ROSTOCK won’t be high on the list of destinations to see when crafting an itinerary to explore Germany.
But this northern settlement, a stone’s throw from the Baltic coast in what was once East Germany, is a pretty place to spend a day especially for those planning on catching a ferry from nearby Warnemünde across the water to Denmark or Sweden.
I found myself in Rostock during a 13-night cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette with the ship pulling into former industrial centre’s busy port early on the fifth morning of our voyage.
After catching a bus into the heart of town – the local tourism authority schedule coaches to make it easy for ship’s passengers to travel between the wharf and centre of the city – I wandered the pedestrian malls and squares below a blue sky on what was a perfect summer’s day.
I ducked into churches to appreciate the austere architecture, wandered around the market in the town square, drifted through the shops, and enjoyed a scoop of ice cream under the shade of an old tree in the park beside the settlement’s ancient wall.
The streets had the relaxed vibe of a student town, with the settlement home to the one of the oldest university in Europe with the University of Rostock built in 1419, and it was a joy to stroll the streets spying the colourful gabled buildings.
“Rostock was devastated in WWII and later pummelled by socialist architectural ‘ideals’. Its best feature – Warnemünde, which has one of Germany’s most appealing beaches – is 13km northwest, where the Warnow River flows into the Baltic Sea.”
Lonely Planet website