Warnemünde is a quaint seaside resort town with the best hotels and restaurants in the area, as well as 20 km (12 miles) of beautiful white-sand beach. It's been a popular summer getaway for families in eastern Germany for years. Warnemünde is also a major cruise ship terminal. Whenever there is more than one ship at dock, the town explodes with a county fair–like atmosphere, where shops and restaurants stay open until the ships leave at midnight. The city celebrates the dreifache Anlauf, when three ships dock simultaneously, with fireworks.
The pubs in the marina Alter Strom are fun gathering places.
Sailors have stopped in at this restaurant's bar since the turn of the 20th century. The smoked fish sampler, served on a lazy Susan, is delicious, and the house specialty of fish soup is best washed down with some Rostocker Doppel-Kümmel schnapps. An accordionist entertains the crowd on weekends.
The Skybar is open Friday and Saturday until 3 am. Roof access gives you the chance to sit under the stars and watch ship lights twinkle on the sea.
Children enjoy climbing to the top of the town landmark, a 115-foot-high lighthouse, dating from 1898; on clear days it offers views of the coast and Rostock Harbor.
Inland from the lighthouse is this yacht marina. Once the entry into the port of Warnemünde, it now has bars, pleanty of good restaurants, and touristy shops. The fishing boats lining the Strom sell the day's catch, smoked fish, and bags of fried mussels.
Ribnitz-Damgarten, 30 km (19 miles) northeast of Warnemünde, is the center of the amber (in German, Bernstein) business, unique to the Baltic Coast. Amber is a yellow-brown fossil formed from the sap of ancient conifers and is millions of years old. Head for a beach and join the locals in the perennial quest for amber stones washed up among the seaweed.
In the Deutsches Bernsteinmuseum, which adjoins the main factory, you can see a fascinating exhibit of how this precious "Baltic gold" is collected from the sea and refined to make jewelry. The museum has pieces of amber that are between 35 and 50 million years old.