Tourist’s guide to Kiel, Germany’s gate to the Baltic Sea

Kiel (Germany) is, first of all, a sea city and it is felt by ships, moorings, cranes in ports. The marine theme makes an unforgettable impression on tourists, but Kiel deserves the attention of travelers for many other reasons – original architecture, a large selection of attractions, gastronomic establishments. Read about this and much more in our review.

Kiel evening view

Photo: Kiel, Germany

Kiel tourist information in Germany

The city of Kiel is a maritime and, accordingly, port settlement, located in Northern Germany. It is the capital of Schleswig-Holstein County. It is washed by the Baltic Sea and is included in the 30 largest and most significant cities in Germany. During the Second World War, the city was almost destroyed, but almost all the sights, architectural structures were restored, so it’s unlikely to be able to find buildings of the Hanseatic period in Kiel.

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The city has an artificial canal that provides an exit from the city directly to the North Sea. The geographical location of the settlement is formed by its temperate climate, average temperature – +9 degrees, maximum summer temperature – +16 degrees, in winter – +0 degrees. 750 mm of precipitation is recorded throughout the year.

Kiel top view
  1. Area – 119 km2.
  2. The population is almost 250 thousand people.
  3. Currency is Euro.
  4. The official language is German.
  5. A Schengen visa is required to visit.
  6. The best shops and places for shopping are located on Holstenstraße.
  7. The best cafes and restaurants are located next to St. Nicholas Church (northbound from Holstenstraße)

Interesting fact! Modern Kiel is known for the annual international event – Kiel Week – the most titled event in the world of sailing. Sailing competitions took place twice in Kiel during the Olympic Games in 1936 in Berlin and in 1972 in Munich.

Historical excursion

The settlement was founded at the beginning of the 13th century by Count Holstein, then the settlement became part of the Hanseatic League, although it was inferior in area and importance to other large port cities. By the middle of the 14th century, the settlement was surrounded by a stone fortress, had 9 gates.

Kiel University
Kiel University

Good to know! Kiel left the Hanseatic League in the 16th century.

In the 17th century, the oldest university in Germany began work in the city. Another remarkable fact about the village – here was born the Russian emperor Peter III. In 2014, a monument of bronze was erected in honor of the emperor.

For some time the city was part of Denmark and only at the end of the Napoleonic wars returned to German control.

Interesting fact! At the beginning of the 20th century, the Institute of World Economy began to work in Kiel, where lecturer Nobel Prize winner Vasily Leontyev lectured.

In the history of the city of Kiel, in addition to the dramatic pages associated with hostilities, other tragic stories have occurred. In the summer of 1932, the worst catastrophe in the sea happened – the Nioba turned over and 140 cadets died. In memory of the victims, a monument was erected on the shore.

Monument to the ship
Monument to the ship “Niobe”

Sights of Kiel in Germany

Kiel is an old port town with a wide selection of attractions and entertainment. If you are limited in time and arrived in Kiel for one or two days, it makes sense to book a sightseeing tour in the port. The guide will tell the history of the city, interesting facts, guide you to the most important tourist places.

Labeux Naval Memorial and Museum – Submarine (U-Boot U 995)

The Labeux district offers an exciting walk, attractions and interesting places are found here at every step. First of all, pay attention to the naval memorial, built in honor of the dead sailors during the Second World War. It is located 30 km from the center of Kiel, it is convenient to get here by car, there are signs along the way, and there is free parking near the memorial.

As a pleasant bonus, you can climb to the observation deck, by the way, the climb is absolutely not burdensome, because the elevator lifts tourists. A beautiful view of the bay, the city and the ships opens from above.

Labyo Naval Memorial

The memorial is a vivid testimony of how reverently the Germans honor the memory of sailors. There are always a lot of fresh flowers, wreaths and commemorative ribbons. If you look closely, you will see that there are tapes from representatives of other states.

The submarine, within which the museum is organized, took part in hostilities. Here, the atmosphere of that time was preserved, a huge number of sensors, devices, and the control panel will captivate not only children but also adults.

Important! When planning a trip to Labeau, keep in mind that there is a beach nearby, so take your bathing accessories with you.

A visit to the submarine will undoubtedly delight history buffs. During the war years, German submarines were terrible weapons, they were very different from traditional submarines – they could deliver a terrifying blow. The interior of the submarine remained unchanged.


Practical information:

  • The schedule of the memorial depends on the season; find out the exact information on the official website;
  • there are three types of tickets at the box office: for visiting a memorial, for visiting a submarine and a combined ticket, cost from 5.00 € to 10.00 €;
  • Attraction address: Strandstraße, 92;
  • once an hour, from the pier near the train station, ferries depart directly to Labeux;
  • Website:
Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden

The attraction was opened in 1884 and is located near the Kiel Fjord and the University Hospital. Today the garden covers an area of ​​2.5 hectares and is recognized as a monument of nature and culture. A unique forest with rare trees such as ginkgo, Amur cork, Japanese juniper and bald cypresses, reaching a height of more than 20 meters, has been preserved here.

Be sure to stroll along the winding paths that will lead you to rare bushes, fragrant flowers. During the existence of the attraction, more than a hundred plants have been planted and grown here – sakura, rhododendrons, cedars, magnolias, Chinese spruces and sciadopitis.

At the top of the garden is a pavilion and an observation deck.

The attraction is open all year, visiting the garden is free (with the exception of official events and excursions with a botanical garden employee). Opening hours depend on the month.

Official site of the attraction:

Church of St. Nicholas
Church of St. Nicholas

One of the significant sights of Kiel is the church of St. Nicholas. The oldest church in the city, appeared in the middle of the 13th century. This is one of the few buildings that survived during the Second World War, therefore, the external and internal decoration was restored, but retained its historical appearance.

The temple is made in the Gothic style, it is in this style that the Germans are known as the best masters. Inside the temple is richly decorated with stained glass windows on biblical themes, carvings, symbols of the Lutheran faith. Near the temple is a beautiful garden.

Practical information:

  • the entrance is free;
  • work schedule: from Monday to Saturday – from 10-00 to 18-00;
  • official website:
Town Hall

Another popular Kiel landmark in Germany is located on the Town Hall Square, built by the Town Hall in the early 20th century. The height of the tower is 106 meters – it has become a symbol of Kiel. Opposite the building is a statue of the Swordsman, which symbolizes the impregnability and power of the city, the patriotism of all its citizens. Also within walking distance are Hiroshima Park, Opera House.

Kiel Town Hall

Interesting fact! The Kiel Town Hall is designed in the image of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.

Every quarter of an hour a bell rings from the tower. At an altitude of 67 meters in the tower is equipped with an observation deck, you can climb by elevator or stairs.

Fairs are regularly held on the square, and Christmas events are especially popular.

Where to stay

Hotel in Kiel

You can choose any area for your stay in Kiel, as the city is calm. It offers tourists both budget hostels and hotels. For a night in a hostel you have to pay from 15 €, and a hotel room costs an average of 100 € (this includes breakfast). You can also rent apartments from local residents. The rent depends on the area of ​​the apartment and the distance from the center:

  • one-room apartments – from 410 € per month;
  • three-room apartments – from 865 € per month.

Important! Most hotels are located in the Vorstadt and Altstadt areas.

Dining in Kiel

Cafe in Kiel

Of course, the most interesting places for tourists are places where you can try dishes of national German cuisine. Traditional are pears, beans, cabbage, dumplings (served with bacon, as well as sweet sauce), vegetable and ham stew, as well as black pudding, soup with dumplings and Baltic sprat.

If you are an admirer of international cuisine, pay attention to establishments where Thai dishes are served, various types of Italian pizza are presented. By the way, as a rule, in Italian restaurants you can order excellent wine (many institutions have their own wine cellar).

Returning to the marine geographic location of the city, fish and seafood are present in many dishes. Local chefs have gained special skill in cooking sprats – small fish (up to 20 cm), and sprats – an indispensable souvenir brought from Kiel.

Seafood in Kiel

Also in the city there are a lot of old bakeries and other pastries, they are served along with aromatic tea or coffee.

Food prices in Kiel:

  • lunch in a cafe – from 7.50 € to 13.00 €;
  • dinner for two in a restaurant – from 35.00 € to 50.00 €;
  • A light meal in a fast food restaurant will cost € 8.00.

Important! In Germany, it is not customary to leave a tip in cash, they are withdrawn along with the amount of the check, as a rule, the client voices the tip size to the waiter.

How to get to the city and transport links between settlements in Germany

    Airport in Lubeck
  1. By plane.
  2. Kiel is a tourist city, there is an airport terminal, but it only accepts charter flights from Scandinavian countries. The nearest airports to Kiel (Germany) are located in Lübeck (80 km), in Hamburg (100 km).

  3. By train.
  4. Germany has a developed railway connection, so traveling by train is quite convenient and fast. For example, from Hamburg to Kiel can be reached in 1 hour 20 minutes. For the exact schedule and cost of tickets, check out the official website of German railways.

  5. By bus.
  6. Bus in Kiel

    Another way to travel quite comfortably in Germany is by bus. In this case, German pedantry is relevant – transport arrives strictly second per second. The journey from Berlin will take about 6 hours, ticket price is 15 €. Buses also run from Hamburg Airport, the stop is located next to the aircraft arrival area, marked “B”. Ticket price 5.65 €, the journey takes about 30 minutes.

    In addition, the bus connection with Kiel is established through Tallinn, flights follow through Poland and the Baltic. The route is designed for 6 hours.

  7. On a ferryboat.

Perhaps the most fascinating and exciting journey to Kiel is by ferry. The water connection is established with the Norwegian Oslo (on the way 19.5 hours), Swedish Gothenburg (on the way from 13.5 to 15 hours), with Lithuanian Klaipeda (on the way 21 hours). The schedule and cost of tickets change every season, so you need to find out the actual data immediately before the trip.

Good to know! Previously, Kiel could be reached by ferry from St. Petersburg, but now passenger traffic has stopped.

Prices on the page are for August 2019.

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Interesting facts and useful tips.

    Euro coins
  1. Tourists should take into account that it is very difficult to change the currency in the city, there are exchange points only at banks and near the station, therefore it is better to change money in advance.
  2. In almost all stores you can pay by credit card, banknotes with a face value of more than 50 euros are carefully checked and they are very reluctant to accept them for payment.
  3. In local pubs and bars you can not only taste local beer, but also get delicious snacks that are offered at affordable prices. You can also have a tasty tasty snack at local bakery, mobile fast food stalls.
  4. Every Saturday, museums have free admission.
  5. Shop in Kiel
  6. Shops located in tourist areas sell goods at inflated prices. The farther the outlet is from the tourist streets, the cheaper you can buy goods.
  7. When planning a trip, pay attention to the choice of shoes, since the bridge and historical areas of Kiel are paved with cobblestone, which is convenient to walk only in sports shoes.
  8. The city of Kiel is exceptionally clean; severe fines can follow for any litter left. Picnics can only be arranged in specially equipped places.
  9. The most convenient way to get around the city is by car, but in the morning and in the evening due to the large concentration of cars traffic can be difficult.

Despite the fact that Kiel (Germany) is largely a port city, its inhabitants managed to preserve a rich history and interesting sights.

Visiting the Town Hall, the Church of St. Nicholas and the pier in Kiel, a walk along the main streets of the city:

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