Always hungry for the next adventure, editor Sophie Ritchie shares her foodie weekend guide to Flensburg, a charming German town filled with history, a surprising rum-filled past and tucked away gems
A Baltic Sea port town drenched in maritime culture and fascinating history, this Danish-turned-German town is an undiscovered world of charming taverns and archaic sailboats – with a secret penchant for excellent rum.
Easily reachable via a short flight to Hamburg and then car transfer, break away from traditional city breaks and embrace the unknown. Always hungry for the next adventure, editor Sophie Ritchie shares her weekend guide to Flensburg and its tucked away hotspots.
Germany’s northernmost city, Flensburg is found less than 10km from the Danish border – it’s so close that many folk will pop across for the day. In fact, prior to an election held in 1920, this town was once classified as Danish soil until it was put to a vote.
Although Flensburg and regions south of the town voted to stay German, its close proximity to Denmark has greatly shaped Flensburg’s identity – almost 1/4 residents remain Danish Nationals today, and you’ll still find sporadic Danish flags dotted about its well-kept streets.
Where to stay: Ramada by Wyndham Flensburg
With rooms offering pretty eyefuls of the historic harbour and the Baltic Sea, Ramada by Wyndham Flensburg is perfectly positioned for exploring in the heart of Flensburg.
It’s mere steps from the Old Town’s Rote Strasse (or “Red Street”) which is lined with plenty of shops, independent restaurants and buzzy bars. Rooms are contemporary in decor and large in size, with plenty of space to unwind after a day of rum tasting and sight seeing.
The hotel’s delicious breakfast buffet, which features a range of fresh meats, cheeses, breads and cereals, is yet another reason to wake up early and get on with the adventuring. If you’re too tired to venture outside in the evenings, the restaurant also serves a number of local specialities.
With more than 870 hotels in over 60 countries, Ramada by Wyndham has also recently launched a brand new programme, Discovering Red, designed to offer guests a series of insider experiences in its most unique destinations.
Guests to Ramada by Wyndham Flensburg can enjoy special rum tastings and local distillery tours to learn the secrets and history behind Germany’s most unexpected export since 1700s – the ideal way to get an authentic taste of the local culture.
What to see
1 Explore Glücksburg Castle
Get Schlossed with a visit to Schloss Glücksburg, a statuesque castle sitting regally on the outskirts of Flensburg.
With over 500 years of history to explore, the creaky floors of this impressive building are home to swanky dining rooms, famous bedrooms and regal chapels. Guided tours are led in period costumes – adding to the quaint fun of this lakeside haunt. schloss-gluecksburg.de
2 Try a rum tasting
You can’t trek to Flensburg and leave without a tot (or three) of its rum – after all, this ‘Caribbean gold’ is how Flensburg made its name and wealth. After 1755, sugar and rum were brought to the then Danish trading post on the Flensburg Firth via the Caribbean. Doing so established Flensburg as Germany’s rum capital – and has left it with a taste for the fiery spirit.
As part of the new Ramada by Wyndham Discovering Red package, curious foodies can pay a visit to the Johannsen Rum Distillery.
Learn more about the secrets and stories behind Germany’s surprising export and taste a range of bespoke rums – from the elegant Royal to the premium Windjammer Pier 2. Downstairs, a gift shop loaded with boozy goodies awaits you and your pocket Euros.
3 Head to the harbour
On sunny spring days, the picturesque quay on the west side of the fjord is a nautical must-see. Wander past the historic shipyard, stop for al fresco coffees or duck into one of many quaint taverns for a refreshing Flensburger Pilsener.
If you’re planning a May adventure, don’t miss the annual Flensburg Rum Regatta (21st – 24th May 2020) for the largest North-European meeting of former commercial vessels with sails.
4 Rendezvous on the Rote Strasse
Taking its name after a Red Gate which used to stand in this street, this street is known for its small boutique shops, furniture stores and small cafes.
Take a closer look and you’ll also find a plethora of backyards leading off from the main street, where cozy coffee shops, wine bars and tiny museums make an excellent place to wile an afternoon away.
See this: At one end of the Rote Straße, rows and rows of shoes hang rather precariously above the cars below. No, this isn’t a barefoot community – it’s insured tradition for students to enjoy chucking them up in the air once they’ve graduated.
What to eat
1 Best for Mediterranean: save room for Vertigo Tapas, a snug eatery with a Mediterranean menu offering everything from meaty dishes to fresh fish. Ideal for large groups, expect to find it buzzing with locals on most weeknights. vertigo-flensburg.de
2 Best for something cozy: a former drinking tavern, lunch at Roter Hof for large plates of comfort food and Bier galore. There’s also a number of homemade cakes and tortes to wave goodbye to your waistline for. roterhof.de
Make it happen
Wallet: Nightly rates at Ramada by Wyndham Flensburg start from €75 per night, including breakfast and taxes. The Ramada Discovering Red Rum Experience costs €21.5pp for a rum tasting and a bespoke cocktail, including a tour of the nearby Johannsen Rum distillery.
How: Regular flights from London to Hamburg from £34 with Ryanair. Trains from Hamburg to Flensburg start from approximately £26 and take about 2hrs. Alternatively travel by car from Hamburg airport, journey takes about 90 minutes. It is also possible to fly direct to Billund (Denmark), which is 90 minutes away from Ramada by Wyndham Flensburg by car.
How: Visit wyndhamhotels.com to find out more and make a booking.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor.