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Minutes from the border with Denmark, Nordic Flensburg offers some of the best sailing in Germany.
Flensburg's Altstadt offers a picturesque waterfront view complete with a fresh breeze from its cafés and restaurants. Spared from all but two bombs in WWII, Flensburg retains its medieval architecture and the churches are in almost flawless condition. Stroll along the curving cobblestone and brick pedestrian streets or embark on a peaceful boat ride around the harbour and to nearby towns in Denmark, which are within sight across the inlet.
Flensburg surrounds the natural harbour formed by the inland banks of the Flensburger Förde, and streets run up from the water's edge into the hills. In the Südermarkt, the 14th-century Nikolaikirche features an organ and series of post-Reformation paintings.
Beyond the Nordermarkt, you’ll find the Marienkirche and its amazing two-storey Baroque altar of the Last Supper and modern stained-glass windows; while the Marientreppe gives a panoramic view of Flensburg and Denmark from the top of its 146 steps. The Schifffahrtsmuseum documents Flensburg's nautical history, its role in Denmark's once-thriving Caribbean trade and displays a basement full of rum barrels and grog-delivery bicycles.
Among the cornucopia of trendy shops and appetizing cafés lining the pedestrian zone, you’ll also find cheaper currywurst shops, bakeries, and ice cream parlours. The Nordermarkt is the place to find cafés and bars; Hansen's Brauerei serves home-brewed beer by the metre (12 drinks lined up along a metre-long board) for €15, and it also offers German food.
Just 30 minutes away, Kiel provides a hands-on maritime experience at one of Germany’s biggest passenger ports. Watch the huge vessels manoeuvring in the harbour, taste the fresh salty air and enjoy the daily arrivals and departures of cruisers and intercontinental ferries.
Flensburg is situated on the Hamburg-Copenhagen Euroroute (E 25), 1 hour, 30 minutes from Hamburg and five hours from Copenhagen. The nearest international airport is in Hamburg. Trains arrive daily from many Danish cities, including five a day from Copenhagen, taking four hours and costing €38. There are also trains from Hamburg (every hour, taking two hours and costing €24); Kiel (every hour, taking 1 hour, 15 minutes and costing €18.10); and Schleswig (every hour, taking 30 minutes and costing €5.40).