Ostsee und Schlei, Urlaub,


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The trend is towards inland holidays. The eastern Baltic Sea with Rügen, Hiddensee and Darß in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is increasingly becoming a magnet, but the area around Schlei, Kappeln and Eckernförde also has its charms. You just have to discover them.

If you went to school in St. Peter-Ording with its long, wide beaches, you would think that you would always be drawn back to the North Sea. However, childhood holidays on the Danish island of Samsø also awakened a love of the Baltic Sea early on, and not only because part of the family lives there, one of the loved ones even lives near Apenrade (Åbenrå) in southern Denmark. As a rather industrial Baltic Sea town, Apenrade has little charm, but in the surrounding area there are many pretty little beaches and villages with thatched-roof houses – just know where.

Of course, driving from Munich to Schleswig-Holstein ” around the sea” is no walk in the park and sometimes involves long traffic jams, so the motorail train from the Icelandic metropolis to Hamburg came to mind again, especially since the fuel prices make this kind of journey seem more affordable, despite more than 400 euros for one way, including wife and dog. In the end, however, stinginess won out and this time we found ourselves at the beautiful Tollensesee lake south of Neubrandenburg as a stopover, before continuing the next day via Wismar to Schönhagen near Brodersby south of Kappeln.


To avoid the eternal traffic jams over the Kassel mountains and in Hamburg’s Elbe tunnel, it was again decided to take the diversions via Regensburg and Potsdam. Trusting the “Navyline” and taking the route via Magdeburg, Hanover and Hamburg had turned out to be a mistake six months earlier. A few years ago it had taken 12 hours to get from Sylt to Munich via Potsdam, including a shuttle train and longer breaks for walking, but in September 2021 it took a whopping 15 hours, two of them in Hamburg, which was a permanent construction site at the time.

Since extensive restoration work in the 1990s, the smaller Hanseatic city of Wismar has once again become a real pearl of the south-western Baltic Sea. The saying “Alter Schwede” (Old Swede) takes on a special meaning there, as it is the name of the city’s oldest town house, dating back to the 14th century, where an inn moved in in 1878. And when the weather is fine, it offers a wonderful view of the market square with the famous Wasserkunst fountain and other historic buildings all around.


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We continued from Wismar via Kiel and Eckernförde, another Baltic pearl, to Schönhagen near Brodersby. With its high cliffs, it lies between two well-known holiday resorts – Olpenitz and Damp (2000) – about 7 km as the crow flies from Kappeln on the Schlei. Damp, with its daunting-looking Baltic Sea clinic, has more the charm of wanting to get well and away quickly, but offers a long, very nice white beach with a not-so-small section for dogs. The large campsite, which apparently has many permanent campers with their permanently moored mobile homes, surprises with the Säbener Str. sign in front of a larger one advertising the popular Flensburg beer – an anachronism in itself. To Damp’s credit, it has to be said that the place tries hard to attract young families with affordable prices and offers like a Viking mini-golf course.

Olpenitz north of Schönhagen in the Schwansen region, unlike this one with its many individual brick houses typical of the region, resembles a single new housing estate – close together. The view of the Baltic Sea and the private ships moored at the harbour may be beautiful. Olpenitz is by no means cheap, as the many upper and middle class cars of the holidaymakers suggest. The houseboats are also nicer for the online catalogue than in reality. But perhaps the place is still improving. From an environmental point of view, the holiday landscape is an enrichment compared to the former heavy oil-saturated naval harbour.


The jewel of Schönhagen is certainly the castle with the rehabilitation clinic and the beautiful park, half a year ago still hidden behind high wooden walls due to corona and not visible. Outsiders are still not allowed to enter, but the curiosity was greater to take a look. Those who go to rehab there seem to be in good hands, as a relative could confirm. And at Hof Schwansen right next door, you can have a very good breakfast in a beautiful ambience. One of the highlights are certainly the muesli bowls – simply delicious!

The find of the re-booked house “Möwenschiet” not far from a wide bicycle path with the quick, magnificent view of the Baltic Sea and the steep coast, turned out to be a lucky strike in September 2021 after a long search. The XXL TV makes up for the small garden, and unlike many other holiday homes in the far north, it has a fence that the dog doesn’t laugh at and is immediately up and away. In Schönhagen you can go for wonderful walks, and who cares if you are almost blown away when the sun rises again and the sea lies in front of you with the sometimes very large sailing yachts.


In the water of the smallest sea, it was only up to my knees this time, but the tingling afterwards compensates for the cold you feel at 12 degrees. The few daredevils who threw themselves into the floods could be counted on one hand during the two weeks at the end of May 2022.

Kappeln with its bascule bridge for skippers from and into the Schlei, which sometimes causes long traffic jams, looks very picturesque from there, but has grown too quickly as a shopping. And despite its great reputation as a holiday paradise, it does not have such a beautiful old town and pedestrian zone as Eckernförde. A side trip to there should by no means be forgotten, just as little to Maasholm, Kroonsgaard, Sieseby and perhaps Flensburg, which is partly reminiscent of St. Petersburg.


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Maasholm attracts mainly camping holidaymakers, but also with long walks along the coast with a pretty little dog beach, but above all with the best “fish shack” far and wide. Yet the Petersen fish smokehouse looks like nothing. Thanks for the insider tip from the employee at the meat counter in the supermarket! Kroonsgaard is another insider’s tip, especially for dog owners, because unlike the hemlock-like strips you usually find, the four-legged friends have a real run there.

And when, as in September, the beach chairs are there again, dog owners don’t have to fear the wind and weather. The prices for parking and renting a beach chair are hardly worth mentioning at just a few euros. In Italy or the south of France, you pay more than ten times as much at some beaches – plus a sunshade for a few hours.


As tempting as a detour to Arnis on the Schlei with its picturesque harbour for sailing ships would have been, the holidaymakers were drawn back to Sieseby with its beautiful thatched-roof houses, most of which are still owned by the older line of the ducal family of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, which acquired the town together with the Bieneck estate in 1887 for 615,000 Reichstaler. Glücksburg Castle, like the town on the Flensburg Fjord, is said to be a splendour in its own right and will certainly be worth a visit next year or the year after.

In 1825, in fact, the castle became the ancestral seat of the younger line of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, or Glücksburg for short, from which the Danish royal family emerged and was and is related to practically the entire European high aristocracy. Sieseby near Thumby down the Schlei – you realise that you are approaching Danish climes – was more of a stopgap recommended by the tourist office in Schleswig as a holiday resort years before, but it has never lost its appeal. Finding something there is hardly possible, however, because the place seems to be firmly in the hands of wealthy Hamburgers who used to like to cavort in or in front of the star restaurant Schlie Kroog. However, the restaurant has closed for good due to its age, which means that another project was lost. On the other hand, apart from the many euros spent on fuel, the holiday was much cheaper than expected.


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The path from Sieseby to the manor house Gut Bienebek always down the Schlei to about 10 km before Kappeln is always beautiful. Not far from Sieseby in the direction of Schleswig is Rieseby with the Lindaunis Bridge, one of the few passable overpasses. And from there straight on to Norderbrarup, a neighbouring village to Süderbrarup (“Süder”) with one of the few larger shopping centres in the region. And in the said Norderbrarup, where, apart from what is probably always Germany’s only horse flap for owners in distress, rather fox and hare say good night to each other, the little dog family, at that time still with another four-legged friend, spent many years on holiday.

Unfortunately, the formerly occupied house with the large garden is also no longer so cheap – almost three times as expensive as at the beginning – and almost comparable to the “90-sqm cottage” in Schönhagen, which costs about 2,400 euros for 14 days between low and high season, if you book via the relevant platforms, also a few hundred euros more expensive. A comparison and enquiries at the local tourist office are therefore always recommended.

Source cover image: Unsplash / Matthias Pens

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