It’s hesitated for weeks but it’s finally here – spring! The weather has been so nice that I dared to take the kids for a slightly longer trip – to Stralsund at the Baltic Sea.
My grandparents live in Gdynia – a Polish city on the south coast of the Baltic Sea — and when I was a kid I spent there all my summer and winter holidays, as well Christmas and Easter breaks. I love the sea and if there is anything I miss living in Berlin – it’s the seaside. But Berlin is not that far from it – just 2,5 hours by train and I really like traveling by train, so…
One day I just packed us up (just me and the kids, ‘cause my husband was taking part in a marathon) and on Friday evening we set off for Stralsund, eager for new adventures but with no very specific plans. I just wanted to enjoy the trip.
And I did. It was a lovely weekend and I really recommend following our steps and visiting Stralsund on one of these lovely spring days that are now coming.
Here some practical tips:
What to see in Stralsund with kids?
Ozeaneum is the largest large-scale aquarium in northern Europe; in the whole of Europe, only the Lisbon Oceanarium and the L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia are bigger. Built in place of an old port in 2008, Ozeaneum Stralsund is extremely modern, with as many as 39 aquariums. It’s very interactive. My kids loved watching the penguins, underwater creatures and plants. I was awed the most by the 1:1 scale exhibition of sea giants – seeing a natural size likeness of a blue whale makes an incredible impression.
I also liked how environmental education was embedded in the exhibitions – problems of waste and how it affects the sea and its inhabitants. For some pictures of turtles suffocated in plastic bags may seem too drastic but I think that may be really the only way to finally make people realize the scale of the problem.
A visit to Ozeaneum will take you no less than a few hours. We came back to some aquariums several times, as my kids just couldn’t get enough.
Near the penguins, there are two playgrounds – a regular and a water one. My kids were unfortunately not able to play on the latter, because it was still too early in the season and the water didn’t flow. But it was great anyway and I really recommend this place to everyone!
Meeresmuseum– the Museum for Oceanography and Fisheries is located in an old Dominican monastery, which makes it appealing also from the architectural point of view. Inside there are oceanographic exhibitions and tropical and Mediterranean aquariums. The one with turtles is one of the largest in Germany and it alone makes this place worth a visit. Also here they give a great deal of attention to the problem of waste in seas and its impact on sea life. I find it very important.
This museum may not be as modern and interactive as Ozeanum, but the exhibits presented in cabinets have their aesthetic and educational value. Moreover, there are many places for kids to play, which is a really big plus from the perspective of any parent (it definitely was for me!). We really loved this place and I’m sure you’d too so give it a chance.
As we only had two days for Stralsund, we couldn’t really see as much as we wanted, but I can still give you a few tips:
– walk in the old town – just stroll around enjoying the sight of its well restored old houses and mighty impressive churches.
– walk along the seaside boulevard to the beach – beautiful views, very pleasant for a walk but also for a bicycle trip.
Where to eat in Stralsund?
We checkout out two places:
⁃ Marstall Lokal offers traditional German cuisine and more. They also have a kids’ menu and a high chair. Not to mention a broad choice of delicious cakes.
⁃ Pier 11 – HOTDOG to go offers all possible hot dog variations as good, quick snacks
Where to drink good coffee in Stralsund?
That was about the first question I asked myself, as I always do, whenever I’m in a new place. I love good coffee and hate bad cafes.
These two I found were really good:
Kaffee Monopol – great coffee and only in reusable cups (another big plus: you pay 1€ per cup additionally as a pledge; unless you bring your own cup of course) and good cakes
Cafe 66 – good coffee, great cakes, and tasty-looking breakfasts, plus some games for the kids so that they let you have your five minutes of peace.
And now my favorite part – playgrounds!
Best playgrounds in Stralsund
⁃ If you go along the Knieperwall city walls you will get to two small playgrounds; they might not have been the best I’ve ever seen, but perfect for jacking up the kids; located in the green and by the water they are also very relaxing for parents.
⁃ Also near Knieperwall, but on the other side of the street, behind Meeresmuseum, there is a really small playground consisting of just one climbing tower – not even very towering but still demanding, so I spent there a while letting the kids enjoy this new climbing challenge.
⁃ Still going along Knieperwall until Hospitals Bastion you will get to a great, brand new historic playground with a toy bastion, cannons, and cannonballs – very nice!
⁃ Another playground can be found on the beach – if you go along the Sundpromenade boulevard you can’t miss it; it’s nice because it offers some fun for both small kids and older ones
⁃ Last but not least: the playground in Heilgeiststraße 62. We found it on our way to Ozeaneum and the kids used it to blow off some steam before going in. It’s not big but turned out just enough to serve this purpose.
So this was our visit to Stralsund. We loved it very much. The kids are a bit sad that Ozeaneum and Meeresmuseum are so far away from us, ‘cause they would love to visit them more often. And I already miss the sea, so it is very probable that rather sooner than later we’ll be back in Stralsund. I’ll let you know what new, interesting places we found there.