Rostock Travel Guide
Located off the beaten track, Rostock is a hidden gem in Northeastern Germany. Formerly a Hanseatic League city, it boasts iconic churches and old city walls. Among Germans, it is best known for its proximity to some of the country’s best beaches.
If there’s one attraction you mustn’t miss while in Rostock, it’s St. Mary’s Church. Known in German as Marienkirche, it is the oldest surviving church in the city. It opened to the faithful for the first time in 1265. During the Protestant Reformation, it became a Lutheran church.
It has two main features – an astronomical clock and a gigantic pipe organ. The former dates from medieval times, while the latter played its first song in the late 18th century. Get here by Noon – every day at that time, the astronomical clock chimes.
Learn more about the culture and history of Rostock at the Rostock Cultural History Museum. Within this former convent, various exhibits show off the heritage of the city and surrounding area. As you walk through its galleries, you’ll see coins, old children’s toys, antique furniture and artwork.
With regards to foreign tourism, Rostock is off-the-beaten-track. As such, few displays are in English. To reads the captions, bring a German friend, or Google Translate. Admission is free, but to take pictures, you must pay 3 EUR.
As a former port city in the Hanseatic League, Rostock was a target for enemy attack. To protect themselves, officials had City Walls built in the 13th century. They saw action in the 16th century when the Duke of Mecklenburg attacked.
Today, a portion of the wall remains standing. These sections include gate towers, from where soldiers once stood guard. Displays are available in English, making this place accessible to non-German speakers.
Round out your cultural tour of Rostock by checking out Rostock City Hall. Located in the city centre, you can’t miss this brilliant, pink-hued structure. Check out the restaurant within, which serves regional cuisine.
Make time during your stay in the Rostock area for a trip out to Warnemunde. This coastal town lies 10 kilometres away, but it may as well be Rostock’s summer capital. This former fishing village turned Baltic beach hot spot makes an excellent spot to unwind.
When you aren’t working on your tan, check out old fisher huts. When the time comes to eat, try out some local fish dishes. Do note that Warnemunde is one of Europe’s most popular cruise destinations. When boats arrive, this town gets crowded quickly.
Learn about the marine animals that populate the Baltic Sea by visiting the Marine Science Center. Here, marine biologists rehabilitate animals like octopuses, sea lions, and seals. However, they also have visitors from further afield, like penguins.
Try to arrive around feeding time. When the staff feed the seals, it’s a scene that people of all ages will enjoy. Admission is 6.50 EUR per person, so don’t come empty-handed.
If you are travelling as a family, make room in your itinerary for a trip to the Rostock Zoo. Founded at the turn of the 20th century, it has long been a beloved institution. This facility is home to over 4,500 animals representing 320 species.
Be sure to check out Darwineum, its newest attraction. Chronicling the history of evolution, it underlines the miracles that led us to where life is today. This attraction and the entire museum are grand in scale. To do it justice, set aside an entire day.
End your trip with an afternoon/evening on Kropeliner Strasse. This street is where the action happens – from shops to restaurants/bars, you’ll find it here. Fun fact – the old-world architecture was wiped out in WWII. The fact they restored their buildings well so is a testament to local builders.
What To Eat
Rostock food takes its cue from Mecklenburg cuisine. While many dishes/drinks are common throughout the region, Rostocker Pilsener is unique to this city. A light Pilsner with a slight hoppy flavour, locals take pride in this local brew.
If you’re looking for a characteristic meal while in town, try a plate of Birnen, Bohnen und Speck. Translating directly to English as “Pears, Beans, and Bacon”, it is a seasonal dish commonly served in August and September. Despite what you might think, the pear used in this dish has a low sweetness profile. So, give the dish a try.
Finish your day with a serving of Gotterspeise. Known as “traffic light pudding” for its red, amber, and green layers, it gets its hues from food colouring. It comes in cherry, raspberry, and lemon flavours, and is served with whipped cream.