The northeastern part of Schleswig-Holstein faces Kiel Bay, the southwesternmost corner of the Baltic Sea.
This article comprises the districts of Schleswig-Flensburg, Rendsburg-Eckernförde and Plön and the cities of Flensburg and Kiel.
- 1 Kiel — the capital, an important seaport and the beginning of the Kiel canal, the busiest one in the world.
- 2 Eckernförde
- 3 Flensburg — the German city closest to Denmark (7 km south of the border) infamous among Germans for the traffic violations registry being kept there.
- 4 Glücksburg
- 5 Kappeln
- 6 Laboe
- 7 Lütjenburg
- 8 Plön — the small town on the namesake lake, the largest in Schleswig-Holstein
- 9 Preetz — known as "Schusterstadt" (Shoemaker's Town), because of a lot of shoemakers who once worked in the town
- 10 Rendsburg — an inland city that became a port, thanks to the Kiel canal
- 11 Schleswig — a city with roots in the Viking Age
A millenium ago, this region was a Viking stronghold centered around Haithaby (Hedeby) near present-day Schleswig. Today a world heritage site, the settlements' defensive walls named Danevirke were still used in the mid-19th century by the Danes as a defense against the Prussians. As the region known as Schleswig was part of Denmark until then, there are still some Danish aspects about it, including a sizable Danish minority, Danish architecture and Danish visitors attracted by the border shops and otherwise. Overall much of the land traffic between Denmark (and Scandinavia in general) and Central and Western Europe passes through here in the present day.
Sea traffic is also notable here with Kiel being one of the biggest ports in Germany and the Kiel Canal cutting through Schleswig-Holstein providing a shortcut past Jutland for ships between the Baltic and North Seas. Yet another "Scandinavian" aspect are the fjords (Förde), narrow bays next to which many port cities are located (as opposed to right at the seashore).
Schleswig-Holstein is one of the flattest states of Germany, and the Holstein Switzerland (Holsteinische Schweiz) in the southeast of this region is as mountainous as it gets, culminating in the state's highest hill, Bungsberg (168 m ASL). It boasts the state's only ski lift and otherwise offers good views of the surroundings. The Holstein Switzerland is also known for its lakes, particularly around Plön, giving the town a bit of a Finnish Lakeland look.
There are no passenger airports here; the closest one is in Hamburg, and as of 2020 there are plans to restart flights to Lübeck. Billund airport (Denmark's second busiest) in southern Jutland has a number of flights from European destinations; from there you can go by bus to Vejle or Kolding and switch to train to get to Flensburg and destinations further south.
Major cities and towns are accessible by train from for instance Hamburg, Lübeck, locations on the North Sea Coast or in Jutland across the border.
Autobahn A7, one of the most important road links between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe goes through the region.