The Baltic Sea between Rostock and Stralsund
Formerly, part of the German democratic republic, today a fantastic area for summer holidays – the coast of the Baltic Sea has a lot to offer – long sandy beaches, coastal paths for cycling trips and walking tours, plus cities with cultural highlights. No surprise then that for many years the coast of the Baltic Sea has been one of the top holiday destinations in Germany.
Here you have the chance to explore underwater life. If your kids love to see fish then you have to visit the Meeresmuseum (German Oceanographic Museum). This is a Tropical and Mediterranean sea aquarium with a turtle pool, sharks and rays. Check their website for feeding times, special guided tours for children and family activities. Once a year, kids between 2-6 years old can become turtle researchers or animal care takers.
If you get a combined ticket you can visit the Ozeaneum as well – an underwater journey through the North and the Baltic Seas where you can see penguins swim and dive in their 120,000-litre pool or waddle on their breeding rocks and explore the large open Atlantic tank. There is also a childrens exhibition area and in the 1:1 giants of the sea one gets an amazing impression of the real size of whales, sharks and oarfish. A nice plus for families is that strollers and carriers are available free of charge.
Still on the topic water, the HanseDom is the place where families can take a swim all year round. This is a subtropical paradise with 120 square metres for splashing, sliding, relaxing enjoying the wave pool and the waterfall. They also offer swimming classes for babies and children.
Rostock and Warnemünde
Rostock has a lovely town center with plenty of shops and cafes. Get yourself an ice cream and enjoy the Brunnen der Lebensfreude (University Square) in the city centre which is a pedestrian zone. Take some extra clothes as your children might get wet playing in the fountains! Don’t miss the Rostock Zoo, the largest zoo on the German Baltic Sea coast, you can marvel at 4,000 animals from 380 different species across the world.
Parking tip: August-Bebel-Straße 88, Rostock, Parkhaus Am Gericht
The Rostock Harbour is one of the biggest on the Baltic Sea, the perfect place to stroll around and watch the huge cruise ships starting from here to destinations around the world. Or you can do a harbour tour from Rostock to Warnemünde. Warnemünde is a seaside resort north of Rostock and a great spot to spend a few days. Once it was a small fishing village, nowadays it is more modern but still a cosy place with a lighthouse and a promenade with 5 km of white beach.
The most beautiful beaches at the Baltic sea, in my opinion, are Markgrafenheide, Graal Müritz, Torfbrücke and Neuhaus. However, no matter which spot you chose, the sand is always soft and looks almost white, the water is warmer than you might expect, clean and perfect for young children as there are hardly any waves and the water is shallow. Don’t forget to bring plenty of beach toys. To be protected from the wind it’s advisable to bring a beach tent. As you visit the former DDR, it is still quite ususal to swim and bathe in the sun without any beach clothes, maybe a bit strange for people from other parts of the world but in the area it is completely normal.
On the one hand the area is nicely developed for tourists, on the other hand it is still not too crowded and compared to other destinations is fairly reasonably priced. However, besides in the city centres, you won’t find too many restaurants. It may be difficult to find vegetarian and vegan dishes for example but for all of those who love to eat fish and seafood, you have plenty of options.
More Activities for Kids
Create your own holiday souvenir and make a candle at the Kerzenscheune café: www.kerzenscheune.com
If your kids like adventures, check out Karls Erlebnis-Dorf with indoor and outdoor playgrounds, rides and attractions with a rural theme along with a petting zoo, aquarium, mini golf plus events including a farmer’s market. Get creative: prepare your individual soaps and candys or watch the pros making jam or chocolate. Try some Popcorn, either with strawberry or chocolate flavour or with the famous Baltic sea salt flavour.
Ever wanted to sleep in a tree house? Your dream can come true in the Vogelpark Marlow. Here you can watch birds and monkeys and explore the playgrounds before you climb up into your bed and enjoy the amazing view over the birdpark. Watch out, a curious parrot may come by and have a closer look!
In conclusion, the Baltic Sea is a great family-friendly environment where most activities, attractions and dining are good value for money.
Julia, a native of Bavaria, is founder of the travel blog Travelingkinder