Travemünde

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Travemünde is the closest of the boroughs of Lubeck to the Baltic Sea. As the name suggests, it is situated at the very mouth of the river Trave. For hundreds of years, Travemunde has been a popular seaside resort and harbour on the German Baltic coast of Schleswig-Holstein.

Daily passenger and cargo ferries leave to Scandinavia and the Baltic states but the pristine white beach and the rich history encourages people to stay. The town is trying to built a new future as a tourist destination to avoid the fate of many faceless ports

Understand : The town was founded in 1187 on the delta of the river Trave. Since 1329 Travemünde has been part of Lubeck but it always maintained its cultural independence. During the times of the medieval Hanseatic League in the Baltic Sea, Travemunde blossomed into a growing village for the first time. Travemunde lost its relative importance with the decline of the Hanse from the 15th to the 18th century. Since 1802 Travemunde has been allowed to label itself Seebad (literally seaside resort) and tourism has been its main source of income. It’s fame as a major nightlife and flashy high society meeting point ended with the world wars.

Unlike nearby Lubeck, Travemunde was spared the major destruction of World War II, but the town wound up directly on the front lines of the Cold War after the partition of Germany. Until 1989 the inter-German border was behind the Priwall (technically belonging to the East German state Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) and most of the beach on the Priwall side was a military area and off-limits to the public. The Priwall was developed after the reunification but differences can still be witnessed today. Also ecologists prevented the complete development of the Priwall to allow nature to maintain its part of the area.

Today about 13,500 people live here and it is an important port town. Even during the German separation, Travemunde remained well known to most Germans, for its being part of the historic Hanse city pact, and for the novel “Buddenbrooks” which took place in parts in the town. To commemorate the local Mann family (Thomas Mann was Nobel laureate in 1929) there is still today a Buddenbrook house in Travemunde. The old town has maintained its sleepy character despite the fact that at weekends there are loads of tourists.

Access : Coordinates: 53.966667, 10.866667 / Travemunde is a port town, so traffic is always an issue when Ro-Ro vessels arrive in the harbour or when drivers are rushing to catch a ferry. Most visitors drive directly to Skandinavienkai to get on the ferry. Travemunde has two major stations and Autobahn exits to separate the traffic for the port and the town. Traffic control prohibits almost all ways between the town and the port. If you want to see the ships it is best to use a bike or the train as cars have to take a big detour around town.

By train : All trains travel from Lubeck’s main station to Travemunde, operated by Deutsche Bahn. The schedule is based on peak/off-peak times and for special occasions e.g. Travemunder Woche, a special schedule will be displayed. As the train travel is organised by the state, the homepage of Deutsche Bahn (federal rail) will not display all trains (focus on federal & state service). Check online either at DB or SV Lubeck.

There are three railway stations in Travemunde.  1 Lubeck-Travemunde Hafen station. 2 Lubeck-Travemunde Strand station, Bertlingstr. 21,  +49 431-2479-1055. 3 Skandinavienkai (Scandinavia Quay) station.

By car : Use Autobahn A1 until you pass Bad Schwartau, then A226 or B76. Travemunde is directly connected to Lubeck (20 min) and Hamburg (1 hr). By bus : Lubeck-Travemunder Verkehrsgesellschaft (SV Lubeck). Bus lines 30, 31 and 40 from Lubeck go regularly to Travemunde. Public transport tickets from Lubeck can include Travemunde. €3 adults single.

By boat : Finnlines,  +49 451 1507443, e-mail: passagierdienst@finnlines.com. Operates ferries to Helsinki, Finland around the year. The trip’s duration is a little more than a day. Also operates ferries to Malmo, Sweden, trip duration is about nine hours.
Stena Line,  +49 431 9099, e-mail: Info.de@StenaLine.com. Five times a week to Liepaja in Latvia.
TT-Line,  +49 4502 80181, e-mail: info@TTLine.com. Operates up to three daily ferry trips between Travemunde and Trelleborg, Sweden. During the summer and on public holidays the ferries are very heavily booked. Make sure you have a reservation.
Several ferries and cargo ships travel to other ports in the Baltic Sea and, especially in the summer, they are willing to take travellers on board. 4 Skandinavienkai Terminal, Zum Hafenplatz 1. Ferries leave from this terminal.

Getting there: Buses ##30, 31 and 40 depart from Lubeck Central Station and go directly to Skandinavienkai Terminal. Alternatively, take the train to the station Lubeck-Travemunde Skandinavienkai, and then switch to the bus 30 or 40 towards Skandinavienkai Terminal (also be aware that there is no walkway from the Lubeck-Travemunde Skandinavienkai train station to the Skandinavienkai Terminal).

Highlights :

  •  Beach. The 1.7km of white sand is the town’s main attraction and the beach is, without a doubt, the place to be during the summer. The beach is the main reason why this town has been a popular seaside resort since 1800s
  • Old Town. The old town of Travemunde is almost unchanged over the centuries and gives an impression of how people on the German Baltic Sea shore built their communities in the past. It is structured like a ship (streets have names like “starboard” and “port side”), and it is best discovered on foot. It is bounded by the Kaiserallee and the Vorderreihe. Depending on your interests, Kurgartenstrasse, Vogteistrasse, Godewind, Fallrepp, Backbord und Steuerbord will probably be the most important streets for you. Most public buildings can be visited, and private buildings that are active in the tourism industry welcome visitors. Signs saying Kein Eintritt, Privatgelande (no entry, private property) indicate that you are not welcome. The area between Vogteistra?e and Vorderreihe is focused on tourism with loads of shops, bars and restaurants while the area between Godewind and Kaiserallee in more residential/living oriented.
  • Old light house, Am Leuchtenfeld 1 (next to Maritim Hotel). Apr-Oct daily 13:00-16:00. Travemunde has two light houses. The old one was erected in 1539 and is one of the oldest light houses in Germany. The light house is 31 metres high and you need to climb 142 steps to the top. It was in service until 1972, when the new navigation light on top of the Maritim Hotel was erected. Today it houses a maritime museum that focuses on the history of the light house. During the summer season (May until October), the museum offers several walking tours to explain the history and development around the light house. Adults €2, children (up to 14) €1
  • New light house, Nordermole (Beach). The new lighthouse is on the Mole, which delimits the passage for the ships, right on the summit of the navigation channel. The new lighthouse is not to be confused with the navigation light on top of the Hotel Maritim.
  • Seaside resort museum (Seebadmuseum), Torstrasse 1 Mar-Dec Tu-Su 11:00-17:00 (closed Mondays). The exhibition illustrates the development of Travemunde as a sea resort since 1802. €5, kids are free.

Activities : Travemunder Woche, +49 451 388-1329. The main event of the year is organised by the Yacht Club. Around 1,500 sailors compete and parade with their ships. The event takes place in July and lasts about ten days.
1 Priwall Ferry, Vorderreihe 12 a,  +49 4502 2249. The Priwall ferry commutes over the navigation channel for the big boats and connects Travemunde with the Priwall Peninsula. It is a historic ferryboat and very popular during summer as it is the easiest mode of transport to the sailing ship Passat and the calmer beaches on the peninsula. children €0.80 adults €1.20.
Sailing Ship Passat, Am Priwallhafen 16a. This tall sailing ship was built in 1911 in Hamburg and sailed between South America and Europe. In 1957 it was taken out of service due to the wreck of its sister ship Pamir. Today it is a museum ship and popular for wedding receptions and youth groups.
Brodtner Ufer (Kaiserallee northwards along the coastline). Walk along the steep cliff line of Brodtner Ufer from Travemunde to Niendorf. The four km walk can be done in 1-1.5 hrs and it offers great views along the coastline.
2 MS Marittima (boat excursions), pier Uberseebrucke 2, (Trave promenade), 5 departures per day between 11:00 to 17:00. 60 minutes sea and harbour cruise. Adults from €7, children from €3, special offers from €2.
3 MS Sven Johannsen (boat excursions), pier Prinzenbrucke (Vorderreihe), several daily departures. Sea and harbour cruises, trips along Trave river to Lubeck or along the Baltic Sea to Gromitz or Boltenhagen. Adults from €6, children from €3

Go next : Hamburg / Kiel

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