What to Do in Lüneburg, the Pearl of North Germany

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Lüneburg is the nicest town in North Germany. Besides, it’s one of the few that wasn’t destroyed during World War II. Thus, you get grand architecture and authenticity. Lüneburg is considered a suburb of Hamburg. Since it’s just 50 km away, you can get there in no time. However, don’t rush and spend at least a night. This Hanseatic League beauty has a lot to offer.

What to do in Lüneburg depends on your interests. The town is an architect’s dream. Since Lüneburg has played an important role in Germany’s history, it attracts history buffs too. Likewise, nature lovers flock to Lüneburg to enjoy nature. Of course, if you want to relax and have a beer, this is your place. Today, Lüneburg is a university town, so the vibe is relaxed and so much fun.

Lüneburg Germany

Spend Some Time in the Old Harbor

The Stintmarkt is the heart of Lüneburg. During the Hanseatic period, the city thrived due to its salt. The salt was used to preserve the herring, a small fish that lives in the North Sea. In 1398 the Stecknitz canal was completed, and the city soon became one of the richest in Europe. Today, restaurants and cafés dot the area. Choose your favorite and enjoy.

We especially like the bridge and the huge Crane next to it. The original crane was built in 1346. The one we see today is from 1797. A technological marvel at that time, it was used to load salt to be exported. Notice the tall water tower to the south, Abtswasserkunst. Just north of the crane, you’ll find the Lüneburg’s nicest park, Bastei. The weeping willows are gorgeous and touch the canal.

Lüneburg Old Harbor

Admire the Impressive City Hall

The grandest building in Lüneburg is the impressive City Hall. The building presides over Marktplatz, a 5-minute walk from the Old Harbor. The City Hall is famous all around Germany. In fact, it’s considered amongst the nicest in the country. You will recognize it from its fabulous baroque façade and tall tower. The tourist office is there.

As you will see, the City Hall is a collection of buildings of different periods. The first-ever meeting took place in the 14th century. Newer but always beautiful structures were added from then on to the Renaissance. Remember that Lüneburg was never bombed. Thus, everything in the City Hall is original! When walking about its halls, you get to experience history. It opens from 9 AM to 6 PM and you can take a guided tour.

Lüneburg City Hall

Wonder about the Main Square

The Am Sande is the biggest plaza in Lüneburg. It’s a minute’s walk from the City Hall. It’s wide and a couple of blocks long, so it looks like a street. Back in the middle ages, it was covered in sand, thus the name. Due to its importance for commerce, it’s always been busy. Today, both locals and tourists flock to the Am Sande to shop, eat, and socialize.

Every house on the plaza is pretty. What we love about the Am Sande square is its authenticity. Unlike other main plazas in Europe, this one is real. You won’t find tourist traps, nor boring franchises here. The shops, cafes, and services that line the plaza are part of the local community. That’s why the atmosphere is so cool. You won’t feel like a tourist here!

Am Sande Main Square

Climb the Water Tower

To enjoy the best views of Lüneburg go to the Water Tower. The huge structure is south of the canal, a 10-minute walk from the crane. No worries, you will see it as you walk: it’s 55 m tall! Renowned German architect Richard Kampf designed the tower in 1905. Completed in 1907, it treated and provided water to the city until 1985. Notice the splendid 16 columns over the reservoir.

To reach the top, you can use the stairs or take the elevator to the 6th floor. It’s only 20 steps from there. Unfortunately, the information in the tower is in German. Not cool! However, the views from the tower will take your breath away. It opens from 10 AM to 6 PM, and the entrance is 5 euros. The tower hosts music concerts and exhibitions so be sure to check all the floors.

Lüneburg Water Tower

Visit the Salt Museum

Lüneburg has the best salt museum in the country. In fact, it is called German Salt Museum. As mentioned, the city owes its past fortunes to the mineral. At one point, it was the biggest producer on the continent. The town produced vast quantities of salt up to 1980. Thus, the museum is not only about salt but also about Lüneburg’s history and the Hanseatic League.

The museum covers every period and displays original machines. There are even mine shafts. Unfortunately, all the information is in German. So not cool. To get there, walk 15 minutes to the south of the Crane. It opens from 9 AM to 5 PM. The entrance ticket is 8 euros. They have tours and audio-guides in English. The combined ticket with the Lüneburg museum is 12 euros.

Lüneburg Salt Museum

Enjoy the Views from Kalkberg Hill

Not everything is architecture and history in the town. Kalkberg Hill is a little piece of heaven just a 20 minute walk from the center of Lüneburg. The green lush mountain is actually a gypsum. Thus the name in German, chalk mountain. Fortunately, the hill was protected as early as 1878. It’s been a protected natural area since 1932. Go in the afternoon to enjoy a memorable sunset and endless views.

To get to the hill, you have to walk east of the town. Begin your walk at the Town Hall and zig-zag discovering beautiful streets. Though the hill is a bit steep, there are clear safe paths all the way to the top. Don’t forget to check the Matthaus-Gemeinde church. There are neither shops nor coffee houses on the hill, so bring your own drink and food. Be sure to take everything back with you!

Kalkberg Hill Views

Explore Lüneburg’s Architecture

The Luneburg Museum is to the south of the canal. The building is new and showcases the natural and cultural history of the area. It opens from 10 AM to 6 PM, and the entrance ticket is 8 euros. Fortunately, this one has information in English! The Pregnant House is a couple of meters from the City Hall, on Waagestrasse. It’s an old brick house with a swollen wall. It’s quite funny, and Germans love it!

St. Johns church towers above Lüneburg’s Am Sande plaza. It’s the tallest building in the center. The first church is from 1308. The one we can see today is the result of constant reconstructions. Go in and admire the massive organ. St. Michaels church is close to Kalkberg Hill. The church dates to the 14th century, and Johan Sebastian Bach played the fantastic organ inside.

Historic Architecture

Discover the Lüneburg Heath

Though not so popular amongst foreign tourists, the Lüneburg Heath is famous all around Germany. In fact, it was the first natural reserve in the country. The park is over 120,000 hectares big and is car-free. There are countless pedestrian and bike paths to explore this natural wonder. There are a couple of eateries within the park. The weather changes a lot, so bring a hat and some warm clothing, even in summer.

The heath gets very crowded in summer. Flocks of people from Hannover, Hamburg, and Bremen visit for day trips. There are frequent trains from these cities. From Lüneburg, the best way to go to the park is by car. It’s only 40 minutes away. Some travel agencies in the town offer guided tours and transportation. Though you can go on your own, perhaps for long and tough treks you should hire a guide.

Lüneburg Heath

Spend the Night in a Historic Hotel

Though hotel prices can be higher than in Hamburg, spending a night in Lüneburg in a historic hotel is totally worth it. Most tourists that visit Lüneburg travel just for the day, so at night you will have it all to yourself. Besides, the city shines in all of its glory at night. We’ve selected two of the best hotels in Lüneburg. Both are on the canal and offer outstanding views. It doesn’t get more authentic than this!

The Bergström Hotel Lüneburg is our favorite. This elegant hotel is a collection of old warehouses refurbished with modern-day conveniences. The huge spa has a sauna and an indoor pool. The DORMERO Hotel Altes Kaufhaus is another refurbished historic beauty. The rooms are super comfortable. Have a drink at the onsite bar, exercise in the full-size gym, and chill in the sauna.

Lüneburg Hotels

How to Get to Lüneburg

There are countless trains from Hamburg to Luneburg. The fastest takes 25 minutes, and the slowest around an hour. Trains depart from Hamburg’s Central Train Station in the heart of the city. There are trains almost all day and night long. No matter where you are staying in Hamburg, it’s a short metro ride to the station. Luneburg’s train station is pretty central, a 2-minute walk from the canal.

You can also go from Hamburg International Airport to Luneburg by train. The train from the airport to Hamburg’s Central Station takes less than half an hour. You have to change trains there. Get the full ticket at the airport, so you don’t waste time. Since the journey is pretty interesting, be sure to grab a window seat.

Lüneburg Old Town

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