History of the Hanseatic League
Merchants generated much of the wealth of Europe, from Venice to Genoa, Lisbon and London. On the Baltic coast building on the Vikings, the Hanseatic league become the traders influence trade from the middle ages across Europe. This small group tour for senior couple and mature solo travellers explores the history.
- 1. Visit Sweden to the 14th-15th coastal cities linked to trade
- 2. Appreciate the interconnected links that operated across the Baltic states and into the Atlantic for centuries.
- 3. Tour more than 30 different places key to the Hanseatic league over the duration of the tour.
|11 June 2023 |
Ends 03 July 2023 • 23 days
|10 September 2023 |
Ends 02 October 2023 • 23 days
|09 June 2024 |
Ends 01 July 2024 • 23 days
|08 September 2024 |
Ends 30 September 2024 • 23 days
Hanseatic League Historic Tour for Seniors
This 23-day small group tour uncovers the history of the Hanseatic League in northern Europe as we explore key Hanseatic cities across Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Norway. If you are a mature-aged or senior traveller with a thirst for knowledge and an open inquisitive mind, we would love to have you on board for our next departure of our private guided tours.
This small group tour explores critical elements of the Hanseatic League and the influence its network of trade had on the economics, culture, and architecture of Northern Europe. During this tour, we visit the region’s world-famous cities and their World Heritage Sites and architecture dating back to the golden age of the Hanseatic league, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. In all, this is a tour designed for the mature couple or solo traveller who is looking for an adventure that combines a fascinating history with beautiful scenery and unique landmarks.
Tour Background: The Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League, or German Hansa, was a medieval trading confederation of merchant guilds and market towns along the shore of the Baltic and North Sea, and across great swathes of the north German hinterland. While Flemish, Swedish, and other non-German towns took place in the Hanseatic trade, the participating merchants all shared a common Germanic ancestry.
Originating from a loose association of German towns in the late 12th century to facilitate trade and protect mutual interests, over the next three hundred years the league grew to dominate commercial activity across Northern Europe as one of the most successful trading bloc sin history. Ultimately, it would consist of nearly 200 member towns, with additional trading counters outside its network in places ranging from Novgorod, Bergen, Bruges, and London. This created an economic system that crossed political boundaries, linking together Germany, England, Flanders, Norway, Sweden, the future Baltic states, and even Russia.
Though this network flowed luxury goods such as furs from Russia, spices from the Levant (by way of Bruges), and amber from the Baltic. But its members were even more active carrying uncountable barrels of herring, vast supplies of wind-dried cod, and rye produced along the shores of the Baltic and lands of the Teutonic Knights.
More than just a maritime trading network, at the peak of its power in the 14th century, the league also operated as a major naval force. Members pooled their resources and armies for mutual defence and to defeat their hostile rivals.
However, by the late 15th century, their domination had started to dwindle, as rising merchant powers upended their monopolies and Hanseatic cities were absorbed into newly formed states. When the league was officially dissolved in the 19th century, it had long become irrelevant.
These days there are many intriguing remnants of the Hanseatic League to be explored across almost 200 of its former cities. Its memories are revoked in the remains of Hanseatic architecture, such as the sophisticated old salt warehouses in Lübeck, grand churches built by prosperous Hanseatic merchants in Baltic towns like Stralsund, and thousands of surviving half-timbered structures throughout the region.
This is a great small group tour for senior couples and mature solo travellers interested in the history of the Scandinavian coastline, merchants, and the creation of wealth to influence art and history of the people in the period leading up to the Renaissance. The Hanseatic league competed and traded with London, Venice and Genoa for products and wealth.
This a European tour for those who like to explore beyond the main attractions with a group of like minded people. Call today to secure your places.
Day 1: Hamburg
Arrival at Hamburg hotel, by own arrangements, and meet programme leader. Welcome dinner included.
Day 2: Hamburg
The group will start the tour with a guest lecture, to set the scene for the touring to come and to provide an introduction into the Hanseatic League and its legacy. This afternoon they take a guided city tour of Hamburg, including a visit to the International Maritime Museum in Hafen City. Overnight Hamburg.
Day 3: Hamburg
Today the group will take a full day guided excursion to Lauenburg and Lueneburg.
Day 4: Bremen
The group will head to another of the League’s main ports, Bremen, but en route will stop in Stade and Bremerhaven to visit some excellent museums which highlights the region’s maritime history.
Day 5: Lubeck
A half-day guided tour of Bremen to start the day, before transferring to Lubeck this afternoon. Along with Hamburg and Bremen, Lubeck was one of the last member cities before the league’s demise.
Day 6: Lubeck
A full day taking in one of the principal cities in the Hanseatic League, including a visit to the Hanse museum and the Holstentor Gate museum.
A half-day this morning visiting further sights in Lübeck, with the afternoon at leisure.
Lübeck is also known for its Niederegger Marzipan, so we do visit to the museum and a coffee and cake package, with the remainder of the day free.
Day 8: Lubeck
A day trip to nearby Kiel. We then travel onto Lubeck for the night.
Group evening meal.
Day 9: Rostock
The group will continue east along the north coast, stopping for a city tour in scenic Wismar I have also included a traditional steam train ride on the Molli Railway between Bad Doberan and Heiligendamm, which sits on the Baltic coast.
Day 10: Stralsund
A half-day tour of Rostock, as well as a stop to view the nearby beach of Warnemuende, before continuing on to Stralsund.
Day 11: Stralsund
A half-day city tour of Stralsund, including entrance to the Museum of Cultural History, which is housed in the former St. Catherine’s Monastery. Afternoon free. If they like, the group could use the coach to head to nearby Greifswald to view the hall church and merchants’ houses.
Day 12: Szczecin
Travel further east this morning, crossing the border into Poland, and taking a guided city tour of Szczecin.
Group evening meal this evening.
Day 13: Gdansk
Continue east, with a stop in Kolobrzeg to break the journey, to Gdynia. The Emigration Museum in Gydnia is a reasonably new museum, cataloguing the emigration of Polish citizens across the world. A stop in Sopot before heading to Gdansk (known previously as Danzig).
Group meal this evening.
Day 14: Gdansk
A full day of guided sightseeing in Gdansk, another of the League’s key port cities. The pax will explore the key sights and museums relating to the city’s maritime heritage. I have also included entrance to the acclaimed Museum of the Second World War.
Day 15: Gdansk
Accommodation: Ferry ovenight
A free day in Gdansk during the day.
Tonight, the group will transfer to Gdynia to take the overnight ferry across the Baltic Sea to Karlskrona. Overnight aboard the ferry.
Day 16: Visby
Disembark at Karlskrona and continue northwards up the coast of southern Sweden, to catch another ferry to Visby, Gotland, a key member of the League.
Day 17: Visby
A half-day guided city tour in Visby, followed by an afternoon at leisure.
Day 18: Stockholm
Free time in Visby, before taking the ferry back to Nynashamn on mainland Sweden, driving up to Stockholm from there.
Day 19: Stockholm
A full day of guided sightseeing in Stockholm, highlighting the city’s significance in the region across the centuries.
Day 20: Stockholm
Day 20 – A half-day boat excursion out into the Stockholm archipelago to visit Bjorko island, home to the medieval Birka settlement. Afternoon at leisure.
Transfer to Arlanda airport to catch a flight to Bergen, with coach transfers at each end.
Day 22: Bergen
A full day of guided sightseeing learning about one of the Hanseatic League’s most important trading partners, Bergen. Overnight Bergen.
Day 23: Bergen
Tour concludes after breakfast.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
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For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
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