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The 13th century Hanseatic League of independent cities protected and fostered trade among its members. It was a major force of international collaboration that brought about much wealth for its members. These can be found from Belgium and Holland, all along the current Danish, German and Polish coastline to the Baltic States as well as some major rivers. Its influence is even noticeable today, over 7 centuries later. Cities like Lübeck, Wismar and Riga were part of the League, but also Bruges and Arnhem. During this trip to Northwest Germany we are visiting four Hanseatic cities: Münster, Bremen, Hamburg and Oldenburg. We will discover the historical, urban and cultural diversity that found its beginnings in the active Hanseatic era. If you are interested in history, architecture and art, as well as active festivals and lively culture, then this is a trip you don’t want to miss. Bonus: we also pay a visit to Papenburg, a city with a “Hanseatic spirit” since many mega cruise ships and other vessels are made here.
This trip is not yet confirmed in terms of dates and program. We also cannot yet give you a price indication. Expat Club is keen on adding these Hanseatic cities to the list of destinations and travel there with a group of fun people. If you are interested, we would love to hear that. You can now pre-reserve a spot for free and without obligations. We will then inform you whenever we have more information available. If you are a member and logged in, simply click on the RSVP button. If you are not a member, you can register first and follow these stops, or simply submit your name and email address on this page. Membership is not required for any of our trips because we only offer this online option for those who want to connect more with others.
What is included in the trip fee?
Trip by 4* luxury coach with reclining seats
Bottled water during outbound journey
2 nights in a good 4* hotel in Hamburg
2x breakfast buffet
Guided city tour in Münster (walking)
Guided city tour in Bremen (walking)
Dinner in Bremen
Guided city tour in Hamburg (bus & walking)
Boat tour Hamburg
Visit to Oldenburg
Meyer Cruiseship Shipyard Papenburg guided tour
A great group of international people
A lifetime expat memory
What is optional?
Lunch in Münster
Lunch in Oldenburg
Coach pick-up point
Place Schuman (bus stop next to KBC bank on roundabout)
Who can join this trip?
Expat club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable.
– Members & non-members
– Expats & (Internation) Belgians
– All ages, including children
– Singles/ couples/ retirees/ friends/ colleagues/ families
How to add a child ticket?
Expat Club loves welcoming young expats too! If you want to bring your children) up until 18 years, we will offer a good discount and can arrange maybe a more convenient room for you.
A quick overview of the Hanseatic League.
Listen to our favourite travel vlogger Rick Steves
As with all Expat Club trips, our program for the Hanseatic area of Northern Germany is carefully designed. Still, the programme may change depending on, for instance, traffic conditions, road closures and other unforeseen circumstances. The below schedule is therefore not final, but it gives you a good idea of what you can expect until we actually open up the trip for bookings.
Friday 07h00 – Departure from Place Schuman
09h00 – Stop at a highway restaurant
11h45 – Arrival Münster & guided tour
12h45 – Lunch
14h00 – Departure to Bremen
16h30 – Arrival Bremen & guided tour
18h00 – Free time or dinner
19h30 – Departure to Hamburg
22h00 – Arrival hotel
Saturday 07h00 – Breakfast
09h00 – Guided Hamburg Tour (bus & walking)
11h00 – Free time
12h30 – Lunch
13h45 – Boat tour
15h45 – Free time
19h30 – Dinner
Sunday 09h00 – Departure
11h30 – Arrival Oldenburg & lunch
13h00 – Departure to Papenburg
14h15 – Arrival
14h30 – Cruise ship/ Meyer Werft tour
17h30 – End guided tour
19h00 – Dinner at a highway restaurant
22h30 – Return to Brussels
This trip focuses on visiting four cities of the Hanseatic League: Münster, Bremen, Hamburg and Oldenburg. On top of that we will also visit Papenburg, which is not a Hanseatic city, but which surely would have been if this prestigious association would still be in existence today.
The Hanseatic League During the 15th-19th centuries the Hanseatic League was the most powerful trading block in the world, stretching from the Baltic Sea and North Sea to cities further inland. In its heyday, it comprised around 40 main cities, most of which were in Germany and what is now Poland, but also the Netherlands and the Baltic States.
The Hanseatic League grew out of an ancient organisation called the Medieval Guild. These guilds had been formed to protect merchants, tradesmen and craftsmen from extortion and bullying by the upper classes. By standing together as a group it gave them more chance of demanding to be paid a fair price for their work and/or goods than one person alone could. Once the Hanseatic League was formed it grew quickly and played a major role in defining trade, economies, and politics in the area, and even set up its own legal system and armies.
This long-distance trade brought in wealth and prosperity for the Cities concerned and resulted in a major economic boom. One area which profited greatly was construction, an abundance of money enabled these cities to buy in quality materials, employ skilled builders and tradesmen, and construct large buildings such as cathedrals, churches, town halls, as well as many imposing private houses for the wealthy tradesmen in these areas.
Münster With a history going back over 1.200 years, the Hanseatic city Münster is definitely worth a planned stop. And since we drive by on our way to the North, we will be stopping here for a short visit only during lunchtime, but that’s enough to enjoy the magnificent town centre and have a nice lunch.
Often referred to as Germany’s most beautiful city, Münster is a place where history is very much evident, with many beautiful old houses, churches and squares. On the Kreativkai waterfront, the old dockland buildings which sit side by side with the new, more modern buildings give an exciting mixture of art and culture. Many cafés, restaurants and clubs nestle amidst this popular stylish riverside setting. Interestingly, there are over 100,000 bicycles in the town centre every single day. Statistics say that there are 2 bikes for each resident. Even the police ride one.
Bremen Bremen is the heartbeat of Northwest Germany and the home of the world-famous ‘Town Musicians of Bremen’. The city is proud of the statues of their fairy tale animals, which are an unofficial emblem, alongside the Town Hall and Bremen Roland and its UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Every Sunday between May and October, they tell their fairy tale live and in colour on the Domshof square. Bremen is a city where, tradition, history, science, nature and culture come together. Have a coffee in the ‘Gute Stube’ (best room), which is the name given to the area around the market square, visit the museums and churches, discover the unique architecture on the Böttcherstraße, or have a refreshing drink at the bustling ‘Schlachte’ waterfront. You can even visit a replica of the Columbus module of the International Space Station (the original was actually built in Bremen.
We will spend several hours here in the late afternoon for a guided tour by a local expert, and learn not only about the actual history of this second Hanseatic town on our tour, but we will also learn about the famous tale by the Grimm Brothers, Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten. After some free time we have a nice dinner in town before we make the final stretch to Hamburg.
Hamburg Also known as the Gateway to the world, Hamburg is the maritime capital of the North and is famed for its ambience and cosmopolitan way of life. As we will be spending the day here and taking a boat trip, as we weave our way through the port you will be able to marvel at some of the worlds most majestic steam-powered ocean liners, enormous cruise ships, elegant yachts and huge container vessels.
The historical Speicherstadt is also worth a visit and is home to the largest complex of traditional brick warehouses, which rest on thousands of oak supports, intersected by narrow waterways. Discover the history of Hamburg by strolling through the ‘old town’ where many years ago noble merchants used to trade coffee, tea and spices. With the beautiful historic buildings dating back from the 17th to 19th century, intermitted with quaint restaurants and laid-back bars, this is a great place to hang out and marvel at the architecture.
Hamburg is a city of both old and new, if shopping is for you, then visit the Jungfernstieg, the city’s very modern shopping area or if you want to relax, take a stroll along the riverside promenades. We will be spending the entire Saturday in the city with the world’s most bridge. Did you know the city only has to build only 4 more bridges to reach a whopping 2.500. That’s by far most in the world, with double that of Amsterdam and over six times more than Venice.
Oldenburg On Sunday morning we visit our final Hanseatic town, Oldenburg. This town is also called “the city of parks” by some people due to a large number of green areas. Although it is one of the largest industrial centres in Germany, it is incredibly picturesque. Centuries ago the first tobacco factories were built here. Later on, foundry and machine-building factories, glass and leather manufactures were also built on the territory of Oldenburg. The city has also always been famous for beautiful horses, and so some surrounding areas are still a location of old farms where hereditary breeders live. We will only stop here for a short time, to have a quick look around and have lunch, while being on our way to the next and final stop.
Our final destination is not an actual Hansestadt. Still, with its current fame for shipbuilding, it would have fitted in perfectly. You can see from many aspects that Papenburg has a shipping history. There are 40 kilometres of canals with romantic bascule and swing bridges with anchored boats scattered along the banks that add to Papenburg’s very special charm. There are many historic buildings, all well maintained or lovingly restored, that grace the cityscape. You simply cannot leave Papenburg without seeing how these enormous ships are built. Therefore arranged a private visit to Meyer Werft shipyard with a professional guide to finish our Hanseatic trip.
For your comfort, convenience, and safety, we will be staying in a nice 4* hotel in Hamburg. We cannot yet share which hotel, but as usual we always pick a good hotel at a great location and with top reviews. You can choose between the following room types:
Single room – 1 large bed for 1 person (surcharge applies)
Double room – 1 large bed for 2 persons (a couple or parent/child)
Twin room – 2 single beds for 2 persons (two friends sharing a room)
Twin room – 2 single beds for 2 solo travellers who would like to share a room
Triple/family rooms – at request
Room sharing for solo travellers
If you travel alone, you can share a “twin room” with 2 single beds (male or female rooms). We introduce you to the other travellers who also want to share a room. This means you don’t have to search for a friend who wants to join. We also do not assign you to a room, but you choose who you want to share the room with. You can select this room sharing option during the reservation processs. It is a perfect way to lower your costs and to meet another friendly expat.
We will be travelling with a comfortable 4* luxury coach. The seats are configured in Princess Class, which means you will have extra leg space and can recline your seat. This way you can get some extra rest. All seats have footrests as well. There is a (small) toilet on-board and a DVD system with three flat screens.
The trip will be carried out by one of our trusted coach partners.
The trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are tentative and may change if required by circumstances.
The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know.
You are personally responsible for getting good cancellation and/or travel insurance that covers you for unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses before or during the trip.
You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for unforeseen delays that influence the program (e.g. missed guided tours), neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the coach, strikes, weather etc.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, things that happen during the guided tours. Joining this trip is safe but still at your own risk.
If you do not find a room partner on your own, we will find one for you (male/male, female/female). During the outbound trip we will connect you with others in the same position. If you decide to take a single room during the trip, then you will have to fully pay for it yourself.
If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, you will have to pay the single room supplement or share a room with another person (if available).
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