Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein is flanked by the North Sea in the West and the Baltic Sea in the East. With its extensive coastline, its fjordlike inlets, rivers, canals and numerous inland lakes water is never far away making the state a prime destination for all kind of watersports. Well developed seaside resorts with mile long sand beaches on the mainland as well as on the beautiful North Sea islands Amrum, Sylt and Föhr are waiting for the visitor along with many enjoyable activities.
Schleswig-Holstein is – relatively – sparsely populated, especially along the North Sea coastline. The inland is characterized by rural landscape – softly ondulating – with green pastures, forests, still lakes and cosy little villages and towns. Most people are living at the Baltic Sea coast where you will also find Schleswig-Holstein’s capital of Kiel (population approx. 240,000) and Lübeck (population approx. 220,000), one of the best preserved medieval towns in Germany.
Schleswig-Holstein borders Denmark and is the gateway to Scandinavia. Sweden can be reached by a short ferry ride from Puttgarden on the Island of Fehmarn. Ferries are also departing from Kiel and from Travemünde and going straight to the Swedish capital of Stockholm, to Oslo in Norway, Riga in Latvia, Klaipeda in Lithuania or to the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
Schleswig Holstein’s capital lies at the end of an 18-km long firth, the “Kieler Förde”. It is a vibrant city with an international atmosphere. For more than 100 years Kiel hosts the “Kieler Woche” during the last week of June. It is the greatest sailing event in the world and the biggest summer festival in Northern Europe and thousands of top class sailors from all over the world together with half a million spectators flock into the city. There are numerous yachting regattas for all Olympic and Paralympic boat classes. For many visitors the Windjammer Parade with hundreds of windjammers sailing on the firth is the absolute highlight. On the streets of Kiel you will find arts and crafts, street theatre and jugglers, and many fun sports and games. The crowning conclusion is a fireworks display, one of the most beautiful in Europe.
Lübeck was founded in 1143 as the first German city on the Baltic Sea. The town rose to head the Hanseatic League and became a major economic power in medieval times. The Hanseatic League or “Hanse” was a commercial and military association of more than 150 merchant cities from Novgorod in Russia to London. Not only the famous fairy-tale town gate testifies Lübeck’s past but more than a thousand beautifully restored historical buildings. Parts of the Old Town were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
Lübeck is also known as the “Marzipan Capital”. In the “Marzipan Salon” at Breite Strasse 89 the history of and stories about this delicious confection made from almonds and sugar are on display.