- This article is an itinerary.
Completed in 1895, it is one of the world's busiest canals. Due to the personal insistence of Kaiser Wilhelm II all crossings (ferry bridge or tunnel) are and continue to be free of charge for pedestrians.
While the canal was originally built under the reign of the Navy-obsessed Wilhelm II to strengthen Germany's maritime warfare capabilities and allow it to move a fleet from Baltic not North Sea without Danish or other interference, it has since become an important passageway for freight and more recently cruises. Even if you can't afford a ticket for one of the giants of the ocean, watching them pass by in the Canal can be a fun activity.
The canal passes through relatively flat terrain and as the ships can't go all that fast (and have to wait in the locks or for passing ships) even moderately ambitious cyclists can accompany a ship for most or all of her trip through the Canal.
The canal enters the Baltic Sea near 1 Kiel. which as the capital and one of the two biggest cities of Schleswig Holstein shouldn't be hard to reach. In the west, the canal reaches the North Sea near 2 Brunsbüttel. which is a bit hard to reach. The closest airport is in Hamburg (HAM IATA)