Located on the south bank of the River Ryck, Greifswald is a Hanseatic City in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. It was founded in 1199 by Cistercian monks and takes its name from the House of Griffin who ruled the Duchy of Pomerania between the 12th and 17th centuries.
Things to do in Greifswald
In the heart of Greifswald is the Pomeranian State Museum, which occupies the monumental building of a historic Franciscan monastery. It exhibits archaeological findings from the Pomerania region, dating from the Stone Age to the 20th century. In the museum’s art gallery are sculptures and paintings by local artists, with a highlight being Caspar David Friedrich’s “The Ruins of Eldena in the Giant Mountains”.
A short drive east of Greifswald are the remains of Eldena Abbey, a Cistercian monastery that dates back to the 12th century. It was frequently depicted in the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich and became a symbol of Romanticism. While many of its buildings were damaged during the Thirty Years’ War, the complex was reimagined as a public park on the designs of Prussian landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenne.
Travelling with kids? You can get up close to wildlife from across the globe at the Animal Park Greifswald, a four-hectare space that centres around a swan-filled pond. In addition to coatis, porcupines and cotton-top tamarins, it’s home to capuchin monkeys, pygmy goats and kangaroos. Children will love the large water playground and the bird-call simulators.
Getting around Greifswald
Greifswald is around an hour’s drive from Heringsdorf Airport, which has seasonal flights to destinations across Germany. Rostock–Laage Airport is 1.5 hours away. Regular trains connect to the Greifswald railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Greifswald can easily be explored on foot.