This week’s Bundesländer guide will take you through Germany’s northernmost state, Schleswig-Holstein. Filled to the brim with historically and culturally significant attractions, little islands, white sandy beaches, green nature reserves, and coastal towns, Schleswig-Holstein shows itself to be very versatile.
Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein. Photo: Pixabay
Bordered by the North and Baltic seas and Denmark, this state has many cultural similarities to Nordic countries. In many rural areas, Plattdeutsch, or 'Low German', a dialect close to Dutch, is spoken (or schnackt, as one would say in Platt) amongst the older generation.
Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein’s coastal capital, boasts many maritime attractions, such as a waterfront promenade, a wartime submarine (German Submarine U-995), a naval museum, and an annual week-long sailing regatta (Kieler Woche). Kieler Woche draws flocks of people from around the world to Kiel’s bay to watch the lively parade featuring 100 traditional sailing boats, live music, and food markets.
Flensburg, Germany’s gateway to the north, lies a mere four miles from the Danish border. The city sits at the end of the Flensburg Fjord, a long inlet connected to the Baltic Sea. Thus, this maritime city has a unique German and Danish character, blending the influences of German and Danish culture into its community and city streets. Its historic harbour and city centre is bursting with maritime charm, quaint taverns, and sailing boats. Furthermore, you can enjoy Flensburg’s famous brew, a Flensburger, and a Fischbrötchen along the quay.
Flensburg. Photo: Pixabay
Located in East-Holstein, the beautiful city of Lübeck is a must-see! Lübeck is an underrated historical gem, often overlooked by tourists, but this romantic port city, once the hub of the Hanseatic League, has so much to offer. A short walk from Lübeck Hauptbahnhof, you will come across Lübeck’s unique Holstentor, a large, Gothic city gate with two cylindrical towers.
After passing through the arch, you will arrive on the banks of the River Trave, which flows through Lübeck’s magnificent old town dotted with colourful houses, architecturally intriguing old buildings, and grand church spires.
If you love marzipan, Lübeck is the place for you. In a grand, cobbled courtyard in the old town sits the Niederegger Café, the birthplace of the world-famous Niederegger marzipan.
On the outskirts of Lübeck lie two gorgeous beaches, Timmendorfer Strand and Travemünde, with long stretches of soft sand and picture-perfect views, perfect for a sunny afternoon.
Furthermore, Schleswig-Holstein boasts a stunning coastline with unspoilt beauty and its North Frisian Islands, scattered just off the North Sea coast.
The largest of the islands, Sylt, is renowned for its distinctive shoreline and alluring beaches and dunes, luxurious wellness retreats, and seafood. Every year, the island attracts both the rich and famous and tourists alike to its relaxing shores and the surrounding Wadden Sea, a biodiverse dream come true for nature lovers.
Sylt. Photo: Pixabay
Another beautiful coastal destination worth seeing is St Peter Ording. Located on the Eiderstedt peninsula, it is renowned as one of Germany’s prime beach holiday and windsurfing hotspots.
Last but not least, 70 km off the North German coast lies the Helgoland archipelago, a unique island connected to the mainland by ferries from cities such as Hamburg and Bremerhaven. The island is famed for its red sandstone cliffs, natural beauty, and car-free environment.
This state provides a calm and relaxing atmosphere, perfect for winding down and exploring spectacular shorelines, scenic towns, impressive islands, and historical Hanseatic locations.