A Travel Price Comparison for Germany Kiel vs. Heidelberg for Food, Nightlife, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Kiel or Heidelberg?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Kiel or Heidelberg? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Kiel

Kiel is a off-the-beaten-path, waterfront, and maritime city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the food, beaches, and shopping.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is a historic, quaint, and energetic town. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. With a quaint atmosphere, it also offers a unique feeling. And you can't forget about the food, shopping, and nightlife.

Kiel and Heidelberg: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere


Is there more to do in Kiel or Heidelberg?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Kiel than Heidelberg, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Kiel is more popular for its museums, beaches, and big city activities, while Heidelberg is known for its food, nightlife, historical sights, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Heidelberg is more touristy than Kiel and is popular for its picturesque beauty, romantic atmosphere, and its classic old town. Kiel is popular for its maritime history and its role as the host of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. It is also home to The Kiel Castle.

How is Kiel different from Heidelberg?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Heidelberg and Kiel. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Kiel or Heidelberg?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Kiel is a good destination for its historical sights. However, Heidelberg does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Kiel. You'll find museums and landmarks that focus on the city's maritime past. These include Submarine U-995, the Naval Memorial, Schifffahrtsmuseum Kiel, and Leuchtturm Bülk.

Heidelberg does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Kiel or Heidelberg? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Heidelberg is well known for its restaurant scene. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Heidelberg. The old town is filled with local restaurants that offer an assortment of traditional dishes. The restaurants offer a mix of outdoor and indoor seating and classic dishes include saumagen, lewwerkneedl, and dampfnudeln.

Kiel is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The local cuisine, Schleswig-Holstein cuisine, is similar to much of Germany in that the dishes are hearty and filling. There are many British and Scandenavian influences. Local dishes that you should try include Kieler Sprotte (herring-like fish), Schnüüsch (veggie stew), and Mehlbüdel (bread dumpling with pork belly)

Is Kiel or Heidelberg Better for Nightlife?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Heidelberg is well known for nightlife and partying. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for its evening party scene.

Heidelberg is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. As a university town, you'll find a very young population and many bars, pubs, and nightclubs where you can hang out.

If you're looking for night time activities Kiel has a few options to choose from. The nightlife scene is low key and relaxing. You can sip a cocktail at a trendy bar or enjoy a beer on a floating beach bar.

Is Kiel or Heidelberg Better for Beaches?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Kiel is a good destination for the beach. However, Heidelberg is not a beach destination.

Kiel offers a nice beach destination. The city has several sandy beaches with coastal dunes and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Heidelberg is not a beach destination.


Is Kiel or Heidelberg Better for its Old Town?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Heidelberg is a must-visit destination for its old town. However, Kiel does not have a historic old town.

The rich history of Heidelberg can be explored in its historical center. The charming old town, or Altstadt, is lined with cafes that spill out onto the street and churches with bells that chime hourly. The area is filled with activity and there are many shops, ice cream vendors, and restaurants to choose from.

Kiel does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Kiel or Heidelberg?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Shopping is a popular activity in both Heidelberg and Kiel.

Kiel offers some nice shopping areas. There's a mix of retail shopping centers and pedestrian shopping streets like Holstenstrasse and Dänische Strasse.

Heidelberg has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The pedestrian area is the best place to pass your time shopping. There are name brand stores mixed in with local independent shops which you'll mostly find on the side streets. Popular items to buy include wooden toys, Christmas decorations, and candy.

Is Kiel or Heidelberg Better for Families?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Kiel or Heidelberg.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Kiel. The U-Boot U 995 is a museum on an actual submarine. Kids will love exploring this unique setting. The Kiel Botanical Gardens is another beautiful and fun place to explore. Also make sure you check out the city's aquarium, the Zoologisches Museum, and Computermuseum der Fachhochschule Kiel.

Heidelberg offers lots of family activities. With its many ice cream shops, playgrounds, and impressive castle, this city makes a nice stop for families with kids. The restaurants usually have a kid's menu and there are a number of kid-friendly museums and activities.


Is Kiel or Heidelberg Better for Couples?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Heidelberg is well known for its romantic activities. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Couples visit Heidelberg frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. This beautiful city offers an impressive backdrop for a couple's getaway. The view from the castle looks out beautifully over the city and the old town has many excellent restaurants and activities that are great for couples.

Kiel is a good city for couples to visit. The old port city sits along Germany’s Baltic Sea and couples can enjoy learning about the city's maritime past and shopping along the shopping streets of Holstenstrasse and Dänische Strasse.

Is Kiel or Heidelberg Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Heidelberg is well known for backpackers. However, Kiel is not particularly known for backpackers and budget travelers.

Heidelberg is a great town to visit for backpackers. Prices are reasonable and there are a handful of hostels around town. As a university town, you can be assured there are plenty of fun activities and cheap places to eat.

Kiel is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. While it's not on the main backpacker circuit, there is a hostel or two in town.

Is Kiel or Heidelberg Better for Students?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Kiel and Heidelberg are good places to visit for students.

Kiel is popular with students. Students can enjoy the city's beaches and lively nightlife scene.

It's common for students to visit Heidelberg. It is a beautiful student town with a lot of activities for young visitors. This is not the most popular study abroad destination, but it does have a lot to offer for those who visit.


Is Kiel or Heidelberg Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Heidelberg is well known for its public transit. However, Kiel is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

Heidelberg has some very good public transit options. There are trams and buses that connect the old town to the train station.

Public transit is mostly limited in Kiel. There is a bus system around town.

Is Kiel or Heidelberg a more walkable city?

Kiel
Heidelberg

Heidelberg is well known for its high level of walkability. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

Heidelberg is a very walkable town. The old town is particularly walkable.

Kiel is a somewhat walkable city. Some parts of Kiel are more walkable than others.

For even more information, also check out Is Kiel Worth Visiting? and Is Heidelberg Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Heidelberg or Kiel?

How long in Kiel or Heidelberg?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Kiel and Heidelberg. In our opinion, Heidelberg has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Heidelberg than Kiel. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Heidelberg than Kiel. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Heidelberg, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Heidelberg than Kiel. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Heidelberg that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Heidelberg than Kiel if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Heidelberg.


  • How many days in Kiel or Heidelberg? Ideal Length of Stay
    Kiel 1-3 
    Heidelberg 1-3

One day in Kiel or Heidelberg?

With museums and nightlife around the authentic city of Kiel, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Kiel, one day is sufficent for most.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting the destination of Heidelberg. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.


A weekend in Kiel or Heidelberg?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Kiel, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Heidelberg is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Five days in Kiel or Heidelberg?

Kiel, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

You'll find food and shopping around the scenic destination of Heidelberg. This town offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Kiel or Heidelberg?

Kiel is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

The charming town of Heidelberg offers shopping and nightlife. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Berlin, The Best 10-Day Tours from Berlin, The Best 2-Week Tours from Berlin, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Germany.


Which place is cheaper, Heidelberg or Kiel?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Kiel is €138, while the average daily cost in Heidelberg is €142. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Kiel and Heidelberg in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kiel 67
    Heidelberg 93
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kiel 134
    Heidelberg 186
Compare Hotels in Kiel and Heidelberg

Looking for a hotel in Kiel or Heidelberg? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Kiel


Hotels in Heidelberg


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Kiel Hotel Prices and Heidelberg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kiel 54
    Heidelberg 17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kiel

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kiel:

  • Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port: Private Transfer to Hamburg: $655
  • Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port to Hamburg hotels - Round-Trip Private Transfer : $239
  • Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port to Hamburg hotels - Arrival Private Transfer : $120
  • Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port to Hamburg Airport (HAM) - Departure Private Transfer: $120
  • Private Transfer from Ostseekai Kiel Port to Hamburg Airport: $80
  • Private Transfer from Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port to Hamburg city: $80

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Heidelberg

Also for Heidelberg, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport transfer from Karlsruhe Airport to Baden-Baden: $106
  • Badenweiler Thermal to Zurich Airport (ZRH) - Departure Transfer: $78
  • Karlsruhe Airport (FKB) to BadenBaden Round-Trip Private Transfer: $47
  • One Way Private Transfer from Mannheim to Frankfurt : $253
  • Privat Transfer From Basel EuroAirport BSL To Badenweiler : $129
  • Private Transfer from Badenweiler Thermal to Basel EuroAirport: $64
  • Private Transfer from Heidelberg City to Mannheim City by Van: $65

Is it cheaper to fly into Kiel or Heidelberg?

Prices for flights to both Heidelberg and Kiel change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Kiel 39
    Heidelberg 37

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Heidelberg

For Heidelberg, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Heidelberg crime dinner to solve the mystery with a delicious 3-course menu: $65
  • Craft Beer and Street Food Tour: $641

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kiel 19
    Heidelberg 11

Tours and Activities in Kiel

Here are a few actual costs in Kiel for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Self-Guided GPS Ghost Hunting Nosferatu Walking Tour in Lubeck: $24
  • Bicycle tour to Friedrichshafen with a visit to the Zeppelin & Dornier Museum: $142
  • Bike Tour of Lubeck with Top Attractions and Private Guide: $248
  • Boat Cruise and a Private Walking Tour of Lubeck's Old Town: $208
  • Christmas Stories of Lubeck – Private Walking Tour: $260
  • City Sightseeing Kiel Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $22
  • Discover Kiel's Legacy: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Discovering Lubeck – Private Walking Tour for Couples: $205
  • Fascinating Pearls of Lubeck - Guided Walking Tour: $194
  • Kiel - Private Historic Walking Tour: $390
  • Kiel Crime Experience: self-guided crime tour: $42
  • Kiel Private Guided Walking Tour: $285

Tours and Activities in Heidelberg

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Heidelberg.

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.26
  • Heidelberg's Altstadt: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Heidelberg's Altstadt: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.51
  • Heidelberg City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.64
  • Pure experience: Original Black Forest farmer smoke tour: $6.65
  • Heidelberg Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.65
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $7.07
  • Heidelberg Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & City Tour: $7.07
  • Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $7.38
  • Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $8.15
  • Complete Self-guided Audio Tour on your Phone: $8.69

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kiel 12
    Heidelberg 17

Sample the Local Flavors in Heidelberg

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Heidelberg:

  • Highlights of the romantic Black Forest & brewery, private tour: $297


When comparing the travel costs between Kiel and Heidelberg, we can see that Heidelberg is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Kiel Expensive? and Is Heidelberg Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Kiel or Heidelberg?

Kiel has a larger population, and is about 62% larger than the population of Heidelberg. When comparing the sizes of Kiel and Heidelberg, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Kiel or Heidelberg?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Kiel or Heidelberg in the Summer?

Both Heidelberg and Kiel during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Kiel for the beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Heidelberg because of the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Kiel is cooler than Heidelberg. Typically, the summer temperatures in Kiel in July average around 16°C (61°F), and Heidelberg averages at about 21°C (69°F).

In Heidelberg, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Kiel. In the summer, Kiel often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Heidelberg. Kiel gets 219 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Heidelberg receives 224 hours of full sun.

Kiel usually gets more rain in July than Heidelberg. Kiel gets 88 mm (3.4 in) of rain, while Heidelberg receives 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Kiel 16°C (61°F) 
    Heidelberg 21°C (69°F)

Should I visit Kiel or Heidelberg in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Kiel and Heidelberg. The autumn months attract visitors to Kiel because of the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Furthermore, the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Heidelberg this time of year.

In October, Kiel is generally cooler than Heidelberg. Daily temperatures in Kiel average around 10°C (50°F), and Heidelberg fluctuates around 12°C (54°F).

Kiel usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Heidelberg during autumn. Kiel gets 102 hours of sunny skies, while Heidelberg receives 102 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Kiel usually receives more rain than Heidelberg. Kiel gets 65 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Heidelberg receives 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Kiel 10°C (50°F) 
    Heidelberg 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Kiel or Heidelberg in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Kiel as well as Heidelberg. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Kiel this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Heidelberg for the shopping scene and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Heidelberg. It's quite cold in Kiel in the winter. Kiel is much colder than Heidelberg in the winter. The daily temperature in Kiel averages around 0°C (33°F) in January, and Heidelberg fluctuates around 3°C (37°F).

In the winter, Kiel often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Heidelberg. Kiel gets 39 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Heidelberg receives 38 hours of full sun.

Kiel usually gets more rain in January than Heidelberg. Kiel gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Heidelberg receives 52 mm (2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Kiel 0°C (33°F) 
    Heidelberg 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Kiel or Heidelberg in the Spring?

Both Heidelberg and Kiel are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Kiel for the beaches and the activities around the city. Also, many visitors come to Heidelberg in the spring for the natural beauty.

In the spring, Kiel is much colder than Heidelberg. Typically, the spring temperatures in Kiel in April average around 7°C (44°F), and Heidelberg averages at about 11°C (52°F).

Kiel usually receives more sunshine than Heidelberg during spring. Kiel gets 171 hours of sunny skies, while Heidelberg receives 155 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Kiel usually receives less rain than Heidelberg. Kiel gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Heidelberg receives 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Kiel 7°C (44°F) 
    Heidelberg 11°C (52°F)

Typical Weather for Heidelberg and Kiel

Kiel Heidelberg
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 0°C (33°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 3°C (37°F) 52 mm (2 in)
Feb 1°C (34°F) 37 mm (1.5 in) 4°C (39°F) 52 mm (2 in)
Mar 3°C (38°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 7°C (45°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)
Apr 7°C (44°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 11°C (52°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
May 11°C (53°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 16°C (60°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Jun 15°C (59°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 19°C (65°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Jul 16°C (61°F) 88 mm (3.4 in) 21°C (69°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 20°C (68°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 14°C (56°F) 64 mm (2.5 in) 17°C (63°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Oct 10°C (50°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 12°C (54°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Nov 5°C (41°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 7°C (44°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
Dec 2°C (35°F) 73 mm (2.9 in) 4°C (38°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)