German Sights

Travel to Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost state in Germany. It borders Denmark to the north and has access to both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Schleswig-Holstein borders Lower Saxony to the west and south-west, along with the city-state of Hamburg. To the east and south-east, the state borders Mecklenberg-Vorpommern.

As Germany's second-largest city, Hamburg has a great deal of influence on Schleswig-Holstein.

It is, for example, more than seven times larger than Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein.

The other major city is Lübeck, a former Hanseatic trading port and now a major tourist destination with its renovated medieval old town.

Schleswig-Holstein in Germany

Flying to Schleswig-Holstein

Hamburg Airport is by far the most important airport for people visiting Schleswig-Holstein. The international airport is the fifth-biggest in Germany and has good transport connections to both Kiel and Lübeck.

Lübeck Airport is situated just outside the city and has declined in importance over recent years. The airport offers a limited programme of flights to other German cities, Austria and Switzerland, as well as charter flights to holiday destinations.

Sylt Airport is located on the island of the same name in the waters off the north-west of Schleswig-Holstein. The airport mainly serves German-speaking holidaymakers heading for the North Frisian islands. Flights are offered by Lufthansa, Swissair and Eurowings as well as some smaller regional airlines.

Schleswig-Holstein by Rail

As with the flights, Hamburg tends to be the main hub for Intercity rail travel to other parts of Germany or Europe. There are some Intercity rail services to Kiel and Lübeck, which run via Hamburg. The city of Flensburg is on the Eurocity service between Hamburg and Aarhus in Denmark.

Other towns and cities in Schleswig-Holstein are served by regional train services.

One of the best rail bargains in any state is the day pass for the (slower) regional services. In Schleswig-Holstein's case this is called the Schleswig-Holstein-Ticket and offers unlimited travel on local services from 09.00 to 03.00 the following day (or from midnight on weekends).

Importantly, in Schleswig-Holstein's case, this regional travel ticket also includes all local services in neighbouring Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The single price is low (29 Euros at the time of writing) but the real bargain is that extra people can be added to the ticket up to a maximum of five for only 5 Euros a person. Thus five people can have unlimited regional rail travel for a day in Schleswig-Holstein and two other neighbouring states for only 49 Euros. (Note that Intercity services are not included.)

Driving in Schleswig-Holstein

The following national motorway routes run through Schleswig-Holstein:

  • the A1 motorway runs from near the ferry port to Denmark past Lübeck to Hamburg. It continues towards Bremen and down the western side of Germany until it reaches Saarbrücken.
  • the A7 motorway heads south from Flensburg via Hamburg and Hannover through the centre of Germany until it reaches the Austrian border at Füssen. (This is the longest motorway in Germany.)
  • the A20 motorway connects Bad Segeburg north-west of Lübeck with the towns on the Baltic coast in Mecklenberg-Vorpommern.
  • the A23 motorway connects Hamburg to the town of Heide on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein.
  • the A24 motorway links Hamburg and Berlin.

A couple of other short linking motorway sections connect Hamburg to the longer motorways above.

The German automobile club is called ADAC and it offers information on traffic and road conditions on its website (German only):

Map of Schleswig-Holstein