The white sand beaches of Kiel Fjord.
With white sand beaches, seaside cafés, craggy coastal cliffs and sought-after kite surfing spots, Kiel Fjord is a haven for adventure- and relaxation-seekers alike. The Kiel Fjord spans nearly 12 miles long and is home to the Naval Memorial, which hosts panoramic views of the fjord from its 70-metre observation deck.
The U-995 from WWII has been turned into a modern museum.
Kiel has been a bustling port for centuries, with a long history as a shipyard, naval base and safe haven for sailors. The Kiel Maritime Museum gives a glimpse of the past through its 19th-century ships, wooden models and exhibits on the city's maritime history. In nearby Laboe, the U-995 World War II museum hosts the only surviving German submarine of its kind.
The 60-mile freshwater canal connecting Kiel to Brunsbüttel is the busiest artificial waterway in the world. Hire a bicycle in the city centre, and pedal along the tranquil path that hugs the Kiel Canal. Dozens of ships come through daily – often more than the Panama and Suez canals combined – making it a great place to stop and observe.
Snack like a sailor and try Kieler Sprotte, small smoked fish served whole. Or, opt for a meal of pears, green beans and bacon (Birnen, Bohnen und Speck) boiled together and served with potatoes. If it's chilly out, warm yourself up with Schnüüsch: a hearty stew of vegetables cooked in milk and seasoned with parsley.
Kiel's artisans are famed for their model ships, available for purchase in local gift shops. You can also return home with a nautical antique collected from the ships that have come to rest in Kiel's harbour, often found for a bargain at the city's flea markets. For more modern retailers, head to the mall of Sophienhof Kiel and its more than 100 shops.
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