Wismar sights: 1 Day Visit to The Hanseatic City


Wismar is the most beautiful city on the Baltic Sea. That’s what I was told before my trip along the coast in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. No question that I made a stop here. 

In the summer, I am told, it is very crowded here. Be sure to get up early. Not an easy task as we caught a hot weekend exploring Wismar. 

But when we start the day it is quite pleasant. Not too many people and Wismar itself is very comfortable to explore. 

In this article, I’ll take you on a walk through the old town to the sights in Wismar. 

I’ll tell you my tips for Wismar and excursion destinations in the region.

Have fun! 

List of the top sights in Wismar that you must see

When visiting Wismar there are a few classics that you should visit. The Hanseatic city offers many attractions that you simply have to see! I have listed these top sights for you here. 

My top picks:

1. Old town of Wismar
2. Churches in Wismar: Churches of St. Georgen, St. Marien and St. Nikolai
3. Market square with the town hall, water art, and “Alter Schwede”
4. World Heritage House 
5. Old port
6. Water gate
7. Poel Island

Trip from Boltenhagen

Many vacationers take a day trip from Boltenhagen to Wismar. We did it the other way around. We spent a few days in Boltenhagen before we drove on to Wismar.

The distance from Wismar to Boltenhagen is only 25 km. The 4.5 km long sandy beach in the Baltic Sea resort of Boltenhagen is ideal for families with children. You can read all tips for Boltenhagen here.

History of Wismar

Did you know that Wismar was part of southern Sweden until 1648? It was not until 1903 that the city was officially returned to Mecklenburg. As a result, there are still buildings with Swedish influences in architecture. Mixed with the approximately 300 gabled houses from the time of the Hanseatic League and red brick houses, the overall picture of Wismar is beautiful. 

Especially this historic building, the “Red House” is known and is one of the most famous sights of Wismar.

Historical building in Wismar: the “Red House”

Old town of Wismar

The historic old town is part of the UNESCO World Heritage together with that of Stralsund. Since the two old towns have uniquely preserved the heritage of the Hanseatic League, both cities were included in the World Heritage List in 2002. 

Wismar’s old town includes the market square with the town hall , water art and the ” Old Swede” . As well as the churches of St. Georgen , St. Marien and St. Nikolai . Furthermore, numerous gabled houses and houses in brick architecture from the time of the Hanseatic League. I love these buildings.

Sights in Wismar: Here you will find numerous great buildings.

The Krämerstraße(Kramer Street)) has been one of the three most important main streets since the Middle Ages. The pedestrian zone is now here. Did you know that the first Karstadt was opened here on the corner of Lübsche Straße(Lubsche Strasse)?

As early as 1881, Rudolph Karstadt opened his “cloth, manufacturing, and confectionery shop”. Here and on the side streets, you will find many small individual shops and cafés. 

Shopping street Krämerstrasse Wismar

Churches in Wismar

1. St. Mary’s Church

The city of Wismar once had three magnificent churches. But from the Marienkirche only the tower is left. The rest fell victim to bombs during the war. Due to the severe damage, the ruins were no longer safe. That’s why the remains were blown up in 1960 during the GDR era. 

You can still guess how big the church was because the foundation walls were left standing. 

The deserted church tower is 80 m high and can be seen from afar. He definitely shapes the cityscape. 

Due to Corona, the ascent over the 330 steps to the top is unfortunately closed. At “normal times” you have a great view from 63 meters above the city of Wismar.

The tower of the Marienkirche characterizes the townscape of Wismar.

2. St. George’s Church

The St. Georgen Church is the largest of Wismar’s churches. It is also one of the largest brick churches in northern and eastern Germany. This church was also destroyed by bombing raids. In contrast to the Marienkirche, however, the St-Georgen Kirche was rebuilt in the 1990s. 

This church also has a viewing platform. The 35-meter-high tower can be reached by elevator and is therefore barrier-free. From up here, you have a perfect view of the old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the port. 

Entrance fees for the viewing platform:

3. St. Nikolai Church

The St. Nikolai Church is the first thing you see when you arrive at Wismar train station. It is idyllically situated next to one of the oldest artificial watercourses in Germany, the Fresh Pit. 

The Nikolaikirche is one of the largest churches in Central Europe. Its central nave is 37 meters high. For comparison: In Germany, only the Cologne Cathedral is higher. 

The tower of the church was 120 meters high until it was destroyed in a storm in 1703. You can also visit this church. However, there is no viewing platform here.  

Church of St. Nikolai Wismar

4. Holy Spirit Church

Did you know that the entrance to the police station in the “SOKO Wismar” series is at the Holy Spirit Church? In the courtyard is the Holy Spirit Hospital, which has to serve as a police station in the series. 

I have to admit that I have never watched SOKO Wismar on TV. Therefore, the gate to the inner courtyard was not interesting to me. There are also city tours for fans of the series, which are offered twice a week. 

Marketplace & Town Hall

Wismar’s market square measures 10,000 m². This makes it one of the largest marketplaces in Northern Germany. There are many cafes and restaurants right on the market square. Have a coffee in one of them and enjoy the atmosphere with a view of the town hall, “Alter Schwede” and water art. 

Note: The city tours start at the market square. Bookable here on the city’s official website.

Wismar sights: marketplace with water art historic buildings.

1. City Hall

The radiant white town hall rises on the north side of the market square. The town hall, built at the beginning of the 18th century, goes back to the design of the court architect Johann Georg Barca. The architecture is really worth seeing. Fortunately, structural changes in the GDR era were reversed in accordance with socialist architecture. 

Inside you will find archaeological finds and earlier views of the city. Unfortunately, we didn’t look at them. The weather was just too nice, so we preferred to stay in the fresh air. 

Town hall the market square

2. Water art

The pavilion-like building is located directly on the market square. 

The elaborately decorated fountain served as a fountain house for supplying the city with drinking water until 1897. The water art is considered a landmark of the Hanseatic city of Wismar. 

Note the banners in Latin and German. These report on the drinking water supply in earlier times.

The water art was a fountain house.

3. Old Swede

One of the oldest buildings in Wismar is located on the east side. It bears the name “Old Swede”, was built in 1380, and is one of the most valuable gabled house facades in the city. 

The term “Old Swede” is reminiscent of the time when Wismar still belonged to Sweden. The name stuck because today there is a restaurant with the same name.

Old Swede Restaurant Wismar
Old Schede entrance

Other sights in Wismar

1st World Heritage House 

The old towns of Stralsund and Wismar have been UNESCO World Heritage sites since 2002. Both cities still show the town facilities that are typical for the Hanseatic League. Old towns with impressive brick churches and well-preserved merchant houses. To date, these can be seen as almost unchanged. 

The visitor center in the house gives you a good impression of what a merchant’s house must have looked like in the heyday of the Hanseatic League. 

In addition, the history of the Hanseatic City of Wismar and the Hanseatic League is conveyed to you in a lively and interactive way in the World Heritage House. 

There are other visitor centers of this kind in Stralsund and Regensburg. 

The highlight for many visitors is the restored wallpaper room from 1823 on the upper floor. Valuable French paper prints cover 64 m² of wallpaper. 

World Heritage House Wismar

2. Old Port

The harbor tours and excursions to the island of Poel start in the old harbor. Otherwise, the museum ship Poeler Kogge “Wissemara” is in the harbor. A replica of a 14th-century cog can be visited. The Poeler Kogge not only serves as a museum ship but is also seaworthy for excursions with young people, students, and interested visitors. You can find more information about the Poeler Kogge and excursions on the website.

You can buy a fish boat in one of the numerous stalls and boats. But beware: the seagulls are also greedy. 

At the end of the harbor is the tree house. The building looks unassuming. However, it is the harbor building of the harbor master’s office. In front of it were two famous Swedish heads made of wood. Also one of the landmarks of Wismar. Unfortunately, the heads could not be seen during our visit. Maybe they were “banished” inside. Unfortunately, we were too late and couldn’t go to the museum.

Port of Wismar: tree house Wismar

Incidentally, the tree house gets its name from the fact that a wooden beam (“tree”) was used in the water to protect against the entry of unwanted ships.

Many ships at the beautiful old port of Wismar.

3. Water Gate

Five city gates belonged to the earlier city fortifications. Only one of them has been preserved at the Old Port. The Water Gate. 

Parts of the old city wall were reconstructed around the water gate. A plaque on the floor indicates that Murnau shot the classic film Nosferatu here in 1921. 

Wassertor Wismar, one of Wismar’s sights
Location of Nosferatu in Wismar: The water gate. The plaque indicates this.

Excursions around Wismar

Destination for the island of Poel

The island in Wismar Bay has only been an official seaside resort since 2005. Thus the youngest of the Baltic Sea. Around 3000 people live on the island, spread over 15 small towns. 

Take a day trip to the island. Ideal to reach by bike via the Baltic Sea Cycle Path (16 km). Here you will find long beaches, cozy places and lots of nature. We explored the island by bike, ate fish sandwiches, and relaxed on the empty beach away from the main beaches. .

Great excursion destination in Wismar Bay: Poel and the cliffs of the island
Port of Poel

Map with all sights in Wismar

Sightseeing Tips

Interesting facts & figures about Wismar

  • Wismar has about  43,000 inhabitants  and is the sixth-largest city in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • You can easily explore the old town on foot.
  • Since 2002, the old towns of  Wismar  and Stralsund have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage as historic old towns

With the mobile home in Wismar? Camping tips

The first choice for Wismar was the campsite on Poel. Unfortunately fully booked during Corona times. That’s why we have reserved two parking spaces at the Lütt Moor holiday parkThe place is ideally located between Poel and Wismar. 

But the place is currently under construction. The parking space is very uneven and looks more like a construction site. Cozy is different. But 25 euros per night/mobile home are completely overpriced. It’s a shame because the location is actually ideal.

Hotel tip 

We were traveling in Wismar with the campervan. 

However, friends who regularly travel to Wismar for work have recommended the following hotels to me:

  • Vienna House Wismar. Link to hotel.
  • Loft Apartment Ohlerich Speicher Wismar. I found these apartments ideally located. The buildings are located at the tree house (Alter Hafen). The location for exploring could not be better.

Link to the loft apartment holiday apartments

to eat and drink 

Here are our tips for delicious food in Wismar:

  • Best ice cream parlor with Italian ice cream at the Wassertor: Eiscafé Da Ricardo
  • You can get fresh fish and fish sandwiches around the harbor
  • Small snack in the orange trailer immediately after the crossing to the island of Poel: Happen Poel. From Saitan skewers to wild bratwurst with sea buckthorn mustard, you can get little delicacies here. 
  • Café and cake: Old Lion Pharmacy 
  • Idyllic garden for dining: To’n Zägenkro inn
  • The World of Enjoyment Wismar: Great shop with culinary delights. From licorice to gin and BBQ dressings you will get the best advice here. 
The best ice cream in Wismar is at the Wassertor, near the old port.

Travel guide for Wismar

There is no travel guide for Wismar itself. Before traveling along we got a weekender for the Baltic Sea. This is not a typical travel guide but gives you personal tips and favorite places from the authors. In it, we found great cafes, shops, and places. 

Check out our motorhome road trip along the Baltic Sea. In addition, this route through Mecklenburg-Schwerin is right next to Wismar. There are also great excursions in the area around Wismar.

What are your most beautiful sights in Wismar?

We look forward to your comment at the end of the article!

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