The Kiel Canal links the North Sea with the Baltic Sea between the towns of Brunsbüttel and Kiel, saving ships the longer route around the north tip of Denmark. The world’s busiest artificial waterway was opened in 1895 and was originally called the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Canal, but in 1948 it was renamed the ‘North Sea-Baltic Sea Canal’ in German and is known as the Kiel Canal in English.
Every day some 110 ships sail along the 98.7 kilometer canal. If you would like to experience the waterway from a mariner’s perspective you can explore the canal and its idyllic backwaters on board an excursion ship or the paddle steamer Freya. Between May and October dream liners and ocean-going giants pass through the Kiel Canal. At such moments spectators find grandstand places along the banks of the canal where they can watch the liners glide past them like floating palaces.
Travelling from Brunsbüttel on the North Sea coast to Kiel on the Baltic Sea coast, the ships sail through Schleswig-Holstein past blooming meadows and charming little towns. At the ship welcoming station right next to the Rendsburg High Bridge, all the ships are announced and greeted with their flag and national anthem.
If you take a trip into the fine countryside of the canal’s hinterland you can make interesting and exciting discoveries in the realms of technology and engineering, cultural history, nature and fisheries. A special tip for cyclists: try out the NOK Route. Cosy restaurants and cafés with a view of the canal offer visitors refreshments and rest, while comfortable hotels and holiday homes let you spend longer in the canal region. Moreover, there is a wealth of further attractions such as farms, pony stables, hostels where you sleep in hay, swimming baths, animal parks and nature parks to increase your holiday and leisure fun.