Nestled in the heart of northern Germany, Schwerin emerges as a picturesque town with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. Boasting a captivating blend of medieval charm and modern vibrancy, Schwerin is renowned for its stunning architectural treasures, none more iconic than the fairy-tale Schwerin Castle that graces the shores of Lake Schwerin. As the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, this enchanting town beckons visitors with its cobbled streets, historic buildings, and tranquil lakeside vistas. With a history dating back over a thousand years, Schwerin invites exploration of its cultural institutions, such as the State Museum and the Mecklenburg State Theatre, while providing a welcoming ambiance for those seeking a delightful escape into Germany’s cultural and historical heritage.
With the town being in short proximity to Hamburg and Berlin, it’s definitely worth a visit when traveling between larger cities in the area. Schwerin is not a classic tourist destination and can be a considered a secret tip and off-the-beaten-path place to visit in Germany.
Below we put together a small list of best things to do in Schwerin. The town is actually quite small so you can easily see everything within a day or two.
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Top Things to do in Schwerin
As mentioned above the town of Schwerin is rather small and you can visit all the main places within a day or two. We decided to spend a night here and explore the city on our own pace by foot.
Schwerin Castle (Schloss Schwerin)
At the heart of Schwerin’s allure stands the magnificent Schwerin Castle, a fairytale fortress that captivates visitors with its timeless beauty. Known as the “Neuschwanstein of the North”, the castle is perched on an island in Lake Schwerin, this enchanting palace is a masterpiece of Romantic Historicism, boasting turrets, spires, and ornate facades that reflect in the tranquil waters surrounding it. Originally dating back to the 10th century, the castle has undergone various transformations, evolving into the splendid architectural gem that it is today. Visitors can explore the opulent halls adorned with intricate frescoes, stroll through the meticulously landscaped gardens, and marvel at the panoramic views of the lake from the castle’s towers. Steeped in history and surrounded by a dreamlike setting, Schwerin Castle stands as the undisputed crown jewel of this charming German town, inviting guests to step into a world where fairytales come to life.
Clearly, this is the most iconic and biggest attraction of the town. We have visited many different castles across the country and within Europe but this castle is probably one of the nicest ones we have seen!
Make sure to all enter the castle itself as the interior of it is just as much worth the visit. You can visit the various rooms and get a closed look at some stunning objects that are on display. There is an entry fee of €8.50 (Nov. 2023) for the museum which is also worth to pay. You can also find the Landtag (state assembly) within the castle so you can see a nice mix of modern and new architecture within.
Castle Gardens and Park (Schlossgarten)
In addition to visiting the castle, we also suggest to have a stroll in its surrounding gardens as they are free to enter. Do do not need to enter the castle itself to visit the gardens around. There is a small garden behind the castle with a man-made grotto and a small bridge crossing above the orangery. From here you can enjoy some beautiful views across the surrounding lake.
On the far side of the castle lies the garden (Schlossgarten), which stretches over 25 hectares and is designed in the style of an English garden. Make sure to take your time to discover the different areas of the garden, as its beautifully decorated. We explored the gardens in Autumn/Winter, so there were not many flowers left to see.
Old Town (Altstadt)
Schwerin’s Old Town beckons with an enchanting journey through time, where cobblestone streets and historic architecture tell tales of centuries gone by. Steeped in medieval charm, the Old Town invites visitors to wander through its narrow alleys lined with colorful half-timbered houses, each with its own unique character. The Markt, the central square, serves as a bustling hub surrounded by quaint shops, cafes, and the impressive St. Nicholas’ Church, an architectural gem dating back to the 14th century.
As one explores the Old Town, the Rathaus (City Hall) with its ornate facade and the picturesque Pfaffenteich, a charming pond, add to the town’s allure. With every step, Schwerin’s Old Town unveils a captivating blend of history and contemporary vibrancy, creating an immersive experience that transports visitors to a bygone era while offering the warmth of a modern, welcoming community.
The old town is quite small and can be explored by foot within a short time. It also offers a variety of restaurants, bakeries & shops and you can enjoy a nice stroll around and explore its charm.
Nestled within the heart of Schwerin’s Old Town, the Pfaffenteich adds a tranquil and picturesque touch to the town’s historic landscape. This charming pond, surrounded by weeping willows and serene greenery, provides a peaceful retreat for both locals and visitors alike. The reflections of the nearby St. Nicholas’ Church and the surrounding historic architecture create a postcard-worthy scene. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll along its shores or a moment of quiet contemplation on one of its benches, Pfaffenteich offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Schwerin Cathedral (Schweriner Dom)
The Schweriner Dom, or Schwerin Cathedral, stands as a magnificent testament to centuries of history and architectural prowess in the heart of Schwerin, Germany. Dominating the skyline with its soaring spires, this Gothic masterpiece dates back to the 12th century, showcasing a harmonious blend of Romanesque and Northern German brick Gothic styles.
The cathedral’s interior is adorned with awe-inspiring stained glass windows, intricate sculptures, and a grand altar, offering a glimpse into the religious and artistic heritage of the region. Perched atop a slight hill, the Schweriner Dom commands attention and reverence, inviting visitors to explore its sacred halls and appreciate the spiritual and cultural significance that has endured for generations. As a symbol of Schwerin’s rich history, the cathedral stands not only as a place of worship but also as a living testament to the enduring beauty and grace of medieval architecture.
Where to Eat in Schwerin
Since we just spent roughly two days in the city, we did not have enough time to check all the different restaurants and cafés. Yet, we actually dined in two and can recommend some places that looked good and got good reviews.
Altstadtbrauhaus „Zum Stadtkrug“
A local brewery house with local beer and dishes, the Altstadtbrauhaus is a place to enjoy a big lunch or dinner. The dishes are German dishes (mostly meat, but also a small selection of vegetarian) as well as local specialties.
Another restaurant offering traditional local and national dishes an a cosy environment and biergarden. The Kartoffelhaus Schwerin is a local attraction and is a great place to have a nice lunch or dinner while visiting the city.
A nice breakfast café and bistro offering a variety of breakfast dishes, as well as burgers and soups. Café Lennards can get full of weekends, so it is recommended to make a reservation if you are planning on going then.
The Restaurant Café Prag is situated in one of the most splendid historical townhouses in the city and serves as a popular meeting place to indulge in coffee, cake, or the daily changing lunch menu. The café terrace offers a view of the fairytale castle, the Old Garden, the State Chancellery, and other magnificent buildings in Schwerin. It is a great place to either enjoy some rich breakfast options as well as lunch or cakes.
Café Konditorei & Café Rothe
The Café Rothe is actually most famous for its cakes and dessert options but you can also enjoy a variety of breakfast menus.
Where to Stay in Schwerin
We just spent one night in the city and stayed in a hotel that is located right close to the Altstadt. The hotel is called Boulevard Hotel and offers nice rooms, breakfast options as well as a cooperation(discount) with a close-by parking lot, incase you decide to come to the city with a car.
Overall, we really enjoyed our trip to Schwerin and were fascinated by its Altstadt charm and especially taken away by the beauty of the Schweriner Castle. The town is a perfect getaway from either Hamburg or Berlin. Although its a bit far, it could still be considered as a great day trip option from Berlin.