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    Medieval Gem of Guilds and Marzipan

    Featuring northern Germany’s best-preserved medieval center, Lübeck justifies its UNESCO World Heritage listing. The river surrounding the old town connects it to the historically important trade route of the Baltic Sea, which is why it was the capital of the Hanseatic League of merchant guilds for over 500 years.

    Warehouses from that time still line the waterfront and are now shops, restaurants and bars. Their step gables, and the Gothic spires that dominate them, are best viewed from boat trips around the island. The tallest spires belong to 14th-century St. Mary’s Church, similar in style to the cathedral of the same era.

    However, Lübeck’s icon is the Holstentor, the most impressive remaining city gate which sits on a separate island by a park. This is the first thing most visitors see after arriving at the train station from Lübeck Airport.

    The road through the gate leads to a cobbled square housing the porticoed town hall and part of the annual Christmas markets. Other stalls are in Koberg square, overlooked by Saint Jakobi Church and the medieval Holy Spirit Hospital. Nearby are shops selling the famous Niederegger marzipan founded here, and the former houses of Willy Brandt, Günter Grass and Thomas Mann.

    The Lübeck accommodations on Booking.com include hotels, apartments and guesthouses, most with parking.