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Boasting immense, beautiful beaches, quaint historic neighborhoods, pulsating festivals, and energetic nightlife, the North German port of Rostock is an underrated but rewarding place to visit.
Rostock itself is a busy port, but just a few miles away, you can drive to stunning beaches like Warnemünde on the Baltic coast.
Rostock was a thriving member of the medieval Hanseatic League, and many fine buildings still remain. Don't miss the city walls, the tower of the Petrikirche, and the elegant city hall.
Music fans should schedule their trip to coincide with Rostock Rockt in July, while the Electric Sea Dance Festival is a fantastic event for EDM and electronica fans.
Rostock has some excellent brewers like the Hanseatische Brauerei Rostock and some great pubs like Zur Kogge (the oldest in town). The food's delicious too, featuring simple pork, fish, and potato-based dishes.
Kids and adults alike will adore the petting zoo, strawberry fields, and playgrounds at Karls Erlebnis-Dorf, while Zoo Rostock features over 4,500 animals, so there's no shortage of family activities.
The best time to visit Rostock is probably mid-summer (July through early September), when the beaches are at their best.
Rostock-Laage Airport (RLG) has domestic connections to cities like Berlin and Munich. You can take bus number 127 into town (family tickets for two adults and up to three children cost EUR24.50). Taxis will cost around EUR50.
Rostock is connected to every German city via Hamburg. The journey from Berlin takes just under three hours and costs as little as EUR10.
From Berlin, take the A24, then the A19. From Hamburg, take the A20.
Berlin Linien Bus and Flixbus both run intercity buses into Rostock.
Some of the finest hotels in Rostock include the upmarket Hotel Neptun and the Radisson Blu, which features a rooftop spa facility.
Kröpeliner-Tor-Vorstadt - Kröpeliner-Tor-Vorstadt (KTV) is Rostock's student quarter, and features an endless supply of bars, galleries, and cafes, as well as Rostock's largest theater.
Warnemünde - a few miles north of Rostock, Warnemünde has a seemingly endless beach and is a fine place to swim and sail.
Stadtmitte - Rostock's central neighborhood and home to the city hall, the Petrikirche and many other tourist attractions.
Buses, trains, and ferries make up the Rostock transport network. Day tickets cost EUR5.20.
Expect a meter drop of EUR2.70, followed by between EUR2 and EUR4 per mile, depending on whether you travel during the day or at night.
Car rental companies include Sixt and Enterprise, and rates can be as little as EUR8-10 per day.
The historic center is the best place to shop in Rostock. Check out the amber jewelry at Bernsteinhaus, galleries like Eneos & Friends, or head to the handicraft stores in KTV.
Supermarkets include Netto and Lidl, where 12 eggs will cost around EUR2.50.
Food in Rostock involves high-quality pork schnitzels, fresh fish, and lots of potatoes. Some of the standout eateries in town include the historical Zur Kogge pub, Ursprung (which has a sun terrace), and Weinwirtschaft at the Neuer Markt. Expect good meals to cost about EUR15-25 per person.