Travemünde is the closest of the boroughs of Lübeck to the Baltic Sea. As the name suggests, it is situated at the very mouth of the river Trave. For hundreds of years, Travemünde 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.


Ferry arriving in port

The town was founded in 1187 on the delta of the river Trave. Since 1329 Travemünde has been part of Lübeck but it always maintained its cultural independence. During the times of the medieval Hanseatic League in the Baltic Sea, Travemünde blossomed into a growing village for the first time. Travemünde lost its relative importance with the decline of the Hanse from the 15th to the 18th century. Since 1802 Travemünde 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.

Museum ship and hostel Passat.

Unlike nearby Lübeck, Travemünde 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, Travemünde 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 Travemünde. The old town has maintained its sleepy character despite the fact that at weekends there are loads of tourists.

Tourist office

Get in

Travemünde map — view full-screen dynamic map

Travemünde 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. Travemünde 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

It's easy to check the departure time of the next train to Lübeck

By car

Use Autobahn A1 until you pass Bad Schwartau, then A226 or B76. Travemünde is directly connected to Lübeck (20 min) and Hamburg (1 hr).

By bus

By boat

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.

Get around

The main street, Vorderreihe, and the sea promenade of Travemünde are reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. There are buses that run to the town (every two hours) and the connection point is the train station. Riding a bike or walking is usually preferable as most of the streets are narrow and often get congested with cars driven by inexperienced drivers.

Passenger ferry Nordermole in front of museum ship and hostel Passat.



Germany is governed by law, and beaches are no exception. If you intend to spend a day at the beach between 15 May and 14 September, then you are obliged to pay a "resort tax" (German Kurabgabe). This resort tax is automatically collected by hotels and pensions from its guests (business travellers don't have to pay it). The tax is €2.60 for the city beach next to the promenade and one euro per day for the Priwall beach. The tax is €1.40 from 15 September to 14 May. Registered residents of Lübeck and Travemünde are exempted. In theory, you need to pay before you enter the beach at the tourism office, but in reality, checks are not frequent and non-German travellers will not have to pay a fine or cash on the spot.

Beach and Sea Promenade
Old town houses
The former Bailiff's Residence from 1551, one of the oldest buildings in town
Old light house 1539




Fishing port
Bread rolls with fish

There are countless restaurants in summer but during the week and off season most places are closed. The best known cafe is Niederegger in the Vorderreihe with its street-level and 1st floor cafe.



Interior of the Alte Vogtei restaurant



The Casino was one of the oldest German casinos (founded in 1816) and rose to fame after the World War II, when Aristoteles Onassis was one of the guests and Josephine Baker sang in the night club. Since it closed in 2012, places to wear neat dresses are limited. The Hotel Maritim does have the Nightsailor bar but it caters primarily to the hotel's guests and is rather small. Nightlife is continuously changing and focussing more on parents/families and pensioners. If you want serious clubbing, bars or nightlife action, then you will need to travel to Lübeck or even Hamburg.

There are several small bars in the fishing port and the old town that are only open during the summer. So drink a cocktail and move to the next bar until you have found your preferred place but keep in mind that most places close latest by 01:00.


Sailing ship Passat by night

There are a lot of holiday apartments for rent. During summer this town is very busy and reservations are essential. If you do not plan to stay for at least a week, hotels are another option


If you are on a tight budget, it is better stay in Lübeck because Travemünde isn't cheap and has fewer choices of accommodation. There are good and cheap youth hostels in the small village Brodten and in Lübeck. The regular youth hostel was closed in 2007.



Resort A-rosa (former Kurhaus)


Travemünde is very well covered by German GSM/3G/4G providers and, due to intensive tourism, the infrastructure is sufficient at all times. Most Germans with smartphones have flat rates for Internet on their smartphone due to the relatively cheap prices (starting from €10 per month). There are two internet cafés and the tourist office also offers public Internet access at low rates. Wi-Fi is not so widespread, due to legal limitations.


SAR boat Hans Ingwersen

The hospital at Priwall closed in 2004 but there is still a medical centre in Travemünde and several General Practitioners are located in town. Lübeck has an extensive university clinical centre and all medical facilities. Being a port town, Travemünde has a police station, coast guard, sea rescue service and a customs office.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, September 11, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.