Regional Overview

A Hanseatic Breadbasket

Holstein was historically part of the Kingdom of Denmark, yet it was also part of the Holy Roman Empire. Its population spoke German, yet it was the home to many Danish-Speaking Monarchs. The land is one of fertile plains, sandy beaches and is home to some of the most important cities in German history, Hamburg, Lübeck, and Kiel.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The Hanseatic Brick Gothic was a style initially taken directly from France, then rejected and transformed into a regionally distinct style.
  • The Renaissance styles in the Baltic came largely from Flanders and Antwerp, and by comparison, slowly evolved into a unique style.
  • Connections to Denmark, though few in number, such as the town of Glückstadt, represent the core history of the region.





Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel

What is Holstein?

Holstein is an ancient Duchy that sits between the Eider and Elbe Rivers. Historically it was part of both Denmark and the Holy Roman Empire. Only the Imperial Cities of Lübeck and Hamburg escaped the authority of the Danish Crown. The region is not quite a borderland, as attempts by the Danish crown to more forcibly integrate the region into the Kingdom failed. By the end of the Thirty Years War, Holstein achieved a degree of independence that it would retain until the Schleswig-Holstein Crisis in the late 19th century.

Most of the region was devastated by WWII, and there are few places that escaped its impact. Both Hamburg and Kiel were wiped off the earth, and though Lübeck suffered less, the war destroyed some of its most important architectural landmarks.

The region, therefore, has much to offer in its idyllic pastoral landscapes, famous for its milk and break. The city of Lübeck is by far the most spectacular destination in the region, though Hamburg offers enough to keep you occupied for a day or two.

Interactive Map

Cities of Holstein

Hiking in the Region

Hiking: The Wittmoor

Hiking: The Wittmoor

The Wittmoor nature preserve is a highland moor north of Hamburg near the city forest. This hike takes you on a route from the nearest…

Hiking: Wohldorfer Forest

Hiking: Wohldorfer Forest

This hike takes you through the ancient city forest of the free city of Hamburg. Annexed to the city in the 15th century, it has…

Hiking: Fischbecker Meadows

Hiking: Fischbecker Meadows

This hike takes you on a tour of the Fischbecker Meadows for some natural beauty closer to Hamburg. Like the heath moor of the Lüneburg…

Hiking: The Forests of Holstein

Hiking: The Forests of Holstein

The Hanheide National Park is comprised of a now detached and preserved portion of the Saxonwald or Saxon Forest, which once stretched across most of…

My Quantitative Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

Social Score

7.9 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Hype: 6.9
  • Growth: 9.9
  • Wealth: 4.7
  • Recognition: 9.5
Ease of Travel

5.5 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 4.5
  • Transportation: 4.3
  • Ease of Planning: 0.2
  • Infrastructure: 6.2
  • Interactivity: 9.5
  • Airport: Yes
Historical Immersion

5.1 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Historical Context: 3.6
  • Monuments: 7.6
  • Quality*: 7.0
  • Landscape: 1.5
  • Vineyards: 0

4.6 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Undiscovered: 4.8
  • Cultural Immersion: 3.7
  • Tradition*: 6.0




The legacy of the Hanseatic League

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