The seaside resort of Warnemünde is located on Germany’s Baltic coast, just above the city of Rostock.
Founded in approximately 1200, it has been a fishing village for most of its history. The city of Rostock financed a harbour near the village, signing a contract with the patrician of Rostock to maintain the waterway and the harbour. Eventually, in March 1323, Rostock annexed Warnemünde to ensure safe access to the sea. The idea was that, if Warnemünde was part of Rostock, higher powers could not take it away (e.g. the Holy Roman Empire, German princes or bishops, etc).
Warnemünde remained a simple fishing village within the Hanseatic city of Rostock until 1812. This is when the Continental System was brought into effect by Napoleon. As a result a fort was added, named Fort Warnemünde.
In 1821 the village officially gained the “seaside resort” status. It only had 1,500 inhabitants but had over 1,000 visitors according to records. Due to its popularity, 1886 saw the addition of a train connection, connecting Warnemünde with Rostock and Berlin. A steamship connection also flourished, connecting to Gedser in Denmark. Due to the number of visitors, the train operators built a new train station in 1903 to deal with the number of visitors.
Today the former fishing village has turned into one of the world’s busiest cruise ports (rank 46 by the number of travellers in 2016/2017), although its population still only consists of 8,700 inhabitants. It is also one of the most popular seaside resorts in Germany. As a result, a large portion of the town supports these two industries. This includes large buildings like the Warnemünde Cruise Center and numerous large hotels. Despite these more modern buildings, there are some in Warnemünde that date back hundreds of years. These include the “Vogtei”, which was the house of the advocatus (often known today as the “advocate”), constructed in 1600. It was the residence of the man who was legally delegated to perform administrative duties of the area (including in some cases governance). The Vogtei today is a museum of local history.
When we visited Warnemünde (as we were near Rostock and visiting the Baltic coast area), we had a nice walk along the Alter Strom (English: Old Channel), which runs through the town and offers a nice walk along with many restaurants, pubs and a fish market. Additionally you can find many traditional fishing boats here, making it a very atmospheric place to visit.
There is also the broadest beach in Germany; they also stretch over 3 kilometres (1.9 miles). From here you can view the sunset as well as ships going in and out of the harbour, including many large cruise liners that are making the rounds of the Baltic and North Seas. They use the lighthouse constructed in 1897 to navigate. It still operates today. In the summer, you can also climb to the top and see far into the Baltic Sea as well as much of Rostock, especially the northern districts.
Most of the things to do and see in Warnemünde are outside. My recommendation is to go sometime when the weather is nice and it is comfortable to be outside. Typically this means the summer months. That is when you can enjoy the seafront the best. We went in September and the weather was still nice. The temperature was as well, so it wasn’t an issue. Warnemünde on average gets the most sun in May and June. However July and August are not far behind in their average number of sunshine hours; July is typically a rainier month than any other in the summer.