Travelling with children in Germany can me remarkably easy and enjoyable. Ilonka Schäfer is Founder of The Little Voyager, a travel website offering child-friendly holiday homes that are particularly suitable and well equipped for parents travelling with babies and toddlers.
I was born and raised in Germany. My mom is Hungarian, my dad is German and due to my father’s profession we travelled a lot when I was little. So whenever I am on the road or at an airport I feel happy.
I left Germany when I was 25 and now I have lived for over 20 years in Barcelona where I got married and had two wonderful children. I miss my home country; I always thought that one day I would go back but to be honest I am not sure if I would fit in there anymore as I have spent so much time abroad.
It did become, however, very important to me that my kids would learn my mother tongue and that they would spend part of their holidays back where I was raised so they can learn about the German culture and see where I grew up. Last summer we decided to take a trip with the kids to the Baltic Sea, mainly to Schleswig-Holstein, which is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany. The capital is Kiel and other interesting cities in the region are Lübeck and Flensburg.
One of the many stopovers was Travemünde, a popular seaside resort (formerly called “the German St. Tropez” by some) with a long beach promenade and probably the most child-friendly beach I have visited so far with my kids. There is nothing that you cannot find there for little ones, from wonderful playgrounds (a massive pirate ship!), free beach toys and play areas for babies and toddlers when you rent a “Strandkorb” (a typical hooded beach chair with reclining backrests that fits up to 2 persons), bungee trampolines, lots of ice cream and the long beach boardwalk simply invites you to take the kids for a nice bike ride. I must say I was really impressed the first time we got there.
There are many different types of accommodation available for families from small guesthouses to bigger hotel chains such as the well-known A-Rosa Travemünde, which is a child-friendly resort located very close to the beach. From there one can easily discover the city and all of its attractions.
One highlight for kids is definitely a visit to the lighthouse at the harbour promenade, which is the oldest lighthouse in Germany. Another must-see is the “Passat”, a retired square-rigged ship that was built in 1911 and was the last true Cape Horn sailing ship. This visit surely impressed my son! Children aged below 6 have free admission.
Heiligenhafen is about 45 minutes drive from Travemünde, approximately 65 km northeast of Lübeck. It is a charming Baltic sea resort town and I highly recommend to stop for coffee and cake at the stylish and very original Beach Motel Heilgenhafen. After this, a walk to the popular adventure promenade (435m long) is a must-do with its children play areas, a lovely sea lounge and several seating possibilities. There are also many lovely shops and restaurants to choose from and a seawater indoor swimming pool.
Fehmarn is the second largest island of the Baltic Sea and is about 1 hour drive from Travemünde, it can be combined with a visit to Heiligenhafen. The Fehmarn Sound Bridge (with a length of 1.3 km) connects this popular vacation island with the mainland of Schleswig-Holstein.
It is a very child-friendly island with many different activities on offer. Probably the most popular family plan is a visit to the Sea World in Burg, which is one of Europe’s largest aquariums which shows its visitors many different sea creatures from all around the world including an impressive shark tank. Also highly recommended in Burg is a visit to “Galileo’s World of Knowledge”, which is a great interactive museum for kids.
For the parents an interesting fact about the island is its connection with famous guitarist Jimi Hendrix who performed at its Love-and-Peace Festival only few days before he died. A memorial stone can be visited there in remembrance of his last visit.
Another nice trip is taking a drive further up north to the Weissenhäuser Strand and enjoying a lovely beach panorama with an endless skyline and excellent walking and cycling potential.
There is also a family friendly holiday park, which offers all kinds of fun, from an adventure playground to a waterpark and a Jungle Adventure world, which is an indoor soft play area great for rainy days. An incredibly beautiful spot to stop for lunch is the Bootshaus, which is part of the outstanding Weissenhaus Grand Village Resort & Spa. The restaurant has a unique location right next to the beach and very conveniently for parents also has a small playground next to it. We really loved it there.