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Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Atlantic Beach...
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Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Hi - Two of us are headed to Germany for 10 days in July 06 and are thinking of using Hamburg as a base for 4 - 5 days to explore the northern coastal areas of the Baltic and North Seas. There is very little about these areas in the tourist books available, so I am turning to you!

First, what is the driving time from Hamburg to Kiel, Rostock, or Rugen? Second, do you recommend any of these or are there others? Third, any specific recommendations for these areas? We will appreciate all posts!

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1. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Hi Echolaine,

Hamburg-Kiel = 100 km/ 1hour

Hamburg-Rostock = 180 km/ 2h

Hamburg-Stralsund = 280 km/ 3h

Must see in this area is Lübeck: 70km/1h


Wismar is worth seeing, too: 130km/1,5h


some sites:





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2. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

I would definitely consider visiting the old hanseatic town of Luebeck, the old town area is very nice. Last summer we were in Kiel and there really wasn't much to see there, although liking boats I enjoyed being on the waterfront. Sylt is an island in the North Sea that many Germans vacation at.

Actually, most tourist books are deficient in almost all of Germany as there is so much to see and do. If you have access to a library, I would try to find books full of pictures of northern Germany and visit the places that interest you from the pictures. There are probably such books on the German states of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western-Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Bremen. Information (including tourist) about villages, towns and cities in Germany can be usually found on the internet using http://www.XXXXX.de, where XXXXX = the name of the town. You should also get a decent map of this part of Germany so you know the geographic relationships of one place with another for your planning.

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3. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Finally somebody who wants to visit the north instead of the south :-)

If you're interested in history consider Kalkriese where Varus and his Roman legions were beaten in 9AD (http://www.kalkriese-varusschlacht.de/englisch/start_eng.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publius_Quinctilius_Varus).

More history (The Peace of Westphalia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Westphalia): Consider visiting Münster (http://www.muenster.de/stadt/tourismus/en/) and Osnabrück (http://www.osnabrueck.de/)

Both suggestions are probably too far south for your plans.

Northern Germany is mainly flat so it's great for bike tours. Here are two links but there are many more websites:



If you use a company they book hotels, transport your luggage, you get maps and can rent a bike, but of course you can also book everything on your own. This way you see bigger and smaller towns and villages, you'd visit places you never even heard of and would otherwise never consider going to.

If you prefer walking: germany-tourism.de/ENG/…hiking.htm (again, just one website out of many).

As marcopolko already mentioned, use www.NameOfTown.de to get more information, use “ue“ instead of “ü“, “ae“ instead of “ä“ and “oe“ instead of “ö“.

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4. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Hamburg Tourism on this






both connected by the Old Salt Route



Lüneburg Heath


Rostock and Rügen are already a bit far.

The North Frisian islands are closer


Hamburg, Germany
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5. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Hamburg is a nice city and definitely worth a visit. But I would not chose it as a base to explore the coastal areas because you would at that time risk to spend more time with standing in traffic jams than with seeing anything interesting. If you are interested in seing Hamburg I would stay there for at least 3 days and then head for another region. Most places should be enjoyed for more than only a day because you cannot really see much when you are in a rush. Why don't you decide for 2 or 3 other regions that interest you. You could stay there for some more days and go on day trips in the region itself rather than going hundereds fo kilometres by car every day.

Interesting places to see at the Baltic Sea:

Lübeck and Travemünde

Flensburg (much nicer than Kiel)

Fehmarn (island)

Rügen (island)

Usedom (island)

Rostock and Warnemünde


Kappeln and Damp

Interesting places to see at the North Sea:






Have a look at: http://www.dithmarschen-tourismus.de/

Try to find information about the

North Frisian Islands

East Frisian Isalnds

What exactly would you like to see? Beaches, dunes, mud flats, islands, cities, fishing ports, museums,...

Salt Lake City
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6. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

We lived in ~1.5 years in Bremerhaven at the mouth of the Weser River on the North Sea. The area was a great place to live but does not so easily surrender its charms to tourism. Still, no memory of my 6 years in Germany is fonder to me than walking the dike north of Bremerhaven and listening to the songs of skylarks.

Luebeck is Beautiful. We never gave Hamburg itself a fair chance as we did not want to wrestle with the traffic. We had a new baby and were not that adventuresome about trains.

Our two favorite getaways near the sea were just into Denmark: Ribe on the North Sea side and Abenra on the Baltic (Ostsee). The weather was generally a little kinder on the Baltic side.

Ribe has cobblestones, half-timbered houses and a marvelous old church (built 1130-1230) with fun interior. Climb the tower for the view.

Abenra, a fishing port, struck me Popeye's likely home with white washed buildings and many languages of many sailors.

You will not get photos of castles perched on mountainsides in the north, but if you love the seaside the north has its own attractions, including good seafood.

Regards, Gary

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7. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Personally I LOVE northern Germany and don't understand why tourists tend to ignore it - except of course for the weather, which can be horrible for weeks at a time and the lack of mountains. Minor irritations!

If it's coast you're after, consider Usedom, which is smaller than Rügen but just as lovely. You can rent a bike very easily and ride for miles along the coast and enter Poland (part of the island) for a real culture shock. You can't really see the best parts from a car though - you have to walk or bike.

Hamburg, Germany
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8. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

You can also have al look at the following websites because the English language can be chosen:










Atlantic Beach...
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9. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Wow - thanks everyone! You have cemented our plans to stay in the north of Germany and I will spend many hours in the next few weeks at the websites you have recommended. Sincere thanks headed your way from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

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10. Re: Hamburg as base to explore northern coast of Germany?

Hello all,

I am a TA employee, and through the nominations submitted, this thread was brought to my attention. First, many compliments on the excellent material submitted here.

Second, I just wanted to let everyone know that I took my first shot at preserving this information in a format that will allow you to link to it without always having to "bump" it to the top. This is with our new TripAdvisor Inside feature, where anyone can edit and update information.

The pages are here:



To see (and edit/create) more Germany or Hamburg pages, go here:



Again, this first pass was meant to be exactly that ... a first pass. From here, it's up to you to update and maintain the information, and add things I missed from the thread!!! :-)

Have a great day!