The maritime city of Kiel is the capital of Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein state and the home of the navy’s Baltic fleet. The city’s bond with the sea peaks at the end of June when it plays host to the Kiel Week – the world’s largest sailing event.
Kiel’s abundance of museums will take you on a deep dive into the city’s maritime history. A repurposed fish market now serves as the Schifffahrtsmuseum, paying homage to the port city’s usage as a naval base and shipyard. At the site of the 72-metre-high Laboe Naval Memorial, you can step aboard a Second World War U-boat that has been converted into a museum. To take a break from maritime history, head over to the Zoological Museum of Kiel University that features several complete whale skeletons, exhibits on deep-sea marine life and the future of the ocean.
Situated at the edge of the Kiel Fjord, the city offers some wonderful waterfront walks along its promenade, known as the Kiellinie. Dotted with cafés, sailing clubs and a small aquarium, it also offers great views of gigantic cruise ships pulling into the harbour. To get a taste of the local cuisine, order a plate of ‘Kieler Sprotte’, a wood-smoked saltwater sprat with a slice of fresh rye bread.