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Cycling along picturesque waterways – the Kiel Canal Route

Heiko

Cycling along picturesque waterways – the Kiel Canal Route

Bike Touring Collection by Hannah

3-6

days

3-6 h

/ day

181 mi

3,475 ft

3,475 ft

Ferries, locks, high bridges, big ships and much more are waiting for you on the exciting voyage of discovery along the over 100-year-old waterway, the Kiel Canal. The charming landscape of Schleswig-Holstein offers rivers, lakes, meadow, and forest landscapes and enchants with its idyllic charm. A bicycle trip from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea coast is a very special experience, combining technology, nature and culture.

In this Collection, I have prepared the official cycle route around the Kiel Canal for you. In eight stages, it covers almost 186 miles (300 km) from Brunsbüttel to Kiel-Holtenau.

You can only travel to Brunsbüttel via bus as the nearest DB train station is in St. Michaelisdonn, Heide (Holstein) or Burg (Dithm.). An express bus runs between Itzehoe and Brunsbüttel. The stage lengths vary between 12.4 miles (20 km) and 31 miles (50 km) and are therefore very easy to master. As the route includes hardly any elevation gain, it is an ideal trip for the whole family, including children and grandparents.

If you would like to complete the adventure in fewer days, the stages can be combined and shortened. Often the route runs in circular loops through the charming hinterland, but you can leave out detours as you wish. You can also do the tour in the opposite direction from Kiel to Brunsbüttel.

On your way you will experience the variety of the Schleswig-Holstein landscape with all its facets. The Kiel Canal route is great in summer, as there are wonderful lakes and plenty of opportunities to take a refreshing dip en route. On shorter stages you can also explore architectural sights, marvel at historic buildings and locks or explore nature reserves.

The best way to get to Kiel-Holtenau is from Kiel main station, which is about 6.2 miles (10 km) away. If you want to return to your starting point after the tour, the Adler shipping company operates the large canal route between Kiel and Brunsbüttel. You can enjoy the route again from the water perspective and also enjoy the on-board kitchen of the nostalgic paddle steamer Freya or the modern MS Princess. You can find all information about the departure times here: adler-schiffe.de/fluesse-kanaele/nok.php.

On all stages you will pass through small canal communities where you can buy provisions. Overnight stays are also easy to find on this route; you can camp out along the canal or stay in pretty biking lodgings.

On The Map

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Nord-Ostsee-Kanal-Route

203 mi

3,575 ft

3,575 ft

Last updated: November 18, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    01:11
    10.7 mi
    9.1 mph
    125 ft
    50 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Your journey along the Kiel Canal starts today with a stage length of only 17 kilometers. So you can prepare for your upcoming trip in a relaxed manner.

    

    Right at the start, one of the numerous ferries awaits you, which take you from one side of the channel to the other around the clock and are also free

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  • Easy
    01:43
    17.2 mi
    10.1 mph
    450 ft
    400 ft
    Ferry
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The second stage takes you almost 30 kilometers to Albersdorf.

    It starts with a ferry ride. Before that, you have the opportunity to strengthen yourself directly at the pier in the Fährhaus Hochdonn. Then it's about ten kilometers through the meadows and fields to the next canal crossing.

    

    On the route

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  • Intermediate
    02:58
    29.9 mi
    10.1 mph
    850 ft
    850 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Today's stage leads through the landscape in a beautiful dangling over almost 50 kilometers. You will reach the stage destination Hanerau-Hademarschen after just 16 kilometers, so you can adapt the route to your mood.

    

    First you cross the villages of Bunsoh and Offenbüttel before you can look forward to

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  • Intermediate
    02:59
    29.6 mi
    9.9 mph
    500 ft
    600 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This stage of the Kiel Canal route takes you from Hanau-Hademarschen to Breiholz. The almost 50 kilometers run along the canal and in a loop through the idyllic landscape.

    

    After the first ten kilometers along the canal, you will reach the bascule bridge at the lock, where the Eider and Kiel Canal combine

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  • Easy
    01:24
    14.3 mi
    10.3 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The fifth stage of the Kiel Canal route starts today and takes you 23 kilometers to Rendsburg.

    

    After just under two kilometers you will reach the food station of a different kind: fresh milk and regional products from the machine. Then it goes back to the canal, which you follow for about six kilometers

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  • Intermediate
    02:42
    27.5 mi
    10.2 mph
    450 ft
    475 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The sixth stage is a good 40 kilometers to Sehestedt, including a beautiful circular route on the south side of the canal.

    

    In Rendsburg you can do a lap of honor over the Obereiderhafen before you go along the canal out of town.

    

    After 13 kilometers, you turn away from the waterway and head for the Wittensee

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  • Intermediate
    02:57
    28.9 mi
    9.8 mph
    525 ft
    500 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    On your penultimate stage you can look forward to almost 50 kilometers with sparkling waters and mighty locks.

    

    Right at the beginning of your route you will come across a historic lock, where you can take a break. Then it goes on over Krummwisch and in a beautiful arch along the Eider.

    Here you pass the

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  • Intermediate
    02:11
    23.0 mi
    10.5 mph
    425 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today is your last leg of the Kiel Canal route. Get ready for loosely flaky 40 kilometers with great highlights and Kiel-Holtenau as the final stage goal.

    

    First, the route takes you north of the canal to Gettorf, where there are a few exciting excursion destinations and highlights. From Gettorf you come

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    181 mi
  • Duration
    18:04 h
  • Elevation
    3,475 ft3,475 ft

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Cycling along picturesque waterways – the Kiel Canal Route

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