Most people have Germany on the list of places to visit for its history, landscapes, castles, and beer. While planning the itinerary, visiting Kiel may not be considered very important. But this port city has many attractions which you would have missed if you leave out Kiel from your itinerary.
Kiel has a vibrant student scene, a laid-back lifestyle, and urban flair. There are plenty of attractions in this city to enrich your visit. Some of the top places to visit and see in Kiel are given below.
Laboe Naval Memorial (MARINE-EHRENMAL):
Initially this monument was a dedication to World War I soldiers and those of World War II were added later. In 1954 it was rededicated as a memorial for the sailors of all nationalities lost at sea and is a memorial for peaceful sailing on open seas. The monument consists of a 72-meter-high tower with an observation deck. Go to the top of the tower to a viewing platform from which you can look at a unique panoramic view. On a clear day, look over the Baltic Sea to the Danish islands and the hills of Switzerland.
U-BOOT U 995:
U-995 is a German submarine used during the Second World War. History buffs will enjoy visiting the once deadly submarine that was a part of world war II. Imagine how it must have been like to fight and die in these steel coffins. It is now a museum. Enter the submarine, take a look at it from inside, its controls and parts, check out its naval codes, and even enter the torpedo room. The beautifully restored U995 is an interesting museum exhibit.
Kiel Botanical Gardens:
The Botanic Gardens, Kiel belongs to the Botanical Institute of Kiel University and boasts a history reaching back 350 years. It is considered a natural and cultural monument. There are about 14,000 plant species here for science and research as well as for the training of students. Walk and relax here amidst nature. Visit the playground for children.
Kiel Rathaus Paternoster:
The Kiel City Hall has a beautiful sandstone facade. It is easily recognizable by the dominant town hall tower. Go to the top using the unique old elevator that has a series of open compartments and slowly moves across the floors of the building. The viewing platform offers a panoramic view of the city, park, and squares. You can see the harbor in the northeast and even the main train station. The tower houses the city archive with books and films of the history of Kiel. Admire the paintings in the foyer of the city hall.
St. Nikolai Church:
This is a beautiful church and also the city’s oldest building. You find a large statue of an angel standing on an animal outside the main entrance. It has a simple, peaceful interior. Admire the large carved wooden pulpit in the center and the beautiful altarpiece. The paintings and stained glass windows all add to the beauty of the church. The Coventry Cross is made of three nails from the ruins of Coventry Cathedral sent after the war as a sign of reconciliation.
Kiel’s most popular waterfront promenade is 3.5 kilometers long. Come here to watch the passing cruise ships and sailboats. Enjoy the view of the harbor and private yachts. There are plenty of restaurants shops, cafés, and boathouses on the promenade. This is a wonderful place to relax and walk.
Visit this microbrewery and inn. Beer brewing is a tradition in Germany and in Kiel go on a guided tour and enjoy a tasting of all the home-brewed beers. Enjoy good German food. With large servings and delicious beer, this inn and brewery is popular.
The development of Kiel is inextricably linked with shipping. Set in an old fish auction hall, the museum exhibits showcase the city’s maritime history as Kiel was laid out as a port city. The permanent exhibition displays ships, nautical instruments, figureheads, the legendary Kiel marine suit, and inventions. See the model of the first German submarine, an original sonar, dioramas, etc.
The Kiel Canal is the world’s busiest man-made waterway for seagoing ships and links the North Sea to the Baltic Sea. A viewing platform at Holtenau overlooks the busy locks. Visit the museum on the southern side to get an insight into the history of the lock operation. You can cycle by the side of the canal or take a day trip. Enjoy restaurants and observation points along the way.
This is a small museum. Spend a pleasant hour here looking at the displays. The Zoological Museum is home to Germany’s most extensive exhibition of whale species, with 13 spectacular skeletons of whales. The new exhibit, “The Future Ocean” gives visitors an experience of the latest findings in marine research on fisheries, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, etc.
The Kunsthalle Kiel is an art museum in Kiel and also its largest. The museum has its own collection and exhibition hall. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, graphics, and 600-year-old objects. The collection of the Kunsthalle is presented once a year. Explore the workshops and classes available here.
The Kiel Week or Kiel Regatta is an annual sailing event in Kiel between 4th to 12th September this year. If you are there, do make it a point to attend the Kieler Woche. With more than 3.5 million visitors per year, it is the world’s largest sailing event. The open-air music festival, street performers, comedians, an international market, and children’s activities, make it a family-friendly event. Enjoy the traditional food and the international ships on show.
Though Kiel appears to be a sleepy little town, there are plenty of things to do and experience here. Enjoy your sojourn to this port city.