Wismar, Hamburg & the Baltic Sea coast, May 2-11, 2023
Those who have traveled with us know that we always choose the path less traveled to bring our fellow travelers to places in Germany and Austria not many other tourists will ever get to see and experience. 2023 will be no exception as we head to the northernmost state in Germany, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
We will base ourselves in a 4-star hotel in Wismar and undertake day tours to explore the region by bus, by train and by boat; to museums, castles, medieval cities, and by sampling the local foods and listening to experienced guides along the way.
Why go to a place with such an unpronounceable name? Easy! It’s as central as it gets when it comes to exploring the historic Hanseatic League and marvel at the architecture of the “Brick Gothic“.
Wismar is a typical representative of the Hanseatic League with its city-wide Brick Gothic structures and iconic gabled patrician houses and has alongside the historical old town of Stralsund been declared the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historic Centres of Stralsund and Wismar”.
For this part of the tour we will stay six days and seven nights, giving us time to see and learn as much as possible about subjects from 14th century boats to pan European trading routes to Marzipan to Belle Époque whitewashed summer villas on the beach.
To round it off the tour will conclude by returning to Hamburg for two days and two nights to continue to follow the trail of the Hanseatic League and enjoy the flair of a bustling and vibrant world-famous port city.
Day 1 – Tuesday, May 2
Arrival at Int’l Airport Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel and meeting of the group. Then departure by bus to Wismar where we will arrive after approx. 1.5 hour drive. There will be time to relax in our rooms before we get to enjoy our first dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 – Wednesday, May 3
After breakfast we start out easy by meeting with a local guide and getting our first guided walking tour of the city of Wismar. After an informal lunch in town we are ready to delve into the town’s colorful history by visiting the Museum of the history of Wismar, the ‘Schabbel‘. There will be time in between to acclimate and get a sense of the place.
Day 3 – Thursday, May 4
We are getting serious today about sight-seeing and will head out early by bus to the fellow UNESCO World Heritage site, Stralsund. Stralsund has much to offer and we will enjoy a stroll through the old town before boarding a midday harbor cruise and get our first taste of the Baltic Sea. After a snack along the way (there is always plenty of street food available) we then wend our way to the Ozeaneum, one of Europe’s leading museums offering stunning visual displays and aquariums, with a wide range of exhibitions on sea life, environmental impact on this fragile maritime ecosystem and the famous ‘Giants of the Sea’, whales!
Day 4 – Friday, May 5
Anyone with a sweet tooth, climb aboard. We are off today to everything Marzipan. Where? Lübeck, of course, Germany’s secret capital when it comes to this almond confection. After setting out early we will have time to explore the medieval alleyways of the old town and see the iconic Holstentor before coming to the Niederegger Café and Museum. After a lunch there including their famous Hazelnut-Marzipan Torte we will be given a tour of their museum to learn about the origin and history of Marzipan, and how it found its way from the Middle East to the Baltic Sea coast.
After so much sweet indulgence we need to balance it with some piety and set out to visit the Hospital of the Holy Spirit. Completed in 1286 it represents a type of medieval welfare and is one of the oldest social institutions still in existence in the world.
Day 5 – Saturday, May 6
Saturday is “Market Day” in Wismar and we would miss out on an important piece of local tradition if we didn’t visit this historic institution. There is always fun to be had and yummy treats to discover when we mingle with the locals and shop where they shop. Maybe even start thinking about those souvenirs?
Afterwards, we have a surprise activity planned for our travelers which will not be revealed until the last moment. (Hint: it will include lunch, but that’s as much as we’re willing to say!)
In the afternoon we stay with the local theme and visit the last remaining brewery in Wismar to learn about German beer brewing traditions, the importance of beer as a beverage in medieval times, and to sample some of it, too! Not sure what else we can do after that, and so we head back to the hotel to get ready for Dinner.
Day 6 – Sunday, May 7
Now, what would a trip to Germany be without a fairy castle? And so, after all the merchants and traders and seafaring, it is time for some enchantment. On our last day in Wismar we will drive half an hour south to the state capital, Schwerin, to visit a true fairy-style castle glowing against a dramatic background of Lake Schwerin. We will meet our tour guide to take it all in and learn about its history as the seat of ducal power of the Grand duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Lunch will be taken in style in the Orangery before we stroll through the phenomenal gardens and Castle Park. Only a short distance away is the old town of Schwerin itself and its cozy small streets and squares invite us to wander and enjoy before heading back to Wismar.
Day 7 – Monday, May 8
Today is what we call the “Beach Day”. We will be bussed to the nearby town of Bad Doberan, home and site of the first abbey in Mecklenburg, founded in 1171, which we will visit. Bad Doberan is also the home base of the narrow gauge steam train ‘Molli’ which runs between Doberan, Heiligendamm and Kühlungsborn, ferrying holidaymakers and locals alike up and down the coast since 1886. This is our mode of transportation for today, and we will make some stops to enjoy sandy beaches, admire the famous white villas on the Promenades and who knows, maybe even have some ice cream?
The bus will then take us back to Wismar where we will savor our last Dinner at the hotel.
Day 8 – Tuesday, May 9
The bus is going to pick us up early to start our way back west to Hamburg. We will check into our hotel and then head into town. After some lunch, and believe me, eateries are plentiful in Hamburg, we are getting on one last bus, the Hop-on-Hop-off bus to get a comfortable and informative ride around town. Since no fixed dinner and no bus is waiting for us we can linger and enjoy big city flair, go (window?) shopping, visit the St. Michael’s church and marvel at the spectacular Townhall for as long as we care to. The trusted public transport will bring us back to the hotel whenever we are ready. For dinner this night, we will be spoiled for choice in Hamburg city.
Day 9 – Wednesday, May 10
On our second day in Hamburg we are heading to the world-famous “Elbphilharmonie“, a concert venue like none other. We are going up to the Plaza, a Visitors deck 37 meters up and enjoy an unparalleled view of the harbor below and the city spread out beyond it. Coming down again we find ourselves on the edge of the “Speicherstadt“, the Warehouse District, since 2015 Germany’s 40th UNESCO World Heritage Site. To get a good idea what made Hamburg such a wealthy city we will seek out the Museum of Spices, located on the 3rd floor of an original warehouse, complete with its massive wood beams and creaky floors. If our energy holds we can afterwards go a couple doors further and visit the ‘Museum of the Speicherstadt’ that elaborates on the warehousing traditions, history and customs of the Hamburg Port.
Back in the hotel we will have a chance to pre-check in for our flights tomorrow and get ready for our very last dinner together which will be at a local restaurant.
Day 10 – Thursday, May 11
After breakfast the airport shuttle will bring our group to the departure lounge of the airport, and we get to say good-bye as we check in for our respective flights home.
This exceptional tour includes 9 nights, all breakfasts and dinners in Wismar and all breakfasts in Hamburg. Also included are airport transfers, local transportation and all entrance fees.
The price is $2,945 per person. There is no single room surcharge.
Airfare, luncheons, dinners in Hamburg, all beverages (except for beer tasting tour), and bus driver gratuity not included in the price.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802.635.7408 for more information.
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