Cosmopolitan cities, bustling harbour towns and beautiful coastal scenery make Schleswig-Holstein one of the most captivating states in Germany. The state occupies the southern end of the Jutland Peninsula, with the North Sea on one side and the Baltic Sea on the other. Explore centuries-old cities and escape to the North Frisian Islands, which are often compared to the Côte d’Azur.
Things to do in Schleswig-Holstein
In the south, the picturesque city of Lubeck is a great base for exploring the region. Admire the magnificent Gothic façade of Lubeck Cathedral and walk under Holstentor, an imposing city gate built from red bricks in the 15th century. Stunning Marienkirche is one of the most beautiful churches in Europe and is set in the heart of the city’s historic centre, which is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kiel is the lively state capital and is a natural launchpad to the region. While the architecture is modern and unremarkable, the city’s harbour is an impressive sight. Stroll along the waterfront promenade and watch enormous ferries cruise in and out of the harbour. Kiel also boasts excellent museums, including Schiffahrtsmuseum which charts the city’s maritime heritage.
The bustling harbour town of Flensburg is worth a visit if you love cobbled streets and historic architecture. The town was owned by Denmark until the 1860s and has retained much of its Scandinavian charm. Brightly painted townhouses line Oluf-Samson-Gang and have been reimagined as cafes and art galleries.
Ferries whisk you out to the North Frisian Islands, where you’ll find sandy beaches, rolling dunes and postcard-perfect lighthouses. Sylt is the most developed island, with the charming town of Westerland and the upmarket resort of Kampen both excellent accommodation options. Climb the wooden steps up Uwe Dune for sweeping views over the island. Escape to neighbouring islands like Fohr and especially Amrum for an off-the-grid atmosphere.
Getting around Schleswig-Holstein
Getting around Schleswig-Holstein is easy thanks to excellent road, rail and ferry connections. Cities like Lubeck and Kiel are pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Rental cars offer the freedom to explore the state at your own pace. Major airports are located in Kiel, Lubeck and Sylt.