What to see in Kiel, Germany

What to see in Kiel, Germany

Kiel, Germany: the most detailed information about the city of Kiel, the main attractions with photos and descriptions, location on the map.

City of Kiel, Germany

Kiel is a port city in northern Germany, the capital of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. Located on the Baltic Sea in its southwestern part on the shores of a wide bay. Today Kiel is one of the 30 largest cities in Germany. Bombing of World War II almost completely destroyed the historical heritage of the city. Many sights and monuments of architecture were rebuilt after the war with modern elements and styles. So do not be disappointed if you can’t find the original buildings and structures of the Hanseatic period in Kiev.

The city is located on the shore of Kiel Bay, which is part of the Baltic Sea. An artificial canal connects Kiel to the North Sea. The climate is temperate maritime. The average annual temperature is 9 degrees Celsius. Summers are cool with an average temperature of 15-17 degrees Celsius. Winter is mild with an average temperature of 0, +2. During the year there is almost 800 mm of precipitation. Rainy days per year more than 100.

Panorama of the city

The panorama of the city

Things to do (Kiel):

Kiel - birthplace of sprat, quantum physics and the Russian tsar

€156 per excursion

Kiel – home of the sprat, quantum physics and the Russian tsar

Exploring the past and present of the ancient port city

Tourist information

  1. Population – slightly more than 240,000 inhabitants.
  2. Area – 119 km 2
  3. Language: German.
  4. Currency – Euro.
  5. Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
  6. Visa – Schengen.
  7. Numerous stores and a large shopping center are located in the area of Holstenstraße. Cafes and pubs can be found in the old town north of this street in the area of St. Nicholas Church.


Kiel was founded in the 13th century by Count Adolf of Holstein. Already soon the city was a member of the Hanseatic League. Although the city is much inferior in importance to the major Hanseatic ports – Lübeck, Hamburg, Wismar, Bremen. In 1329 Kiel was surrounded by a stone wall and got 9 city gates. Since 1460 the city was ruled by the Danish crown. It was excluded from the Hanseatic League in the mid-16th century.

Panorama of Kiel

Kiel’s panorama

In 1544 Kiel becomes part of the possessions of the counts of Holstein. In 1665, the University was founded here – one of the oldest in Northern Germany. In 1721, Kiel becomes the main residence of the Holsteins. Interestingly, Peter III, the Russian emperor, was born here. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the city is part of Denmark. Although after the Napoleonic Wars, Kiel returned to Germany. In the 19th century, it was a major German port. During World War II, it was a major German naval base. Kiel was subjected to extensive bombing, destroying almost 80% of the old city.

Kiel at night

Kiel at night

How to get there

Kiel has an airport, which is located northwest of the city and receives only small planes or charter flights. The larger international airport is located in Hamburg, 100 km or an hour away by car. You can get to Kiel from Hamburg by train. Regular train connections are available to Lübeck and several other cities. Bus service is available to Berlin, major cities in Poland, Tallinn.

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Kiel Bay

Kiel Bay


Unfortunately, World War II almost destroyed the sights and historical heritage of Kiel. The main event is Kiel Week, an event of world significance in sailing, which has been taking place since the end of the 19th century. It takes place at the end of June.

Kiel city hall

Kiel Town Hall

Kiel City Hall is a historic building in Kiel with a tall 106-meter tower. The tower has an observation deck with an excellent view of the city. Town Hall was built in the early 20th century. The old town hall was located on the market square.

Church of St. Nicholas

Church of St. Nicholas

Church of St. Nicholas is a Gothic Protestant church, one of the oldest buildings in the city. It is located on the square of the old marketplace. The church was founded in the 13th century. The church received its modern neo-Gothic appearance in the late 19th century.

Kiel Castle

Kiel Castle

Kiel Castle – the old residence of the counts of Holstein. Was significantly damaged during the Second World War and new buildings were built on its ruins.

Kiel Bay

Kiel Bay

Kiel Bay is a great place for walks and a place where ships and sailing ships are anchored.

Church of St. Ansgar

Church of St. Ansgar

St. Ansgar Church is a brick Neo-Gothic Lutheran church built in the early 20th century.

St. Paul's Church

Church of St. Paul

St. Paul’s Church is a neo-Gothic Lutheran church built in the late 19th century.

Interesting tours

Nuremberg through the ages

€95 per tour

Nuremberg through the ages

Hear the history of the most interesting places in the Old Town and get valuable advice from locals

On both sides of the barricades: A walking tour of Berlin

€110 per tour

On both sides of the barricades: a walking tour of Berlin

3 hours to immerse yourself in the history of the capital and see its key sights

Kiel, Germany – the gateway to the Baltic Sea

Kiel (Germany) is above all a maritime city and you can feel it in the ships, piers, and cranes in the ports. The maritime theme makes an unforgettable impression on tourists, but Kiel deserves attention of travelers for many other reasons – distinctive architecture, a wide range of attractions, gastronomic facilities. Read about this and more in our review.

View of evening Kiel

Photo: Kiel, Germany

Kiel travel information about Germany

The city of Kiel is a maritime and, therefore, a port settlement, located in Northern Germany. It is the capital of Schleswig-Holstein county. Washed by the Baltic Sea, it is one of the 30 largest and most important cities in Germany. During World War II the city was virtually destroyed, but virtually all the attractions, architectural structures have been restored, so you can hardly find in Kiel the buildings of the Hanseatic period.

The city has an artificial canal, which provides access from the city directly to the North Sea. The geographical location of the settlement determines its temperate climate, the average temperature is +9 degrees Celsius, the maximum summer temperature is +16 degrees, winter – 0 degrees. During the year fixed 750 mm of precipitation.

  1. The area is 119 km2.
  2. The population is nearly 250 thousand people.
  3. The currency is euro.
  4. The official language is German.
  5. To visit requires a Schengen visa.
  6. The best stores and places for shopping are located on Holstenstrasse.
  7. The best cafes and restaurants are located near the Church of St. Nicholas (north from Holstenstrasse).

Interesting fact! Modern Kiel is known for its annual international event – Kiel Week – the most titled event in the world of sailing. Twice sailing competitions were held in Kiel – during the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 and in Munich in 1972.

The settlement was founded in the early 13th century by Count of Holstein, then the settlement joined the Hanseatic League, although it was inferior in size and importance to other major port cities. By the middle of the 14th century the settlement was surrounded by a stone fortress and had nine gates.

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Kiel University

Kiel University

Useful information! Kiel left the Hanseatic League in the 16th century.

In the 17th century the oldest university in Germany began its work in the city. Another notable fact about the settlement is that the Russian Emperor Peter III was born here. 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 was it returned to the control of the German authorities.

An interesting fact! In the early 20th century the Institute for World Economics was opened in Kiel, where Nobel laureate Vasily Leontief gave lectures.

In the history of the city of Kiel in addition to the dramatic pages associated with military action, there were other tragic stories. In the summer of 1932 there was the worst disaster at sea – the ship “Niobe” capsized and 140 cadets were killed. To commemorate the victims a monument was erected on the shore.

Ship's Monument

Monument to the Niobe ship

Kiel sights in Germany

Kiel is an ancient, port town, and there is a wide variety of attractions and entertainment. If you are limited in time and come to Kiel for one or two days, it makes sense to book a sightseeing tour of the port. The guide will tell you the history of the city, interesting facts, and will guide you through the most important tourist spots.

Labeux area offers a fascinating walk, sights and interesting places are found here at every step. First of all, pay attention to the naval memorial, built in honor of fallen sailors during World War II. It is located 19 km from the center of Kiel and is easy to get to by car, there are signs all the way around and free parking is available next to the memorial.

As a nice bonus you can go up to the observation deck, by the way, the climb is not burdensome, because tourists are lifted up. From the top there is a beautiful view of the bay, the city and the ships.

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Navy memorial in Labeux

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

Submarine, inside which the museum is organized, took part in the war effort. It has preserved the atmosphere of the time, a huge number of gauges, instruments, and the control panel will fascinate not only children, but also adults.

Important! When planning a trip to Labeux, keep in mind that there is a beach nearby, so take swimwear with you.

A visit to a submarine will undoubtedly delight history buffs. During the war, German submarines were a fearsome weapon, they were very different from traditional submarines – they could deliver an intimidating blow. The interior of the submarine has been preserved unchanged.


  • The memorial’s schedule varies depending on the season, check the official website for exact information;
  • There are three types of tickets available at the ticket office: for the memorial, for the submarine and a combined ticket, with prices ranging from 5,00€ to 10,00€;
  • address: Strandstraße, 92;
  • Once an hour a ferry goes directly to Labeux from the pier next to the train station;
  • Website: https://deutscher-marinebund.de/.

Botanical Garden

The attraction was opened in 1884 and is located near the Kiel Fjord and the University Hospital. Today the garden occupies an area of 2.5 hectares and is recognized as a monument of nature and culture. There is a unique forest with rare trees such as ginkgo, Amur corkwood, Japanese juniper and bald cypress, reaching a height of over 20 meters.

Be sure to walk the winding paths that lead you to rare shrubs and fragrant flowers. More than a hundred plants have been planted and grown here over the years of the attraction – sakura, rhododendrons, cedars, magnolias, Chinese firs and Sciadopitis.

A pavilion and observation deck is open at the top of the garden.

The attraction is open all year, and visits to the garden are free (exceptions are official events and tours with a botanical garden staff member). Hours of operation vary by month.

The attraction’s official website: www.alter-botanischer-garten-kiel.de/

Church of St. Nicholas

One of the significant attractions of Kiel is the Church of St. Nicholas. The oldest church in the city, it appeared in the mid-13th century. This is one of the few buildings that survived the Second World War, so the exterior and interior decoration was restored, but retained its historic appearance.

The temple is made in the Gothic style, it is in this style the Germans are reputed to be the best craftsmen. Inside the church is richly decorated with stained-glass windows with biblical themes, carvings and symbols of the Lutheran faith. Next to the temple is a beautiful garden.

  • admission is free;
  • Opening hours: Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m;
  • official website: www.st-nikolai-kiel.de.

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

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Kiel Town Hall

Interesting fact! Kiel City Hall is designed in the likeness of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.

Every quarter of an hour there is a bell ringing in the tower. At 67 meters high the tower is equipped with a viewing platform, you can climb in the elevator or by stairs.

There are regular fairs, but especially popular are the Christmas events.

where to stay

Hotel in Kiel

For accommodation in Kiel, you can choose any neighborhood, as the city is quiet. It offers tourists both budget hostels and hotels. A night in a hostel starts at 15€ and a hotel room costs an average of 100€ (breakfast included). You can also rent apartments from locals. The rent depends on the size of the apartment and the distance from the center:

  • One-bedroom apartments – from 410€ per month;
  • Two-bedroom apartments from 865€ per month.

Important: Most hotels are located in the Vorstadt and Altstadt districts.

Meals in Kiel

Kiel Cafe

Of course, the greatest interest among tourists cause the institutions where you can try dishes of the national German cuisine. Traditional are pears, beans, cabbage, dumplings (they are served with bacon and sweet sauce), stew of vegetables and ham, as well as black pudding, soup with dumplings and Baltic sprat.

If you are a fan of international cuisine, pay attention to institutions where they cook Thai dishes, a variety of Italian pizza. By the way, as a rule, in Italian restaurants you can order excellent wine (many institutions have their own wine cellar).

Returning to the maritime geographical location of the city, many dishes feature fish and seafood. Local chefs have achieved a special skill in cooking sprat, a small fish (up to 20 cm), and sprats are an indispensable souvenir that is brought back from Kiel.

Seafood in Kiel

Also in the city there are many old bakeries and other pastries, they are served with fragrant tea or coffee.

Prices for food in Kiel:

  • Lunch at a café – from 7.50€ to 13.00€;
  • Dinner for two at a restaurant: €35,00 to €50,00;
  • A light snack at a fast-food restaurant costs 8,00€.

Important: In Germany it is not customary to leave tips in cash, they are taken together with the amount on the check, as a rule, the client voices the amount of the tip to the waiter.

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

Kiel is a tourist city, it has an airport, but it takes only charter flights from Scandinavian countries. The nearest airports to Kiel, Germany, are in Luebeck (80 km) and Hamburg (100 km).

Germany has an extensive railway network, so travel by train is comfortable and fast. For example, from Hamburg to Kiel it takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. The exact schedule and ticket prices are available on the official website of German Railways.

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Another way to travel quite comfortably in Germany is a bus. In this case, the German pedantry is relevant – the transport arrives strictly second to second. The trip from Berlin takes about 6 hours and the ticket price is 15€. Buses are also available from Hamburg Airport, the stop is located near the arrivals area, marked “B”. The ticket price is € 5.65 and the journey takes about 30 minutes.

In addition, bus service to Kiel goes via Tallinn, flights go through Poland and the Baltic. The route takes about 6 hours.

Perhaps the most fascinating and exciting trip to Kiel is by ferry. There are boat connections to Norwegian Oslo (19.5 hours), Swedish Gothenburg (13.5 to 15 hours), and Lithuanian Klaipeda (21 hours). Schedules and ticket prices change every season, so it’s better to check the actual information right before you travel.

Useful to know! Earlier it was possible to get to Kiel by ferry from St. Petersburg, but now passenger transportation is discontinued.

The prices on the page are for August 2019.

Interesting facts and useful tips

  1. Tourists should take into account that in the city it is very difficult to change currency, exchange points are only in banks and near the station, so it is better to change money in advance.
  2. In almost all stores you can pay with a bank card, banknotes over 50 euros are carefully checked and they take to pay very reluctantly.
  3. In local pubs and bars you can not only try the local beer, but also buy delicious snacks, which are offered at democratic prices. Also inexpensive tasty snacks can be found at local bakeries, mobile fast food kiosks.
  4. Every Saturday in the museums is free admission.
  5. Stores located in tourist areas sell goods at inflated prices. The farther a shop is from the tourist streets, the cheaper it is.
  6. When planning a trip, pay attention to the choice of shoes, because the sidewalk and historic areas of Kiel are paved with cobblestones, on which it is comfortable to walk only with sports shoes.
  7. The city of Kiel is exceptionally clean, any litter left behind can result in serious fines. Picnics can be held only in specially equipped places.
  8. The most convenient way to get around the city is by car, but in the morning and evening due to the large number of cars traffic can be difficult.

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

A visit to City Hall, St. Nicholas Church and the Kiel marina, a walk through the main streets of the city:

Author: Julia Matyukhina

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