Lübeck became known the world over because of a novel, Buddenbrooks, by Nobel literature laureate Thomas Mann. But the city has much older links with the Hanseatic League, a medieval mercantile association under which maritime trade in northern Europe flourished. And Lübeck marzipan also should never be forgotten on any trip to the Hanseatic city, parts of which are a UNESCO world heritage site.
Lübeck’s success started with its port, Travemünde, on the Baltic Sea. The city itself lies 18 kilometres inland. The link to the sea is the Trave River, whose waters surround the old town centre, turning it into an island. The best view is from the tower of St Peter’s Church, one of the seven churches whose spires rise up to shape the city's distinctive skyline. The historical heart of Lübeck, with more than 1000 buildings and narrow lanes, has remained nearly unchanged since the Middle Ages. The landmark most closely identified with the city is the Holsten Gate, built with the red brick typical of the region. Three Nobel Laureates made Lübeck their home: Thomas Mann, Willy Brandt and Günter Grass. Each has a museum devoted to him. Lübeck is also known for its marzipan, and you can find out all about the speciality at the Niederegger company’s marzipan salon, while you snack to your heart’s content.