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Luftbild des Hafens von Kiel, Bild: Snapshot freddy / shutterstock

Kiel: maritime flair and North German joie de vivre

Located on the Baltic Sea coast of Schleswig-Holstein, the state capital of Kiel welcomes its visitors with a mixture of maritime flair, vibrant city culture and the discreet but honest North German joie de vivre. The location of the city on the Kiel Fjord invites you to a variety of activities on land and water.

Kiel, the city of maritime traditions

Kiel is historically closely linked to seafaring. The German Baltic Sea coast was already considered an important port location in the European Middle Ages. Kiel received city rights in 1242 and developed into one of the most important trading centres on the Baltic Sea in the following centuries. Due to the infrastructural connections to the other parts of Germany or its predecessor states, the city became a center of shipbuilding. Famous sailing ships such as the “Sea Cloud”, but also warships and submarines were launched in Kiel.

The Maritime Museum bears witness to the maritime traditions of the city and the surrounding region. Visitors can look forward to miniaturized ship models, historical navigation devices, former uniforms of the German Navy and insights into the history of the legendary Kiel Week.

The Kiel Week – ten days dedicated to sailing

The town hall of Kiel
The town hall of Kiel, Image: dedi57 / shutterstock

The Kiel Week is a world-famous sailing event and takes place annually in the state capital of Schleswig-Holstein. An average of three million visitors from all over the world attend the ten-day event, which has the character of a folk festival for the citizens of the city. The Kiel Week, which always ends on the last Sunday of June, offers a unique mixture of maritime traditions, top-class sport and a festive atmosphere. An extensive supporting programme on land guarantees entertainment and variety for every taste: live music on various stages, varied culinary delights and numerous hands-on activities for adults, children and young people ensure unforgettable experiences in Kiel.

The last day of the event ends with a 20-minute light show over the inner fjord, where visitors can marvel at a spectacular drone and laser show as well as a magnificent fireworks display.

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The Kiel region – water sports, boat trips and idyllic beaches

The Kiel Fjord, an approximately 17-kilometre-long inlet of the Baltic Sea, is a paradise for nature lovers. Located between the Schleswig-Holstein state capital and Eckernförde, the region is a popular destination for tourists, sailors and water sports enthusiasts. The Kiel Fjord was formed due to glacial movements during the last ice age, which makes it geologically considered a young landscape. Thousands of years ago, the glacier tongues pushed deep into the mainland, leaving behind a channel that filled with seawater over time. The fjord reaches a depth of up to 40 meters and a maximum width of just under four kilometers.

Characteristic of the region are sandy beaches, steep banks and dense forests that stretch across the landscape of Schleswig-Holstein, which is characterized by gentle hills.
Hikers and cyclists enjoy a dense network of paths, while water sports enthusiasts get their money’s worth with sailing, surfing, kiting and stand-up paddling.
If you want to experience Kiel’s maritime traditions up close, take a boat trip across the fjord.

Sights in Kiel – from the show aquarium to the lively shopping street

Kiel is the city of the sea. Accordingly, the sea is at the centre of the sights that the state capital of Schleswig-Holstein offers.
In the show aquarium of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, visitors have the opportunity to marvel at the habitats of marine animals native to the Baltic Sea in more than 30 tanks. The Hörn Campus, which is one of the most impressive buildings in Kiel, is also dedicated to the sea: the architecture combines the elements of water and wind in the form of a building that is reminiscent of a glass sail.

If you want to use your visit to the city for shopping, it is best to go to Holstenstraße. This is located in the middle of the city centre not far from the Kiel Fjord and awaits tourists and locals with numerous specialist shops and department stores.

On the trail of Kiel’s history – a visit to the castle garden

With more than 1,500 plants, Kiel’s Palace Garden is a green oasis in the middle of the city. With its fountains, statues and a small lake, it invites you to walk and relax. A visit is an opportunity to learn more about the history of the castle garden and the city of Kiel.

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The design of the garden, which was first laid out in 1558, reflects the culture of various European epochs: Originally laid out as a Renaissance garden during the reign of Duke Adolf I, it was subsequently considered one of the symbols of the magnificent Baroque period under his widowed wife Friederike Amalie. After the death of the regent, the garden fell into disrepair again before it was converted into an English landscape garden in the middle of the 19th century. After the Second World War, the castle garden fell into disrepair again and partly served as a parking lot. Since 2007, the gradual reconstruction has been carried out according to historical plans, so that the garden shines in its old glory today.

Kiel – where sea air meets tradition

Located on the Baltic Sea coast, the city combines the fascination of the sea with pride in its maritime traditions. Shipping, sailing and the culture associated with it characterize Kiel, while historical monuments and contemporary sights testify to the importance of the city.

Facts about Kiel

Geographical location

  • Kiel stretches in a horseshoe shape around the natural harbour of Kiel Fjord, an important seaport on the Baltic Sea.
  • The northernmost part of the city, Schilksee, is located directly on the open Baltic Sea.
  • The watershed between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea runs through the city, which underlines its geographical and historical importance.

Economy and transport

  • With a gross value added of over 11 billion euros (2021) and a diverse economic structure, Kiel is a dynamic business location.
  • The Port of Kiel is a central hub for freight and ferry traffic, with over 1.4 million arrivals and departures in 2022.
  • Kiel actively promotes cycling and has a well-developed network of public transport.

Culture and leisure

  • The city offers a rich cultural program, including theater, music events, and a variety of museums.
  • Kiel is known for the Kiel Week, the largest sailing event in the world and a folk festival that attracts millions of visitors every year.
  • In terms of culinary delights, you can enjoy North German cuisine in Kiel, including fresh fish and seafood.

Nature and surroundings

  • The scenic surroundings of Kiel, characterized by moraine hills and the proximity to Holstein Switzerland, offer numerous opportunities for outdoor activities.
  • The Kiel Fjord and the surrounding beaches invite you to water sports and relaxing days by the sea.

Education and research

  • Kiel is an important location for education and research with renowned universities and research institutions, which gives the city a young and dynamic flair.

In your article, you should enrich these facts with vivid descriptions and perhaps personal experiences to give readers a comprehensive picture of Kiel as an attractive travel destination.