Overlooking the Baltic Sea opposite the island of Fehmarn, Heiligenhafen is a traditional fishing town in Germany’s far north. It centres around a lively marina and architecturally impressive pier, which traverses the sands of Heiligenhafen’s main beach. The town is renowned for its 10-day harbour festival known as Hafenfest Tage, which is celebrated each summer.
Things to do in Heiligenhafen
Take a step back in time at the Heimatmuseum Heiligenhafen, which occupies a beautifully restored Art Nouveau building that once served as a municipal bank. Learn about the city’s seafaring and fishing industries, as well as its links to Theodor Storm’s novella “Hans and Heinz Kirch”, with plenty of hands-on activities to keep kids entertained.
One of Heiligenhafen’s most striking landmarks is its newly-built pier, which has been designed with innovative benches and a water play area for kids. Admire the sweeping ocean views, then relax on the adjacent beach or learn to sail with a local water sports school. Feeling hungry? There are several restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat, including Deck 7 - Gastronomie, which offers beachside dining with your feet in the sand.
A short drive east of Heiligenhafen is the NABU-Naturzentrum Graswarder, a hook-shaped spit that provides an important resting point for migratory bird species. Its salt marshes, dunes and ridges are home to one of the largest gull colonies in the Baltic Sea region, as well as a striking wooden observation tower designed by the Latvian-born architect Meinhard von Gerkan.
Getting around Heiligenhafen
Heiligenhafen is an hour’s drive from Lübeck and around 1.5 hours from both Hamburg and Hamburg Airport. Buses travel throughout Heiligenhafen and connect to the surrounding towns and villages while the centre is compact enough to explore on foot.