Set sail for Kiel Week
Attention boating enthusiasts! Did you know that the biggest sailing event in the world takes place every year in Germany? Kiel will host millions of people for Kiel Week, June 17-25. Mark your calendars for some maritime fun for the whole family!
Kiel: A sailing city
Kiel, located 370 miles north of Frankfurt, has long been home to ship building and naval traditions because of its location in northern Germany. Its positioning near the Jutland peninsula and the southwest shore of the Baltic Sea makes it an ideal location for what is now known as “the mother of all regattas.”
What started out as a simple ship racing competition between naval officers and merchants, has since grown into the largest festival in Germany. Kiel Week hosts more than 2,000 different events throughout the week for ship fanatics, music junkies, foodies and children; there’s something for everyone!
Yachts, dinghies, sailboats, oh my!
A fan favorite and truly the highlight of the week is the Windjammer Parade. This parade features more than 100 tall and traditional sailing ships that are led up the Kiel Fjord for amazed spectators to see. To get up close and personal, head over to the Tirpitz Harbor for the meeting of the navy fleets, where a host of countries will come together to showcase their destroyers, frigates, corvettes, minesweepers and high-speed launches. If you’re in the mood for a little competition, navy cutter races will be held in Kiel’s inner-firth throughout the week.
See the sea
The Kiel Harbor Tour is a two-hour seaside ferry around the Kiel Harbor. If you’re looking for some history with your boat ride, the Trip to Laboe is for you. Learn about the history of the German navy as this ferry takes you to the famous naval memorial. The top of the memorial offers some unbelievable panoramic views, while a World War II submarine lies on the beach below. Take a look inside to understand how cramped the life of a crew member must have been, and don’t forget to top the trip off with some delicious, fresh seafood! If you’d prefer to be in the driver’s seat, there are a number of places that rent boats for the day. Contact the tourist office for more information and to purchase tickets.
More than just sailing
You don’t have to be a sailing buff to enjoy the nine-day program. Three hundred concerts will be held at venues across the city. Comedy nights, jazz, dancing and an international market of culinary delights from more than 30 countries are other staples of the week. Museums and performance venues will have special exhibitions throughout the week including operas, plays and ballets. Two events not to miss are the International Balloon Sail, which features a colorful spectacle of hot air balloons in the sky, and the closing firework display that is visible across the bay.
Small visitors can paint, hammer, dig, run, play, and marvel at the children’s playground and festival area. Surrounding the playground is a number of stages featuring puppet shows, clowns, magicians, acrobats, pantomimes and performances by children’s singer-songwriters.
How to get there and where to stay
Drive: 5.5 hours from Frankfurt, 6.5 hours from Kaiserslautern
Plane: Fly into Hamburg, Lübeck or Sønderborg (all 50 miles from Kiel)
Train: 6 hours from Frankfurt (8 hours from Kaiserslautern) to Kiel HBF
There are a number of hotels and apartments for rent near Kiel city center. Contact the tourist office for more information.
For more information and a list of comprehensive events during Kiel Week, visit the official website.