Lübeck – Medieval urbanism in Germany.


Lübeck, Germany: the most detailed information about the city of Lübeck, the main attractions with photos and descriptions, location on the map.

Lübeck city, Germany

Lübeck is a city in northern Germany on the River Trave in Schleswig-Holstein. It is one of the largest ports of the country, the second largest city in the region, located in the Baltic Sea 58 km south-west of Hamburg. History and unique atmosphere, sights and monuments of brick Gothic architecture, more than 1000 historical buildings – all this is about Lübeck. The image of the city reminds one of its role as one of the founding members of the Hanseatic League, which earned it the nickname “Queen of the Hanseatic League”. Old streets, medieval merchants’ houses and old Gothic churches form the historical core of Lübeck. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, today this prosperous provincial city retains many fascinating nooks and crannies.

Lübeck is the only city in northern Germany that has an extensive medieval old center, not inferior to Nuremberg, Regensburg and other cities of the south. Despite the fact that the historic center as well as the city itself was badly damaged by bombing during World War II, most of the old city has retained its unique features and atmosphere of the Middle Ages, was carefully reconstructed and is included in the list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. The center of Lübeck has to a large extent retained its original medieval layout. The historical core consists of seven Gothic churches, surrounded by parts of the old city walls with two of the four city gates left intact. One of Lübeck’s main landmarks and symbols is the Holstentor Gate, which was depicted on the German 50-mark banknote until 1990.

The Old City of Lübeck

Lübeck Old Town


Lübeck is located in the expanse of the North German Lowlands, at the mouth of the River Trave, which flows into the Baltic Sea. The relief of the city is a slightly hilly plain.


Lübeck lies in a temperate climate zone with considerable maritime influence. Summers are usually warm and humid, winters are fairly mild with occasional frost and frequent thaws. Because of the influence of the Baltic Sea here is quite high humidity, during the year falls a lot of precipitation, which are distributed during the year rather evenly.

Panorama of Lubeck

Lübeck panorama


Lübeck was founded in the 12th century. It quickly became a free city due to its advantageous location, and achieved great wealth and power as the capital of the Hanseatic League from the 14th to the 17th century. The basis of the economy and wealth of Lübeck was considered the salt trade with other cities on the Baltic Sea coast and their exchange for valuable goods needed and demanded in Germany. Many old warehouses can still be found in the old harbor.

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With the sea trade shifting from the Baltic to the Atlantic in the 17th century, the importance of Lübeck as a major trading city in Germany declined, and it lost its importance to the northern seaports of Bremen and Hamburg.

The streets of Lübeck

The streets of Lübeck

Milestones in the history of Lübeck:

  • 1143 – the founding of Lübeck on the site of an old Slavic settlement.
  • 1226 – Lübeck became a free imperial city.
  • 1361 – Lübeck became the center of the Hanseatic League.
  • 1630 – The last meeting of the Hanseatic League cities in Lübeck.
  • 1815 – Lübeck is included in the German Union as a Free Hanseatic City, in 1871 as a German Empire.
  • 1933 – Lübeck loses the privileges of a Hanseatic city and in 1937 it loses its autonomy and becomes part of Schleswig-Holstein.

How to get to Lübeck

By plane

The nearest international airport is in Hamburg (HAM). The best way to get from Hamburg Airport to Lübeck is by train. The S1 commuter train (every 10 minutes) will take you from the airport to the main station in Hamburg and from there you can take the train to Lübeck. Travel time is just over an hour. A direct bus service between Hamburg Airport and Lübeck is no longer available.

By car

Lübeck is about 60 km northeast of Hamburg and is easily accessible by car (A1 motorway). With the opening of the new highway A20 (Baltic Sea Highway) to Rostock, the accessibility of the city is even better.

By train

The suburban trains from Hamburg and back run every 30 minutes on weekdays (every 60 minutes on weekends and holidays). The railroads also connect Lübeck with Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, and other cities.

By ferry

Lübeck and the city of Travemünde is a major Baltic ferry port. The ferry service connects the city to many cities on the Baltic coast, including St. Petersburg.

Evening in Lubeck

Evening in Lubeck

Shopping and shopping

The main shopping street in Lübeck is HÜXSTRASSE. There are more than 100 stores selling everything from souvenirs, food, and alcohol to clothes and jewelry. Another famous shopping street is Fleischhauerstrase.

What to buy in Lübeck (souvenirs):

– Buy other Lübeck-related souvenirs at an interesting store between the market and St. Mary’s Church.

Gothic churches in Lubeck

Gothic churches in Lübeck


The old city of Lübeck offers a wide variety of dining establishments to satisfy most tastes and food cravings. The Markgraf, Schabbelhauss and Schiffergesellschaft are in high demand. If you like beer, you should go to the Alfstrasse area. Lübeck is known for its high density of cozy cafes and “Kneipen” (“pubs”), so be sure to check out the little old streets. There you may find a very interesting and authentic place. If you are a fan of Mediterranean cuisine, you should visit Miera on Hüxstraße. You can also taste great wine there.

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Lübeck sights on a map

Lübeck sights on a map

Lübeck sights

The main attraction in Lübeck is the medieval Altstadt (old town), located on an island surrounded by the river Trave and canals. The main attractions of the old city are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Lübeck offers an amazing variety of different architectural styles, and the streets of the city will delight connoisseurs of architecture and history.

Altstadt, Lübeck. View from the river Trave

Altstadt, Lübeck. View from the River Trave

The historic center of Lübeck is not an open-air museum. It is a lively city center. Even so, there are many beautiful old buildings interwoven with modern structures and infrastructure, winding medieval streets and quiet old neighborhoods. A particularly well-preserved part of the Altstadt is the Koberg, located in the northern part of the historic center. And be sure to visit the Lübeck Gänge (passages and courtyards) – small streets with small houses and a charming atmosphere.



Holstentor in Lübeck

The Holstentor (Holstein Gate) is the symbol of Lübeck and the entire Hanseatic League. An imposing medieval gate from the 15th century in the style of brick Gothic architecture. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gate was part of the city fortifications and served as the main entrance to the city.

The Holstein Gate consists of two towers, the north and south, connected by a central bay. The towers are built in tiers of red and black brick, with windows in the form of loopholes. At present, there is a museum here.

Gothic churches in Lübeck

One of the special features of Lübeck’s old town are its seven Gothic churches. These magnificent monuments of Gothic brick architecture are among the symbols of the city. Let us tell you about the most interesting ones.

Church of St. Mary

Church of St. Mary

The St. Mary’s Church is a monument of Gothic architecture, one of the most important sacral buildings in Lübeck, built at the beginning of the 14th century. Its construction began in 1250 and was completed in 1350. The grandiose Gothic building, formerly of the Franciscan order, is impressive in its size, its simplicity and the austerity of its interior decoration. The two spires reach a height of 125 meters and are visible from almost every part of the Altstadt.

Lubeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is the cathedral, the largest religious building in Lübeck and the entire Baltic Sea coast. The foundations of the cathedral were laid in 1173 by Henry the Lion on the southern edge of the old city near the mill pond. Lübeck Cathedral is a grandiose three-nave building, one of the oldest monuments of brick Gothic architecture. It was severely destroyed in 1942.

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Church of St. James

Church of St James

St. Jacob’s Church is a Gothic religious structure in Lübeck, often referred to as “the church of the sailors.” It is a three-nave medieval church built in the first half of the 14th century. It is known for its 15th-century altar, 14th-century wall paintings, and 16th-century organs. The organs of St. James Church are among the best preserved in northern Germany. Unlike other churches in Lübeck, it was not damaged during World War II.

Church of St. Peter

Church of St. Peter

St. Peter’s Church is an ancient Gothic church with five aisles, founded in the first half of the 13th century. From the top of the tower is one of the most beautiful views of the old city. The first Romanesque church was built between 1227-1250 and was rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries. The church was severely damaged during World War II.

Church of St. Aegidius

Church of St. Aegidius

The Church of St. Egidius is the smallest of Lübeck’s five ancient Gothic churches. It was built in the 14th century. It is located in the heart of the old artisan quarter in the eastern part of the old city. Decorated with Gothic frescoes, Baroque and Renaissance elements.

City Hall

Lubeck Town Hall

City Hall in Lübeck

The town hall is the oldest functioning town hall in Germany and one of the most beautiful buildings of its type in Central Europe. One of the architectural dominants of the historic center, which stands out for its arcades and small Gothic spires. It was the seat of the Hanseatic League until its dissolution.

Other sights

Hospital of the Holy Spirit

Hospital of the Holy Spirit

The hospital of the Holy Spirit is one of the oldest hospital complexes in Central Europe. It was built in the 13th century with donations from wealthy merchants. The hospital complex consists of the hospital itself and a small church with frescoes and paintings from the 14th century. It is interesting to note that the hospital functioned here until 1970.



The Schiffergesellschaft (literally from German “ship’s company”) is an institution that has become a landmark in Lübeck. Located in an old building from the beginning of the 16th century. Offers a taste of the Hanseatic League, the times of merchants and daring seamen, as well as traditional cuisine.

Castle Gate and Burgkloster

Castle Gate and the Burgkloster

The Burgkloster is the most important monastery in Northern Germany and one of the best preserved medieval monasteries in the country. It is one of the most mysterious and mystical buildings in Lübeck. One of its visiting cards is the Castle Gate – a medieval construction from the 13th century with a mighty tower made of black and red bricks. Decorated with late Gothic and early Baroque elements. Also part of the medieval city walls are preserved here.

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Old Warehouses

The old warehouses, Lübeck.


Interesting tours

Nuremberg through the ages

€95 for a guided tour

Nuremberg through the ages

Hear the history of the most interesting places in the Old Town and get valuable advice from locals

On both sides of the barricades: a walking tour of Berlin

€110 per tour

On both sides of the barricades: a walking tour of Berlin

We’ll immerse you in the history of the capital and see its key sights for 3 hours.

Lübeck. Concord inside, peace outside.

I ended up in Lübeck by chance when I was traveling on the Finnlines ferry from Helsinki to the German port of Travemünde. To be honest, I don’t like Germany much with my visits, but of course I have been to its largest cities. In Hamburg, for example, I did a wacky production photo report on the production of some of the world’s best pianos by Stenway & Sons, and Berlin impressed me as a very liberated and multifaceted city.

But back to Lübeck. The city was founded in the XII century on the site of a small by then abandoned princely fortress of the Slavs-Obodrites Buku, located on a wooded marshy peninsula between the rivers Trave and Wakenitz, which bears the same name as the peninsula. The old town of Lübeck still retains its medieval outline in the interfluves:

1. The main symbol of the city is the Holstein Gate of the old town. They were erected in the middle of the 15th century and took 15 years to build. There were 30 cannons on the gate, which were never fired because the people of Lübeck preferred war to peace treaties. The inscription on the gate reads: “Concord inside, peace outside”:

Thanks to this principle, Lübeck was able to avoid the great devastation of the many wars that raged in these lands throughout the Middle Ages. Never mind the Middle Ages, even in World War II Lübeck was virtually untouched, when the whole of Germany lay in ruins.

The panorama of Lübeck in the engraving in the 1572 Atlas of the Cities of the World:

2. The Holstein Gate, as one of the symbols of Germany, was depicted on the German national currency. If you’ve already forgotten what German stamps looked like, here’s a 50-stamp bill:

Due to its location in northern Germany, Lübeck is neglected by tourists. This is very positive because there are no crowds of people from all over the world. The city is compact and walking around is a real pleasure. If you find yourself in Hamburg, be sure to plan a day trip to Lübeck, you won’t regret it. The train trip time is about 40 minutes. Tickets for the trains and buses in Germany, I recommend to buy through the site GoEuro. It is very convenient and has a Russian interface.

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3. As I said, Lübeck is on the river Trave, which encircles the old city. At the many marinas, you can buy a ticket for a boat with a sightseeing tour:

4. There are also all kinds of water sports clubs. There are a lot of kayaks and other rowing boats. You can take a paddling master class:

5. Another interesting amusement is the amphibious buses. Part of the route goes through the streets of the city, and part along the river:

6. In 300-400 meters from the Holstein Gate you can see the provincial idyll. Locals sunbathe on the bank of the river:

7. Nearby, laundry is drying:

8. Even the local ducks here bring a smile and are part of the city’s coziness:

9. We go inside the old town. The construction of the Lübeck Town Hall began in the 13th century. Once built, it stood out with its arcades and spires against the background of the city’s brick houses. Today, the Lübeck Town Hall is the oldest working town hall in Germany:

10. Some architectural elements resemble the Venetian style. Agree, there is something similar to the Rialto Bridge in Venice:


12. the Hospital of the Holy Spirit was built in 1280 with donations from Lübeck merchants and was designed to house 170 elderly and poor people:

13. Let’s take a walk through the residential quarters of the old town. There is a lot to see here:

14. The architecture is very diverse:

15. Look at this cute little alleyway:


17. The license plates of the houses deserve special attention:

18. The same goes for mailboxes:

19. Birdhouse. In Lübeck I even saw a specialty store that sells birdhouses. Too bad, it was closed. Weekend.

20. Would you like to live in such a city? I liked it very much. No rush, clean, and Hamburg isn’t far away:

21. This is a very surrealistic view of a modern sports car in a medieval city:

22. these are the residential buildings outside the old city:

23. City sidewalk:

24. The building of the train station:

25. High-speed train ICE. Such trains ply throughout Germany. The distance from Hamburg to Berlin (290 km.) it covers in 1:43 minutes:


27. Well, that’s probably all:

If you are in the northern part of Germany, be sure to visit Lübeck. You will not regret it. For me this city was a real discovery in terms of coziness and architecture.

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