Hanse cities and the Baltic Sea in Mecklenburg Vorpommern - spring 2016

For the last years I had in my mind to cover the UNESCO world heritage sites on the german coast of the Baltic Sea, especially Stralsund and Wismar in Mecklenburg Vorpommern. This year it finally worked and I went for a 10 day trip up to the northern end of Germany.

As usual I try to combine landscape and travel photography to get some width in my stock. My plan was as following:

  • medieval Hanse cities Stralsund and Rostock
  • coastal landscape of the National Park Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft (in english it is called Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park)
  • the famous Kaiserbaeder (beach resorts) on the Island of Usedom
  • landscape of Usedom
  • picturesque villages

most of it worked quite well, only the villages are left for the next time. I just did not find the right spots!


I was very lucky with the weather on the coast, sometimes 16 hours of sun, hardly any clouds. In the rest of Germany and Europe we had at the same time massive floodings! I even changed my schedule from three days per location to only two days, as the weather was so predictable and stable. I must say it worked, but it drains you much more. Nearly no time to rest, you are either out for photography or you are planning the next days.

This time I do not write lots of text, as I will leave for the Faroer Islands in a couple of days! But the trip deserves to have its own blog!

Nationalpark Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft - coastal landscape

Taking pictures of flat coastal areas is not easy and often results in boring pictures, especially as you have to stay on the tracks in large parts of the NP. Some beaches are accessible, others are closed to visitors.

I tried my best, but eventually always returned to the West Beach. It is pretty and open to visitors for its complete length. It tends to be crammed at the pretty spots and I had to defend my square meter of beach quite often. Other sites are harder to get to and I decided not to cover the denser forests of the NP. All the same I am quite happy with what I managed to get.....

The area on the peninsula of Darss and Fischland is a touristic hot spot, the beaches are developed and the villages are full of hotels and b&b's, it is not an area where you have your beach for yourself!

Stralsund - a Hanse city and UNESCO world heritage site

Stralsund is a very pretty place, full of life and not only focussed on its medieval past, all the same the world heritage status for its old town is well deserved. The harbour front is well developed, the Oceaneum, which would deserve a visit even without the old town, is an archictectural masterpiece! When I was there the annual harbour festival took place, bad for some pictures but good for the atmosphere!

The island of Usedom - German Bäderarchitektur and pretty landscape

Usedom holds the record for hours of sunshine per year in Germany. It is close to Berlin and therefore it is not surprising that it  developed into a prime beach destination many many years ago. Some of the beaches are posh some are more family oriented, everybody will find the right beach! The architecture of the Kaiserbaeder has its unique style and most of the buildings are now listed and used as (expensive) hotels.

Peenemünde is also located on Usedom, it was the place where the first real rockets where developed as weapons of mass destruction before and during the last world war. Some buildings are still there, some are part of a museum and can be visited.

The area behind the beaches is a pretty, rolling landscape with forests and huge fields of grain and canola. There are plenty of things to be seen on Usedom!

The Beaches

The Architecture


Rostock - the next Hanse city

The city of Rostock was my last stop during this trip. Again the old town dates back to the middle ages, as Rostock was an important industrial hub during the last war, it was hit several times by alllied bombing raids, which left vast areas completely distroyed. Most of the city center is beautifully restored and due to Rostock University it is now a young and bustling little city. It is well worth a visit! I enjoyed my days there a lot!

For a change, after the long walks in the city, I wanted to try my luck at a famous beach nearby which is called Geisterwald (Hauted or Ghosts Forest). I was a bit dissapointed, it is no match for the beaches in the National Park on Darss. On the way to the beach I visited the church of the monastery in Bad Doberan, which is very famous and iconic. I did not hear of it until I did my homework for this trip. But this building is something very special. The whole area between Wismar and Usedom was wealthy since the middle ages and therefore it had its share of war and lootings. From the 30 years war to the aftermath of WWII each war left its scars for the past 600 years. This church however was spared and it is one of the only churches where the interior is nearly in its original shape. Amazing!

I rate this trip as a very successfull one, lots of good pictures and I discovered many places I had never been before (for a large part of my life this area was part of the former GDR and therefore hard or impossible to visit...) and which I like a lot. Highly recommended!

Right now I am getting ready for the next trip, this time to the Faroer Islands in the North Atlantic. Next weekend we will fly to Vagar Airport on the Faroer Islands. The Faroer Islands are definitly not a trampled destination.... If you want you can follow me on my facebook pages, I regularly post pictures.

Munich, June 2016

PS there is a new and very, very  exciting workshop on the horizon, check out my workshop pages and forward it to all the people who might be interested!