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One of a line of historic Baltic seaports that made their fortunes during the heyday of the Hanseatic League, Wismar retains so much of its medieval center and harbor that it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well preserved Hansa architecture. Stroll through its winding streets to find half-timbered and brick houses, many of them the stair-step gabled facades characteristic of Hansa merchants. Wismar once had three of the magnificent brick Gothic churches that are unique to the Baltic coast, of which two remain from World War II bombing, along with the tower of the third. The 121-foot-tall nave of St. Nicholas, built in ...

One of a line of historic Baltic seaports that made their fortunes during the heyday of the Hanseatic League, Wismar retains so much of its medieval center and harbor that it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well preserved Hansa architecture. Stroll through its winding streets to find half-timbered and brick houses, many of them the stair-step gabled facades characteristic of Hansa merchants. Wismar once had three of the magnificent brick Gothic churches that are unique to the Baltic coast, of which two remain from World War II bombing, along with the tower of the third. The 121-foot-tall nave of St. Nicholas, built in 1381, is among the tallest of the Baltic brick Gothic churches. The beautiful little Medieval Church of the Holy Ghost has a splendid painted ceiling and a serene courtyard behind it. Wismar’s harbor looks much as it did when Hansa ships ruled the north seas, and the single-masted sailing ship Wissemara, a replica of a traditional Hansa kogge, takes passengers on tours of the Baltic coast. In good weather, locals lunch at the port, where fishing boats such as the Seeperle sell fischbrot – crusty rolls filled with tender sweet marinated herring filets, smoked shrimp, lox, smoke-cooked salmon or other seafood. The last remaining of Wismar’s 120 breweries that once quenched the thirst of sailors and provisioned Hansa ships, Lohberg Brauhaus, still stands near the docks, as it has for 555 years.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A small port and Hanseatic League town in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea.
  • Language: German
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer and fall have the most pleasant weather, although the city is lively year-round.