20 Fun Things to Do in Lubeck Germany

Looking to explore a hidden gem in Germany? Well, look no further than the enchanting city of Lubeck. Nestled on the tranquil banks of the Trave River, Lübeck Germany is a hidden gem that time seems to have forgotten.

What to know more about the things to do in Lubeck Germany?

Situated in the northern part of Germany, this picturesque medieval city with its attractive red brick buildings is bursting with history, charm, and endless things to see and do.

Experience the magic of Lübeck Germany through its interesting museums, UNESCO-listed sites, and vibrant food scene – your perfect travel itinerary awaits!

In this article, I’ll share all the fun things to do in Lubeck, why it’s worth a visit and how to plan your trip.

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Is Lübeck Worth Visiting

red brick buildings with gables and windows in Lübeck Germany

Absolutely, Lübeck is worth visiting! Lübeck is an absolute must-visit gem, and let me tell you why it’s worth your while, no matter what kind of traveller you are.

History buffs will be enchanted by the remarkably preserved 12th-century medieval old town, where the likes of the Holstentor and St. Mary’s Church stand out as the top landmarks of the city’s Hanseatic past. It’s an architecture lover’s paradise and I highly recommend it.

Lübeck is equally famed for its sweet side, with marzipan being made here. Since living in Berlin, I’ve eaten marzipan every single day- whether it’s dipped in chocolate, filled in stollen or infused in a croissant. So I was over the moon to visit their flagship shop.

house with ivy with table and chairs in lubeck germany

For those curious travellers like me who simply love to wander and explore off-the-beaten-path Lubeck, this is a city made for this. With hidden courtyards, charming alleys, pretty streets, and cute houses, this enchanting city oozes fairytale vibes.

So, to answer the question, Lübeck is absolutely worth visiting, promising a journey that’s as sweet as its marzipan and as rich as its history.

Things to do in Lubeck Germany

1. Holstentor

tall red brick gate with 2 sphere towers as things to do Lubeck

Explore one of Lubeck’s iconic landmarks, a medieval city gate constructed in 1464!

The Holstentor was one of the main gates of Lübeck’s medieval city fortifications used to collect tolls from traders entering the city. It stands as a symbol of the city’s trading past, with its twin-towered Gothic architecture.

Snap a photo and then sit along the garden wall and admire the red brick architecture along with people watching. It’s got a lively atmosphere here and a fun way to kick off exploring Lubeck!

2. Hansemuseum

tower with tall red brick buildings as things to do Lubeck

Discover the interesting Hanseatic League history at the European Hansemuseum near the Holstentor Gate.

Before visiting the museum I hadn’t even heard of the Hanse term before. However, after exploring it I learnt about the powerful and influential medieval trade alliance that existed in Northern Europe from the 13th to the 17th century. It was the start of the development of trade, economics, and the politics of the time.

After the 17th century sea trade shifted from the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic and that caused Lubeck to lose its importance as the ports of Hamburg and Bremen took over the top spot.

This interactive museum showcases how it was formed, the member cities (or trade routes), merchant culture and the legacy it left behind. I highly recommend it!

Hansemuseum Visitors Info | Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM | Entrance fee: 14 €

3. Salt Storehouses (Salzspeicher)

tall red brick buildings as things to do Lubeck

These salt storehouses are architectural gems! Found along the riverbank near Holstentor and Hanse Museum they are a reminder of the city’s rich trading history.

From the 16th century, these six salt storehouses have unique stepped gables and intricate ornamentation that highlight the city’s affluence during its trading peak.

Salt was always an integral part of the trade in Lübeck and it’s what made the city powerful in the Hanseatic League.

Its trading route was this: salt originating from Lüneburg, another Hanseatic town, required storage before being loaded onto ships and distributed throughout the Baltic Sea region. Lubeck served as a crucial intermediary point, where the salt was warehoused before its onward journey to Scandinavia, where it was exchanged for valuable furs.

You’ll want to have your camera ready and if you’re lucky be able to capture some amazing water reflections. Unfortunately, luck was not on my side the day I visited.

4. St. Mary’s Church (Marienkirche)

church with nave in lubeck germany

St. Mary’s Church is one of the most iconic and historically significant landmarks in Lübeck. Its construction began in 1250 and continued over several centuries as a way to showcase the wealth and prestige of Lübeck. Making it one of the most impressive brick Gothic churches in Northern Europe, and the third largest in Germany.

As you approach the town you can’t miss its towering spires. At a height of approximately 125 m (410 feet), it easily made it one of the tallest buildings in the world during the Middle Ages.

Don’t miss admiring the Totentanz (Dance of Death) fresco or climbing the tower with panoramic views over Lubeck’s rooftops and river Trave.

St. Mary’s Church Visitors Info | Opening hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM (January to March), 10 AM to 6 PM (April to October) 10 AM to 4 PM (November-December) | Entrance fee: 4 €

5. Lübeck Cathedral (Lübeck Dom)

water reflection of church and town of lubeck germany

The Lubeck Cathedral is an impressive example of Brick Gothic architecture and one of the oldest cathedrals in Northern Germany, with its construction beginning in 1173.

Its soaring spires and intricate ornamentation make it a visual masterpiece. Look out for the astronomical clock that does a daily “dance” of various figurines. Inside, it houses beautiful frescoes and stained glass windows.

Lübeck Cathedral Visitors info | Open daily: from 10 AM to 4 PM

6. Old Town (Altstadt)

red brick buildings in old town as one of the fun things to do in lubeck germany

Lübeck’s Old Town, one of Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, is a living museum full of medieval architecture spanning the 13th to 15th centuries.

I took a leisurely walk through narrow streets and admired the historic buildings. Be a little curious and wander into the charming courtyards to find some of the most picturesque streets ever. I could have done this all day long, but alas, there were other things to see and do!

white houses with red roofs in old town as fun things to do in lubeck germany

Many of the prettiest buildings in Lubeck are what are called Patrician houses, which are historically significant and often opulent homes or mansions associated with the upper class or aristocracy. These types of homes from the Hanseatic League era were meant to showcase the wealth and social status of their owners. And it still shows.

7. City Hall (Lübecker Rathaus)

black brick town hall in lubeck germany

Lübeck’s City Hall is a delightful architectural gem dating back to the 13th century. It’s one of the oldest and prettiest town halls in all of Germany with each successive era leaving its mark on the building’s design.

An interesting fact is that it contains an intricate astronomical clock, known as the Ziffern- und Planeten-Uhr, which not only tells the time but also depicts the movement of planets in our solar system.

After you’ve done admiring the exterior’s unique features of the protective walls with slender turrets, the 16th-century Dutch Renaissance external staircase and Gothic arcades it’s time to see the inside.

The interior boasts ornate chambers, artful decorations, and significant council rooms that bear witness to centuries of governance.

Lubeck City Hall Visitors Info | Opening hours: from Monday to Friday at 11 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM and Saturday at 1:30 PM on a guided tour only (in German only) | Guided tour: 4 €

8. Marzipan Museum and Niederegger Café

outdoor cafe in lubeck that sells marzipan is things to do lubeck

Indulge in Lubeck’s sweet specialty – marzipan! The city is renowned for producing high-quality marzipan confections so a visit to the Niederegger Cafe is one of the best things to do in Lubeck, especially if you’re a foodie.

A kiosk in front of the store offers you an easy takeaway option of Marizpan hot chocolate or marzipan gelato which I highly recommend (and enjoyed).

Step inside the shop and it’s everything to do with marzipan. This is one of the premium marzipan in the world. After eating it back home in Canada for decades it was cool to visit its flagship shop and see where it all began.

On the second floor, you can visit the Marzipan Museum and learn about its 200-year-old history while sampling some delicious marzipan treats.

Niederegger Café Visitors Info | Opening hours from Monday to Friday 9 AM to 7 PM, Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM, Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM

9. Passages & Courtyards

brick building with windows and rose bush in Lübeck Germany

Discover the most beautiful courtyards and corridors that Lubeck is famous for. Close to 90 old passages (Gänge) and courtyards (Höfe) still exist and many of them can be found in the Old Town.

I highly recommend those found around the Lubeck Cathedral and at the opposite end on the streets Engelswisch, Glockengießerstraße and Engelsgrube.

Many of them can be found along narrow paths that were once small stalls where workers used to live.

Getting intentionally lost is one of the best Lubeck things to do. But if you want to maximize your time and make sure you don’t miss a thing, take a guided tour to find the best courtyards, and this is the tour I recommend.

10. Castle Gate (Burgtor)

large red brick gate as one of the fun things to do in Lubeck Germany

The 15th-century Burgtor stands as a historic testament to the city’s medieval fortifications. It’s one of the few surviving gates of Lübeck’s original city walls.

The Burgtor features a charming, stepped gable design and is adorned with a decorative frieze of coats of arms. This makes a prime spot for taking in Lübeck’s picturesque cityscape.

11. Three Childhood Homes of Nobel-Prized Winners

yellow tall house in lubeck germany

1. Buddenbrookhaus

The Buddenbrook House, once home to the Mann family, is a literary treasure. It’s the birthplace of Nobel laureates, brothers Thomas Mann and Heinrich Mann.

Thomas Mann, one of Germany’s most famous writers, for his 1929 Nobel Prize-winning novel “Buddenbrooks” about the rise and fall of a rich Lubeck family is set in this house. It kind of makes me want to read this book now.

This stunning white Rococo house dates from 1758 and features a charming gabled roof along with an elegant recessed entrance. Unfortunately, the home is closed for renovations until 2025.

2. Günter Grass House

The Günter Grass-Haus is dedicated to the life and works of the renowned author and artist Gunter Grass. His famed novel “The Tin Drum” earned him a Nobel Prize for literature.

It’s also a creative hub for literature and art enthusiasts on rotating exhibits. One that caught my eye was Bryan Adams’s photography, being a Canadian I recognized his name immediately.

Günter Grass House Visitors Info | Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM (January-March), Monday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM (April-December) | Entrance fee: is 8 €

3. Willy Brandt House Museum

Learn about former German Chancellor Willy Brandt’s life and political career in this museum located in his childhood home.

Willy Brandt was the German chancellor of West Germany from 1969 and 1974. He played a role in reconciliation efforts between West Germany and East Germany during the Cold War and for that earned him a Noble Peace Prize.

Willy Brandt House Visitors Info | Opening Hours: Daily from 11 AM to 6 PM | Entrance fee: free

12. Holy Spirit (Heiligen-Geist-Hospital)

red brick hospital in lubeck germany with multiple tall spheres

I was immediately drawn to the hospital. It’s one of those stand-out buildings right along the main street in Old Town that you can’t miss and admire. Founded in the 13th century, this hospital stands as one of the oldest in Germany and was focused on social welfare, used for caring for the most in need.

Today it’s a museum where you can learn more about its legacy. I recommend you time your visit by being in the serene garden “Bürgergärten” located behind this historical building and listening to the lovely bronze bells that ring out five minutes before each full hour.

Heiligen-Geist Hospital Visitors Info | Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM | Entrance fee: free

13. Half Tower House (Der Halve Hahn)

half timber house with tower in lubeck germany

The Half Tower is a unique and true hidden gem. It stands as a remnant of the city’s medieval fortifications, dating back to the 13th century.

This tower earned its curious name because it is half of a traditional defensive tower that once protected the city. But not only that a centuries-old half-timber house is connected to it.

Be sure to find this Instagram-worthy site at An d. Mauer 47.

14. St. James’ Church (St.-Jakobi-Kirche)

church with tree as things to do lubeck

St. James’ Church in Lübeck, dating back to the 14th century, stands as a remarkable example of late Gothic architecture.

It once played a dual role, as a place of worship and a hub for commercial and legal activities during Lübeck’s Hanseatic trading era. And, is unique as having sustained minimal damage during the wartime air raids on the city in World War II.

St Jacob’s Church Visitors Info | Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM, Sunday from 12 PM to 3 PM (January to March), Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM, Sunday from 12 PM to 4 PM (April, November to December), Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM (April, May, October), Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM (June to August) | Entrance fee: free

15. St. Peter’s Church (St. Petri zu Lübeck)

red brick church with spire as things to do in lubeck germany

St. Peter’s Church was first documented in 1170. It was one of the impressive churches that created the cityscape and nickname of “Seven Towers.

Its design takes on a late Romanesque structure as well as Gothic in its five-nave hall. Following its destruction in WWII, St. Peter’s was rebuilt but without a congregation. Today, its gorgeous whitewashed interior serves as a hub for science, art, culture, and spirituality events and exhibits.

It also boasts a tower from which you can climb and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

St Peter’s Church Visitor Info | Opening hours: Daily from 11 AM to 5 PM | Entrance fee: 5 €

16. Schiffergesellschaft Museum

tall red brick building that houses a museum as Lubeck things to do

Step inside an old sailors’ guild hall now turned into a restaurant that still showcases maritime artifacts and traditional ship models.

This is a great spot for lunch to break up your day of sightseeing in Lubeck.

17. St Annen Museum

red brick building with sign saying museum as things to do lubeck

The St. Annen Museum in Lübeck, Germany is housed in a former medieval convent. It’s one of the best things to do in Lubeck, especially if you’re an art and architecture enthusiast.

The museum showcases Lübeck’s Hanseatic heritage, featuring 700 years of Gothic art, maritime artifacts, and Renaissance paintings.

Museum Quarter St. Annen Visitors Info | Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM (January-March) and Monday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM (April-December) | Entrance fee: 8 €

18. Scenic Boat Ride

river with tall buildings on bank and boat as things to do Lübeck

Experience Lubeck from a different perspective by embarking on a scenic boat tour along the Trave River, offering picturesque views of the cityscape.

Book this fun experience that will leave you with a profound appreciation for Lübeck’s heritage.

19. Christmas Market

Experience the magic of the Lübeck Christmas market by wandering through market stalls selling crafts, food, and mulled wine in the main square.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Germany during the holiday season as I am, join in on the fun festive decorations throughout Old Town.

Christmas Market dates for 2023: November 27 to December 30 | Sunday to Thursday from 11 AM to 9 PM, Friday to Saturday from 11 AM to 10 PM

20. Day Trip from Lubeck

church with modern buildings in Lübeck Germany

If you are spending more than a day in Lübeck you’re in luck as its strategic location makes it the perfect starting point for unforgettable day trips.

Just a short drive away, you can explore the charming seaside town of Travemünde, known for its sandy beaches and vibrant promenade.

But mostly, it’s visiting the city of Hamburg that most will want to take advantage of. This uber-cool city offers incredible architecture, food and shopping.

Or why not take a road trip to nearby UNESCO destinations?

How to Get to Lübeck Germany

tall building with sphere towers and windows in Lübeck Germany

Lubeck is compact enough that you can easily see all of the top sights in one day. However, what you will not have time for in one day is visiting more than one museum or being able to add another destination to your day. For that, I recommend spending at least one overnight in Lubeck.

From Berlin to Lubeck, it takes around 3 hours, whether you go by car or train. It makes for a long day, but it’s worth it. I rented a car as I was travelling with my dog, and that’s a much more comfortable journey for him.

From Berlin to Lubeck by train:

  • Start your journey at Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof (main train station)
  • Choose the InterCityExpress (ICE) and arrive in Lubeck Hauptbahnhof in 3.5 hours
  • Train tickets will be approximately 110 €

From Berlin to Lubeck by car:

  • Rent a car and head north on the A24 autobahn, which will take you directly to Lübeck in 3 hours
  • This is a more economical option if you are not travelling solo as car rentals can be as low as 50 €, plus gas

I hope you have the destination-worthy city of Berlin on your itinerary (it’s so worth it if you do!) be sure to check out my travel guides for Berlin. Visit my Germany Travel page to see the almost 50 articles!

As a Holidaymaker

I hope you enjoy this enchanting destination in northern Germany as much as I do.

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