The Television Tower Berlin
05 January 2015

Where East meets West Road Trip

There aren’t many places in Europe, let alone Germany, that can outdo Berlin and Hamburg in the history and culture stakes. But this 230-mile, four-and-a-half hour road trip between the two is about more than exploring big cities. It also stops off at charming (but lesser-visited) settlements such as Schwerin and Ludwigslust, giving an overall flavour of the country’s north. Expect landscaped parks, fairy-tale castles and a healthy dose of late-winter atmosphere. On a historical note, most of the trip’s calling points are in former East Germany.

Banner Image Credit: TheMM

  • Berlin

    There’s debatably no city on the continent more fashionable than Berlin. Alongside its art and nightlife scenes, however, it remains somewhat shaped by its past. From the Brandenburg Gate to the East Side Gallery, it’s a city full of era-spanning sights. Browse the Sunday flea market in Mauerpark – once part of the Berlin Wall – or take time for reflection at the Holocaust Memorial. Architectural differences between East and West Berlin are still apparent. In the east, visit Capitain Petzel, a harsh Soviet-era building reinvented as an art gallery. In the west, join New Year shoppers on tree-lined Kurfürstendamm. The road out of town leads first to Potsdam which is 45 minutes away.

     Image Credit: aj82

    From 05/01/2015

    Berlin Cathedral, Berliner Dom
  • Potsdam

    Famed as the home of Frederick the Great’s eighteenth-century Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam is the state capital of Brandenburg and has featured prominently in national life for close to a millennium. Despite being so close to West Berlin, Potsdam was isolated from this half of the city by the Wall. Don’t miss the city’s Glienicke Bridge, which was used to exchange captured Cold War spies. Back on the road, no car-rental trip in Germany would be complete without a decent stint on an autobahn, and Ludwigslust sits two hours away to the north.

     Image Credit: Nigel’s Europe & beyond

    From 05/01/2015

    The Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam
  • Ludwigslust

    Ludwigslust has pedigree of its own. Prince Ludwig, son of the local duke, had a hunting lodge here in the 1700s and adored the area – hence, “Ludwig’s lust”. It went on to become a regional power base and retains much of its baroque architecture, including a large palace. Cycling is an option for seeing the town’s points of interest, although some cosy torte-stocked cafés give reason to take things easy too. The route travels next to nearby Schwerin, which rose to 19th-century prominence at the expense of Ludwigslust.

     Image Credit: az1172

    From 05/01/2015

    Schloss Ludwigslust, Germany
  • Schwerin

    Surrounded by water and boasting an island-perched castle, Schwerin makes for a memorable stop. It’s not a large city by any means, but its size only highlights a dreamy location among the lakes of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. From April onwards you can take a lake cruise – earlier on in the year you can enjoy a winter walk around the water’s edge. Crossing into former West Germany, Hamburg sits a mere 70 miles away.

    Image Credit: enovision.net

    From 05/01/2015

    Schwerin Castle
  • Hamburg

    Hamburg is one of the world’s great port cities. Germany’s second-largest metropolis has been hugely important from the Middle Ages onwards, thanks largely to a location on the River Elbe. It’s full of contrast and still feels like somewhere that matters. Well-heeled neighbourhoods and soaring church towers share map space with dockside fish markets and the Reeperbahn red light district, where The Beatles sought their fortune. Among it all, the city remains a vibrant visitor destination, with its multicultural population giving it a world-class food scene. Try the two Michelin-starred Haerlin, overlooking the Inner Alster Lake.

    Image Credit: NicosFotos

    From 05/01/2015

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