Germany: 3 days on the north coast

OUR TRAVEL: 3 days, June 9 to 11, 2023

WHERE: Lübeck, Büsum and Friedrichskoog in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.

HOW TO GET THERE: This region of Germany can be reached by train from Paris. From Gare du Nord station, it takes around 7 hours by train to reach Hamburg. Ideally, you should take the Thalys train from Paris to Cologne and connect with the Deutsche Bahn train to Hamburg. From there, you can rent a car to explore the region. Sixt offers a wide range of electric cars, and there are plenty of recharging points. 

BOOK A THALYS TRAIN: You will find here fare information for disabled passengers. Reservations can only be made by telephone, and waiting times can be long! If you are accompanied, click here for further information. Last but not least, here you'll find links and telephone numbers for booking assistance services. Please note: if you book a Thalys train from Paris via the Thalys website, you must request assistance directly from them. The SNCF cannot handle this via its Accès Plus service. 

BOOK A DEUTSCHE BAHN TRAIN: You can search for your journey on the official website. Reserving tickets for people with reduced mobility is then easily done by e-mail: msz@deutschebahn.com. The exchanges are in English (I haven't tried in French). Give them your travel dates and desired route, as well as the number of people traveling with you, and don't forget to specify if you're in a wheelchair. They'll find the best possible itinerary for you. Payment is made by return e-mail, giving them your credit card number. They'll send you your tickets straight away, and take care of booking assistance at the station.

WHEN TO GO? In summer, the seaside resorts are crowded with locals. In our opinion, spring and the months of September-October are the best options. We were very lucky in terms of weather during our stay, but we can't guarantee that you'll have the same!

WHY GO? Northern Germany is still a region rarely visited by tourists. So it retains its charm and authenticity. 

ACCESSIBILITY : Find all our addresses on our map Mapstr !

We spent 3 days discovering northern Germany, an undiscovered region brimming with unsuspected treasures. Forget all your preconceived ideas about capricious weather and a lack of interesting activities, because you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Culture and history await you in the Hanseatic cities, while breathtaking scenery and the harmonious fusion of tradition and modernity in Hamburg will leave you breathless.

This region is easily accessible by train from France. What's more, if you're in a wheelchair, you'll also be able to enjoy the region to the full, with transport and activities accessible to all thanks to special facilities.

We tell you all about it in this article... here we go!

Lübeck, Hanseatic capital

Lübeck is a peaceful town in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany's northernmost Länder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Between the 13th and 17th centuries, northern European merchants banded together to form the hansa to stand up to local powers. Their activities extended from Novgorod in Russia to London and Bruges. Lübeck, ideally placed, became the capital. It was in the Rathaus (town hall), still standing today, that the merchants' representatives signed trade treaties.

If you'd like to find out more about Hanseatic cities, we highly recommend a visit to the European Museum of Hanseatic Cities. Every other room has been designed to recreate the atmosphere of each century in different cities: the first cargo ships en route to Novgorod in the 13th century, or the cloth market in Bruges in the 14th century.

Finally, we can't recommend a stroll through the streets to admire the many red-brick buildings for which Lübeck is famous. St. Mary's Church, recognizable by its two spires, was built over a period of 100 years using no less than 7 million bricks!

The banks of the Trave are also ideal for enjoying a shrimp sandwich, one of the region's specialties, or a cold ice cream!

Büsum, the freshness break

Büsum is a seaside resort in the heart of the UNESCO Wadden Sea Reserve. This reserve covers 3 countries: Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. It boasts one of the most impressive eco-systems in this part of the world, with no fewer than 10,000 species listed. Every year, no fewer than 10 million migratory birds stop off on the mudflats to recharge their batteries before heading south. 

Let yourself be carried away by the rhythm of the tides, and if there are two things we recommend you do, they are these:

  • Enter the Watt'N Hus to take part in a guided walk at low tide with one of the marine reserve's volunteers. For 2 hours you'll have your feet in the sand and mud to learn more about the inhabitants of this very special place: crabs, periwinkles, small jellyfish, hermit crabs, not to mention mud worms.


The real highlight of Büsum beach is that it is fully wheelchair accessible! Access to the dike is via a ramp, and to reach the beach, the tourist office provides wheelchairs equipped with large wheels to avoid sinking into the mud. So you can get to the mudflats without getting your wheelchair wet!

  • Rent a Strandkörbe, the famous beach chairs typical of the German coast. They are partly installed on the grassy part of the beach. The other part is set up on an area that is fully wheelchair-accessible thanks to a ramp system. You'll be sheltered from the sun and well placed to watch the ebb and flow of the tides. Some of them are wheelchair-accessible!
Protecting seals in the Wadden Sea

In this area of the North Sea, grey and harbor seals are the most common. Females give birth on the beach, but in the event of danger, they may abandon their pups, which are still too weak to survive. 

This is where the Friedrichskoog preservation center comes in. With volunteers scouring the beaches all along the coast, they recover up to 200 babies each season. They keep them for 3 to 4 months, feeding them and giving them strength before releasing them. Care is also taken to ensure that they don't become too accustomed to the presence of humans. During their stay at the center, each feeding session is shorter and shorter, then finally without human presence, to enable them to regain a certain autonomy in feeding themselves.

In addition to the babies, they also look after a few sick or tired adults who would no longer be able to cope in the wild.  

Inland, you'll find a completely different fauna, with sheep as far as the eye can see on most of the dikes! They're virtually free to roam and graze in total carefree abandon!

Hamburg, on the banks of the Elbe River

Hamburg, another Hanseatic city, has succeeded in blending ancient and modern architecture. The skyscrapers and industrial port blend perfectly with the old warehouses of the Speicherstadt and the Langdungsbrücken quays. 

TheElbe River, which flows through the city, brings the freshness of the North Sea to the area, and the sound of the boats can be heard lulling you to sleep. 

It's a pleasant city to visit in a wheelchair, with many facilities designed to make getting around easier. Many bars and restaurants are also wheelchair accessible! The icing on the cake is that all transport, including the metro, is accessible! You can find the map of stations right here. What a pleasure!


If you're in Hamburg for the weekend, don't miss the Sunday morning fish market... You won't be disappointed!

When you arrive, the aroma of fresh fish stalls will guide you to your destination. It's still a little early to try Fischbrötchen, the famous fish sandwich! Just behind the stalls is the magnificent Fischmarkt fish auction hall. We were expecting to see fierce negotiations between professionals, but what a surprise to see a rock band in full concert! Brunch and beer stands are set up in the middle, and huge tables allow everyone to share a moment together.

Every Sunday morning between 5am and 9.30am, partygoers from the Saint Pauli district gather here to end their evening on the banks of the Elbe! The setting is perfect for a nightcap!

The only drawback for wheelchair users is the cobblestones all around the auction hall. If you have a small Freewheel front wheel, remember to take it with you! Visit here all our equipment ideas for your travels!


The Elbe Tunnel was built in 1911 and connects the city center with the docks! Access is via huge elevators that descend 24 meters beneath the river! Until 2018, cars could still use it, but in 2019, the town council has decided to allow only pedestrians and bicycles. The developments on the other side of the river give a bird's eye view of the city without the port cranes.

Of course, an elevator also means full wheelchair access to this architectural marvel!


At the end of Hafencity, like a wave, the Elbe Philharmonic stands on the banks of the river. Since 2016, the terrace that separates it from the former warehouse on which it's built has given everyone a breathtaking view of the city. I hope you're not afraid of heights - it's 37 meters high!

It's a place of passage, whether for passers-by admiring the scenery, hotel residents or the curious coming to hear a symphony concert. In fact, it's one of the largest concert halls of its kind in Europe!


This UNESCO-listed district is the world's largest single-section warehouse complex! Built from 1883 onwards, no less than 300,000 m2 of available storage space are still in use today. You can stroll along the buildings and cross the canals on the many steel bridges, which add to the charm of the place. 

It's also possible to take a boat trip from the Saint Pauli docks to get a new perspective, passing under the old pulleys that used to move the goods.

The port, day and night

Strolling through Hamburg harbor is fascinating! Among the container ships, some stand out for their elegance. With very few bridges, boats of all sizes can make their way along the Elbe to the North Sea.

A fully wheelchair-accessible walkway leads from the Fischmarkt to the Elbphilharmonie! Some sections are steeper than others, but in any case, everything has been designed so that everyone can use it.

From the city's docks, you can see dozens of cranes standing like giraffes, waiting for the next ship. At night, the spectacle is even more impressive, with the play of light and the dockers twirling containers above the huge ships. 


Altes Gymnasium Hotel: The hotel is less than 10 minutes' walk from the port. The staff are friendly and will go out of their way to help you if needed. Rates: Rooms start at €200 per night. Breakfast costs €10 and parking €5. Accessibility: The hotel entrance is on one level and wheelchair-accessible. All common areas are wheelchair accessible. The breakfast room is on two levels: at reception level, there are a few tables. To get to the buffet, you have to climb 3 steps or go around the outside (small cobblestone floor). The room is spacious and comfortable. The bathroom is also large. Don't hesitate to ask reception for a shower seat (they have several models and can fit them in your room). There are grab bars in the shower.


Premier Inn St Pauli: The hotel is less than 10 minutes by subway (St Pauli station) from the main railway station. The Elbe docks are a 10-minute walk away (it's a steep walk to get there!). Rates : Rooms start at €100 a night, and breakfast costs €15.5. Accessibility: The hotel entrance is on one level. All common areas are wheelchair accessible. The wheelchair-accessible room is spacious and comfortable. The bathroom is also large, with a seat on one of the grab bars that can be moved as close as possible to the mixer tap. There are two grab bars around the toilet.


Motel One Lübeck: The hotel is located right in the city center. From the train station, it's about a 15-minute walk. Rates: Rooms start at €110 per night and breakfast costs €15.9. Accessibility: The hotel entrance is on one level. All common areas are wheelchair accessible. The wheelchair-accessible room is spacious and comfortable. The bathroom is also large. They provide a seat, but there is no non-slip underfoot to ensure transfers. There is a grab bar in the shower and also around the toilet.


Langdang Restaurant: Overlooking the beach, enjoy lunch with a view. Menus are in German only, but if you've got a smartphone, use the Google app to translate the menu with your camera! Prices: dishes start at €10. Accessibility: The terrace is wheelchair-accessible, and there are accessible toilets close to the entrance.

Fish sandwich stand: In the street just behind Watt'n Hus, a number of stalls let you try the famous fish sandwiches: shrimp, salmon, herring... there's something for everyone! Prices: from €4 per sandwich. 


Gaststätte Compass: On Husum harbor, this restaurant offers seafood dishes in a friendly atmosphere. Prices: from €13 for a dish. Accessibility: The entrance is on one level and the interior is fully wheelchair accessible, with an elevator to the upper floor. The terrace is also accessible. Accessible toilets are available on the first floor.


Blockbräu: Here you'll find the ambience of Bavarian brasseries with a roof terrace overlooking the harbour! Prices: Dishes start at €14. Accessibility: The entrance to the restaurant is on one level. The terrace is accessible by elevator. We did not test the toilets.

Grilly Idol Burger: In the St Pauli district, a good address for a burger. They have plenty of vegetarian options and a good selection of beers. Prices: Burgers are between €9 and €17 and fries from €5. The menu can be found here. Accessibility: There's a step to enter the restaurant. We did not test the toilets.

Campus Suite - Kaiserkai: Right across from the Philharmonic, a good address for a salad with a nice view. Prices: from €12 for a salad, they also make sandwiches. Accessibility: The inside of the restaurant and the terrace are wheelchair-accessible. There are no toilets, but you can use those at the Philharmonie, which are accessible and equipped.

Mio - Bistro Caffè Gelato: At the level of Lake Alster, this bistro allows you to enjoy a cold drink or an ice cream with a clear view. Prices: a few euros for most of the menu. Accessibility: the terrace is stepped, but the ramp down to the quay leads to another ramp that gives access to the tables. We didn't enter the restaurant to see what the toilets were like.


The Newport: A great spot for a drink at sunset. The view over the city is very pleasant. Prices: Dishes start at €16. Accessibility: The entrance to the restaurant is via a ramp. There are cobblestones in the parking lot for access. The terrace is installed on the cobblestones, and there is a step up to the ramp that accesses the terrace over the water. We did not test the toilets.


Büsum beach and Watt'n Hus: The beach and dike at Büsum are incredible spaces in the heart of the UNESCO Wadden Sea Reserve! The site is in German only, but your browser can easily translate it. Rates: Book here your beach chair. Wheelchair-accessible Comfort Lounges are available. These can only be booked on site, and payment is by cash only. Prices range from €7 to €10, depending on rental duration and time of year. Accessibility: From Watt'n Hus, an elevator and ramp provide access to the seawall and beach. There are accessible toilets inside. Ask one of the members to show you how to borrow one of the chairs to get to the beach. They have big wheels so you won't sink, and with the help of a friend or relative to push you, you can enjoy the beach and its eco-system!


Seal Station: The seal preservation center is the perfect place to learn more about this animal! Admission: €11.80 per adult, €10.80 on presentation of a disability card and free for the accompanying adult. Accessibility: The center is fully wheelchair accessible. There are several elevators, and the toilets are accessible and equipped.


Ancienne Halle aux poissons : C’est ici que les soirées se terminent tous les weekend avec concert et stand de bières ! Accessibilité : Il y a de gros pavés autour de la halle. L’accès est de plain-pied et il est plus facile de rouler à l’intérieur.

Elbphilharmonie: The Philharmonie's terrace offers a 360° view of the city and harbor! Amazing! Price: €2 per person for access to the Plaza. For reservations click here. Accessibility: To the right of the main entrance, an elevator is wheelchair accessible. There is an accessible toilet on the first floor. For full information on accessibility if you wish to attend a concert, please click here.

Elbtunnel: This former tunnel is now open to all year-round, 24 hours a day. It takes just a few minutes to reach the other side of the Elbe! Fare: free for all! Accessibility: The tunnel is fully wheelchair-accessible. Before 10 a.m., only the "modern" elevator provides access, and after 10 a.m., the old-fashioned freight elevators come into operation. The only drawback is the cobblestones in front of them. If you'd like to use the toilets, there are some on the Landungsbrücken at platforms 4 and 10. You have to pay to use them, but the person in charge let me in without paying.

Rainer Abicht boat trip: The 10:30 pm boat trip, depending on the date, will take you either to see the Speicherstadt by night or to the harbor, with perhaps the chance to see a container ship being loaded! Prices: €24 per adult and €18 for children aged 4 to 14. Accessibility: On the boat we were on, only the lower section is wheelchair accessible (including the toilets). If you take an outing in the Speicherstadt, the boat will be smaller to pass under the bridges. This may give you a better view. To access the boarding platforms, there is a ramp on platforms 1, 3 and 10, and toilets on platforms 4 and 10.


Museum of European Hanseatic Cities: An immersive museum at the heart of the history of Hanseatic towns from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Don't miss it! Admission: €14 per adult, €9 for people over 50% disabled and free for children under 18. Accessibility: The museum is fully wheelchair-accessible: there's an elevator from the street to the entrance and two elevators to get in and out of the exhibition space. There are accessible toilets in the store. We didn't test it, but there's also an elevator that follows the staircase to the museum terrace.

Another trip to Germany that never failed to surprise! The north of the country is a must if you're looking for a change of scenery and peace and quiet. We've only seen part of it, but we'd love to get on a train and go back!

On continue notre voyage en grimpant dans un train entre Hambourg et Rotterdam pour découvrir le nord des Pays-Bas. Vous nous suivez ?

Trip organized in collaboration with theGerman National Tourist Board.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.

Go to main content