the twee for the terrifying at Bremen cathedral with its eight 400-year-old mummies in glass coffins.
Former artist colony on the moors.
Historic city with a castle.
Interactive science exhibits, and a hit with kids.
Restaurant in wine cellar beneath town hall.
Serves over 100 varieties of Currywurst.
The Theatre Ship
Floating restaurant with views of the river.
Bürgerweide Theodor-Heuss-Allee 15
P+R 8 mins from centre by tram.
Riverside camping 25 mins from Bremen.
For more superbly German romance, look no further than the next stop on your North Germany road trip. Schwerin is home to a castle swiped straight from the pages of a fairytale.
On an island surrounded by lakes, the 15 turrets, onion shaped domes, and classically Hanseatic gables of Schwerin’s Schloss are charmingly over-the-top. When you’ve had enough of pretending to be a 14th century courtier, you’ll find the rest of Schwerin also seems designed to delight.
Begin in the Alter Garten, taking in the extravagant neo-Renaissance state theatre, and perhaps visiting the Kunstsammlungen art museum. Climb to the top of the Gothic cathedral for views of the old town and lake — don’t let the 219 steps defeat you.
Of course, you must also visit the palace — and its gardens, with the orangerie and ponds. Top tip: before going, head to Der Käseladen Mühlenberg, a delicatessen with everything you need for a picnic worthy of a king.
1 - 2
Galerie Alte & Neue Meister
Gallery with extensive Marcel Duchamp collection.
Mecklenburg State Theater
Catch a play, opera, or ballet.
Considered the Versailles of Mecklenburg.
Modern bistro with seasonal offerings.
Atmospheric pub with cheap specials.
Characterful old beer house with terrace.
Nahverkehr Schwerin GmbH, Altstadt
Central uncovered parking.
Lakeside camping 20 mins from Schwerin.
The final destination on your North Germany road trip itinerary is all about relaxing. The Blue Flag-winning white sands of Warnemünde beachside resort are the perfect complement to a trip full of high culture and history.
Brimming with Maritime charm, Warnemünde doesn’t demand much from its visitors. It just encourages you to take it easy, stroll the promenade, eat plenty of seafood, and while away the afternoon in a Strandkorb — a sheltered straw ‘beach basket’ seat.
Stroll the Alter Strom, the boat-lined main canal, with its adorable cottages. Check out the Rathus which looks straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. Climb the 135-step spiral staircase of the lighthouse for spectacular views.
Grab an ice cream and engage is some people watching on the beach — where you can have also have barbecues and campfires. And be sure to try fischbroetchen — Warnemünde’s famous fish sandwich, made with a range of fish, from halibut to herring.
More than 4,000 animals.
Former prison to learn about the Stasi.
House where painter Edvard Munch lived.
Traditional German seafood by the pier.
Restaurant Hopfen Keller
Steakhouse in former brewery basement.
Herberts Restaurant & Café
Patio overlooking Am Strom.
Cheap parking near the waterfront.
Ostseecamp Rostocker Heide
Woodland camping close to beach.