Kiel is not the most well-known town outside of Germany. It may not even be a town that really sticks out at you like Hamburg or Berlin. Apart from once a week in the middle of the year, it may seem like your standard student town. At first glance, this city doesn’t give off the vibe of something special, which it really is. There’s quite a wide variety of things to see & do whilst visiting Kiel.
From historical sites, museums, beaches & cafés, there’s plenty to do during the winter months and even more during the summer.
A First-Timers Guide to Visiting Kiel!
If you take a walk along the beach in Laboe, you’ll come across a submarine. Not just any submarine though, this WWII German submarine is the last surviving Type VII in the world. Filled with history, it’s naturally been converted into a Museum Ship. Perched on the beach, you’ll be able to explore the tight spaces the crew would’ve had to crawl through on a daily basis… luckily you won’t have to do it whilst submerged! Whilst a must-see for any history or submarine aficionado, this submarine can be appreciated by everyone!
Across the road from the U-Boot, you’ll find the Laboe Naval Memorial. Sitting on one of the mouths to the Kieler Fjord, this massive monument is a tribute to all sailors that have lost their lives at sea. From the top of the tower, you can get a great picture of the U-Boot & experience even greater views of the bay. Imposing and striking in the classical red brick, you can’t miss it. If the weathers good, head over to the beach and then take a walk down strand street to the Fischküche for the best food in Kiel!
Another MUST-SEE for any history aficionados, and a great stop for those that aren’t. This WWII bunker has become a make-shift art gallery. Home to exhibitions over multiple storeys, WWII memorabilia, photos, etc. the bunker does an excellent job of showcasing the extremes of war in a modern way.
Kiel is home to many lighthouses. If you’re looking for a stereotypical one to light up your Instagram, or you’re just really intrigued by these rather fascinating buildings. You can most likely find at least one lighthouse that will leave you pleased you visited. Check out our full article on the Kieler Lighthouses by clicking here.
Kieler Woche – The Kieler Week
During the mid-last week of June, over 2000 ships and yachts are attracted to Kiel, as well as 3.5 million visitors! Making this the largest sailing event in the world. There is also a large open-air music festival, many street performers, comedians, an international market and plenty of activities for the little ones. Many claims that this is the largest summer festival in Europe! If you are lucky enough to be in the city for the week, you probably won’t disagree. 😉
St. Nikolai Church
The historical centre of Kiel isn’t as diverse as many of the other German cities. There are, however, a few beautiful and interesting buildings and places that you should go visit whilst in town. The St. Nikolai Church is one of them. Dating all the way back to the 13th century when the town was founded, this is the oldest building in Kiel. Intricate details line the inside and out, leading you on a journey through time.
Kiel Rathaus & Paternoster
The Kiel Townhall is another of these buildings that present something you may not expect. In this case, apart from the impressive architecture of the building’s structure, inside you’ll find a Paternoster lift! Constantly moving, to get where you want to go, just hop on and off… well, before it was closed to the public. As this is a government building, only government officials are allowed to use it. Still very interesting to see, and to make the trip even more worthwhile, the tower in the Town Hall (Rathaus) offers more spectacular views over the city & bay. The Opera House is just in front of the plaza and presents some awesome spots to take pictures.
This 5km long promenade is a great place to relax and go for a walk, with numerous cafes and restaurants, as well as patches of green if you’re with your 4-legged-friends, you’ll be able to view some high-end yachts, ships entering and leaving the harbour and some days even catch some of the massive cruiseliners that stop-over at Kiel.
Kiel isn’t a city where the locals keep still. You’ll find numerous parks throughout, many different types too! There’s a botanical garden with some diverse plants from the area, a forest garden almost in the centre & right next to the old town you’ll find the Hiroshima-park & Ratsdienergarten. These last two provide some large shady trees and walkways around two small lakes right in the centre of town. Not to even mention the 5km long promenade I mentioned above. There is plenty of green space provided in the city. Our favourite though… and what also seemed to be the favourite for most dog lovers in Kiel, was the Schrevenpark. Large wide-open grass spaces, parks, picnic areas & another small lake to chill at with the dogs.
The Kiel Canal links the Baltic & North Seas. Ships travelling this route only need to travel the 98km route in the canal, whereas previously they would’ve had to go around Denmark… a 450km detour. The massive lock system at Holtenau in Kiel is a view for itself, allowing some rather massive ships through the canal. Apart from the naval interest, the canal is a great place for long bicycle tours and walks. With and without dogs. 😉
Are you planning a trip to northern Germany? Don’t forget to add visiting Kiel to your trip itinerary. 😉
If you enjoyed this article, let us know in the comments below.