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Former royal seats und Hanseatic towns on the Baltic Sea coast
Schwerin Castle, the Neuschwanstein of northern Germany, was the main residence of the Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. This fairytale castle today houses the regional assembly and lies opposite the old quarter of Schwerin, whose magnificent architecture speaks of recent centuries.
Many of the region's palaces and stately homes provide the backdrop for outdoor cultural highlights in summer. There are the operas of the Schwerin Castle theatre festival, Germany's biggest open-air operettas in Neustrelitz Palace Gardens and the 'small festival in the big park' at Ludwigslust to name but a few.
The medieval lanes of the Hanseatic towns and ports are dominated by the same red-brick architecture that typifies the towering Gothic brick churches – the most prominent feature of the skylines. Some of the finest examples of this style can be found in Wismar (UNESCO World Heritage), Rostock, Stralsund (UNESCO World Heritage) and Greifswald. Gabled houses, vast storage houses and magnificent town halls bear witness to the prosperity of the traders and merchants.
Spa resorts of the belle époque
In the 19th century the first chic Baltic resorts emerged alongside the flourishing ports. This development can be traced back to 1793, when Grand Duke Friedrich Franz I took to the water on the white sandy beaches at Heiligendamm to aid his recovery and thus founded the spa culture and Germany's first seaside resort. Today more than 29 such towns are dotted along the coast. Colonial-style 'spa' architecture dominates their seafronts and is particularly prominent in the old imperial resorts of Ahlbeck, Bansin and Heringsdorf. Usedom Island has followed in this great tradition by establishing an unrivalled number of certified wellness hotels.
Three national parks and endless lakes
A great many natural treasures remain untarnished in the north of Germany. The West-Pomeranian Boddenlandschaft National Park, for example, is central Europe's largest resting ground for migrating cranes. Elsewhere, the dazzling chalk cliffs of Jasmund National Park on Rügen Island were immortalised by Caspar David Friedrich in one of his famous paintings. Densely wooded Müritz National Park in the heart of the Mecklenburg lakelands takes its name from the largest lake within Germany. It is also the hub for a network of waterways that fan out in all directions. In the 'Amazon of the North', water sports enthusiasts can hire canoes, sail on Lake Müritz or take a houseboat all the way from Schwerin to Berlin though non-stop waterside scenery.
© Tourismusverband Mecklenburg-Vorpommern e.V.