Schwerin is a city of lakes. The eponymous Schwerin See, at the heart of the city, is ringed by a mix of grandiose 19th-century architecture and pretty, well-tended parks. The lakeside paths make for a lovely stroll, and in the summer they’re full of locals swimming, sunbathing and paddle-boarding. The city’s other main attraction is its impressive Schwerin Palace, a grandiose 19th-century edifice that’s now the seat of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state parliament. The palace is open to visitors, and its ornate interiors and sprawling gardens are well worth exploring. Schwerin is also a convenient base for exploring the surrounding countryside, with its pretty villages, forests and lakes.