The maritime Hanseatic towns of Stade and Buxtehude

Stade and Buxtehude are two historic Hanseatic towns that entice with romantic alleyways, idyllic harbours, magnificent half-timbered houses and a cosy Hanseatic flair. Wide-ranging shopping opportunities enrich the towns just as much as their classy ranges of cultural events. We highly recommend the guided tours for groups offered in English, French and Swedish in both towns. Stade additionally offers them in Dutch, and Buxtehude in Danish.


The old Hanseatic harbour town of Stade has a history dating back more than 1,000 years. The town is the financial and cultural heart of the region and has retained its medieval charm to this day. Almost all of the town’s attractions are located in the old town centre, which is surrounded by a moat. Stade’s old harbour facility is one of the oldest in Europe. The town’s medieval-style alleyways are dotted with many intricately decorated merchants’ houses. The part of Stade where ships were once unloaded during the Hanseatic period is today home to small specialist shops, cosy pubs and cafés. This area around the fish market also features historic a wooden cranes and numerous half-timbered houses, which lend it a maritime atmosphere. The multi-award winning Swedish Warehouse Museum right at the entrance of the harbour depicts the history of the town and also hosts an exhibition about the Hanseatic period. The modern port of Stade is not far at all from the 13th century Hanseatic harbour and is well worth a visit. Please feel free to ask at reception for more information in English.


‘I’m here already!’ says the hedgehog to the hare, and finds himself - in the Hanseatic fairy tale town of Buxtehude! A moat still surrounds the historic centre of this 700-year-old town to this day. Cobblestone pavements wind their way past restored merchants’ houses and artfully decorated half-timbered gables. The principal attraction of every sightseeing tour is the old harbour in the heart of the town centre, which is the oldest man-made harbour in Northern Europe! Some of Buxtehude’s most impressive features are the "Mühle am Fleth" mill, the Marschtorzwinger and the Stavenort. On a tour through this wonderful town, which has long been associated with fairy tales and the Hanseatic League, it is easy to feel nostalgic. Its fables are known far and wide, including the tale of the race between the hare and the hedgehog and the dog who barks with his tail. However, this lively town on Germany’s Fairy Tale Route and the Route of Brick Gothic really does exist.

Impressions of Stade and Buxtehude

The North Sea breeze and large ships on the Elbe

The air around the Elbe and Oste Rivers smells of the North Sea. Its maritime heritage is tangible throughout the Altes Land holiday region on the banks of the Elbe, and the climate is determined by the sea. The Elbe and its smaller sisters, the Este, Lühe, Schwinge and Oste, invite visitors to discover a variety of maritime experiences.

Our tips for a maritime experience:

  • Excursions on the Elbe and its tributaries

  • Trips along the Elbe towards Hamburg and along the Oste

  • Watch the cruise ships and container ships on the Elbe

  • The Elbe islands and beaches

  • Canoe tours and stand-up paddling

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