Lübeck is perhaps Germany’s finest example of “brick Gothic” architecture, which uses the locally available brick (as opposed to “proper” stone, which was not available to medieval builders in northern Germany) to produce quite stunning buildings.
Much of the old town (Altstadt, map) has kept a medieval appearance with old buildings and narrow streets. At one time, the town could only be entered by any of four town gates, two of which remain today, the well-known Holstentor (1478, map) and the Burgtor (1444, map).
A particularly well-preserved 13th-century part of the Altstadt is the Koberg area (map) at the island’s northern end. And don’t miss the Gänge, small streets off the bigger roads, with small houses and a peculiar atmosphere.
The old town centre is dominated by seven church steeples. The oldest are the Lübeck Cathedral (map) and the Marienkirche (Saint Mary’s, map), both dating from the 13th and 14th centuries.
Built in 1286, the Holy Spirit Hospital (map) at Koberg is one of the oldest existing social institutions in the world and one of the most important buildings in the city. The Holy Spirit Hospital is in parts an old-folk and nursing home. Historic parts can be visited.
European Hansemuseum (map) Opened in 2015, this is perhaps the “crown jewel” among Lübeck’s historical museums as it gives an in-depth look into Lübeck’s over 800 years of history and how Lübeck shaped the Hanseatic League and how the Hanse in turn shaped Lübeck.