No other federal state has as much water as Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Baltic Sea waves wash around the coast and the islands in the north. The south is characterized by rivers and lakes. As if made for a holiday landscape!
Stroll without limits
The seaside health resort of Ahlbeck is one of the three so-called imperial spas on the island of Usedom, where the German Emperor Wilhelm II sat in a beach chair. Past the historic pier, Europe’s longest beach promenade, at twelve kilometers, leads to Heringsdorf, Bansin and also east across the border to the seaside resort of Świnoujście (Swinemünde) in Poland.
Scene of the story
At the northern tip of Usedom, in Peenemünde, the Nazis were researching new weapons. In October 1942, a rocket was launched into space for the first time in the world. It was less about technology and more about destruction. Thousands of concentration camp prisoners lost their lives simply because of the inhumane production conditions of the weapon known as the “V2”. The Historical-Technical Museum provides information about this today.
As on Usedom, hotels and villas in the spa architecture style also adorn the health resorts on the island of Rügen. Germany’s largest island was already a popular holiday destination for high society in the 19th century. In the seaside resort of Binz, numerous white facades with extravagant stucco and filigree carved wooden balconies shine today. This also pleases modern tourists.
Shining on the sound
Hanseatic cities like Stralsund stand for the maritime tradition of seafaring and trade. The old town with the shimmering red brick churches has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002. In front of it swings the Ozeaneum in white, a showroom for the world’s oceans. Sailing enthusiasts start from Stralsund to the islands of Rügen and Hiddensee.
Inspiration for artists
The Fischland-Darß peninsula is a narrow strip of land in the Baltic Sea. Artists founded a colony in the fishing village of Ahrenshoop more than 100 years ago. Painting in the open air was just becoming fashionable in Europe’s young art scene at the time. The painters captured motifs from nature, lighting moods and their spontaneous feelings on canvas as snapshots.
The Mecklenburg Lake District stretches just an hour south of the Baltic Sea coast. The region with Germany’s largest inland lake Müritz is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. Boat trips and bus tours to the Müritz National Park start in the town of Waren. Water hikers can sail as far as Berlin or Hamburg.
The Müritz National Park is home to over 700 species of ferns and flowering plants and around 800 species of butterflies and 43 species of dragonflies. The sanctuary is famous for its white-tailed eagles and osprey. Thousands of cranes rest here in spring and autumn. Visitors can discover unspoilt nature on a paddling tour in a canoe.
For generations, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has been Germany’s granary. In the flat, sparsely populated areas, agricultural use dominates. Hundreds of old manor houses, which often have the character of a castle, bear witness to this. Previously mostly owned by Mecklenburg noble families, many now serve as comfortable holiday homes.
Horses have been bred in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania since the 12th century. Well-known stud farms are in Redefin and Ganschow. Europe’s first racecourse was opened in Bad Doberan in 1823. Everywhere in the country, horse fans will find riding stables for holidays with their own horse or a well-trained rental horse. From October to Easter they are even allowed to ride on the beaches of the Baltic Sea.
In the 19th century, the Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania built a magnificent residence in Schwerin, today’s state capital. The democratically elected state parliament has had its seat in the feudal complex since 1990. The picturesque location on an island makes the castle an unmistakable landmark of the city.