Things to do in Stralsund

The city’s wealth during the Middle Ages allowed it to create grand buildings, one reason why there are so many things to do in Stralsund these days.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


The best things to do in Stralsund

At times, you'll feel like you're walking through the Middle Ages, and then a moment later you'll be dazzled by a world-class modern museum.

With a wealth of heritage and easy access to some natural wonders, here are my tips for what to do in Stralsund.

The more I travel to cities around the Baltic Sea, the more I stumble across the Hanseatic League.

The first time I encountered the name here in Germany, I didn’t know much about the history. But gradually I’ve learned more about this confederation of market cities in Northern Europe that controlled much of the Baltic Sea trade between the 13th and 15th centuries.

Although it was a relatively loose coalition that ultimately included more than 200 places stretching from modern-day Russia to the Netherlands, some members were more important than others.

Things to do in Stralsund: Harbour

There wasn’t a capital of the Hanseatic League, per se, because each member was independent and just collaborated with the others for mutual benefit. Still, the German city of Lübeck was considered to be the main headquarters of the league. I’ve already written about the best things to do in Lübeck to explore this heritage.

But as time went on, another city emerged as one of the most influential within the Hanseatic League. Can you guess where? Yep, I’m talking about Stralsund.

What to do in Stralsund, Germany

From as early as the 13th century, it was becoming an important trading city on the Baltic Sea. Not only did it have a useful harbour, but its leaders were able to form critical (and often exclusive) commercial partnerships with places like Denmark and Flanders.

Interestingly, as a visitor, you may be able to spot some of the decorations in the churches of Stralsund referencing Norway and Denmark, which are a direct consequence of some of these prosperous trading links.

But it was in the 14th century that Stralsund really came into its own after being a leading force in a war against a coalition of Northern German princes. It became the most important meeting place for the Hanseatic politicians and many of the federation’s councils were held here.

Things to do in Stralsund: Churches

To make the most of the money flowing into the city, and to showcase its prestige to the rest of the world, Stralsund embarked on a construction boom. It built an urban landscape full of grand civic buildings and churches that was the envy of many – even its peers within the Hanseatic League.

When you look at the best things to do in Stralsund these days, you’ll realise that this city centre built in the Middle Ages has been relatively well preserved and is still where the main attractions are now.

Things to see in Stralsund

At the Old Market, you’ll start to see the architectural style for which Stralsund has gained a reputation. But the city’s main churches are probably the highlights, with a particular construction style using fired bricks that has been dubbed ‘Gothic bricks’.

When I arrive in the afternoon, the sunset and the bricks seem to merge together to create a special warmth to the city that is nicely complemented by the cool sea breezes blowing up the streets from the port.

Visiting Stralsund, World Heritage Site, Germany

When Stralsund was added as a World Heritage Site it was as a joint listing with another Hanseatic city, Wismar. Although there are similarities between the two, each city is quite distinct and I would recommend seeing both.

When it comes to visiting Stralsund, it is possible to see all the main sights in a day, but I think an overnight stay is a better way to experience a bit more of the city and enjoy the calmer evenings when the tourist buses leave and the sunset drinks start getting poured.

If you want to get to know Stralsund, I would recommend this excellent and affordable city tour.

There are lots of great things to do in Stralsund – certainly enough to justify your time here – so let’s have a look at some of my top tips.

Old Market

The Old Market is a natural starting point for any trip to Stralsund and is right in the buzzing centre of the city.

Not only is the bustling square picturesque and charming, but it’s also filled with many of Stralsund’s top attractions, making it a must whether you’re a first-time tourist or a returning visitor.

This would have been the centre of commerce during the 14th and 15th centuries, at the height of the Hanseatic League. But even today, the Old Market continues to thrive and a visit here will have you feeling like you’ve travelled back in time.

If you want to hear all the stories about Stralsund from a local, then I would suggest one of these great experiences:

Otherwise, these are some of the highlights to look out for.

Town Hall

The southern side of the Old Market is where you’ll see the famous Stralsund Town Hall, one of the city’s beloved landmarks.

Originally serving as a trading hub for local merchants, the building has been around since the 13th century and was transformed into a magnificent town hall. Today, the building remains the seat of the local government, though it’s perhaps better known for its impressive design.

Visiting Stralsund, World Heritage Site, Germany

Considered by many to be among the most important buildings along the Baltic coast, the town hall has been kept in pristine condition and has undergone restoration projects over the years.

Its gorgeous red-brick, Gothic-style exterior is a sight in itself, though the internal passageways are just as captivating.

St Nicholas’s Church

Alongside the town hall is another of the best things to see in Stralsund, St Nicholas’s Church.

Constructed at the latter end of the 13th century in honour of the patron saint of sailors, it’s undoubtedly the city’s most recognisable and oldest church.

St Nicholas's Church, Stralsund

Between the brick facade, astronomical clock, colourful interior, and stunning organs, it’s easy to see why St Nicholas’s is one of the focal points of the World Heritage Site.

St Nicholas’s Church is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 – 18:00 and Sunday from 13:00 – 17:00.

A standard ticket is €3.


Anyone with a keen interest in architecture can’t miss Wulflamhaus, a Gothic townhouse with a beautiful gabled roof and striking brick columns.

Though most people stop by Wulflamhaus to admire the beauty of the building, I would also suggest heading into this former residence for its slick yet cosy onsite eatery, called Wulflamstuben.

Tons of classic Northern German grub and international favourites make up most of the menu, with everything from pork schnitzel to suckling pig and fresh seafood available.

Wulflamstuben has made quite a name for itself and can get pretty busy, so it’s best to make a reservation if you’re visiting during the busy summer or Christmas season.

More churches

St Nicholas’s is certainly Stralsund’s best-loved church, but don’t skip the other gems dotted throughout the city.

Each of these historic churches has something unique to offer and most of them are just a short walk apart from one another.

St Mary’s Church

This jaw-dropping Lutheran church might just be the most treasured of its kind in Stralsund.

With its soaring bell tower standing over 100 metres high, its ornate organ, and its Gothic design, St Mary’s is a testament to architecture and artistry between the 14th and 17th centuries.

Visiting Stralsund, World Heritage Site, Germany

Be sure to set aside some time to explore the vaults and artworks during your visit. I recommend paying the fee to climb over 350 steps to the observation deck inside the tower.

St Mary’s Church is open daily at these times:
April: 10:00 – 17:00
May to September: 9:30 – 17:30
October: 10:00 – 16:00
November to March: Monday to Friday from 10:00 – 12:00, and 14:00 – 16:00, Saturday from 10:00 – 12:00, Sundays and holidays after the Service approximately from 11:00 to 12:00.

Admission to the St Mary’s Church is free but there’s a fee to climb the observation tower.

St James’s Church

Another church that I really like in Stralsund is St James’s, which happens to be situated along a dividing line that previously separated the old and the new parts of the city.

St James's Church, Stralsund

This eye-catching church is often used for concerts and other live performances, largely due to its excellent acoustics and fabulous interior. Depending on when you visit, you also might be able to catch an exhibit, market, or fair in action here.

Even if no event lines up with your trip, a stop at this Gothic church is a must.

Monastery of the Holy Spirit

Despite its name, the Monastery of the Holy Spirit (Heilgeistkloster) primarily stood as a hospital that tended to the poor and ill members of society. It also became a residential area for elderly locals, who paid a fee to live here during their later years.

Construction began in the second half of the 13th century, though it suffered damage on numerous occasions over the years.

Visiting Stralsund, World Heritage Site, Germany

Today, many of the timber-framed houses and the onsite church remain, and the area is one of the most picture-perfect and peaceful pockets of Stralsund.

Maritime Heritage

As a former Hanseatic League city, Stralsund’s maritime culture is still alive and well, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore this side of the city throughout your trip.

To get the most well-rounded overview of Stralsund, I recommend checking out some of the museums down by the waterfront and hopping on a tour of the harbour.


There’s no better place to kickstart your maritime adventures than at the harbourfront, which is a wonderful place for a leisurely walk.

As you stroll past the numerous boats and vessels that line the marina, the imposing Gorch Fock Ship will surely catch your eye.

Harbourfront, Stralsund

This historical navy ship has been in action since 1958, though the original Gorch Fock was constructed in 1933 and was given to the Soviet Union after the Second World War. It’s now an interesting museum.


Nautineum is a small but fascinating museum that doubles as a research centre.

The exhibition houses an impressive collection of fishing vessels that you could spend hours examining, though it’s the staff that really makes a visit to Nautineum so worthwhile.

Fountains of knowledge and incredibly friendly, the team here will have you up to speed with all of the developments in Stralsund’s fishing industry over the years.

Although there’s no entrance fee, donations are encouraged to keep the museum up and running.

Nautineum is open at these times:
November to April: Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 – 16:00
May, September, October: daily from 10:00 – 17:00
June to August: daily from 10:00 – 18:00

A standard ticket is €8, concession is €6, and children 4-16 years old is €5.

Harbour tour

A harbour tour is one of the best things to do in Stralsund – always enjoyable and informative and a nice break from all the historic buildings.

You’ll have a couple of options to choose from, though many tour companies tend to operate seasonally, typically running excursions from late spring until autumn.

Harbour tour in Stralsund

Explore the enchanting nearby island of Rügen, Germany’s largest island, and admire Stralsund from the water with companies like Weiße Flotte or Poschke, each of which usually runs tours that last around an hour.


Stralsund has a whole host of exciting museums, so much so that you could easily devote days of your trip to checking these spots off your to-do list.

Whether you’re keen to polish up on your local history or uncover some quirky exhibits, Stralsund will have something that fits the bill.

I’ve already mentioned a couple of the museums in Stralsund, but there are a few more of note.


One of the top attractions in Stralsund, Ozeaneum is a world-class aquarium that’s part of the German Oceanographic Museum.

The variety of marine life at Ozeaneum is just astounding, with everything from adorable penguins and majestic nurse sharks, to colourful jellyfish and large schools of fish residing here. Spread out over three floors, Ozeaneum details the extraordinary creatures found in the world’s great oceans and the obstacles they continue to face.

I would recommend booking online to skip the queues if you’re visiting during the summer or at weekends.

Ozeaneum is open at these times:
September to June: Daily from 9:30 – 17:00
July to August: Daily from 9:30 – 19:00
31 December from 9:30 – 15:00
It is closed on 24 December.

A standard ticket is €18, concession is €14, and children 4-16 years old is €8.

Museum House Stralsund

As you’re exploring, you may see some signs for the Stralsund Museum. But it’s actually the overarching name for three separate museums – the Naval Museum (which I’ll mention in a moment), the Katherine Monastery (due to open in 2025), and the Museum House.

Set in the Old Town, the Museum House is a 700-year-old building that has been converted into a display of how things would have been in Stralsund in the Middles Ages and beyond.

There’s an introductory film and then seven floors to look at, full of heritage like the old grocer’s office, generations of murals and wallpaper, original furniture, and a stove that was used right up to the 1970s.

Museum House Stralsund is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 – 17:00 and closed on 24 and 31 December.

A standard ticket is €5 and concession is 2.50.

Naval Museum

Another part of the Stralsund Museum, the Naval Museum, is on the small island of Dänholm, just outside the city centre.

The indoor collection has original objects like uniforms, weapons, and equipment, while the outdoor part of the museum has larger pieces of hardware like a bright blue naval helicopter.

It was here on this island that the Prussian Navy was born, so it’s a significant site and much of the exhibition of the Naval Museum reflects. that. It’s one of the few places on the Baltic Sea where you can see original fortifications from the imperial era.

Naval Museum is open from May to October, Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 – 17:00.

A standard ticket is €6 and concession is €3.

Other museums

As well as the main museums I’ve mentioned, there are a few smaller museums that could be of interest.

  • Playing Card Factory: If you’re looking for something a little different, pay a visit to the Playing Card Factory, an old printery that was the largest producer of game cards for decades. Nowadays, the workshop is still in operation, and guests are invited to see the behind-the-scenes process of card manufacturing.
  • DDR Miniatur Fahrzeug Museum: Another lovely little exhibit to explore is the DDR Miniatur Fahrzeug Museum. The little ones will love the displays here, which feature miniature versions of old-school East German vehicles inside a model of a typical local town.

Food and drink

There’s no better way to get a sense of the culture of a new destination than to sample some local delicacies.

As delicious as German classics like currywurst, schnitzel, and sauerbraten are, Stralsund and its northern German neighbours also have some of their own regional dishes to munch on.


Fischbrötchen is a staple in cities and towns along the coast of the Baltic and North Seas and is one dish you absolutely have to try while you’re in town.

Though they can vary slightly depending on the restaurant or locality, fischbrötchen usually consists of a piece of breaded or grilled fish, pickles, onions, and sauces sandwiched in a fresh bread roll or burger bun. Herring is typically the fish of choice, though you might stumble upon salmon, cod, or seabass varieties.

These tasty sandwiches are available all over Stralsund but are particularly popular around the harbourfront.

Local food

If you’ve already tried fischbrötchen and are keen to branch out further during your trip, there are plenty more local dishes that might be to your liking.

Although sausages are beloved in just about every corner of Germany, teewurst is the variety of choice for many in West Pomerania, the region in which Stralsund is situated. This air-dried beef and pork sausage is soft and easy to spread, making it a flavourful addition to crackers or sandwiches.

Food in Stralsund, Germany

Some other classics from Northern Germany to look out for include sweet pastries like franzbrötchen and braunschweiger, a smoked sausage made from liver.


With its worldwide reputation as a top-tier beer producer, it’s hard to imagine visiting Germany and not indulging in some local beer during your stay.

Stortebeker Braumanufaktur is Stralsund’s very own brewery and the only one in the city. Carefully crafted brews have been supplied by Stortebeker Braumanufaktur for almost 200 years, with Stralsunder Pils being the company’s best-loved creation.

Anyone hoping to test out a wider range of North German beers should add favourites like Beck’s or head to local craft beer bars for some lesser-known gems.

Day trips

If you have more than a few days to spend here, I would highly recommend venturing a little out of the city and embarking on one of the many day trips from Stralsund that go to places within easy reach of the centre.

The natural beauty surrounding Stralsund is incredibly underrated, and each of these destinations is perfect for when you fancy a change from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Just one look at Rügen, and you’ll quickly understand why this idyllic island is among Germany’s most visited hotspots.

Thanks to its pristine beaches, white chalk cliffs, and dazzling blue waters, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Rügen was an isolated paradise. In reality, it’s just a 20-minute drive from Stralsund!

Jasmund National Park, Ancient Beech Forests of Germany

There are a ton of things to see and do here for any and every age, including Jasmund National Park, beaches like Binzer Strand, and the historic Granitz Hunting Castle.


Just west of Rügen is the significantly smaller island of Hiddensee, which is much more untouched than its neighbour.

Hiddensee is a car-free island, but there’s an electric bus connecting the northern and southern villages. However, I think that there’s no better way to explore Hiddensee than by renting a bike, as you can soak up the rugged beaches and landmarks like the Dornbusch at your own pace.

The only way to reach Hiddensee is by boat, and you’ll have the choice between getting the two-hour ferry from Stralsund or first heading to Rügen and catching a boat from the north of the island.

Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park

Around an hour west of Stralsund is Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, a magnificent park consisting of numerous peninsulas and lagoons.

You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do here, as you’ll have secluded beaches to wander, sand dunes to climb, wildlife to spot, and hiking trails to tackle.

To maximise your time here, I recommend setting off early and giving yourself ample time to explore as much of the park as you can. There aren’t any public transport links that’ll take you to the park, so hiring a car is your best bet.


If you can, stay in the old part of town to make the most of Stralsund’s heritage.


Right on the harbour, Hiddenseer Hotel has large clean rooms beyond its historic facade.


For a bit more space, including a kitchen, Aparthotel an Sankt Marien has lovely apartments with a heritage twist.


The funky design of maakt Hotel is just one of the wonderful things about this cool and friendly accommodation.


Part of the World Heritage Site, Romantik Hotel Scheelehof is probably the nicest property in Stralsund.

Time Travel Turtle was supported by DB Bahn, the German National Tourist Board and Youth Hostels in Germany but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.


This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

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