Kiel is a climate protection city and strives for sustainable development for living and vacationing in Kiel. Moreover Kiel is the winner of the German Sustainability Award 2021. The national award stands for excellence in sustainability in the fields of business, municipalities and research. Kiel also was the first city in Germany to join the international network “Zero Waste Europe.“ The network is working towards the goal of making our society completely waste-free. Together with it’s residents Kiel designed a zero-waste concept with over 100 measures for waste avoidance. They contribute to preventing waste from being generated in the first place and to keeping raw materials in the cycle.

Apart from these good initial conditions Kiel offers many environmental friendly shops, restaurants and transportation means. Here are some tips on how you too can live sustainably in Kiel. And this does not have to be elaborate at all.


Since Kiel is relatively small most places can be easily reached by bike. Especially the Kiellinie is suitable for cycling. Here you can cycle directly along the water. There is also a bike route in Kiel. Getting from A to B in a relaxed and fast way? That’s no problem on Veloroute 10. Here bicyclists can make quick progress away from traffic and traffic lights. If you don’t have a bike that’s not a problem. Just borrow one from Sprottenflotte

Rent a bike from Sprottenflotte

© Anna Mohme

Sprottenflotte is a popular bike rental service in Kiel. There are 60 stations distributed around the city and it works quite simply. All you have to do is check the website or app „nextbike“ in order to find the next bike station. To borrow a bike, simply scan the QR in the app, enter the bike’s number in the app or call it in, and off you go. A big advantage:  For the conventional bikes the first 30 minutes are always free of charge. Each additional half an hour costs 1 euro. The maximum daily rate is 9 euros. The cargo bikes cost 1 euro per 30 minutes and a maximum of 12 euros per day. 

Travel by public transportation

If you don’t feel like cycling or if it’s one of those rainy days you can also easily use public transportation. The bus or the ferry takes you through the city in no time. You can find the best connection in the NAH SH App. If you want to buy your tickte online you can also do that in the app.

There are also many pretty towns around Kiel which are worth a visit while you’re living in Kiel, for example Flensburg or Lübeck. If you are planning a trip around Kiel, you can easily take the train. It’s the most environmentally friendly kind of motorized transport and the semester ticket is valid for the whole of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg. The DB Regio regularly operates on the following routes: 

  • RE 70 Hamburg Hbf – Neumünster – Kiel Hbf
  • RE 72 Flensburg – Eckernförde – Kiel Hbf
  • RB 73 Eckernförde – Kiel Hbf 
  • RE 74 Husum – Rendsburg – Kiel Hbf 
  • RB 75 Rendsburg – Kiel Hbf
  • RB 76 Kiel Oppendorf – Kiel, Schulen am Langsee – Kiel Hbf 
  • RE 83 Lüneburg – Lübeck Hbf – Kiel Hbf 
  • RB 84 Lübeck Hbf – Plön – Kiel Hbf

Food and Drinks:

Eat at „Cotidiano“

© Anna Mohme

At „Cotidiano“ you will find delicious and healthy homemade dishes made from high-quality ingredients, often organic. Wether all-day breakfast, bowls, burgers or freshly mixed smoothies. At Cotidiano everyone is guaranteed to find what they are looking for. A big advantage: About half of the dishes on the menu are vegetarian or vegan and are particularly appealing to people who value healthy and delicious food. The restaurant attaches great importance to sustainability, because for the owners delicious food doesn’t have to be at odds with sustainability, fairness and affordable prices. Very commendable right? 

Get desert at „Vicecream“

Fancy a delicious vegan desert afterwards? Than you definitely have to check out „Vicecream.“ Their credo: Do what you are convinced of. That’s why they’re offering only vegan ice cream, which is made out of 100% natural ingredients that are completely free of flavoring, coloring or animal products. Their goal is to produce the best ice cream in the world. They create their varieties based on sorbets, oatmeal almond or self-fermented soy yogurt. Some Varieties for example are:  Almond-Orange, lemongurt or vanilla raspberry chocolate. Delicious!

Order snacks from „Too good to go“

You need Snacks for a trip or a log day at uni? Before you head to the next grocery store definitely check our „Too good to go“. The company behind the app wants to minimize food waste and save surplus food. With the app, which connects customers with restaurants and stores, you can reserve packages of unsold, surplus food and pick it up later at a discounted price from the respective store. By doing this you don’t only save food from being thrown away, but you also save money because the food is discounted. A win win situation for everybody, right?!


Shop new clothes at the „Kiloladen“

© Anna Mohme

Most clothing stores like H&M, Zara and co. sell fast fashion items, which means they produce and sell their clothes very cheap so that their customers will buy new clothes real quick. Because of the cheap prices and the bad quality customers tend to buy new fast fashion clothes soon. This has a massive impact on our environment because the fashion industry is a big factor in environmental pollution. It is responsible for 10 % of annual global carbon emissions, that’s more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. If you fancy a new outfit but don’t want to support the fast fashion industry, second hand clothing is an essential part in sustainable living. 

The „Kiloladen“ offers second-hand clothing which price is based on it’s weight. Their assortment consists exclusively of second-hand goods of the best quality. Simply select all your desired items in the store and go to the checkout to pay. The scale at the checkout will determine the weight of your items and the salespeople will be happy to sell you your almost new clothes for little money.

Stroll through the department store of the handmade:  „Raumzutat“

Raumzutat” is the address for handmade stuff in Kiel. On 100 sqm you can expect high quality handmade and creative products from young designers and small manufactories from all over Germany. You will find art, fashion, seasonal floristry, handicraft & design, but also natural cosmetics, refurbished old small furniture and delicatessen from about 60 exhibitors. Raumzutat is the somewhat different “specialized rental” for handmade products and, at least in Schleswig-Holstein, unique!

Find regional products at „Kosmos“

© Anna Mohme

„Kiel is colorful, creative and changing – we want to show and support that with Kosmos in downtown Kiel,“ says Leah R. from “Kosmos“. The store by offers fairly produced products from over 150 startups, creatives and companies from Kiel and the northern region of Germany. In addition to that, there is a cozy café for co-working or relaxing.

As you can see, Kiel offers many opportunities to practice a sustainable lifestyle – from grocery stores to shopping destinations and transportation. In what ways do you implement sustainability into your everyday life? Let us know in the comments!

Go food-shopping at „unverpackt“

Unverpackt“ in Kiel is the pioneer among German packaging-free stores. It is very sustainable to go food-shopping there, because here, as the name suggests, everything is offered unpackaged in various dispensers. This way a lot of disposable packaging will be saved. This reduces the amount of waste to a minimum. Just bring your own containers to fill. Moreover going grocery shopping this way also practices a more mindful use of your food.

As you can see, there are many sustainable shops and supplier in Kiel. To summarize this topic, sustainability is becoming an increasingly central issue that’s why it is important for all of us to deal with this topic in order to protect our environment from further damages. That means trying to live as sustainably as possible in our everyday lives. In this case every step counts and makes a difference at the end if we all try our very best. What are your favorite sustainable hotspots in Kiel and how do you practice sustainability in your everyday life? Let us know in the comments!