Cruising the tip of Germany.
Kiel is approximately 56 miles north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the Baltic Sea, Kiel has become one of the major maritime centers of Germany. The city is known for a variety of international sailing events, including the annual Kiel Week, which is the biggest sailing event in the world. The Olympic sailing competitions of the 1936 and the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Kiel.
Places of interest in Kiel include the picturesque Friedrichsort cliffs, numerous beaches within the city limits, the promenade along the western shores of the firth, the locks on the Kiel Canal at Kiel-Holtenau, the naval port and quarter, the Botanical Gardens of the Christian Albrecht University, Holstenstrasse – one of the oldest pedestrian precincts in Germany – and the Hörn bridge with its ingenious folding mechanism. There are also many fascinating museums to visit, such as the Maritime Museum on Sartori Quay, the Computer Museum, the Kunsthalle art gallery with its collection of antiquities and the Engineering Museum. The varied arts scene includes Kiel Theater, the Polish Theater and the Philharmonic Orchestra. A popular event in summer is the acclaimed Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Kiel is also a great destination at other times, maybe because it is the best place to eat kieler sprotten – a local speciality made from sprats.
Kiel has also been one of the traditional homes of the German Navy's Baltic fleet, and continues to be a major high-tech shipbuilding center.
Sailing the Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea, a brackish nearly landlocked body of water, bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Northern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Öresund, the Great Belt and the Little Belt. The Kattegat continues through the Skagerrak into the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The Baltic Sea is artificially linked to the White Sea by the White Sea Canal and to the North Sea by the Kiel Canal.
Flensburg is an independent town in the north of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Flensburg is the center of the region of Southern Schleswig. After Kiel and Lübeck it is the third largest town in Schleswig-Holstein.
In May 1945 Flensburg was the seat of the last government of Nazi Germany, the so called Flensburg government led by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, which was in power from 1 May (Hitler's death) until its dissolution on 23 May.
Flensburg has a well preserved Old Town with many things to see from centuries gone by. Characteristic is the row along the waterfront. Three of the four old town cores are found along this north-south axis. The building boom in Imperial times led to a partial rebuilding of the Old Town, but without destroying its structure, and rather leading to notable expansion of the town. Virtually unscathed in the Second World War, Flensburg, like other places in Germany, adopted a policy of getting rid of old buildings and building anew in the style of the times. This trend was limited in Flensburg by a lack of money, but before the policy was finally stopped in the late 1970s, countless old buildings had been demolished in the north and east Old Town to be replaced by newer structures. Despite great losses, Flensburg still comes across as having a compact, well preserved Old Town in the valley with good additions to what was built in the founders' time on the surrounding heights.