Wismar is perhaps best known for its Gothic appeal with its towering brick buildings and the association with the film Nosferatu. It is a busy port city, which is still valued highly for its strategic location and naturally deep harbour. But for visitors, the real draw is the city’s signature appearance. It belonged to Sweden until 1903, and its Scandinavian heritage is still apparent in buildings, such as the red brick Wassertor (Water Gate) and the Alter Schwede, an old Gothic-style warehouse built in 1380. Many of the original old buildings were damaged in World War 2, but the ruins still stand today, adding an eerie feel to this beautiful North German city.
Location: North European connections
Wismar has an enviable location, almost equidistant from the coastal borders of Denmark, Sweden, and Poland, so trade and marine transportation continue to be big local industries today. It is also well connected with the rest of Germany–there are direct trains and clear motor routes to Hamburg (120 km away) and Berlin (250 km away).
Business: A Hanseatic trade town
Wismar’s location and natural harbour make it a hub for the German maritime industries and North European travel. The city was an early member of the Hanseatic League of coastal market towns, and remains a member of the ‘City League the HANSE’ today. The city’s maritime roots have made it a centre for modern engineering, and students flock to the University of Wismar (or Hochschule Wismar, University of Applied Sciences: Technology, Business and Design) to learn this trade.
Culture: Explore past traditions
Wismar was famously the setting for the 1922 horror film Nosferatu. In 1979, German filmmaker Werner Herzog used the city for his own reimagining of the film, titled Nosferatu - Phantom der Nacht. The city centre was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 due to its unique architecture and fascinating history—take a walking tour and discover why.
Activities: Explore the natural world
Wismar is small, making it the perfect place to discover on foot. If you want to get closer to nature during your visit, the Tierpark is a great option for both adults and children. This wildlife park features Wismar’s indigenous animals, such as wolves, lynxes, and other big cats.