3 city breaks in northern Germany

We take a whirlwind look at three fantastic cities – Lübeck, Hamburg and Bremen – in northern Germany. Visit them individually or as a trio of destinations and enjoy their cobbled streets, sprawling parks and an abundance of choices.

Bremen – Best for families

A city shaped by both tradition and innovation, Bremen is a modern metropolis with a famous fairy-tale background. The most popular inhabitants the town musicians can be found outside the city hall which is now a world.

Created by the Brothers Grimm, the donkey, dog, cat and rooster represent courage, friendship, confidence and drive: something the cities residents also embody.

Bring along your family for some fairytale fun as it is said to be lucky to touch the feet of the donkey (immortalised in the famous bronze statue by Gerhard Marcks) and make sure to throw a penny down the famous ‘Bremer Lech’ drain and take a moment to listen.

The small idyllic gardens of Bürgerpark and the municipal forest are also scattered with story-like elements think picturesque windmills and birdhouses that instead look like they were created for pixies.

The Kunsthalle art museum on Glockengie ßerwall also offers fantastic family-friendly exhibitions on everything from world-renowned masterpieces to local town.

Top tip: Don’t miss the Virtel area of Bremen- full of quirky colourful, cobbled backstreets and fantastic arts and craft shops- it is the perfect place for that unique city break souvenir. It is also home to an amazing Bon Bon candy shop where you can have a go at making your own.

Lübeck- best for couples

There is a distinctive romantic vibe as soon as you enter Lübeck with its distinctive Gothic red brick architecture.

You enter through the Holstentor – a red-brick city gate that dates back to the medieval Hanseatic League. With its gothic turrets, it resembles something from Rapunzel.

On entering the city, expect picturesque courtyards such as Fuchtings Hof established in the 17th century to ensure windows and orphans of sailors and merchants were cared for. It is today still home to many of the cities residents.

After taking a stroll around the lined streets it is well worth venturing riverside for a boat ride along Holstentorplatz. The riverside comes alive in the early evening with pop up, live music and a characteristically summery vibe.

Top tip 1: Lübeck is a great option if you are looking for a suitable date night offering an abundance of fantastic choices.

Top tip 2: Lübeck is known for its world-famous marzipan. Be sure to visit Niederegger if you or your sweetheart has a sweet tooth.

Hamburg – best for friends and solo couples

Hamburg is perhaps unfairly overshadowed by its big brother Berlin. But this maritime city is located at the top of the estuary of the River Elbe. It makes for a lovely saunter taking in the famous port area, the Elbphilharmonie building and Speicherstadt district.

For those after a more relaxed approach, perhaps visit the Kaffee museum for a unique coffee tasting or head over to the more ‘urban’ Schanze district: perfect for bohemian boutiques, independent cafes demonstrating German creativity. Even better in the summer it is home to several pop up beaches which provide the perfect spot for an afternoon Aperol spritz while the sun shines.

Top tip: For solo travellers, we recommend escaping the modern city scape for the stunning Planten Un Blomen, a tranquil oasis in the heart of Hamburg. It is the perfect place to take a Sunday stroll and appreciate the great outdoors. The beautiful Japanischer Garten is particularly tranquil.

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