Lübeck is a historic trading port near the Baltic coast of Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany.
The island-shaped old town is easy to stroll around, and the typical brick architecture of the city is featured in many of the sights along the way.
Lübeck was one of the founding cities of the powerful Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages and was known as the 'Queen of the Hanse'.
The medieval merchants' houses that line the cobbled streets behind the iconic Holstentor are a symbol of the city's past importance.
Despite a devastating bombing raid in 1942, the island city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hamburg airport is easily the closest and most convenient option for those wanting to travel to Lübeck. It has plenty of European carriers and destinations, although a limited number of long-haul flights.
Distance to Lübeck Airport: 8km
Distance to Hamburg Airport: 63km
Distance to Bremen Airport: 181km
Distance to Hannover Airport: 202km
Distance to Copenhagen Airport: 275km
Lübeck Airport is very small, and has a limited number of European scheduled and charter flights. The airports at Bremen and Hannover do offer European destinations, but a wider choice is likely to be available at Hamburg.
Those looking for long-haul flights might be better served by flying in to one of the big German airports (Berlin or Frankfurt, for example) and then taking a domestic connecting flight.
Lübeck train station is located just outside the historic city centre on the island. It offers regular regional rail services to Hamburg, Kiel and Szczecin in Poland, as well as smaller towns in the region around the city. Limited long-distance services serve Munich and Cologne.
The A1 motorway connects Lübeck to Hamburg in one direction and to the ferry port to Copenhagen in the other.
The A20 motorway provides a link to the other German towns on the Baltic coast before heading south towards Berlin and the Polish border.
Much of the accommodation in Lübeck is ideally situated near the historic city centre, providing easy access to the city’s many attractions. The area surrounding the Holsten Gate has become a hub for lodging and dining options, while quaint streets along the Trave River are just a short stroll away from various accommodations.
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Once you're in Lübeck, exploring the city by public transport is quite convenient. The city has an efficient network of buses that take guests to most tourist attractions.
Purchase a day pass or multi-day pass if you plan to use the bus service frequently during your stay. These passes offer unlimited travel on buses within Lübeck and save money compared to single journey tickets.
Most of the city centre attractions are within walking distance, so having a comfortable pair of shoes will come in handy when exploring Lübeck's historic old town.
The LübeckCARD is a great purchase for visitors, combining unlimited travel on buses within the city with discounts on entry fees to various museums and attractions.
When you visit Lübeck, the Holstentor ('Holsten Gate') is a must-see historical attraction. The city gate, built in the late 15th century, is one of the most famous symbols of the Hanseatic city. It showcases magnificent architectural styles and offers a glimpse of the city's rich history.
The well-preserved centre of Lübeck is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The 'Altstadt' is a treasure trove of historic buildings and charming cobbled streets. Take in the impressive gabled houses and picturesque courtyards dating back to the Middle Ages. The tourist office has a pamphlet which describes a self-guided walking tour around Lübeck.
St Mary's Church, or the Marienkirche, is an architectural gem built in the 12th century and is famous for its stunning medieval sculpture and intricate Gothic design.
This towering structure is part of Lübeck's Old Town. It is considered a masterpiece among Northern European churches and should not be missed when visiting the city.
The twin towers of Lübeck Cathedral are a feature of the city skyline. The cathedral is an 850-year-old Romanesque and Gothic masterpiece which had to be completely rebuilt after the Second World War. Be sure to see its impressive pipe organ and stunning works of art.
The Buddenbrooks House ('Buddenbrookhaus') is a fascinating historical site for lovers of German literature.
Once home to the famous author Thomas Mann, this beautifully preserved house offers insight into the lives of the Mann family and the inspiration behind his novel, 'Buddenbrooks'. Visitors can explore the writer's world in this museum dedicated to their works and personal lives.
The Town Hall, or 'Rathaus', is one of Lübeck's most impressive historic buildings. Dating back to the 13th century, this important administrative building showcases different architectural styles through the ages.
The interior, including the Audience Room formerly used for court proceedings, can be visited as part of a guided tour.
Lübeck has a number of interesting museums. Start with the Willy Brandt House, dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Chancellor of Germany. The museum covers his life, political career and the impact he had on Germany and the world.
Another must-see is the St. Annen Museum. This houses a collection of stunning medieval altarpieces, including works by renowned artists such as Bernt Notke and Lukas Cranach the Elder.
The Günter Grass House is dedicated to the famous German author, artist, and Nobel Prize winner. His graphic works, sculptures, and handwritten manuscripts are on display here. The gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions featuring contemporary art by other artists.
Lübeck has a thriving theatre and music scene, You can experience the city's theatrical side at various venues such as the Theatre Lübeck, which presents classic and modern plays, operas, ballets and more.
Music lovers should visit St Mary's Church, one of Lübeck's five main churches. The church organises concerts that fill the impressive brick architecture with captivating music.
One of the must-try delicacies during your visit to Lübeck is marzipan. This sweet treat has a rich history in the city and is made from almonds, sugar and rose water. Marzipan is taken very seriously in Lübeck, with strict regulations stating that it must consist of at least 70% almond paste and no more than 30% sugar and oils.
More about the history of marzipan can be found in the Marzipan Museum above the Cafe Niederegger opposite the town hall.
Extend your adventure with a day trip to nearby towns and attractions rich in history and natural beauty.
Head to Travemünde, a charming seaside resort just 23km from Lübeck. Breathe in the fresh sea air as you stroll along the beach promenade. If you prefer a more active experience, hire a bike and explore the picturesque streets of the town with its quaint shops and traditional German restaurants.
Don't forget to visit the the oldest lighthouse on the German Baltic coast. Now a museum, it can trace its history back to 1539.
Regular trains take 20 minutes to travel between Lübeck and Travemünde.
Ratzeburg is another fascinating destination, a small but charming town 28km south-east of Lübeck. The town's stunning island-like setting makes it a perfect day trip for nature lovers and history buffs alike.
Ratzeburg Cathedral was built in the 12th century. Take time to admire the impressive interior with its medieval art and ancient crypt.
Hourly trains connect Ratzeburg with Lübeck and the journey time is just under 20 minutes.
If arriving from the train station, the Lübeck tourist office is situated on the right just before the Holstentor. The tourist office is open all day Monday-Friday, with slightly restricted hours on Saturdays.