© Oliver Franke

Bizarre natural paradise

The steep coast of Brodten

Cliffs on Lübeck Bay

Panoramic view between Travemünde and Niendorf

From a paradise for beach pirates to a haven for sand martins – the steep coast of Brodten with its four kilometres of cliffs offers a wonderful place for an excursion for all nature-lovers. From here, you can enjoy a grandiose, panoramic view over Lübeck Bay as well as the small and large ships ploughing their furrows in the Baltic Sea. The 20 metre cliffs were named after the nearby village of Brodten to the north of Travemünde and they are situated in the conservation area of “Brodtener Winkel”.

Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side!

Lou Reed, 1972

Discover nature above and below

You have two options for exploring the steep coast of Brodten and its unique fauna and flora. The hiking trail on the top of the cliff will take you comfortably from Travemünde to Niendorf with a fantastic view of Lübeck Bay. It will take you about an hour and you will be walking through small woods, past fields and meadows, always hugging the steep cliff edge. Benches are a constant temptation to relax, linger and enjoy the breathtaking view of the sea. At the bottom of the cliff, there is a path running along the beach which is very wild, stony and pristine in nature. The strong surf, rocks that have crumbled from the cliff, fallen trees and large boulders turn your walk into a veritable obstacle course. With a little bit of luck, you may find a petrified thunderstone or sea urchin here hidden between the many mussels and stones. Or even a hag stone – that is a flint with a hole in the middle and a coveted talisman! If the surf is too strong, the narrow beach will be completely flooded with seawater and you’ll only be able to round the cliffs without getting your feet wet if you wear gumboots. By the way, the only steps connecting the upper and lower banks is around one kilometre before you reach Niendorf. Use them to obtain a fantastic view from the top!

How can you reach the hiking trail on the steep coast and who is it suitable for?

The steep coast of Brodten begins in Travemünde at the end of Strandpromenade just after the Möwenstein berth of the Lübeck Yacht Club. The lower beach path leading to Niendorf is less suitable for prams, bikes or wheelchairs as it is not paved and full of stones. The upper trail on top of the bank is very well suited to barrier-free walks with the whole family and easy bike rides. Please note: You can only switch between the upper and lower trails via steep wooden steps between Hermannshöhe and Niendorf. Climbing on the cliffs is not only dangerous but also forbidden for reasons of nature conservation.

Nature conservation on the steep coast of Brodten

Large stretches of the steep coast of Brodten constitute a European bird sanctuary and are subject to a protection order. They are used as a breeding site for rare sand martins, and the large area of shallow water off the coast is a resting and overwintering area for waterfowl such as the great crested grebe or the tufted duck. As conditions on the steep coast are unique for many species of plants and animals, it may not be artificially secured and must be left to the forces of nature.

© Shutterstock

The sea is eating away at the steep coast of Brodten

Over the course of millennia, the wind and the waves of the Baltic Sea have eaten into the steep coast, and every year, about one metre breaks off the edge – mainly in the winter months. This creeping erosion is best exemplified by the Seeblick Youth Centre between Travemünde and Niendorf which is now very close to the edge and will soon have to be vacated. So be careful: Please do not stray from the marked path and do not get too close to the edge. Between the Seeblick Youth Centre and Niendorf, the steep coast is slowly being reclaimed by thick vegetation and is thus increasingly protected from any further erosion.

What is Hermannshöhe?

The steep coast of Brodten is a cliff that rises 20 metres above sea level at its highest point. In the Middle Ages, beach pirates liked to operate here due to the natural “look-out” it offered. They would keep a watch for ships and light beacons to lure ships onto the sand banks just off the coast and would then plunder them. Thankfully, these bleak times are long gone; in the 19th century, increasing numbers of summer visitors to the up-and-coming resort of Travemünde discovered Hermannshöhe as the ideal look-out spot as this is the highest point of the cliff between Travemünde and Niendorf. It was named after Travemünde’s honorary citizen and Consul Her(r)mann Fehling. This was also the site of the Sea Temple, a pavilion visited by Thomas Mann’s characters Tony Buddenbrook and Morten Schwartzkopf during their romance. The historical excursion restaurant Hermannshöhe, originally built before the First World War, has long since been replaced by a new building. From its large terrace, today’s café offers an idyllic panoramic view of Lübeck Bay as far as the coastline of Sierksdorf, Neustadt and Grömitz, and it is a popular spot for an excursion.

Geological hike on the steep coast of Brodten

Explore the stony steep coast of Brodten on a guided tour! Here where one of Germany’s most active cliffs is constantly exposing new stones, some of which are billions of years old, an expert professional will take you on a two-hour geological walk along the beach. Here you can find out everything about the fascinating world of stones and fossils which you can find on the steep coast of Brodten.

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