Stralow: Polabian for Arrow
And yet again back in Germany at only 6 days after the last time. On this occasion, our final destination was Szczecin, city we flew on Friday night but that we left for visiting on Sunday. Instead for today Saturday, we decided to enjoy a day trip towards the Baltic Coast of Poland, and crossing over to Germany which lies few kilometres from the border towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed city of Stralsund. One of the most beautiful and iconic Hanseatic cities, which together with its brother city of Wismar, shares the same UNESCO status listing.
Unfortunately due to the lack of time and because of the already far distance we had to drive to come here, it was physically impossible to fit this second city of Wismar, way much farther to the west. The easiest and fastest way for this one will be in the future, flying to Hamburg or Lübeck as those are the nearest airports and a short train or bus ride from there.
The way from Szczecin to the north is a fast and beautiful drive, in between lakes and nature, soon arriving to the Baltic Sea passing Swinoujscie. From here it is meters away from the German border which is a pretty straightforward crossing and without queues. There is a fee to cross over but that’s all. Probably they don’t even require you to hand over your ID/Passport either, since they are in the European Union and they run only spot checks at random.
Since the city of Szczecin has really very little to see and do, we decided beforehand that spending the whole weekend there would be way too much without reason, and that was a great idea and definitely something you should really consider as well. There is no need for you to have a rental car either, you can easily take buses to come here. Or another of the common options people do is arriving at Berlin or Hamburg and move from there to Stralsund either By train or bus, it’s a very fast and comfortable way to get here.
Visiting the city won’t take you longer than half a day at maximum. The historic old city, although is big in essence, it’s still quite small to make an entire day out of it, but with the time spent in getting there and coming back to your original point of departure, you have to for sure, count with the entire day for this; and unless you have a rental car to speed up your commuting as we did, then it is probably you will not have even some time left to visit the area around Swinoujscie.
With around 1000 registered houses and over 500 of them listed as historic monuments, perfectly restored, there is no need to explain much more what to see in the city. It is an absolute open air museum where on every turn and every street you will discover and admire those great landmarks; masterpieces of Hanseatic brick Gothic architecture that only few cities can compete with.
For more information about Stralsund check the Wikipedia site. Germany’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Stralsund
- Alter Markt The Old Market Square as it translates from German is the centerpiece of the city with some of the finest buildings. It represent the symbol of the city and one of the reasons taken in consideration for the inscription as a World Heritage Site.
-Town Hall Masterpiece of Hanseatic brick Gothic architecture, built in the 13th century. With an impressive facade to showcase power and wealth.
-Saint Nicholas’ Church Built between 1270 and 1360 lies right behind the Town Hall and forms an unique composition together in the square.
-Wulflamhaus 14th century Gothic patrician house, now one of the best restaurants in town serving traditional local food.
-Commandantenhus Built in 1751 in baroque style used to be the headquarters of the Swedish military commander back in the times when the city belonged to Sweden.
- Neuer Markt The New Market Square, although the name implies “new”, it is as old as the rest of the old town
-Saint Mary’s Church Built between 1383 and 1473 had the tower as the tallest structure in the world between 1625 and 1647. You can climb to the top for the best panoramic views of the entire city and beyond.
- Monastery of Saint Catherine Built in the 15th century is nowadays the Museum of Cultural History and the German Naval Museum, being the later one of the best of its kind in Germany.
- Gorch Fock Is a landmark three-mast barque built in 1933 as a school ship. Taken out of its original duties is now docked as a museum.
The nearest airports to Stralsund are quite far and are at pretty much the same distance, Lubeck, Szczecin and Berlin. A bit farther to the west from Lubeck is also the larger Hamburg. With those 4 airports you have routes to half of the world and almost anywhere within Europe with flag carriers and low cost ones. A huge choice where there is almost always a good offer to any of those airports.
Coming by train from Germany is fast bearing in mind Stralsund lies on the north-south corridor, hence frequently linked to Berlin. The west corridor links it to Lubeck, Hamburg and beyond, meaning fast, reliable and frequent trains from any of those cities. Furthermore there is no need to get from the airport of any of those cities to the city centre to take a train to Stralsund. From the airport train station you can go already directly there.
From Poland, the nearest large city is Szczecin, but this option will take longer time as you need to cross the border plus there is no direct railway connection. By bus will be the fastest option. In the same way you can of course get a bus from anywhere within Germany to here.
While in the city there is no need for taking any public transportation to move around. The old town is very compact and distances short, while most of the streets along the historic centre are pedestrianized. If however, you need to go any farther, the only public transportation served by buses.
As we did not stay overnight in this city since our base was at Szczecin, I cannot say much on this here, but copy the same lines as per Szczecin’s guide should you be doing something similar to what we did.
There is a great choice of hotels in Szczecin city from all ranges and all star ratings, but, as anywhere in the world, high and low season fares are really despair. Being this the last weekend in June and therefore high season, the cost per night was really expensive so we figured out a different strategy on where we stayed, without lowering any quality nor expectations. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers.
We stayed at the 4* Noclegi Agape, in ul. Deszczowa 4, Prawobrzeze. Not in the city centre nor too near it, but since we rented a car we booked this place on purpose as everywhere else in the city, if including breakfast as we wanted, was setting the cost really high above our budget. It was a really good choice. Free parking, quiet, clean and modern, and very nice in all senses. Friendly stuff, large rooms with all amenities, and a nice breakfast that we enjoyed for the tow days we were there. After all, driving from the hotel to the city was just matter of few minutes, so why to over pay?.