- Our suggestions for Kiel's city center
- Walk along the "keel line"
- Visit to the GEOMAR aquarium
- The Germaniahafen
- Kiel's museums
- Tour through the old town of Kiel
- Sights outside the old town
Schleswig-Holstein's state capital Kiel is not blessed with spectacular sights. However, this statement does not change the fact that Kiel offers much more than visitors can see and process in one day. The Welcome Center at the Tourist Information Office supports the city's guests with useful tips on sights and things to do.
Toruist information in the New Town Hall
Location: Welcome Center Kieler Förde, Stresemannplatz 1-3, 24103 Kiel
The excursions organized by the cruise lines mostly lead to the Holtenau lock on the Kiel Canal or to the Navy Memorial in the Baltic Sea resort of Laboe, 20 kilometers away. The nearby open-air museum Molfsee and the Hanseatic city of Lübeck are also on the list of excursion destinations.
Our suggestions for Kiel's city center
The city center is within walking distance of the cruise terminals.
Walk along the "keel line"
The 17 kilometer long Kiel Fjord is one of the north German natural wonders. A promenade has been laid out on the west bank of the fjord for walks and hikes: the “Kiellinie”. It begins just behind the Ostseekai cruise terminal and ends after a good five kilometers at the Tirpitzmole, the berth of the Gorch Fock sail training ship. From the keel line, walkers can enjoy an unrestricted view of the fjord and the opposite side. Rowing clubs, but also fish stalls, cafes and bars line the "keel line".
Fish bar on the keel line
Marina on the keel line
Visit to the GEOMAR aquarium
An intermediate destination on the keel line is the aquarium at GEOMAR. Only a few hundred meters away from the Ostseekai, which was expanded last year, native and exotic sea creatures cavort in their ancestral surroundings in 16 pools. Attractions include the large school of herring and the seals in the outdoor pool. The movements of the seals can be observed above and below the water.
Aquarium in the Geomar
Location: Düsternbrooker Weg 20, also accessible from the keel line
Opening times: 9:00am to 18:00pm all year round.
Admission is 3 euros for adults. Website with further information -> Aquarium GEOMAR
The harbor basin is located near Kiel Central Station between the Oslo and Norway quays. It was opened up in 2004 as a traditional port and berth for guest sailors. The classic sailing ships and historic watercraft are continuously used by their owners and their crews for trips. Coming from the main station, the harbor basin can be reached via a bascule bridge, the Hörnbrücke.
Kiel - Germania Harbor
Hörn campus at Germaniahafen
The Hörn Campus is at the end of the Germania harbor. The modern looking office complex was built around 20 years ago. The wave-shaped glass wall imagines maritime elements such as water, wind and clouds.
A cursory overview brings us to around ten museums and exhibition forums in Kiel. The following institutions are of importance to us.
The Kunsthalle zu Kiel
The Ostseekai and the art gallery are only a few hundred steps apart. The extensive collection of the Kunsthalle is affiliated with Kiel's Christian Albrechts University. In short: The collections include more than 1.200 paintings, 40.000 graphic works and 300 sculptures. Painting forms the basis and focus of the collections.
The Kunsthalle also owns Schleswig-Holstein's only collection of antiquities with original works from the Mediterranean area and a collection of casts of Roman and Greek sculptures.
Location: Am Düsternbrooker Weg 1
Admission is 7 euros. Museum website -> Kunsthalle Kiel
The maritime museum fish hall
Kiel's former fish hall shows ship models, marine paintings and nautical equipment. Visitors receive information about the shipyard and naval location Kiel. The Kiel Canal, the history of fishing and marine painting are presented through numerous media stations.
Warleberger Hof City Museum
The Warleberger Hof, built in the early 17th century, is Kiel's oldest preserved seat of a noble family. The building is located in Kiel's old town and offers the right ambience for exhibitions on Kiel's city and cultural history.
Kiel - City Museum Warleberger Hof
Note: The Fischhalle Maritime Museum and the Warleberger Hof City Museum form a single unit.
Fischhalle location: near the Ostseekai terminal; Address Wall 65
Warleberger Hof location: Dänische Strasse 19
Website suggestion: Maritime Museum Fischhalle on kiel.de
Tour through the old town of Kiel
Kiel can look back on almost 800 years of city history. However, there are hardly any buildings left from the old days. The castle, many striking churches as well as merchant and aristocratic houses fell victim to the bombings and the fires of the Second World War. The already mentioned Warleberger Hof, the town hall, the Nikolaikirche and the Franciscan monastery, which was rebuilt after the war, are considered historical buildings. Kiel's center has been “spruced up” in the course of the last few years. A tour that we start at the “Wunderino-Arena” gives us an overview of the buildings and city locations that are well worth seeing.
The Wunderino Arena, which can accommodate more than 13.000 visitors, is better known in Kiel as the Sparkasse Arena, and is one of the largest multi-purpose halls in Germany. The building is the venue for handball games of the THW Kiel as well as various other events. The arena is located on Europaplatz within sight of the Kiel town hall.
Kiel - Wunderino Arena
Kiel - Wunderino Arena
The Kiel town hall
The 106-meter-high tower modeled on the Campanile in Venice is remarkable at Kiel City Hall. A viewing platform at a height of 67 meters offers panoramic views over the city. An elevator takes visitors to the platform.
The Kiel town hall
The city archive is also located in the tower. Paintings and portraits of former Kiel mayors hang in the foyer. The chimes, which sound every quarter of an hour, are similar to the chimes of Big Ben in London or that of Copenhagen City Hall.
Viewing platform: Tower rides take place on Wednesdays, 12:30pm and Saturdays, 11:00am, 11:45am and 12:30pm
The tower rides cost 5,50 euros for adults. Tickets are available from the Welcome Center at Tourist Information Kiel or online. Because of the limited lift capacities, we recommend booking online.
The brick building of the multi-division house is located between the Kiel Town Hall and the “Little Kiel”, an inner-city pond. The largest theater in Northern Germany can seat more than 800 spectators. It has been around for more than 100 years. The city of Kiel and the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein jointly finance the temple of the Muses.
The 170 meter long, attractive water arm was completed in the previous year (2020). It is part of the former historical water connection between the water area "Kleiner Kiel" and the fjord. The aim of the renovation measure was to make Kiel's old town "tangible again" and to create traffic-calmed areas for strollers.
Little Kiel area of water
Kiel - Holstenfleet
The Saint Nikolai Church
Sankt Nikolai is considered to be the oldest building in the city. Its origins go back to the first half of the 13th century. The church was almost completely destroyed in air raids in 1943/1944. The valuable historical interior was brought to safety from destruction. After the reconstruction, the objects are back in their original place. The winged altar, the triumphal cross and the stained glass windows created after 1970 are particularly noteworthy.
In front of the church, the “ghost fighter”, a five-meter-high bronze sculpture created by the sculptor Ernst Barlach in 1928, attracts the attention of passers-by. An angel stands on top of a predator and stretches a sword into the sky. The monument represents the sublimity and the victory of the spirit over evil. The Kiel magistrate originally had the sculpture set up next to the Church of the Holy Spirit of the Kiel monastery, which was destroyed in the war. Eight years later, the work of art was defamed as "degenerate art". In 1939, a Barlach employee bought the ghost fighter back to hide him. Since June 1954, Barlach's restored work has stood in front of Sankt Nikolai.
Kiel - the spirit warrior in front of the Sankt Nikolai church
The Kiel monastery
Franciscan monks settled in northern Germany since 1210. The first monastery was probably built in Kiel in 1242. During the Second World War, the monastery was destroyed by high explosive bombs. The monastery church and a study house belonging to it were rebuilt in the modern style after the war.
The Kiel monastery at the Klosterkirchhof
The Kiel Castle
The origins of Kiel Castle go back to the city's foundation at the beginning of the 13th century, when a castle was built on the banks of the fjord. Over the centuries, the building suffered an eventful history; at last it fell into disrepair. It is thanks to Tsarina Catherine the Great that the castle was saved. In her capacity as Duchess of Gottorf, she had the decaying building repaired. The castle was then considered to be one of the most important buildings of the Renaissance in Schleswig-Holstein. The splendor ended in January 1944 after a bomb attack on Kiel, in which the castle was destroyed. After the war, an unspectacular cultural center with a well-known restaurant was created in place of the castle.
The Kiel Castle
The Kiel Castle
The Kiel Castle Garden
Below the Kiel Castle, at the height of the Ostseekai, is the three-hectare castle garden. The sculpture garden of the Kunsthalle Kiel occupies the northern part of the park. The park's striking monuments are the equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I and the war memorial. The latter is a semicircular building with a relief that commemorates the fallen of the Franco-German War.
Sights outside the old town
In addition to the sights of the city center, the Navy Memorial in Laboe or the open-air museum in Molfsee are ideal for day trips on your own.
The Botanical Garden of Kiel University
Plant lovers will find a variety of tree collections from three continents, biotopes, a rosarium and more in the Botanical Garden. Seven show greenhouses including a tropical house, a cloud forest house and a desert house simulate a wide variety of climate zones. The botanical garden is located on the university campus.
Location (in the north of Kiel): At the Botanical Garden 1-9.
The facility can be reached with the regular buses of the Kieler Verkehrsgesellschaft (lines 11, 60 S from Schwedenkai).
The Holtenau lock of the Kiel Canal
The almost 99 kilometers long Kiel Canal is the most traveled artificial waterway in the world. 30.000 seagoing vessels pass through the canal every year. The lock of ships can be observed from a viewing platform at the lock chamber in Kiel-Wik.
Kiel Canal - the Holtenau lock
Kiel Canal - the Holtenau lock and high bridge
The Wik viewing platform can be reached by bus from the Kiel Transport Company. Get off at the “Wik Kanal” stop!
The naval memorial in the Baltic Sea resort of Laboe
The monument first pays tribute to the German marines who died in the First World War. Later those who died in World War II were included in the memorial. Since 1996 the memorial has been commemorating all sailors who stayed on the seas. The facility includes an underground memorial and a German submarine from the Second World War (U 995).
Memorial of the Navy in the Baltic Sea resort of Laboe
Cenotaph of the Navy in Laboe - U 995
An elevator transports visitors to the towering building to a height of 57 meters. From there a staircase (44 steps) leads to a sheltered viewing platform. The view from above of the Baltic Sea and the surrounding country inspires the visitors.
The 85-meter-high structure can be reached by bus line 100 from Kiel main station in 40 minutes or by Förde ferry line F1 in 60 minutes. The ferry pier is located directly in front of the entrance to the Norwegenkai.
The Molfsee open-air museum
The community of Molfsee is located about ten kilometers southwest of Kiel city center. The everyday and cultural history of Schleswig-Holstein is presented in the 40 hectare open-air museum. Sixty historical buildings from all parts of the state were integrated into the lovely landscape. Traditional handicrafts are cultivated on the site: basket makers, blacksmiths, potters and weavers show their craftsmanship. There is also a café, a bakery and a kiosk. Northern Germany's largest museum of this kind is known far beyond Kiel's borders.
Molfsee open-air museum
Molfsee open-air museum
The Molfsee Museum is open daily from April 1st to October 31st. Admission from 9:00am
Tickets: Adults pay 8 euros. Discounts are granted. Public buses (lines 502, 42 and 501) go to the open-air museum.
Museum website -> Molfsee open-air museum
Panoramic trip on the Kiel Fjord
The ships on the F1 ferry line commute regularly along the fjord between Kiel Central Station (Bahnhofsbrücke) and Laboe. The ships stop at various stops on their tour; including the Seegartenbrücke located on the Ostseekai. Connections are restricted in the winter timetable.
Kiel - Seegartenbrücke with a haulage boat
Out and about on the Kiel Fjord
Inexpensive day tickets are available for 9,90 euros.
Update September 2021