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Schleswig Holstein Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Schleswig Holstein

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Located on an island in the Schlei, a narrow inlet of the Baltic Sea, Schloss Gottorf is a historic castle estate that served as the ancestral home of the House of Oldenburg. It lies just a couple of kilometers from the Old Town of Schleswig and boasts two of the state’s most significant museums.

The island was first settled as an estate in the 12th century as the residence of Bishop Occo of Schleswig before being transferred to the Count of Holstein of the House of Schauenburg in 1340. It was later inherited by Christian I of Denmark who was the first Danish monarch from the House of Oldenburg.

Schloss Gottorf was expanded throughout the years, particularly during the 16th century when it became the primary residence of Christian I, with the castle seen today built by the famous Swedish architect, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger around the turn of the 18th century. It largely fell into disrepair under the reign of Frederick IV of Denmark and was used as a barracks for both Danish and Prussian forces during the 19th century... read more arrow

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Located on the northern edge of the Segeberger Forest between the towns of Bad Bramstedt and Bad Segeberg, the Eekholt Wildlife Park is home to around 100 different species of native wildlife. It showcases the animals in their natural habitats while raising awareness about sustainability in nature.

The Eekholt Wildlife Park was founded in 1970 and is still privately run to this day. It was created to convey awareness about the ecological interdependence of plants, animals and humans, with diagrams and exhibits illustrating the role each plant or animal plays in maintaining the ecological balance.

Follow the walking trails that lead through wetlands, bogs, coniferous and deciduous wooded forests that provide a habitat for more than 700 animals at the Eekholt Wildlife Park. Each of the various ecosystems represents its typical plant life, insects, birds and mammals, with the Osterau creek winding through the park.

Get up close to wolves, deer, wild boars and moorland sheep, as well as rare species like white-furred red deer and endangered otters... read more arrow

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Stretching for 98 kilometers through the countryside of Schleswig-Holstein, the Kiel Canal links the North Sea with the Baltic Sea between the towns of Brunsbüttel and Kiel. It was built in the late 19th century to prevent ships from having to make the much longer journey around the northern tip of Denmark and was originally called the Kaiser-Wilhelm Canal.

The first connection between the North and Baltic Seas was the Eider Canal that was completed under the reign of Christian VII of Denmark in 1784. It stretched 43 kilometers from Kiel to the Eider River’s mouth at Tönning, however, its shallow depth of only three meters significantly limited the vessels that could use it. The new canal was initiated in the late 19th century by merchants and the German Navy who wanted to link their bases in the Baltic and the North Sea without having to sail around the Jutland Peninsula. It took more than 9,000 workers around eight years to build the canal, with surviving footage of the opening of the canal preserved in London’s Science Museum... read more arrow

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Home to Germany’s largest collection of medieval sculptures and altar-pieces, the St. Anne’s Museum Quarter is located in the former Augustinian nunnery of St. Anne’s Priory in Lübeck. In addition to the St. Annen Kunsthalle's ecclesiastical art, the museum quarter also encompasses an old synagogue, church and a range of medieval buildings to explore along its atmospheric streets.

St. Anne’s Priory was originally constructed in the early 16th century in a late Brick Gothic style and housed Lübeck’s unmarried women. A few years later the monastery was closed during the Reformation and it was used as both a poorhouse and a prison during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1912, the monastery was converted into a museum, with many of the structures on the ground floor preserved in their original condition, including the cloister, the refectories and the chapter house... read more arrow

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Dominated by a sweeping brick monolith that is dedicated to the fallen seamen and women of World War I and World War II, the Laboe Naval Memorial was established in 1936 in the town of Laboe near Kiel. It was originally designed to memorialize the dead of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy), with the World War II Kriegsmarine added after 1945. It has more recently been rededicated as a memorial to sailors of all nationalities who have been lost at sea.

The monument was designed by architect Gustav August Munzer, without the intention of resembling anything specific but more to inspire positive feelings in the viewer. Despite this, it’s often considered reminiscent of a submarine tower or the sweeping stem of a Viking ship.

Climb to the observation deck that’s located at the top of the 72-meter-high tower, then wander through the Hall of Remembrance at the base. The Laboe Naval Memorial also consists of a World War II-era German submarine U-995, which is the only Type VII U-boat remaining in the world... read more arrow

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Located in the town of Sierksdorf along the Bay of Lübeck, Hansa Park is a seasonal amusement park that’s packed with more than 125 different attractions. It was established as the home of Germany’s first Legoland in the early 1970s and has now grown to become the fifth largest amusement park in the country.

Hansa Park is divided into 11 different themed areas, which include the Land of the Vikings, Bonanza-City and the Old-Time Fun Fair. Each area is clustered with rides and shows that reflect their individual themes, including thrilling rollercoasters, water-based attractions and kid-friendly carousels.

Enjoy the pendulum ride of The Bell or The Flying Shark, then step into one of the airplanes at Dr Livingstone’s Safari Flight. Feel your stomach drop on the Holstein-Turm or challenge yourself in The Navajo Trail High-Rope Garden. Water-based rides at Hansa Park include the Rio Dorado and Super Splash, as well as the Wild Water Ride and Barracuda Slide... read more arrow

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Marking the western boundary of Lübeck’s historic core, the Holstentor is a charismatic red-brick gate that has become a symbol of the city. Built in 1464, the Medieval Gothic construction is one of just two city gates that remain from Lübeck's medieval fortifications (with the other being the Burgtor (Citadel Gate)) and together with the Altstadt of Lübeck has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Having been beautifully restored after crumbling to ruins in the mid-19th century, the Holstentor is renowned for its twin pointed round towers and arched entrance. Above its entrance is the Latin inscription “Concordia Domi Foris Pax,” which translates as “Unity at Home and Peace Abroad.”

In front of the Holstentor stand two monumental iron statues of reclining lions that are attributed to Christian Daniel Rach, with one of the lions asleep while the other is wide awake. They were originally designed to be placed in front of the house of John Daniel Jacobj, an influential 19th-century Lübeck merchant and art collector... read more arrow

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With its turquoise steeple towering above the Altstadt (Old Town) of Lübeck, Dom St. Petri (St. Peter’s Church) is one of the city’s most important landmarks. Originally a three-naved Roman church built in the 12th century, it was expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries into a five-naved Gothic hall church. It was severely damaged during World War II, with the church roof completely destroyed, but was lovingly restored in the 1980s and has become a cultural hub of the city today.

While the exterior of Dom St. Petri was accurately recreated, the interior was purposely left as a light and airy interior where regular arts and crafts markets take place and cultural events are held. It features a small triumphal cross that was created using raw planks by Arnulf Rainer, as well as an organ built by Hinrich Otto Paschen in the northern aisle. The viewing platform of the church also boasts magnificent views of Lübeck’s Old Town and some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, stretching all the way to the Baltic Sea on a clear day... read more arrow

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One of the most important architectural landmarks in Schleswig-Holstein, the Schleswig Cathedral towers over the city of Schleswig. It was established as a Romanesque basilica in 1134, built using granite, brick and tuff from the Rhine, before being reconstructed as High Gothic hall church from the 13th century. It was here that the Danish King Niel’s headless body was laid out after being pulled from the Schlei by local fishermen and it’s believed that he still haunts the cathedral to this day.

In 1888, a Gothic revival western tower was added at the request of King William II of Prussia and its viewing platform now offers commanding panoramas across the city of Schleswig, the Schlei and the charming fishing village of Holm. In addition to climbing to the viewing platform, guided tours also enable visitors to see the bells that are located just above.

Access to the cathedral is through the 12th-century Romanesque Petri Portal that’s flanked by a weathered sculpture of a lion while the interior includes the 14th-century Altar of the Magi in the southern choir and a 15th-century bronze baptismal font by Ghert Klinghe in the high choir... read more arrow

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The most northeasterly park of the German Wadden Sea UNESCO World Heritage Site (the largest unbroken area of mudflats in the world) is the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park. It encompasses a magnificent landscape of untouched beaches, sand dunes, tidal flats, salt marshes and marsh islands while providing a haven for rare plant and wildlife species. This national park and UNESCO biosphere reserve extends from the German-Danish maritime border to the Elbe Estuary and is the largest national park in Germany.

The Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park is home to common and grey seals, porpoises and rare-white tailed eagles, together with a huge diversity of starfish, mollusks and mud-dwelling organisms. A walk across the coastal mudflats is a fascinating way to experience its unique beauty and biodiversity (particularly at low tide) or you can embark on a guided boat trip through the surrounding waters from the harbors at Büsum, Nordstrand, Dagebüll and Schlüttsiel... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

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