The Hanseatic League.
For 400 years, the Hanseatic League was an association of North German merchants who worked together to ensure a safe passage of their goods and represent their economic interests. However, the Hanseatic League was important not only economically, but also politically and culturally. Although it ceased to exist in the middle of the 17th century, its traces can still be explored by bike or on foot.
Connecting the Hanseatic city of Hamburg with the Polish Hanseatic city of Szczecin, the 550-kilometer-long (342 mile) Hanseatic Trail makes this possible. The NaturFreunde e.V association established this long-distance trail.
This alternative route focuses on my new home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where the Hanseatic Way runs right through the country. You cycle along quiet paths through Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania far away from the big tourist hot spots, which only serve as destinations or starting points for individual Tours. The route is waymarked by the symbol of a white stylized Hanseatic cog (a type of sailing ship of the Hanseatic League) on a black background.
You start from the Priwall Peninsula near the borough of Travemünde in Lübeck and follow the alternative route of the Hanseatic League Trail to the city of Swinoujscie (Polish: Świnoujście). In contrast to the normal course of the Hanseatic Way, you see a little of the Baltic Sea and even ride along it during one stage.
On the individual stages, you can expect brick architecture and manor houses set amongst varied coastal landscapes. Ranging in length from 20 to 35 kilometres (12.4 to 21.7 miles), all stages are ideal for half-day or full-day Tours. Only two stages require you to pedal longer.
You can plan your arrival and departure by train, as each of the stage starting points and destinations is connected to the regional train network. This allows you to travel to and from the start points easily so you can complete several days in a row or just ride individual sections. There are also places to stop off for refreshments on the Tours, at the very least at the start and finish points.
With the exception of the town of Velgast, the destination of stage 7, each starting point and each stage destination offers overnight accommodation. You can find more information about overnight accommodations in Velgast in the respective Tour description.
So now all you have to do is hop on your saddle and follow the cog!
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: November 16, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
The first stage of the Hanseatenweg begins for you on the Priwall, i.e. in Schleswig-Holstein and ends in Grevesmühlen, in the heart of northwest Mecklenburg.
On this route you will discover brick churches that are typical of the Baltic Sea region. During this tour you will drive through the flat, undulating…
On the second stage of the Hanseatenweg you drive through the Klützer Winkel, a part of the district of Northwest Mecklenburg and your destination will be the Hanseatic city of Wismar.
There are a few hills to overcome here, but in return you have the opportunity to look as far as the Baltic Sea.
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On the third stage, you cycle out of the Hanseatic city of Wismar into a rural area of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. On this stage you will experience a unique ship and impressive brick architecture.
You start at the old water gate. From here you drive on the bike path and follow the signs towards the…
In addition to the typical brick churches, a “walking aid” for fish as well as a machine on the roadside, which is somewhat unusual for this region, await you on this stage.
You start your fourth stage at the market in Neubukow. Right around the corner from your starting point is the city church of Neubukow…
On the fifth stage, the Hanseatenweg leads you out of Bad Doberan via villages to the Hanseatic city of Rostock.
You start in the center of Bad Doberan. Molli, the steam train that runs between Kühlungsborn and Bad Doberan, also drives along here.
You drive in a southerly direction and after a few kilometers…
You start the sixth stage in the old town of Rostock, the most populous city in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
First you cycle past the liqueur factory and the Church of St. Petri. Both buildings are of different ages, but what they have in common is the typical brick style.
You leave the Hanseatic city…
On this stage you drive through the Western Pomerania landscape, which consists of wide fields with little trees.
On this route you will not only cross a once historically significant border, but also experience churches and the "white gold".
There are no overnight accommodations at the Velgast destination…
This stage takes you from the small town of Velgast to the large Hanseatic city of Stralsund, which is also known as the “gateway to the island of Rügen”.
On this stage you will pass a brick Gothic church, which is a typical architectural style for the region. At this stage there is also a manor castle…
There is a very important note in advance for this stage. Two large sections of this stage (13 and 25 kilometers) consist of small cobblestone pavement.
If you own a bike with good suspension, this fact won't bother you, everyone else probably won't enjoy these sections as much. Here it is advisable to…
The tenth stage is the last stage on the Western Pomerania mainland before the next and last stage goes to the island of Usedom.
You start in the old town of the university and Hanseatic city of Greifswald. From here it goes directly to the museum harbor. With 50 adjacent ships, it is the largest museum…
Your last stage of the Hanseatenweg starts in the port of Wolgast on the German side, because the destination Swinoujscie (Polish: Świnoujście) is already in Poland.
On this tour you drive from Wolgast to the island of Usedom. There you will find not only well-developed bike paths that make cycling on…
Bike Touring Collection by Johanna
Bike Touring Collection by Tobias
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Hiking Collection by Wagrain Kleinarl