Rostock is the largest city in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, though not its capital. It is a hub for Baltic Sea ferries, Germany's largest port for cruise ships by number of boardings and pleasant enough for a longer stay mostly due to its Hanseatic heritage.
Rostock stretches along the Warnow River estuary up to the Baltic Sea, with Warnemünde (literally "mouth of the Warnow" - analogous to Travemünde in Lübeck) district being a popular seaside resort and long the main port of Rostock. Rostock was an important member of the Hanseatic League, and one of the most important ports of the GDR (East Germany). Until the collapse of the East German economy in 1989/90 Rostock was a major center for shipbuilding and a few shipyards still remain, despite their economic woes. Rostock Warnemünde harbour was the main base of the East German fishery fleet. Warnemünde port remains one of the more important German ports for Baltic Sea Ferries as well as Germany's most important port for cruise ships.
- 1 Tourist Information City Center, Universitätsplatz 6 (Barocksaal), ☏ , email@example.com. May-Oct: M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-15:00; Nov-Apr: M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-15:00, Su closed.
- 1 Rostock–Laage Airport (RLG IATA) (20 km south of Rostock). There are shuttle buses from the airport to town but no rail connection. There are charter flights from destinations in Antalya and Heraklion with Corendon Airlines.
- 2 Rostock Central Station (Rostock Hbf). From Hamburg Central Station you can take one of 16 trains a day to Rostock 1 hr 50 min to 2½ hours. If you buy a Mecklenburg-Vorpommern-Ticket for €22-38, you can travel with up to 5 people from Hamburg to Rostock. From Leipzig and Berlin Central Station, Deutsche Bahn runs numerous connections each day. There are a couple of ICE trains a day from places as far away as Munich.
From Hamburg take the motorway A1 to Lübeck and from there take the A20 to Rostock. It's a 2-hour trip. If starting in Berlin you have to drive along the A24 in the direction of Hamburg until the A19 is crossing the motorway. Following the A19 you reach Rostock. It's a trip of 2½ hours.
- 3 Intercity bus station Rostock (ZOB).
- 4 Intercity bus stop Warnemünde Werft. It's near the centre of Warnemünde
- 5 Intercity bus station Warnemünde Strand. It's at the beach.
There are numerous domestic and international bus connections to Rostock; Flixbus being the major operator. Most long distance buses arrive at the central bus station (ZOB) next to the central train station, but some call at the ferry terminal.
Rostock is one of the hubs for Baltic Sea ferries in Germany. And the busiest German port for cruises.
There is a ferry from Gedser in Denmark every second hour with Scandlines. This connection covers a rather short stretch on the sea and has been suggested as an alternative to the Fehmarn Belt fixed link that is being built to link Putgarden (on Fehmarn) and Rødby by road and rail. Ferries from Trelleborg in Sweden have up to 6 departures per day with Stena Line[dead link] or TT-Line[dead link]. All Baltic Sea ferries arrive at the ferry terminal on the eastern side of the Warnow River.
Buses call frequently at the ferry terminal (Rostock Seehafen Fähre), linking to Dierkower Kreuz tram hub or Lütten Klein urban railway (S-Bahn) station. A taxi ride downtown will cost you around €25 (Aug 2021).
Most cruise ships approaching Rostock call at the passenger terminal in Warnemünde. Urban railway (S-Bahn) trains to the central train station and some long distance train services depart right adjacent from Warnemünde station.
The Berlin-Copenhagen Cycle Route passes through Rostock.
By public transport
Public transport (bus, tram, ferry, train, etc.) in Rostock is part of the Verkehrsverbund Warnow (VVW), the traffic association which provides a common ticketing and integrated transport system in the surrounding area.
Rostock features a good inner-city tramway system. A bus system serves other locations.
The following tickets are available for transportation within the fare zone of Rostock (which includes Warnemünde), as of October 2023:
- Single ticket: adults €2.80, reduced €2.10
- Single ticket (ferry): adults €1.90, reduced €1.20
- Single ticket (bicycle): €2.00
- Day ticket: adults €7.10, reduced €5.40
- Day ticket (bicycle): €4.40
- Day ticket (groups): €20.00 for up to 5 people
Single tickets can be used for a one-way trip and you can switch between modes of transportation. Day tickets are valid until 03:00 the next day.
- 1 Warnemünde beach. Visit the sandy 3-km beach at Warnemünde in the north. Go swimming there, if the weather is warm enough.
- 2 Petrikirche (St. Peter's Church). Open from 10:00, closing time depends on the season (16:00 in winter, 18:00 May - Sep - consult website if unsure). Petrikirche boasts the tallest tower of the three remaining churches within the old town. The church itself can be visited for free (open daily, mind the Sunday service 11:00-12:00), but there is a small admission fee for the tower (€3, €2 reduced fee, family ticket €6). Climbing the steep spiral stairs is fun and a good exercise! There is also a barrier-free option: the parish has had the original bell shaft replaced by a lift which brings you up to the lower of the 2 platforms. Both offer good views over town, river and harbour. Many guided tours of Rostock also start in front of the church. The parish has installed what is probably the only free public toilet in the old town (although it might be a nice idea to put some coins into the collection column inside the church), also barrier-free and accessible from the outside, to the left of the main entrance.
- 3 Zoo, 18059 Rostock, Barnstorfer Ring.
- 4 Warnemünde Lighthouse (near the beach promenade). Built in 1897 and still in use. The view from the high tower provides an impressive view of the Baltic Sea and nearby Rostock region.
- 5 The Teapot (Teepott). Another famous landmark of the Warnemünde beach. It has a curved roof and is an interesting example of East German architecture.
- The Alter Strom canal area in Warnemünde boasts restaurants, pubs, and a fish market.
- 6 St. Mary's Church Rostock (Marienkirche). The greatest church of Rostock, a huge brick Gothic church, built from the 13th-15th century with an astronomical clock of 1472 and fine historical altars.
- 7 Gespensterwald (Ghost Forest of Nienhagen). An eerie seaside forest near Nienhagen.
- 1 Stadthalle Rostock. The Stadthalle Rostock has many shows and music events.
- 2 Hansa Rostock, Ostseestadion, Kopernikusstraße. They play soccer in 2. Bundesliga, Germany's second tier. The stadium has a capacity of 29,000.
- KTV. The Kröpeliner-Tor-Vorstadt (KTV, "Kröpelin Gate Suburb") was the first part of Rostock built outside the medieval city walls, in the 2nd half of the 19th century. It was designed to house workers flocking to the newly industrialised town. Today's KTV is one of the most popular residential areas, especially with students and artists. It is here that you will find the highest density of bars, cafes and small shops selling handicraft or organic food. To get to KTV from Rostock's main shopping street (Kröpeliner Straße), follow it all the way to the west, passing Kröpelin Gate and crossing the tram lines. Everything in front of you now is already part of KTV. Check out the Doberaner Platz, where most tram lines stop, where the best Döner Kebab is sold, and where everyone seems to meet before a pub crawl with friends.
- Harbour cruise on the Warnow river.
- Stadtmauer (city walls). While much of Rostock's fortifications were removed on the "sea"side (towards the river Warnow), a large part of the city wall remains on the "land" side and is certainly worth a visit. You will encounter the three remaining gates, Kröpeliner Tor, Steintor (stone gate) and the oldest, Kuhtor (cow gate). Guided tours (some of them by a guide dressed up as a medieval night-watchman) are available and recommended for anyone interested in the history of the town. They can be booked under the stated link or in the tourist office. For the "night-watchman" tour, it is also possible to simply turn up at Petrikirche at 20:00 if you're not with a large group, but the tour will then be in German only.
- Watch the sunset in the harbour. Take some drinks and food down and watch time pass by - as well as sailing boats, rowing boats, and plenty of seagulls. If it's herring season, the quay at the Silos will be full of fishermen. If you're not into bring-your-own, there is a number of restaurants and bars along the quay, from German, Italian and Greek to Spanish cuisine. The Irish Pub is also in the Silos. Between the theatre and Latino bar "Besitos", you will find plenty of young people playing "Kubb", at least during summer. Why not try it out yourself? If you ask nicely, you are sure to be allowed a shot. Or buy your own wooden kit at the games store "Wupatki", Rungestraße 17. This part of the harbour is usually called "Strand" (beach) by locals, even if there is no sand within sight.
The main shopping district is around Kröpeliner Straße within the medieval city center. The greatest selection of souvenirs is offered in the Warnemünde seaside resort area. Typical products include a fine selection of jewelry and craftmanship, sea buckthorn juice or Rostocker Pils beer.
Rostock has a few so called border shops that are dedicated to selling consumer goods to tourists from Denmark and Sweden. The border shops are probably the best place in Germany to find candy, soda, cider, beer, liquor and other things produced in Denmark and Sweden at lower prices than in their home market. This is due to the lower excise taxes in Germany, even though the gap is closing in. The deposit-refund systems in the three EU-countries are not compatible, so a proforma export declaration must be submitted and photo-ID must be presented when buying beverages that normally have a deposit paid in Germany. These deposit-refund exempt beverages are only permitted for export to Denmark and Sweden and will not be sold to Germans.
- Markets. There are several markets throughout the week in Rostock and the surrounding area.
In the city centre
Around the Doberaner Platz
- 3 KTV Kantine, Friedrichstraße 1.
- 4 pinky's™ - pizza manufaktur, Arnold-Bernhard-Straße 33.
- 5 Marktkrug, Ulmenstraße 18.
- 6 Das Kumpirhaus, Wismarsche Str. 55.
Around the Marienehe train stop
- 7 Rostocker Fischmarkt & Fischbratküche, Warnowpier 431, 18069 Rostock, ☏ . M-Sa 11:00 – 15:00. Fish restaurant and fish shop from €6.50 (Aug 2017).
- 8 Leon's, Kröpeliner Straße 19, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Steak house. From €15.90 (mains).
- 9 Café in der Likörfabrik, Grubenstraße 1. Daily 09:00-00:00.
- 10 Zur Kogge, Wokrenterstraße 27, ☏ . Tu-Th 16:00-23:30, F-Su & public holiday 11:30-23:30. From €14.40 (mains).
- 11 La Dolce Vita, Warnowufer 60, ☏ . Italian food.
- 12 Zuii's Restaurant, Am Strom 89, ☏ , email@example.com. Daily 11:30-22:00 (kitchen closes at 21:00). Chinese-run restaurant/bar that serves German and Asian food in a cool setting that's more suitable to a drinking crowd. Friendly staff, however the food can be hit or miss. Rather unpretentious from outside, so at least in shoulder season, just popping in to get a table is not an issue. From €14.90 (mains).
Bars and pubs
- 1 Brauerei Trotzenburg, Tiergartenallee 6. The Trotzenburg brews their own beer.
- 2 Alex, Neuer Markt 17 (Across from the City Hall), ☏ . M-Th 08:00-01:00, F-Sa 08:00-03:00, Su 09:00-01:00. Bar and restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere.
- 3 Bunker Rostock, Neptunallee 9A, 18057 Rostock. Techno and 1990s rave in a bunker on the grounds of the former Neptun Werft shipyard.
- 4 Helgas Stadtpalast, Am Vögenteich 19, 18057 Rostock. Live concerts and club nights from indie to electro in a building from the GDR period with ornamental wallpapers and deer's heads on the wall.
- 5 JAZ e.V., Lindenstraße 3B, 18055 Rostock. The Jaz Rostock offers regular live music concerts and techno club nights.
- 6 ST-Club Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Straße 2, 18059 Rostock. Student parties from rock to electronic music.
- 7 UKW – Kraftwerk Rostock, Erich-Schlesinger-Straße 49, 18059 Rostock. Impressive techno club in an old power plant that can be considered a role model for club scenes in large metropolises.
Rostock has introduced a Kurtaxe (tourist tax) on 1st September 2023, meaning staying for leisure in any formal accommodation attracts a €3.70/day charge on top of the accommodation's price. You'll receive a Gästekarte (guest card - physical or digital depending on the accommodation) proving you paid the tax, which lets you use Rostock's public transport for free throughout your stay, and gives discounts with certain facilities and tourist-oriented operators; enquire each time you plan an activity (ie visiting the zoo/a museum or going on a harbour cruise).
- 1 Blue Doors Hostel KTV (formerly: Hanse Hostel), Doberaner Straße 96, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. For bed linen they charge €2 once per stay. Breakfast is available for €4, coffee, beer and soft drinks are available for €1. There is free internet, a great kitchen with a dishwasher, microwave, oven, stove and fridge. Bathroom facilities are very good. There is a TV, DVD and VCR downstairs as well as a bunch of board games, books and a dart board. The staff are very friendly and helpful and the place is clean, tidy and modern. From €14 (8-bed dorm).
- 2 Blue Doors Hostel Altstadt (formerly: Jellyfish Hostel), Beginenberg 25-26, ☏ , email@example.com. Situated in a beautiful old town house in the old town of Rostock just around the corner from the medieval Steintor. Though the hostel is in the very city center – the Neuer Markt is two minutes by foot – it is really quiet there. Has a spacious common room, where breakfast (€8.00) is served if pre-ordered, and another smaller lounge on the third floor. In the fully equipped kitchen you can cook or just store your beverages in the fridge. The 8-bed dormitories are very spacious due to the very high ceilings, which even have stucco. The owners and all employees are quite young, easy going and very helpful.
- 3 Subraum Hostel, Doberaner Str. 21 (at Peter Weiss Haus, a cultural center), ☏ . Bed linen and Wi-Fi are included. Dorms are 6 to 12 beds, with mixed gender and female only options. There is a fully equipped kitchen and at Peter Weiss Haus one can also get affordable lunch and dinner (about €5). There are concerts and parties on most weekends, and a cool and affordable beer garden right beside. The Subraum Hostel hostel and the beer garden are run by a cooperative. Dorms: from €18.
- 4 Hotel GreifenNest, August-Bebel-Straße 49 b, ☏ . Beautiful terrasse, nice people and good ambiance. €5 for breakfast. €1 for internet access. No wifi. Double €40, hammock €12.
- 5 Yachthafenresidenz Hohe Düne, Am Yachthafen 1, ☏ . A luxury hotel with yacht harbour next to Warnemünde.
Rostock is generally a safe place to be, especially the areas most visited by tourists: the medieval city center and the Warnemünde resort area. As in all crowded areas, be aware of pickpockets. During nighttime, drunk people can be an unpleasant experience; it is best to keep a distance.
Bathing in the Baltic Sea can be dangerous in case of strong currents or high waves and also during cyanobacterial blooms in summer. Popular beaches are equipped with flags, a pure yellow flag signalling adverse conditions that might be dangerous for untrained swimmers and a red flag prohibiting all bathing activities. Bathing is prohibited at all times in the Stadthafen old port area in the city center. It is strongly advisable to abide to this restriction as heavy ship traffic in this part of the Warnow river poses a constant danger.
Free WiFi is available in most of the central shopping district, at the central rail station, along the Alter Strom area in Warnemünde and various other places throughout the city. Private WiFis are usually password protected, so be prepared to find large gaps in open WiFi coverage. Many hotels, restaurants, pubs or shops provide free WiFi, although you may have to ask for an access code.
|Routes through Rostock|
|Hamburg ← Wismar ←||W E||→ Greifswald → Rugia|