15 Things to Do in Schwerin, Germany

Schwerin Castle with water color frame

Places like Schwerin in Germany feature remarkable spots that you need to include in your travel bucket list all in one compact location. There’s a stunning castle, multiple lakes, a city mascot that is a ghost, grand theatre productions as well as Dragon boat races.

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15 Things to Do in Schwerin, Germany

What’s not to love? So check out my recommendations on the best things to do in Schwerin, Mecklenburg Pomerania, to get an idea on why you should visit Schwerin.

Ask non-locals about Germany and the initial things that come to mind are castles, fairy tales and Oktoberfest. The central European country boasts loads of stunning structures and scenic landscapes, constantly pulling in tourists from the world over by the droves every year.

So if you want to try a different, lesser frequented destination with glorious views, quiet nights and easy access to surrounding Baltic towns and Sea, plan a trip to Schwerin in Mecklemburg Pommerania.

1. Marvel at the storied architecture of Schwerin Cathedral

One of the most striking religious edifices in the region is a Roman Catholic cathedral established in the year 1172. Legend has it that upon returning from the Crusades in 1222, Count Henry of Schwerin carried with him a jewel with a drop of blood coming from Christ.

This jewel is now housed within the cathedral. It’s super centrally located and even if you are not religious, it’s an impressive architectural landmark that deserves to be explored up close. So step in!

2. Admire world-renowned art pieces in the Staatliches Museum

A visit to Schwerin, Germany is not complete without a visit to the state’s own museums and galleries. Also known as the State Museum Schwerin, the place is home to one of painter and sculptor Marcel Duchamp’s popular collections.

The gallery and museum also present essential medieval art like the Neustadt Altarpiece and lots of interesting Dutch and Flemish pieces.

3. Enjoy German tea time

In Germany, we have this habit (especially on the weekends) of doing “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake). About 3-4pm, we Germans love to do some socialising/meeting with friends and family over shared slices of cake (from the bakery or self made) and freshly brewed coffee. There are plenty of bakeries everywhere for takeouts.

So, take a brief respite with some local pastry on hand and relax by the banks and trees of the Pfaffenteich, a 12-hectare pond with a clear view of the Neo-Gothic Arsenal. You can easily round it on foot or take the local ferry boat for a super quick transfer from shore to shore.

The southern part is the best spot for hanging out on the stone steps overlooking the water and watching white swans gather. This is also a great place to watch the popular Dragon Race during summer.

4. Discover what it feels like to be royalty in Schwerin Castle

Include these top attractions on your Schwerin Germany things to do list and you get two in one: Schwerin Castle and Lake Schwerin.

Fun fact: it served as the filming location for die GDR movie adaptation of the The Goose-Girl at the Well from 1979. In 2007, it was also featured in the Hollywood movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle as a Swedish royal residence.

Explore and take in the noteworthy and stunning environs of this famed Neo-Renaissance German chateau which is located on an island in the lake itself. The palace boasts of intricately-designed rooms and out of doors, sumptuous, lush gardens.

Now the seat of the state parliament, you can still enter some of its rooms and even the rooftops through guided tours. Walking around the gardens and orangery is free and a definite must see in Schwerin.

5. Stroll through royal gardens

While you’re on the castle grounds, do definitely walk from the castle island onto the park landscape. It has been beautifully preserved and is still well maintained. Walk along the small canal system, crossing iron wrought bridges and sitting on benches underneath old and trees.

I especially enjoy checking out the air roots of the swamp cypress trees. The parks were the setting of the Federal Garden Show in 2009 (Bundesgartenschau), which is a major deal in Germany. The white archways and steps facing the castle are stylish remnants of that.

In summer, the shady rose walks surrounding the statue of King Friedrich Franz II and the rose beds of Queen Alexandria are especially pretty. Walk up the hill past the open air stage to get a clear view over the gardens all the way to Schwerin Castle.

6. Roam the Schelfstadt quarter

Located between lakes Pfaffenteich and Ziegelsee, this neighbourhood teems with traveller eye candy. Picture charming traditional timer homes, waterfront scenes, local handicraft selections, specialty stores and boutiques. This is quintessential Baltic Germany.

Amble among  these cobblestone streets and then step into the red-brick church Schelfkirche. Inside, you can see a giant painting of Martin Luther and there are a lot of live events and concerts held here as well. Artists who have performed here include Paul Potts and Vicky Leandros.

7. See performances at the Mecklenburg State Theatre

Speaking of live performances, there is always something going on in Schwerin, Germany. The main productions are hosted by the Mecklenburg State Theatre. The company is busy all year long, tending and producing plenty of plays, musical theatre shows, live concerts and ballet recitals.

One of the biggest festivities that the theatre offers is the annual Castle Festival (Schlossfestspiele), which is a celebration of the world’s finest operas. Each year you can attend a different production with an open air stage set up in front of the theatre and castle, which are beautifully illuminated at night. The setting is seriously stunning!

If the weather is terribly dreadful and the play gets cancelled, you get your money back. That is, it’s already 30 minutes into the play. So check the weather forecast.

8. Buy local handcrafted items

Buying souvenirs to memorialise your journeys is a must for seasoned travellers. For the best in handmade Schwerin-based crafts, a visit to the market called Handgemacht-Markt should be on your list.

The market square features four buildings and includes houses erected after the war, each showing off striking Baroque and Renaissance influences. This is the ideal setting to stock up on unique souvenirs and support local artists.

9. See the controversial Henry the Lion Monument

The Löwendenkmal is a column right in the middle of the square with a fierce lion on top, its sides etched with people and horses showing off their bare behinds at a ruler they’re not really fond of. Such is the legend of Heinrich the Lion, the city’s founding father.

The statue was erected in 1995 to commemorate the 800th death anniversary of the founder. You cannot miss it as it is right across the town hall, on the market with the cathedral of Schwerin as its backdrop. It’s one of the most instagrammable spots in Schwerin.

10. Animal Markets

Schwerin used to be a major trading place for the region and as such, had a lot of specific markets. The names of a bunch of squares still reflect that and to make it even clearer, statues have been placed as well.
For one, there is the Ox Market with the iconic ox fountain right behind the town hall. (Go through the arched passageway). There’s even a song/poem made about the market in the local dialect.

Then, there’s the Pig Market at the northeastern end of the Pfaffenteich lake. While the market isn’t a stunning Schwerin sight as such, the cute little Baltic style houses with the picturesque flowers growing along the facades certainly are super pretty.

11. Concert Watching

Schwerin being the capital of Mecklemburg Pommerania, there are plenty of events and festivals going on. This includes concerts, which you should keep an eye on at the official event calendar (only in German tho).

12. Seven Lakes Boating

The region is known as the seven lakes plateau (Siebenseenplatte) and the name says it all. There are seven beautiful lakes that invite for nature strolls, bike tours, boat cruises and beach days. There are various easy hiking trails abound. (The North is generally without mountains, so no need to pack climbing shoes).

13. Geocaching

A unique way to see the main sights in Schwerin is by geocaching. You can rent a gadget at the tourist information and it contains different walks with different lengths and topics. Maybe you want to see the typical tourist attractions in Schwerin. Or you would love to hear the kids version with local tales.

14. Ride on the Petermännchen Train

I hinted at the beloved city ghost earlier and it’s about time I told you more about him. There are many local tales because he is still sticking around. He’s been both a prankster as well as a do-gooder and is an essential part of the local lore.

He is said to reside at the palace and if you see and help him, he will be very generous. For instance, a local goose maid once offered him food and shelter – when he was in disguise – and the next morning, she was awarded lots of gold.

The Petermännchen is of diminuitive size and is depicted as having a childlike temperament (unless you anger him). You can see his illustration on postcards and particularly on the Petermännchen train. That’s the city’s tourist transport to the main sights in Schwerin and you get to conveniently see the city centre in a traditional wheely train. Book your ticket at the tourist information, which is right by the market place.

15. Island Hopping

Since there are so many lakes around, a highly popular way to explore Schwerin and the region is by boat. There are different boat cruises in Schwerin, some including dinner or afternoon dining options.

Alternatively, you can take the ferry to Kanninchenwerda for a nice outing in nature but close to the city centre. Locals love to swim and sunbathe here.

Quick Schwerin Q&A

What is the best time to visit Schwerin?

The climate around the area is warm and temperate throughout the year. Being so close to the sea, a stiff breeze is rather common, so do have jacket on you any season.

If you want to take an unruffled trip all over the capital city of Mecklenburg Pommerania, book your visit for July. It’s warm, sunny and not too crowded but also not too quiet either. It’s also a high season for local events.

Keep in mind though that Schwerin experiences plenty of rainfall even during the dry months. Bring a sturdy umbrella with you just to make sure. And with the many cobblestone streets, wear comfortable walking shoes.

Oh, and put on insect repellent. There are a lot of water bodies and the tiny but annoying mosquitoes thrive here.

What’s the main appeal of Schwerin?

Schwerin is a major draw for the German state’s tourism because of it being so walkable and photogenic. Despite its small size, there are a lot of cultural events happening and things to see in Schwerin. Plus, it’s rather quiet at night and doesn’t draw the crowds yet. In short, it makes for a relaxed trip.

15 Things to Do in Schwerin, Germany

How do you pronounce Schwerin?

This might be a bit tricky, but let’s try. Start with the sound for shhh (for shushing someone), combine it with wear and een and you should have it. The last syllable is stressed a little.

How to get to and around Schwerin?

It being a capital city in Germany, you can easily reach it via train. There are direct connections from Hamburg and Berlin and they take under two hours. And are most likely part of your Germany trip already.

The train station is a 15 minute walk away from the centre and Pfaffenteich, where local hotels are located as well. You can download the city map here and the offical city guide here.

Throughout the city, you can take advantage of the local tram network, which takes you around easily. There are also ferries on the lakes to take relaxed cruises past the many islands and across various lakes in one go.

Where to stay in Schwerin?

So these are my suggestions that you can put on a nice Schwerin Germany things to do list. Do you have other places that you can recommend? Maybe out-of-the-way ones? Let’s have a chat in the comments below.

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