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I never had the once so-important Pomeranian Hanseatic city of Greifswald on my radar. Most people (from the south of Germany) probably feel the same way. The Hanseatic city between Usedom and Rügen leaves many left behind when you go on vacation to one of the Baltic Sea islands. Yet Greifswald, with around 58,000 inhabitants, is beautiful, relaxed, and well laid out.
Ideal for a stay of 1-2 days to explore the brick Gothic houses and the fishing village of Wieck. Thanks to the university and more than 10,000 students, Greifswald is the latest city in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Do you know the painter Caspar David Friedrich? He was born here and painted the city from all perspectives. Marketplace, sailing ships in the harbor, the Eldena monastery ruins, and the St. Nikolai Cathedral. He is the most famous son of Greifswald. A picture path leads you to 15 stations on the traces of the romantic through the Hanseatic city of Greifswald.
In this article, I will tell you what you can do and see in Greifswald. There are also tips for staying overnight and one or the other location where you can get good food.
Would you like to go on a tour through the streets of Greifswald to explore the attractions?
List of the most beautiful sights in Greifswald
1. Wieck fishing village
2. Greifswald museum harbor
3. Market square
4. Eldena monastery ruins
5. St. Nicholas Cathedral with a view from “Nicholai Tower”
6. Galerie STP
7. Beach Eldena
Attractions in Greifswald
Below are the top sights of this beautiful and underrated city. No matter whether you are planning a short city trip or want to stay longer! Are you visiting Greifswald as part of a road trip? Then take a look at these tips for a road trip on the Baltic Sea.
1. Wieck fishing village
Follow the river Ryck out of the old town towards the sea. The bike ride along the river is idyllic.
At the entrance to Wieck is the famous Wieck wooden bridge. This has been operated by hand since 1887 when a ship turns from the Danish Wieck onto the Ryck or wants to go out onto the bay in the Greifswalder Bodden. Of course one of the most important sights in Greifswald.
The bridge is still the only way to cross the river outside of the old town, which is 5 km away.
Eat a fish sandwich in Wieck and go to the “Three Wise Men” by the sea. Sculptures of the Wieck Sculpture Path created by the Greifswald sculptor Heinrich Zenichowski. You will find the three wise men on the north pier which is probably one of the most photographed motifs in Greifswald and Wieck.
We think the three sculptures look like orcs or Uruk-Hai from Lord of the Rings.
The opposite is the 41-meter-long sailing training ship Greiff, which is also worth seeing.
2. Museum port
There are more than 50 historic ships in the museum harbor in Greifswald. This makes it the largest museum harbor in Germany. Here you can book excursions and trips with a historic Zeesboot or other historic boats.
In front of each ship is a board with information and age. Really worth seeing and best of all: the visit to the museum harbor is free!
If you don’t feel like a bike tour to Wieck, you should book a boat tour here. You can find more information on the official Greifswald website.
You can relax at the harbor with a view of the Ryck at the Jumbo Express or the Hornfischbar on the Pomeria.
3. Market place of Greifswald
Especially on the market square, there are rows of North German brick Gothic houses. I love this style and can’t stop going around in circles here looking at the buildings.
In addition to the red-painted town hall, the gabled houses Markt 11 and Markt 13 particularly catch my eye.
There is a real market every day on market square. During our visit during the asparagus season (end of May – June), there was no question of shopping here.
4. Eldena monastery ruins
The Elena monastery ruins are one of the most famous sights in Greifswald. The ruins of the Cistercian monastery founded in 1199 attracted almost 20,000 visitors every year. By the way, access is free.
The ruins stand as a symbol and landmark for the brick Gothic style. Make sure to stop by here.
If you are already in Eldena, you should also see the Eldena post mill. It is one of the oldest on the Baltic Sea.
5. Cathedral with a view from “St. Nikolai Tower”
The Long Nicholas, the 100-meter-high tower of the cathedral towers over the buildings of the city. Climb the tower with its 264 steps. You will be rewarded with a great 360° view of the Hanseatic city.
Also, check out the Church of St. Jacobi (Kleiner Jakob) and St. Marien-Kirche (Dicke Marie). These two buildings also stand out from the skyline from afar.
Both the cathedral in Greifswald and the two churches belong to the “European Route of Brick Gothic”.
6. Galerie STP
Art is important in Greifswald. After all, the most famous inhabitant is one of the most famous painters of the Romantic era: Caspar David Friedrich. You can see many of his paintings in the Pomeranian Country Museum.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t go to this museum, so we visited the STP Art Gallery. This is run by a friend of friends. There are always great events and vernissages taking place here.
7. Beach Eldena
The city beach of Greifswald is in the district of Eldena. Here you can stay by the sea and rent a beach chair. You can also grill your own food at the barbecue area.
Sights and destinations for excursions in the area
Museum of Magic and Witch Hunts, Penzlin
Unfortunately, I only discovered this cool tip after my visit. Who doesn’t find the world of magicians and witches interesting? At least since Harry Potter, everyone’s interested, right? In the museum, however, you can see why it wasn’t so great to be called a witch or wizard in the Middle Ages.
The witches’ playground at the Old Castle in Penzlin is ideal for children. Cable cars, climbing opportunities, and a witch tree house make children’s eyes shine.
Greifswald map with a city map and all places worth seeing
To make your tour of Greifswald easier, I have put all the places I visited and worth seeing on a map. Open it on your cell phone and use this city map to navigate through Greifswald and the surrounding area:
More tips for Greifswald
I recommend a holiday apartment for Greifswald. This is more comfortable than hotels. Some are also getting old. The Troge holiday apartment is ideally located in the old town. You can view the apartment here.
On the last trip, we stood in our own camper in the parking space at the Caravan Fasten Museum Harbour. The location is ideal for exploring on foot or by bike. The owner is very friendly. Electricity is included. For showers, you have to pay 5 € (5 minutes). A fair price compared to other places in the region.
Visit the website of the mobile home site
lend a bicycle
The bicycle guidance system UsedomRad with more than 130 stations (up to Swinemünde) also applies in Greifswald. It’s actually quite simple : download the app, rent bikes at one place and return them at another is child’s play. Ideal for driving quickly from Greifswald to the fishing village of Wieck.
- The best breakfast is at Café Uferkind. There is always a good breakfast at the Junge bakery (Schoko Franzbrötchen).
- The best place to buy fresh fish and ingenious salads (beetroot with fish or potato salad) is Wiecker Fisch in Greifswald. Trip advisor says Fish 13 would be great. Locals told us Weicker fish is better. So we bought the food here and took it with us. Delicious!
- There are fish sandwiches everywhere: Always along the Ryck or in Wieck. We got good fish sandwiches at the Reusenhaus Greifswald-Wieck.
- You can eat very well in the evening on the gastronomy ship Pomeria in the museum harbor.
- At the beach bar Jambo Express you can relax at the Ryck
- Around the marketplace there are some restaurants that offer good food.
Recommendation: Greifswald travel guide
Since I am often at the Baltic Sea and travel the Baltic Sea coast in a van during my visit to Greifswald, I recommend the following travel guides:
- 52 small and large escapades on the Baltic Sea in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania – in this travel guide you will find numerous excursion tips and destinations from Greifswald. For example, Usedom or Stralsund is not far away.
- Dumont’s picture atlas of the Baltic Sea coast of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and for the entire German coast, I like the picture atlas of Germany: Holidays by the sea very much. All places in the Baltic Sea and North Sea are in here. That’s why the “book” is twice as extensive as a normal picture atlas.
- Not tested, but leafed through and found to be good: Marco Polo Baltic Coast Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Did you like the article or do you have further questions or tips for Greifswald and the surrounding area? Then leave me a comment.
FAQ about Greifswald and the surrounding area
Both are old Hanseatic cities that have been restored to reflect their beauty today. I think both cities are really worth seeing. Stralsund is close on the way to Rügen, and Greifswald is well located in the direction of Usedom.