A weekend in Kiel – Here’s what we did

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.

Dragonboat race

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.

Our tips for an exciting weekend in Kiel

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.

A weekend in Kiel – Here’s what we did

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.

A weekend in Kiel – Here’s what we did

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.

Our tips for an exciting weekend in Kiel

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.

Lockage Kiel-Holtenau in the Kiel Canal

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.

small boats in Kiel

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.

submarine U 995

Learn more about or visit in the article “Laboe – Naval Memorial and U-boat U-995”.

The city tour with the Hop-on Hop-off Bus and the sailing boat city tour were gifted to us as part of a cooperation with Kiel Marketing and were free of charge for us. Our blog posts reflect our own experiences and genuine opinion independently from the cooperation.


  1. Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions on 12. July 2019 at 7:48

    Hey, I am so sorry about your injury! That sucks so much, but I’m glad you were able to still see much of Kiel despite having to drive! If you are already planning on going back next year, then clearly it had a lot to offer despite the setbacks. I love all the varied architecture as well as all the naval attractions. I also love trying new beers, and the lobscouse you tried looks so good!

  2. Ketki on 10. July 2019 at 13:44

    I love hop on hop off bus as it gives the opportunity to cover the highlight of city at your pace. Kiel looks like a nice place to spend a weekend. I would never have considered visiting had it not been your post so thank you for the informative post!

  3. Heather on 10. July 2019 at 1:58

    My favorite thing and what I would make a beeline for would be the 2 -hour sailboat tour. I absolutely LOVE seeing a city from the water as well as being on the water itself. I haven’t been to Kiel, but would definitely consider a visit. I’m sorry you got hurt right before your trip-you’re amazing for going on crutches. I’ve been on crutches more times than I care to count and I can’t imagine traveling on them!

  4. Michael Hodgson on 9. July 2019 at 23:29

    Therese visited Kiel a number of times when she lived in Hamburg many years ago. She remembers it as a wonderful, cute and very sailing-oriented port city. Sounds llke not much has changed. Too bad you were injured right before your visit, but then again, now you saw the city through different eyes than you might have otherwise. I too would have loved the sailing tour!

  5. Shreya on 9. July 2019 at 17:48

    I wasn’t aware of Kiel before. It seems there are so many things to do there, and you have managed to keep the reader engaged by listing out all the interesting places to visit and things to do. Whether it’s about witnessing the dragonboat race, or riding a HOHO bus, visting the St. Peter’s Church or Kiel-Holtenau Lockage, or enjoying the boat city tour, having food in a brewery, Kiel has everything covered. This makes up a great week long vacation there.

  6. Nic on 9. July 2019 at 12:45

    I’ve head of Kiel before because i’ve visited Hamburg a few times having family there and its pretty close! But I’ve never thought about visiting or even really known what was there. But it certainly looks like an interesting city and some of those buildings really are so unique and beautiful. Next time we’re in Hamburg we will make the trip for sure!

  7. Jenn and Ed Coleman on 8. July 2019 at 4:37

    Kiel sounds like a wonderful, nautical visit. Dragon boat are very intense. We had a race team at my last job and I went to a practice or two. They take it very seriously. I would love to take a sailing city tour. That sounds super neat.

  8. Danik on 7. July 2019 at 22:23

    For me, the highlight would be that massive submarine. I been in one before in Helsinki but this one looks like a big daddy and would travel to Kiel just to see this alone!

  9. Alison on 7. July 2019 at 17:21

    I would love to visit this German city on the Baltic coast. Looks like you did a lot in one weekend, even watching dragon boat racing! Hadn’t even heard of Kiel before, so I look forward to adding it to my German itinerary.

  10. Sam Sees World on 6. July 2019 at 10:15

    The dragon boat race looks like a blast! I have done it a few times before and they are so much fun. Although I would have never thought to do this while in Kiel, now I will :)

    I would also definitely do the boat tour, looks so lovely.

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