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The Schlei

An introduction of a Baltic Sea inlet

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The Schlei in detail

Length, water depth and characteristics

The Schlei is an inlet of the Baltic Sea, which extends 42 kilometres from Schleimünde in the east to Schleswig in the west into the heartland. The Schlei is not a river, but rather a fjord. Its shape is quite diverse - slightly hilly landscapes change into rapeseed and corn fields and the 151 kilometre long shoreline is paved with extensive lakes.

The Schlei has an average width of 1.3 kilometres. In particular, the narrow mounds of Missunder Enge are only 135 metres wide and the Große Breite is 4 kilometres wide, where the Schlei seems to spread like a large lake. With an average water depth of 3 metres, the Schlei is one of the shallow parts of the Baltic Sea. In addition, due to several areas of narrowing in the west of Arnis, it should be noted that only a few large ships can reach Schleswig.

The Schlei consists of briny water. The further you get from the Baltic Sea to Schleswig, the lower the salt content in the water.

The depth of the waterway to Schleswig is just over 2 metres. For a trip with a ship to the end of the Schlei, the boat should have a corresponding draft and a skipper who always keeps an eye on the echo sounder, since the water level of the Schlei varies with the direction of the prevailing winds.

Schlei views

Having a closer look at the Schlei

  • Blick auf die Schlei bei Lindaunis
  • Blick auf die Schlei in Ulsnis
  • Segelboot auf der Schlei
  • Möwe auf der Schlei in Maasholm

Anchorages at the Schlei and Baltic Sea

Harbours at the Schlei and Baltic Sea

SAdditional information

The current velocity of the Schlei is rather low. This characteristic makes the Schlei an ideal water sports resort and, therefore, also creates very good conditions for canoe and kayak riders.

The current of the Schlei follows the course of the fairway and sets in towards the Schlei with the rising water. At the narrow parts of the Schlei, flow velocities can reach up to four knots.

Your sailing speed depends on the direction of the current and the soil friction slows down the current speed in shallow waters rather than in deep waters. Therefore, your advantage is to use the shallow waters with the rising water.

Water Level

The water level of the Schlei and the Baltic Sea are directly linked through their waterway connection. However, stormy winds from the north-east can increase the water level by 1-1.5 metres and stormy winds from the south-west can lower the water level of the Schlei by up to 1 metre.

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Guest Feedback

The Schlei: One of the most beautiful sailing territories of Germany

The Schlei is one of the most beautiful sailing territories in Germany. If you tried it once, you would like to sail beside this beautiful landscape to Schleimünde and right into the Baltic Sea again and again. If you'd like to try a longer trip, it's also a good idea to sail from Kappeln / Schleimünde up to Denmark

Olaf T. from Münster (Germany)

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