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PANEK on vacation – the German Baltic Sea, part 2 “Baltic metropolises”

During the summer, Baltic beaches are associated with the never-ending festival of screens, the smell of fried fish and waffles, and the crowd on the seaside promenades. It turns out that just beyond our western border, the Baltic Sea coast is changing its face dramatically, showing its virgin, practically wild character. If you want to relax on flour-soft sand away from the hustle and bustle, we invite you to a trip to northern Germany, of course by car from PANEK Rent a Car 

Sassnitz – maritime museum and lighthouse  The city is considered to be one of the most popular holiday resorts in Northern Germany. The main attraction is the almost 1.5 km long pier stretching along the breakwater, at the end of which there is a lighthouse built in 1903. Sassnitz is also a popular base for diving enthusiasts planning a trip to the wreckage of the Polish ferry Jan Heweliusz, which sank in 1993 as a result of an extremely strong storm, sank off the coast of Rügen. The town also has a zoo and several interesting museums, the most popular of which is the Museum of Underwater Archeology. 

Rostock – a medieval city on the shores of the Baltic Sea  It is the largest city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with over 200,000 inhabitants. It has always been associated with the sea and is still an important center of the shipbuilding industry. The most important monuments of the city are concentrated in its former center, at the mouth of the Warnow River. A cursory look at the old town should take no more than a few hours. If we want to see exactly what Rostock has to offer to tourists, it is worth spending the whole day in the city. Here you will find some of the better-preserved medieval fortifications, divided into “earth gates” and “beach gates.” The Kröpeliner Tor is open to the public and serves as a viewing point. It is worth visiting the Monastery of the Holy Cross, the former Cistercian abbey founded by the Danish queen Małgorzata Samborówna (now the Museum of the History of Culture operates here) and St. Mary’s Church, St. Peter and Paul, as well as visit the New Market Square and the Town Hall. 

Lübeck – towers and colorful yards  There are places that can be visited at a leisurely pace, places that discover their hidden gems by tourists. This is what Lübeck is like, which you get to know best at a walking pace. Virtually the entire old town can be walked around in a few hours. The Old Town is located on an island surrounded by the River Trave, and you should start your tour from the Holstein Gate. It is one of the symbols of the city and at the same time one of the most characteristic buildings in Lübeck. Once the Gate was one of the elements of the defensive walls, today it houses a museum devoted to the history of the city. On the right side, just outside the gate, the old granaries attract attention. They used to store salt, which was exported to Scandinavia.  An interesting attraction is the Town Hall, fragments of which date back to the 13th century, and the monumental St. Mary’s Church, which is the third largest religious building in Germany. The gothic and renaissance tenement houses that hide in the atmospheric streets of the old town are also impressive. You should also not miss the colorful and fairy-tale yards, which you can visit without violating the privacy of the residents. 

Kiel – the history of the sea in one city  The city, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, is hidden in a 17-kilometer fjord. It is a huge natural harbor and the seat of the Baltic Sea fleet of the German Navy. The city is also situated at the eastern lock of the busiest artificial waterway – the Kiel Canal, connecting the North Sea with the Baltic Sea. Kiel has been closely associated with the sea for centuries. This is confirmed by the world’s largest sailing event held every June, attracting millions of visitors and around 4,000 ships from all over the world. More than 100 historic ships dock on the city’s waterfront every day, and on land, among the bustle of taverns, you can hear live music.  On the west bank of the Kiel Fjord there is a seaside promenade starting in the north at the naval base. The route passes through rows of boats for rowers, sailors and canoeists, as well as the Heimholtz Ocean Research Center, which houses an outdoor seal aquarium. It is certainly unusual to see the ThyssenKrupp shipyard on the eastern shore, where you can admire the huge cruise liners entering the harbor. Another highlight of Kiel is the German submarine U-995, which can be visited as it has been converted into a technical museum. Also worth seeing are the 72-meter-high Monument to the Navy and the Maritime Museum. Due to the 106-meter tower, an integral part of Kiel’s panorama is its town hall, whose designers drew inspiration from St. Mark in Venice, and in the Church of St. Nicholas, you can admire a richly decorated wing altar carved in 1460, a triumphal cross from 1490 and a Hanseatic bronze baptismal font with a font from 1344.  Interesting and unusual exhibits are in the Zoological Museum of the University of Kiel. The building of this museum was designed in the second half of the 19th century by Martin Gropius. Interestingly, the museum’s collections are much older and have been gathered since the 17th century. The biggest attraction of the museum are the skeletons of 13 whale skeletons, and huge blue sperm whales and their … sperm are suspended from the ceiling. 

Flensburg – at the western end of the Baltic Sea 

Flensburg is a port city with a school and naval base. It is located on the Gulf of Flensburg, near the border with Denmark. Ties with this Scandinavian country are visible here at every step, because the principalities of Schleswig and Holstein were associated with Denmark from the Middle Ages and did not belong to Germany until 1864. To this day, there is a ship in the port, on board of which in the 15th century the ruler of Denmark, Sweden and Norway – Margaret I. The Danes are also the largest national minority in Flensburg. While exploring the city, be sure to plan a visit to the Red Street, which is named after the Red Gate that once stood there. Today it is a charming and intimate street with lots of more or less luxurious shops, atmospheric cafes in outbuildings and museums such as the Rum Museum and shops with various artifacts.  One of the most interesting monuments of the city is the Church of St. Nicholas, which began to be built at the end of the 11th century, and the Gothic-style tower with a 90-meter spike towering above it was not built until the 16th century. Another is the Church of St. John, which was built in the 12th century and is a gem of Romanesque architecture. Inside are impressive frescoes, including one depicting the “Last Judgment”, as well as a 16th century pulpit, beautiful reliefs and an altar made by Flensburg artists and craftsmen in the first half of the 18th century. You cannot deny yourself a photo with the background of the Nordertor, one of the most characteristic buildings in Flensburg. It is an old city gate, built at the end of the 16th century, which today is the symbol of the city and can be seen on most postcards or souvenirs from a trip to this part of Germany. Families with children will love the Natural History Museum and Phänomenta – an interactive science center for children and adults