A touch of old splendour
When you walk along the small cobblestone streets of the towns centre you will find a lot of great old houses, some already restored, some still waiting to be.
Most of them are really old - the oldest are late mediaeval - and have survived not only the 30 year war, WWI and WWII but also changing rulers - Swedish, Danish, Prussian and socialist. Take your time to explore the hidden gems.
Make time for beguiling Greifswald
Like so many of the towns along the German Baltic coast, Greifswald (literally Hawks Wood) has a breezy, unpretentious atmosphere and must be a delight to explore on foot. Unfortunately the weather was gusty with intermittent showers when we visited, so we couldn't wander as we would have liked, but it was somewhere I that I would definitely like to return again.
The obvious focus of attraction is the Old Town, with the requisite beautiful Red Brick Gothic architecture of a proud Hanseatic city. However, what sets Greifswald apart from the rest of its neighbours is its lovely harbour on the river Ryck, which is now a museum. The harbour boasts over 50 ships at anchor, and must be quite a sight during the Gaffelrigg regatta that takes place on the third weekend of July each year.
For us, the major attraction (other than a lunch stop!) was that Greifswald is the birthplace of the German Romantic painter, Caspar David Friedrich, who was a master at capturing the unique light of this part of the world. Friedrich's exquisite painting of chalk cliffs on Ruegen is what inspired our visit to this part of Germany in the first place (see my travel page on Sassnitz), and although this picture sadly hangs in a collection elsewhere, Friedrich's work is well represented in Greifswald's Art Gallery of the Pomeranian Museum.
For us, the other completely unexpected highlight of our time in Greifswald was spotting a Trabant in working order! This was a cause for a huge ostalgic outpouring of excitement on my husband's part - see my transport tip for shamelessly sentimental musings on this sad excuse for a car!