To most non-Germans, the country’s Baltic coast is terra incognita. But in medieval times, this was the heart of the Hanseatic League. Lübeck remains one of Europe’s most alluring medieval cities. And in the 19th century, northern European nobility relaxed at resort towns such as Heiligendamm and Travemünde, building grand villas, hotels and casinos. Old farms create a beautiful patchwork in the unspoiled countryside, and the beaches look transplanted from another age. The most easily accessible stretches of sand are dotted with that charming German invention, the Strandkorb (“beach basket”), hooded chairs for two originally made from wicker, with cushions, pullout ottomans and folding shelves to hold drinks, among other features. At this northerly latitude, the sunsets linger for ages, turning the Baltic opalescent. And the fresh seafood, notably the turbot and the tiny sweet shrimp, is an unfailing delight.

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