Just like most other towns in Germany, the best place for a great introduction to Rostock is the Old Town. You’ll find several cafes in this part of town to fuel yourself up for a busy day ahead.
Right around the Old Town, you can tick off many of the famous landmarks of the city. Let’s start with the Hausbaumhaus (House Tree House). This Gothic brick gabled merchant house was built in 1490 and is among the oldest relics from the Hanseatic League. The structure stands out because of its mind-boggling architecture. Sturdy beams in the hallway support the ceiling of the house and “branches” hold up the floors.
Wokrenterstraße 40, 18055 Rostock, +493814611634
Next stop, St. Mary’s Church, the biggest church in Rostock. This Gothic church dates back to the 13th century and preserves many treasures behind its ancient brick walls. Take your time to admire the massive stained glass window depicting The Day of Judgement, the painted-wooden altar, the Renaissance pulpit from 1574, the bronze Baptismal font from 1290, the oak St. Roch altar and the beautiful medieval astronomical clock.
Saint Mary’s Church, Bei der Marienkirche 2, Rostock, Germany, +49 381 51089718
Right next to St. Mary’s Church is the Town Hall, built in 1270. This two-storey double-gable merry pink structure with Baroque and Gothic elements is a sight you don’t want to miss.
Rathaus, Neuer Markt 1, 18055 Rostock, +49381 3810
Our next stop is Steintor (Stone Gate) one of the four remaining city gates of Rostock. Though originally a Gothic structure, it was rebuilt as a Dutch Renaissance gate on the ruins of the former structure. Take special note of Rostock’s seal and emblem and the inscription ‘Sit intra te concordia et publica felicitas’ (May unity and prosperity reign within your city walls) on the facade of the Steintor.
Close to Steintor is the oldest surviving medieval gate of North Germany, Kuhtor (Cow Gate). This 13th century Early Gothic gate tower served as the main south exit of the city and was used to drive out cattle to the meadows beyond – hence the name.
To appreciate the beauty of Rostock from a bird’s eye view, head to the 14th century Petrikirche (St. Peter’s church). Once you’ve feasted your eyes on the beautiful interior of the church, you can either climb 196 steps or take an elevator to the steeple and click Insta-worthy photos of the town of Rostock spread out beneath.
Alter Markt 1, 18055 Rostock, +4938121101
By this time, you are probably feeling hunger pangs. A perfect day in Rostock demands a very special lunch, and for that, we have the ideal recommendation for you, Zur Kogge. On the way to the restaurant, stop at Mönchentor, another of Rostock’s preserved medieval gates.
Zur Kogge, whose fame extends far beyond the borders of Rostock, is housed in a lovely red gable building which can be traced back to 1856. In a fascinating maritime-themed interior decorated with preserved sea creatures, ship replicas, old coins and artifacts, you can enjoy a delicious traditional German meal.
Zur Kogge, Wokrenter Straße 27,18055 Rostock, +49 381 4934493
At this point, though you have already seen many of the landmarks of Rostock, you have actually walked less than 2 mi/3 Km, and back right where you started (a few steps from Hausbaumhaus).
A 7-8 minute walk away from the restaurant lies Rostock’s awesome Culture History Museum. Housed in a 13th century monastery, the museum educates visitors on the history of Rostock and the state of Mecklenburg through a range of toys, coins, art and handicrafts, artifacts, archeological objects and antique jewelry.
Rostock cultural history museum, Klosterhof 7, Rostock, Germany, +49 381 203590
Next, head to Am Strom promenade. It is a pleasant 30 minutes drive (10 mi/16 Km) from Rostock and also accessible by direct train. Am Strom has merry little shops selling souvenirs and beachwear and numerous restaurants, cafés and bars, and is perennially abuzz with the infectious chatter of holidaymakers. It is right here in Am Strom that you’ll snap your prettiest holiday photos, with colorful ships and cute fishermen’s houses forming an achingly beautiful backdrop.
A walk along the Am Strom amid narrow alleys and gabled houses will bring you to the 92 ft high Warnemünde Leuchtturm (Lighthouse) from 1897. Almost all visitors make a point of climbing to the tower of the lighthouse to catch panoramic views of Warnemünde and the ocean. Spread out in front of the lighthouse is the beautiful 2 mi/3 Km sandy stretch of Warnemünde beach scattered with adorable wicker beach chairs. Spend the afternoon soaking up the sun and surf.
On the way back to Rostock, you might want to stop at the Schiffbau und Schifffahrtsmuseum (Shipbuilding and Maritime Museum). Housed in a former cargo ship, this museum teaches visitors about various aspects of shipbuilding and maintenance, and the maritime history of the region.
Back in the town, head to Rostock’s busiest shopping street, Kröpeliner Straße, to indulge in some retail therapy for the perfect icing on a memorable day. This street is lined with boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants and cafés, mostly housed in lovingly restored gabled houses. Kröpeliner Tor, the last of the four gates belonging to Rostock’s medieval fortifications, towers over this street. Kröpeliner Straße has enough charm to hold your attention until your evening meal, and also spoils you for choice as far as dinner options are concerned.