A traditional sailing regatta, a boat trip on a historic waterway or sleeping outside on the Kiel Fjord - a visit to Kiel, Germany's only major city directly on the sea, is inextricably linked with water. A guide through the capital of Schleswig-Holstein: 


Set sail in Kiel

Kiel.Sailing.City - the city in the north sees itself as the world capital of sailing. And has every reason to do so: Every year at the end of June, the state capital hosts the "Kiel Week," one of the world's largest sailing events (due to Corona, it takes place in September this year). Kiel has been hosting the sailing regatta since the end of the 19th century, and now around three million visitors flock to the city every year to watch the sailing professionals. Most of the sailing competitions start in Schilksee on Kiel's Dänischer Wohld peninsula, there is also the Olympic Center. But also from the Kiellinie, the promenade along the Kiel Fjord, sailing competitions of different disciplines can be watched. From there you also have a prominent view of tall ships and other (traditional) ships that take part in the annual windjammer parade always on the last Saturday of Kiel Week.

The regatta is framed by a summer festival with many cultural events. Part of the program are live concerts by international and local artists. You can find more information about the Kieler Woche here.

In Kiel, of course, non-professionals are also allowed to sail. A top address for sailing courses is the Camp 24//7, which offers various courses for children, teenagers and adults. Our tip: Leave the stress of everyday life behind you at Sunset.Sailing on the Kiel Fjord. For more information about the sailing camp please visit here click.


Bathing at the Kiel Fjord

You can also see the boats on a visit to the beach. From the Schilksee lido you can see the sailing ships plowing through the Baltic Sea in front of the nearby harbor of the Olympic Center. And from Falckensteiner Strand, Kiel's longest beach, you can watch ocean liners pass the Friedrichsort lighthouse and sail toward the expanse of the Baltic Sea. Both beaches are located on the western shore of the Kiel Fjord just outside Kiel. The best way to reach them is by ferry. Or you can grab a bike and ride along the Kieler Förde in the direction of the beach, the first of which you will reach in about 40 minutes. If you also like to be active on the beach, you can go straight to a water sports rental and equip yourself with a SUP board or a pedal boat. 

The Düsternbrook lido is within walking distance of Kiel's city center. Swimmers will enjoy the 60-meter lane, and there's a non-swimming area for the little ones. Or you can make yourself comfortable in the lakeside bar, sipping cocktails with a view of Kiel harbor, of course. 


A night in the sleeping beach chair

Listening to the steady sound of the sea at night? And watch a starry sky open up over the Baltic Sea after sunset? Among all the beach chairs in Kiel's Baltic resort of Heikendorf, there is one that can be converted into a cozy four-poster bed in the evening. The key to the bed on the beach is available at the tourist information office. You provide your own sleeping bag and pillow. And the next morning you can enjoy the provisions you brought with you directly on the beach. Or you can choose the more luxurious option and book breakfast at the Hotel Seeblick, which is located directly behind the basket. By the way: If the wind blows too hard or you feel unprotected at night, you can close the sleeping beach with a folding roof. Through the porthole you can still see the stars twinkling. How and when you can rent the sleeping beach chair, you will learn here.


Cruise on the Kiel Canal

More ships pass through here every year than in the Suez and Panama Canals combined: The Kiel Canal, an approximately 100-kilometer-long waterway between the Kiel Fjord near Holtenau and Brunsbüttel at the mouth of the Elbe, is the busiest, largest artificial waterway in the world. The canal, which is used by almost 32,000 ships a year, was inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhelm II at the end of the 19th century. Of course, you can watch the passing container ships, cruise liners and other ocean giants from land (for example, on the Kiel-Wik lock observation platform). Better, however, is a trip on the canal, for example on the restaurant ship Freya, a historic paddle steamer. Those who have brunch or coffee and cake in the large Art Nouveau salon or on the sun terrace furnished with teak furniture will feel like they have been transported back to 1905, the year in which the "Grande Dame" was built. During the several-hour trip, which departs from Kiel's train station quay, the captains explain a lot of interesting facts about locks, high bridges and other sights along the route. Technology fans will love the window in the floor of the deck, which provides a glimpse into the engine room of the paddle steamer.


Long-distance cycling on the North-East Canal Route

You can also explore the waterway by bike. The Kiel Canal long-distance cycle route runs 325 kilometers from Brunsbüttel to Kiel through the hinterland of Schleswig-Holstein with idyllic forest and meadow landscapes, rivers and lakes. There are many sights to marvel at along the route, which can be divided into six stages, including locks, bridges and canal communities. In addition, cyclists pass historic places such as the "pirate's nest" of Brunsbüttel (until the 13th century, the people of Brunsbüttel regularly robbed passing merchant ships of their cargo), Dithmarschen with its beautiful half-timbered houses, or Albersdorf with its Stone Age park.

Cover photo: The port of Kiel during Kiel Week © Heinrich Hecht

In collaboration with Tourism Agency Schleswig-Holstein GmbH

There are plenty of good reasons for a vacation in Schleswig-Holstein. To name a few: the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, exciting cities like Kiel and Flensburg, the islands and also the quiet hinterland. All information for your vacation in Schleswig-Holstein can be found at here.

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