A Warnemünde day trip may be the unexpected highlight of your summer.
Craving Vitamin Sea? A Warnemünde day trip may just be the answer! I spent 3 years in Germany without knowing that, just 2.5 hours from Berlin, I can get a proper beach experience. Having lived in Australia and grown up partially in the South of France, I’m a little bit of a beach snob. So when I heard Germans praising the Baltic Sea, I kind of shrugged it off.
Until I went on a Warnemünde day trip, almost by accident. I was planning to go to Rostock, and figured I would check out the coastal town, some 20 minutes away by train. Turns out I spent much more time in Warnemünde than Rostock. Here’s why!
Warnemünde history & overview
Warnemünde’s story goes back to the 13th century, but the quiet fishing village only became a sought-after resort town in the 1800s. Aristocrats from across Germany began flocking to the coast for their summer holidays, paving the way for local tourism that even the communist era could not dampen. Today, Warnemünde is still primarily a hotspot for German tourists, although international cruise liners have added this port to their itinerary.
Some people may think cruise stop, and right away, assume the worst. Crowded streets, dirty, touristy, overpriced. But I discovered a stylish, chic village that seems to be a mix of cobblestone lanes, cute beach houses, and cross-streets where locals live, with lots of parks and green spaces.
Maybe because of Corona, or because early June is not yet peak season, the village was relatively quiet. And spotless! I was surprised at just how clean every street was. As always, however, during peak season, I would recommend getting to town as early as possible in the day to avoid said cruise traffic.
What can you do on your Warnemünde day trip?
Go to the beach!
Bring your beach gear and head for the waterfront. If you arrive by train as I did, do not walk towards the water that you see when you get out of the station. This is an industrial port, and the strip of land does not have any bridges, so you’ll have to walk all the way back. Thinking I could wing it without Google Maps, I made this mistake and lost a good half hour! Instead, make sure you cross Bahnhofsbrücke. This is the only bridge connecting the train station to the town and beach. To access the beach, walk through the village towards the lighthouse (this is well-indicated).
Rent an iconic Strandkorb.
Holiday in true German style and hire a Strandkorb, (which literally translates to beach basket). On top of being so cute, these covered boxes protect from the sun without taking away from the view, and provide a seat for the day for about 11€. The Strandkorb was invented in Warnemünde back in the mid-1800s and stuck, now a true part of any Ostsee holiday. These seats can be rented from one of the many stands lining the shore.
Explore the sand dunes.
Yes, real sand dunes make up the easternmost side of the beach, closest to the lighthouse. Dig your toes into the fine white sand and spend as long as you’d like listening to the sound of the waves. The sand dunes are a bit removed from the immediate action-packed waterfront, affording the impression of total privacy.
Go for a walk or bike ride.
Warnemünde is at the edge of a 15 km stretch of white sand, the longest uninterrupted strip in Germany. If you have time, wander as far as your feet can carry you, leaving most holidaymakers and Strandkorb behind. It is also possible to rent a bike in town, although many people choose to bring their own. (Cyclists are welcome on the Deutsche Bahn in certain carriages).
Try a water sport or fly a kite.
Warnemünde is a great spot for water sports of all kinds. Rent a kayak, stand up paddle board, or canoe, and explore the waters close to shore. The wind conditions are also (often) optimal for flying kites and kite surfing.
Insider Tip: If you plan to visit Warnemünde often, you can get a Beach Card (seasonal pass) and receive up to 20% off the price of water sports gear. For more info, take a look at the Paddelcenter’s website (in German).
Go to the spa.
Maybe being active isn’t your goal on holiday. In that case, why not treat yourself to a massage or facial? There are several spas in town, including one in the beachfront Neptun hotel. I did not have enough time to book a spa treatment, but it will be on my list for next time!
Eat a Fischbrötchen.
Warnemünde’s Alter Strom, a man-made strait leading to the open water, is lined by cafes on one side, and boats selling fresh seafood and fish on the other. Soak up the lively port-side atmosphere as you refuel. I love Fischbrötchen in general, but there is something special about eating one so close to the sea.
Tour a cruise ship.
While cruise ship guests disembark to wander around Warnemünde, we have the option to hop aboard and see what cruise life is all about. The major cruise liner AIDA runs half-day tours + lunch on deck. Get a taste for life at sea, and take some pictures of Warnemünde from new angles.
Along the beachfront and in town, Warnemünde boasts its fair share of scenic spots. As you know, I’m an avid Instagrammer, so the next section of this post focuses on picture-taking!
Where to get the best pictures in Warnemünde?
For all of my Instagrammers out there, don’t worry: Warnemünde has many scenic spots. In fact, almost the entire town is Instagram-worthy.
While on my Warnemünde day trip, I got my favourite shots along Alexandrinenstraße. This is one of the oldest streets in town, where houses are a little more than a meter apart, giving way to lanes so narrow you might even miss them.
The original half-timbered houses, once homes to fishermen, have now been refurbished and are usually up for holiday rental. All the same, they retain the character of yesteryear.
If you like colourful buildings and sidewalk dining, Kirchenplatz is lined by shops and cafes and also worth a wander around.
Getting to Warnemünde from Berlin
It is surprisingly easy to get to go on a Warnemünde day trip from Berlin. There is a direct train every couple of hours from Berlin’s central station. What’s more, I stumbled upon a little trick. In Rostock, I switched trains and took the local S-Bahn the last 20 minutes of the way to Warnemünde, saving around 10€ on the total fare. The S-Bahn takes no more time than the ICE for the last leg of the journey.
Is a Warnemünde day trip worth it?
A Warnemünde day trip is worth it, yes! But honestly, it may not be sufficient. In a day, you can pack in 2 or 3 of the above activities, but if you’d like to venture further down the shore, tour a cruise ship or do some water sports, it might be best to book a couple of nights in town. Of course, if you’d just like to bask in the sun and escape the city, a Warnemünde day trip will do the trick – until the seaside calls you back!