Biking journey via Germany: Lübeck, Hamburg and Lüneberg

In medieval instances, this a part of Europe noticed the rise of highly effective cities, ruling the
waves within the Baltic and North Seas. These days are lengthy gone, however the fairytale
homes, slender streets, cavernous church buildings and ornate city halls nonetheless
stay, misplaced in time. And because it’s so flat, it’s straightforward to discover by bicycle.

The Hanseatic League was a unfastened coupling of cities in North Western and Central Europe that got here collectively within the late center ages. Hanse was the Center Low German phrase for a convoy and the League offered safety for service provider commerce within the Baltic and the North Seas, in addition to on land. Over three centuries the cities grew to become wealthy however the rise of nations and states lastly put an finish to this association. The dying knell sounded when their retailers have been imprisoned and expelled from London in 1597.


Lubeck River

Lubeck River (c) Rupert Parker

The rebuilding of Lübeck in 1159 is mostly acknowledged as the beginning of the Hanseatic League and the port grew to become the centre of commerce within the North and Baltic seas. As of late there are nonetheless ships within the harbour and, though metropolis suffered a lot harm in the course of the battle, the buildings have been painstakingly restored and it retains a lot of its medieval attraction.

Dockside Lubeck

Dockside Lubeck (c) Rupert Parker

The brand new European Hansemuseum makes use of state-of-the-art know-how to take you thru the historical past of Hanseatic League. It’s intelligent – when you’ve registered, don your headset and also you’ll be guided in your individual language. There’s a complete part devoted to London and the distinguished position it performed in Hanseatic buying and selling – wool was exported from the north of England and items from the continent arrived in return.

Climb to the highest of St Peter’s church to get a unbelievable view over the tiled roofs stretching so far as the Baltic Sea on a transparent day. It’s value wandering the slender lanes the place staff have been allowed to construct doll’s home cottages within the grounds of a lot bigger homes. The 13th century city corridor is likely one of the oldest in Germany and the 2 remaining metropolis gates, the Holstentor and the Burgtor, have been imaginatively restored, though the partitions have been demolished within the 19th century.

Lubeck Town Hall

Lubeck City Corridor (c) Rupert Parker

Town is near the Baltic so I set out for the coast on a delegated biking path. To cross the River Trave, I put my bike on a free shuttle bus, to get via the Herren Tunnel. After that it’s an excellent trip cross nation to the port of Travemunde which has ferry connections to Sweden, Finland, Russia, Latvia and Estonia. I observe the path north on the cliffs, with tantalising glimpses of abandoned seashores and slender coves, earlier than arriving on the enticing resort of Niendorf.

Boats Niendorf

Boats Niendorf (c) Rupert Parker

There’s time for a wonderful fish lunch on the seafront at Mein Strandhaus earlier than biking again via the forest, stopping off at Karls Erlebnishof to pattern the primary strawberries of the season.


From Lübeck, I cycle south for 3 hours on a flat stretch of towpath to Hamburg. This was additionally a Hanseatic metropolis however the medieval city is lengthy gone, first destroyed by fires after which flattened throughout WW2. Many of the church spires survived, as they have been used as landmarks for allied bombers, the church buildings have been rebuilt and there’s been a lot reconstruction of different essential buildings. The Chilehaus, harking back to a ship’s bow, is a shining instance of 1920s Brick Expressionism and its ten tales have been certainly one of Germany’s first high-rise buildings.

READ ALSO: Hamburg, Germany – the Capital of Cool with a thriving cultural, artwork and nightlife scene

The previous port can be being revamped, as HafenCity, conserving the spectacular brick warehouses, themselves now a UNESCO World Heritage web site, and avoiding the errors of different dockland developments like Canary Wharf. They’re dedicated to offering reasonably priced social housing and the brand new Elbphilharmonie live performance corridor is designed to impress.

Hamburg Elbphilharmonie

Hamburg Elbphilharmonie (c) Rupert Parker

Biking across the metropolis is a pleasure, though typically you share the pavement with pedestrians, however the locals don’t appear to object. The well-known Reeperbahn is nothing to get enthusiastic about, stuffed with inebriated vacationers in pursuit of forbidden enjoyable. Close by, although, are attention-grabbing neighbourhoods with cafes, bars and eating places.

Hamburg Reeperbahn

Hamburg Reeperbahn (c) Rupert Parker

I’m pleasantly stunned by the Alster Lake which sits within the coronary heart of the town, surrounded by a inexperienced ring of bushes. I discover it first by biking across the banks, passing via subtle residential districts. Then I take a one hour cruise going so far as the Alster River. Hamburg’s different river is the Elbe, the town’s principal artery, residence to the docks and route for big cargo ships going to and from the North Sea.

Hamburg Alster Lake

Alster Lake (c) Rupert Parker

There’s a cycle route alongside its banks and my first cease is the Worldwide Maritimes Museum housed in a kind of UNESCO warehouses. Three thousand years of seafaring historical past are coated on 9 flooring with memorabilia, mannequin ships and work. Simply down river is the fish market, extra of a pit cease for night time revellers getting their breakfast of beer and herring to the pounding of canopy bands, though they do nonetheless promote fish right here.

Hamburg Fish market

Fish market (c) Rupert Parker

I proceed above the river on a superb path to the suburb of Blankenese. Ship house owners and retailers constructed their villas and mansions right here within the 18th and 19th centuries and it’s now certainly one of Hamburg’s most prosperous neighbourhoods. It tumbles down the banks in a sequence of winding streets lined with rows of historic homes and stylish cafes, excellent for afternoon tea. The place it meets the river is certainly one of Hamburg’s most lovely seashores.

READ ALSO: Journey Information to Hamburg, Germany’s second largest metropolis


It’s round three hours by bike to Lüneburg, barely south east, a metropolis actually constructed on salt. For 1,000 years, the valuable “white gold” was extracted from deposits under with severe penalties. The mining brought about main subsidence, distorting the streets, inflicting the buildings to lean and curve, and a few, in fact, have simply merely collapsed. The historical past of salt may be found on the German Salt Museum in manufacturing unit the place the stuff was processed.

Luckily, the town was spared WW2’s bombs so it’s the most effective preserved examples of a medieval Hanseatic metropolis, its gabled homes a treasure chest of structure. I climb to the highest of the early 20th century Water Tower and get a view throughout purple tiled rooftops, pierced by the marginally crooked spires of the three Gothic, church buildings. Under me is the Ilmenau River, the place salt was loaded for transportation, and within the distance is the Kalkberg the place the citadel as soon as stood.

Luneburg rooftops

Luneburg rooftops (c) Rupert Parker

I cycle alongside the Ilmenau towpath for 3 miles to the tiny village of Bardowick. It’s laborious to consider that this was as soon as probably the most affluent cities in North Germany till it was razed to the bottom in 1189 by Henry the Lion. Luneburg rose in its stead and the St. Nikolaihof was constructed to right here to accommodate the town’s lepers. It consists of a number of medieval homes and barns surrounding a brick chapel, courting again to 1435, and residential to the oldest organ in northern Germany.

Bardowick St Nicolai Church

Bardowick St Nicolai Church (c) Rupert Parker

Again in Lüneburg I get a tour of the city corridor, actually a rag tag meeting of buildings, began in 1230 and rising till 1720 when its white baroque facade was constructed. The inside is stuffed with surprises with a principal corridor lined with Gothic stained glass home windows and 16th century frescoes of the final judgement. Much more spectacular is the renaissance council chamber with intricate wooden carvings.

The oddest merchandise goes proper again to the founding of the town. Legend has it hunter shot a wild boar, bathing in a water. When he hung up the pores and skin to dry he found crystals of salt clinging to the pelt. There’s a bone in a glass case which supposedly comes from this well-known boar. It’s hardly shocking that, with all this salt round, the town supported many breweries. Even now it has the very best focus of pubs in Germany.

Luneburg Town Hall

Luneburg City Corridor (c) Rupert Parker

Rely on no less than every week to discover these three cities. You are able to do it sooner by placing your bike on the prepare however you’ll miss the tranquillity of the countryside. Though you’ll be able to go to in any order, higher to begin in Lübeck on the Hanseatic Museum to know the historic background.

Reality File


STAY: Vacation Inn Lübeck is a snug base close to the Burgtor.
EAT: Schiffergesellschaft serves conventional meals in a medieval setting. Ristorante Roberto Rossi is a surprisingly good Italian restaurant.
MORE INFO: Lübeck Tourism 


STAY: Lodge Innside by Melia is a brand new lodge in a central location.
EAT: Mutterland Cölln’s is Germany‘s oldest oyster bar and has wonderful fish.
At Strand Pauli you’ll be able to eat and drink watching the solar set over the Elbe.
MORE INFO: Hamburg Journey 


STAY: Lodge Bargenturm is close to the salt museum and makes a snug base.
Lodge Einzigartig is a trendy boutique lodge within the previous quarter with good meals.
EAT: Das Kleine is within the previous harbour, and serves recent native fare.
Mälzer Brau und Tafelhaus makes its personal beer and has conventional delicacies.
MORE INFO: Luneburg Tourism

Tip: Deutsche Bahn will transport you and your bike on the prepare between cities.

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