© TA.SH/Pepe Lange© TA.SH/Pepe Lange

Balt­ic Sea and Hol­stein Switzer­land

Sunlight glistens on the waves in one of Europe’s most beautiful sailing areas. Seagulls fly in circles and hunt each other’s prey.

 The wind is cool and strokes your skin with a trace of salt and water. Take a deep breath, lean back in your beach chair and enjoy the here and now. This is what a holiday feels like at one of the diverse beaches on the Baltic Sea, which are particularly suited to a family holiday with children.

This is holiday happiness

Further inland, the Baltic Sea region makes you want to explore the lakes, forests and hilly landscape. In the courtyards, thatched rooves, old churches and farmers’ gardens in the villages of Holstein Switzerland, you can discover the charm of country life in northern Germany. Farm shops offer vegetables fresh from the fields, and the home-made cakes in the farm cafés taste as good as anything your grandmother might have baked.

On the Baltic coast, you will also find the three largest cities of the state: Lübeck, Kiel and Flensburg. Shopping miles, cultural activities, old town charm and a maritime atmosphere come together to provide a genuine Schleswig-Holstein city experience. 

Ex­per­i­ence the Balt­ic Sea and Hol­stein Switzer­land!

First time at the Balt­ic Sea?

 © Jens König© Jens König

Diversity on the coast of ideas

On the natural beaches, you scramble over boulders and fallen trees. Here, collectors and hobby artists fill their bags with bleached driftwood and ‘Hühnergötter’. These are stones that have been washed smooth by the water and have a naturally created hole in the middle. On the cliff sections, hiking trails stretch through meadows, fields and forests, and your view can drift free across the sea.

For sailors (in german), the Schleswig-Holstein Baltic Sea coast is one of the most beautiful yachting areas in Europe. Cross the Baltic pushed along only by the wind, feel the sun, wind and waves, jump off the anchored boat into the water and watch the harbour activities with a beer in the evenings – these are experiences nobody forgets in a hurry. The water sports centres (in german) also open up diverse opportunities for holidaymakers to try out sailing. And for those who only wish to get some fresh sea air on a sailing boat, can go on board as a guest and leave everything else to the skipper.

Highlights of the Baltic Sea Schleswig-Holstein

  • Everywhere in the region of Holstein Switzerland, castles and manor estates (in german) testify to the history of former centuries. Well signposted cycling tours make an excursion a special experience.
  • Flensburg, Kiel and Lübeck – the three major cities in Schleswig-Holstein, are located in north-southwestern direction only an hour’s drive from one another. Each city boasts a harbour atmosphere, numerous shopping opportunities and maritime museums for a varied day trip.
  • For locals and holidaymakers, the hosts along the Baltic Sea coast have come up with fresh ideas and have invested. Adventure sea bridges, modernised promenades, beach lounges and hotels for surfers, VW-Bulli drivers and fans of a casual lifestyle ensure surprises and a new holiday feeling. For those with a sense of romance and a little spirit of adventure can even spend a night beneath the stars in some beaches along the Baltic Sea coast – comfortably and protected in sleep wicker beach bed (in german), a worldwide unique invention from the genuine north. In this hand-made beach bed, you can stretch out on a well-cushioned recliner and listen to the rushing of the sea wrapped up in blankets. Breakfast and picnic baskets can be booked as an extra service. Free-of-charge and inclusive, however, is the unforgettable feeling of a night on the Baltic Sea beach.
 © Sven Meier, Güby© Sven Meier, Güby

The Baltic Sea Coast: A landscape full of contrasts

The intense aroma of mussels and seaweed, spiced with a pinch of salt and a nuance of damp wood – these are the ingredients for the fragrance of the Baltic Sea. The sea breeze carries it inland across beaches, cliffs, hiking trails and promenades. A mild climate and natural landscapes full of diversity and contrasts make the Baltic Sea coast into a worthwhile holiday destination throughout the year. Despite many hours of sunshine in the peak of summer, it is rarely hot, because a sea breeze is always blowing. The water temperature is approx. 18 to 20 degrees from June to September – perfect conditions for swimming and surfing. Holidaymakers and locals enjoy the highest number of sunshine hours in Germany on the island of Fehmarn. The air masses can circulate freely across the flat island, so that very few clouds stay behind here. The temperatures at the Baltic Sea are also moderate in winter. But taking a stroll on the beach in the sea breeze can feel very cold indeed, even at zero degrees.  A hot tea with a view of the sea after your walk is all the more comforting.

Only half an hour’s drive inland, the Nature Park Holstein Switzerland stretches out between the Lübeck bay and Hohwacht bay. Hills, meadows, deciduous forests and more than 200 lakes characterise the largest nature park in Schleswig-Holstein. Formed by Ice Age glaciers, this landscape indeed brings the Alpine region to mind. Although its highest mountain, the Bungsberg, is only 168 metres high – you would have to stack it 26 times to reach the height of the Matterhorn – winter sports enthusiasts can be pulled up Germany’s most northern ski-lift to the “summit”. If you look up towards the sky while hiking in Holstein Switzerland, you have a good chance of catching a glimpse of the most majestic bird of prey. The largest and most well-known is the sea eagle, with its wingspan of up to two-and-a-half metres.

The longest Baltic Sea fjord stretches 43 kilometres inland between Kiel and Flensburg: The Schlei. The landscape surrounding the Schlei became famous as a result of the German TV series “Der Landarzt”, which was produced in the region. Reedy banks, rape fields, meadows and forests characterise the landscape.

North of the Schlei region, you will find the Gelting bay with its natural beach. There are no wicker beach chairs blocking the view of the sea here. Those who wish for tranquillity away from promenades, cafés and events, will feel at home here. Between foundlings and trees twisted by the wind, you can hike in the midst of nature along the shore. 170 bird and 20 dragonfly species inhabit the nature conservation area Geltinger Birk, and during a hike you might encounter Konik wild horses and Galloway cattle, which graze in the meadows beneath old fruit trees.

 © Sven Meier, Güby© Sven Meier, Güby

Experience something new every day

Dance salsa and drink cocktails on the beach. Forget the time with a view of the sunset over the sea and enjoy Spanish treats from clay dishes on the terrace of the tapas bar. Bathe in milk and honey, just like Cleopatra, or look a blacktip reef shark in the eye. You don’t need to travel halfway around the world to experience such holiday enjoyment. The seaside resorts along the Schleswig-Holstein Baltic Sea coast offer much more than fish bread rolls and wicker beach chairs. At the same time, they have become the popular holiday destinations during every season.

Beach holiday, sailing and sightseeing

Music festivals, medieval markets, fireworks and lots of other events attract guests and locals in equal measure. The little ones are at the top of the list: in the family-friendly holiday region between Lübeck and Flensburg, the hosts have made children’s entertainment a matter of course. The beaches at the bathing spots might have been created especially for the small guests: the fine white sand is ideal for making sandcastles, the shallow water warms up quickly and offers a lot of space for safe fun in the water. At the natural beaches, collectors can find shells, driftwood and, if they are lucky, even ambers. Between the bathing spots on the Baltic Sea coast, cliffy areas with panorama paths arise, from where you can look far across the sea. 

For those who don’t just wish to look, but also want to really get to know the Baltic Sea, have to get out onto the water – on a sailing boat, on a surf board, with stand-up paddling or on a wake board. Water sports (in german) are possible everywhere! You’ve never tried? Don’t worry! The sailing and surfing centres along the coast are attuned to beginners.  In taster and introductory courses, landlubbers can hire equipment and try out how to get ahead with wind and waves.   

Strolling is great fun in the towns at the Baltic Sea coast. If you take a walk through the streets and alleyways of the old Hanseatic city of Lübeck, you will discover century-old half-timbered houses, and you might catch a glimpse here or there of courtyards with blossoming gardens. In the European Hanseatic Museum, visitors can listen to cloth merchants bartering, and relive the adventure of the first Hanseatic citizens on their voyages to Novgorod.

If you like ships and maritime atmosphere, you will love the state capital of Kiel. At the Schwedenkai and Ostseekai quays, cruise liners and Scandinavian ferries are anchored in the middle of the city. On the Kiellinie, the city promenade, you can watch seals play in the outdoor pool of the aquarium and admire the striking sailing yachts in the marina.

Short and sweet, what else is there to do?

  • Visit Flensburg (in german): Fish market, rum manufacturer, an historic port, merchant and captains’ houses and the nearby Glücksburg Castle.
  • Experience a family day out at the Hansa Park Sierksdorf with lots of fun and adrenaline.
  • And if the weather is bad? At the Sea Life Center Timmendorfer Strand, the Marine Centre Fehmarn Underwater Worlds or in the thermal baths or adventure baths (in german), time really flies.
 © Sven Meier, Güby© Sven Meier, Güby

The inventor of the wicker beach chair and the salt spring of the Baltic sea

Sunrays make their way through the clouds and paint a silvery trail on the Baltic sea. Wind ruffles the surface of the water. It’s not a day for bathing. No splashing and screaming children; only one lone girl on the playground happy to have the swing for herself. How relaxing, to let the hours drift past, sitting in a wicker beach chair with a book and woollen blanket, watching the ships go by. Clouds, wind and the occasional rain shower are just par for the course on a holiday in Schleswig-Holstein.  But that’s what wicker beach chairs are for: they protect you from wind, sand and rain, screen you from the sun, provide privacy for changing, as a drying rail for towels, or as a supply base for families with small children.

That’s interesting!

  • The classic Baltic Sea wicker beach chairs have a rounded form – in contrast to their square counterparts at the North Sea. The first wicker beach chair at the Baltic sea was a one-of-a-kind, made in 1882 by the Rostock master basket weaver Wilhelm Bartelmann. An aristocratic lady suffering from rheumatism ordered the chair to be able to recoup at the seaside, protected from sun and wind. To this day, the wicker chairs are hand-crafted by basket weavers, carpenters, painters and upholsterers, and last up to 20 years. One of the most well-known wicker beach chair manufacturers operates the foundation ‘Stiftung Mensch’ (in german) in Meldorf, which also developed and built the new type of wicker beach chair (in german).
  • If you are travelling at the Baltic coast between Lübeck and Flensburg, you will see several cliffs. Their crumbling edges tower up several metres high above the sea. They were created as a result of erosion. During the long winters at the Baltic Sea, the interplay of frost and rain creates cracks in the ground, which then softens and crumbles. With each ablated metre, the cliff sections increase in height.
  • In comparison to the North Sea, the water at the Baltic Sea only contains half as much salt, as it is surrounded by land. Only the Skagerrak, a straight between Denmark and Norway, links the North and Baltic Seas. Approx. every ten years, a large quantity of salt water streams out of the North Sea into the Baltic, and supplies it with a vast surge of oxygen – a reviving therapy for flora and fauna. In old handicraft tradition, the Baltic Sea salt manufactory (in german) extracts the coarse-grained spice from real filtered Baltic Sea water – a popular souvenir. 

Dis­cov­er the Balt­ic Sea and Hol­stein Switzer­land!

  •  © www.ostsee-schleswig-holstein.de / Oliver Franke© www.ostsee-schleswig-holstein.de / Oliver Franke
  • in german
    Happy hol­i­day at the Balt­ic Sea

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     © www.ostsee-schleswig-holstein.de© www.ostsee-schleswig-holstein.de
  • in german
    Book­ing your hol­i­day at the balt­ic sea

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     © www.ostsee-schleswig-holstein.de / Oliver Franke© www.ostsee-schleswig-holstein.de / Oliver Franke

  • European Hansemu­seum

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     © Olaf Malzahn© Olaf Malzahn
  • in german
    Balt­ic Sea events

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    Kieler Woche © TA.SH© TA.SH
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Ostsee-Holstein-Tourismus e.V.

Am Bürgerhaus 2 - 23683 Scharbeutz
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