A weekend in Kiel is too short to see everything. We made a list of places that we really wanted to see on our first visit to Kiel. But we also reserved some time to just be and enjoy the view of the Firth of Kiel.
We had originally picked this weekend in September for our Kiel trip because of the “Kiel Lauf 2017” (Kiel Run 2017) that was taking place. We wanted to participate and see a new city from a completely different angle. Unfortunately, I had injured myself about three weeks prior to the trip and the day before we departed a fatigue fracture in my foot was diagnosed. That turned all of our plans upside down. We have never done a city trip on crutches before. We usually walk a lot but this time we needed a car and finding car parks in a comfortable walking distance to our destination became our focus.
Regardless of the new challenges, we enjoyed our trip. Even without taking part in the run. We’ll come back for that next year. We did take part in some sports, but only as spectators.
We parked our car in a car park close to the central station. This is where the Hörn is – the upper tip of the port in Kiel and the most southern bit of the Firth. And right there, a dragon boat race was taking place. On Friday it was the student’s turn and we spent the Saturday watching the Fun-Cup.
5 boats each start on a 250-meter long race track. Every boat had a crew of 18 paddlers and one drummer. It was a massive spectacle. Often times the races were only won by a narrow lead and it got really heated. We stood at the race track for a little while and watched before the nearby pedestrian area tempted us to a coffee and some window shopping.
A stroll through the pedestrian area
Holstenstraße (Holsten Street) was our next destination. A pedestrian area with a lot of nice shops. There are many of the well-known chains present but there are also little shops here and there that you can’t find in many other places.
We made a little detour to the Town Hall to collect our registration for the run and the themed gym tops we had paid for together with our tickets. Even if the Kiel run went down without us, there is no harm in a little bit of promotion at home with the new shirt.
Unfortunately, the Town Hall Tower is closed for renovation at the moment so that we couldn’t go up. Another reason to come back to Kiel another time, we heard that the view is spectacular.
A ride on the Hop-on Hop-off Bus
Next up was the bus stop for the Hop-on Hop-off Bus, which cruises through Kiel between 09.30 and 18.00. There is a bus every hour and it calls at the Kiel Canal for a half hour break. During the ride, you can either listen to an onboard guide and their stories or to an audio guide. There are different services on each tour.
After we had checked out a Stena Line ferry, we boarded the bus at Schwedenkai (Sweden Quay). At first, we followed the embankment of the firth and caught a glimpse of the water every now and again. That is when we saw the old sports boat marina that was built for the Olympic Games in 1936. A little further down we saw numerous ships of the Navy. The Gorch Fock, which normally has its home port in Kiel, is, unfortunately, undergoing some work in the shipyard at the moment. Otherwise, we might have seen her, too.
We visited the St. Peter Church and had a look at the wonderful brick buildings in the Maritime Quarter (Herthastraße) in Kiel Wik. Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz commissioned St. Peter as a garrison church and had it built between 1905 and 1907. There is a little café in St. Peter with seating in front of the church where visitors can enjoy some tasty coffee and cake.
The next stop was the Kiel-Holtenau Lockage. The bus stops here for about 30 minutes and passengers can get off and visit the viewing platform. Admission to the viewing platform is included in the bus ticket. The bus continued its tour across the Prinz-Heinrich-Brücke (Prince Harry Bridge) to Kiel Holtenau. It slowed down on the bridge for the visitors to enjoy the great view of the lockage (tip: grab a seat on the right side of the bus).
After a little tour through Holtenau, the bus returned to the city centre of Kiel. It passed the Botanic Garden, the football stadium, the handball arena, past Kleiner Kiel (small Kiel) and then finally ended its tour at the central station.
A solid route that represents Kiel very well and passes many interesting spots.
A visit to the Kiel-Holtenau Lockage
The Kiel-Holtenau Lockage ist the gateway to the Kiel Canal. Numerous big and small vessels pass it every day. We visited the lockage twice during our weekend in Kiel and observed many ships on their way through.
A splendid experience that I elaborated on in our article “Lockage Kiel-Holtenau in the Kiel Canal”.
Sailing boat city tour with Camp 24/7
Our personal favourite activity on the weekend was the sailing boat city tour with Camp 24/7.
Together with a city guide, an experienced sailor and 8 other participants we went on a two hour sailing trip on the Firth of Kiel. The focus of that tour was on both the actual sailing and the explanations around the city, its history and the developments along the firth. For us, that was something entirely new which I talk more about in our article “A different kind of city tour – sailing boat city tour with Camp 24/7”.
Food in a brewery in Kiel
After an action-packed day like this, we deserved a proper dinner.
We didn’t manage to get a table the night before, so we tried again to get into the Kiel Brewery. The brewery is in the city centre of Kiel and offers food and drinks and a guided tour of the brewing facilities. The beer that is manufactured on site can be bought in bottles in the brewery shop.
With my fresh beer from the tab, I had lobscouse for the first time ever. It looks a little odd but the taste was great.
The restaurant is always busy. It is especially popular with tourists. The prices for food and drinks are reasonable.
Our weekend in Kiel ended with an excursion to Laboe where one can visit the U-boat U-995. Right next to the submarine is the Naval Memorial Laboe. The view of the Firth of Kiel from the viewing platform on top of the monument is phenomenal.
Learn more about or visit in the article “Laboe – Naval Memorial and U-boat U-995”.