Wismar is a city located in Mecklenburg, Western Pomerania, and is connected to the Baltic Sea coast. It was originally a trading port and part of the powerful trading group called the Hanseatic League (or Hanse in German). The wealth generated from this period can still be seen in the architecture of Wismar to this day, with its magnificent brick churches and old homes.
In fact, the entire Altstadt (old town) was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. Film-makers also seem to appreciate the architecture of Wismar as the old harbour (Alter Hafen) was featured in the 1922 Dracula movie Nosferatu.
Getting To Wismar
There are two main ways to get into Wismar, by train and by car.
If coming from Berlin, there are regional trains available that will take you to Wismar’s railway station. The main station in Wismar is located close to St. Nikolai church and the old town. From there, it’s a 5-10 minute walk to get to the market square.
There are two main Autobahn routes to get to Wismar. The A14 connects the A20 at Kreuz Wismar. If travelling from Lubeck or Schleswig-Holstein, then you will exit before Kreuz Wismar at Wismar Sud on the A20. If travelling westwards from Greifswald, Rostock or Stralsund then you can leave at either junction.
Getting Around Wismar
If exploring the Altstadt (old town) it’s easy to get around by foot. Travelling to the countryside or outer suburbs? Then try the local bus service or hire a bicycle.
Things to See and Do in Wismar
1. Rathaus and Market Place
This is Wismar’s central market square. It covers 10,000 square metres making it one of the largest in northern Germany. To the northern side of the market, you will find the town hall. The current building is a reconstruction that was performed from 1817 to 1819, but it uses the style of the original gothic architecture, particularly in the cellars. If you want to learn about Wismar’s history, there is a permanent exhibition in the Town Hall’s cellars.
2. Wasserkunst, Am Markt
The “Wasserkunst” is an old well that supplied the town with water up until 1897. Its name literally translates into “the water art” and it was built between 1580 and 1602 using a Dutch design. You can find inscriptions on the well in Latin and German.
3. Visit the Churches And See The Gothic Architecture
The gothic architecture in Wismar can be seen in the churches of the town. First, St Nikolai church dates back to the 14th century. It is being restored since one of the towers collapsed but it’s still an interesting sight to see.
Next, the Heiligen-Geist-Kirche is a rectangular gothic church from the 15th century. A main feature of the church is a painted wooden ceiling that depicts scenes from the old testament.
Finally, St Georgen Kirchhof is one of Wismar’s main churches and is a great example of gothic architecture. It has lasted since the 13th century and is even used to host concerts and cultural events.
4. Wassertor, Speigelberg/Am Hafen
Known as the “Water Gate”, this is the last remaining survivor of the five medieval city gates that protected the city, connected to a 4-metre high wall. It dates back to the 1450s, but it was rebuilt in the 17th century.
5. Baumhaus, Alter Hafen
Located on the old harbour, this house is named after the tree trunks that were used to block the harbour entrance during the night time, or when the city was under attack. Two Swedish statues outside stand to guard the door.
Today, the house has various exhibitions to learn about the history of Wismar.
6. Explore the Old Town With A City Tour
A city walking tour is a perfect way to experience the Altstadt (old town) of Wismar and observe its picturesque architecture and history. The town’s landscape offers many photo opportunities and if you get tired from walking, take a break and sip a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes.
The tourist information centre has guides that lead tourists on city tours all year round. Some of the tours available include:
- SOKO Wismar – city tour that follows the footsteps of the popular TV show
- Stortebeker shows guests his Wismar
- In the footsteps of local history on a world scale
- Night Watchman – guided tour during the evening of the historic centre of Wismar.
7. Go On A Harbour Cruise
There are several cruise operators that offer trips around Wismar Bay and the harbour. Since Wismar has both a commercial harbour and leisure boats, there is plenty to see. There are some boats that offer trips to the nearby island of Poel during the summertime. To find out more information about these cruises, visit the quayside in Wismar.
Here is a rough calendar of events that occur in Wismar each year:
- March – Wismar Herring Festival
- June – Wismar Harbour Festival
- August – boulevART International Street Theatre Festival
- August – Wismar Swedish Festival
- December – Wismar Christmas Market
Here are some of the top restaurants in Wismar:
- Cafe Glucklich – http://www.cafe-gluecklich.com/
- Restaurant Schwedenwache – http://www.restaurant-cafe-schwedenwache.de/homepage/
- Kaminstube Wismar – http://kaminstube-wismar.de/
Where to Stay In Wismar
There are many options for accommodation ranging from budget to high-end luxury. Here are the top 3 hotels in Wismar:
- Steigenberger Hotel Stadt Hamburg: https://www.steigenberger.com/en/hotels/all-hotels/germany/wismar/steigenberger-hotel-stadt-hamburg
- Wonnemar Resort-Hotel: http://www.wonnemar-resorts.de/wismar/
- Hotel am Alten Hafen: Address – Spiegelberg 61-65, 23966 Wismar, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, German