Bad Segeberg Travel Guide: 8 Best Things To Do & See Around the Fascinating Mountain

Bad Segeberg Travel Guide: 8 Best Things To Do & See Around the Fascinating Mountain

Everything you need to know about Bad Segeberg including what to do, where to stay, when to visit - and when not to!
Alexander & VictoriaHi! We're Alex & Victoria - a digital nomad couple from Copenhagen escaping 9-5 to chase adventures in our beautiful world. Learn more about us here.
Advertisement disclaimer: This travel guide to Bad Segeberg is made in collaboration with Tourismus-Agentur Schleswig-Holstein GmbH and Tysk Turist Information (the Danish branch of the German National Tourist Board). As always, we share our honest opinion and everything is written by us.
A special place indeed

From we first saw photos of Bad Segeberg’s mystical Kalkberg (chalk mountain), we knew that this place had to be special.

The 91-metre-high gypsum mountain is the city’s landmark and also sets the scene for the famous Wild West-themed Karl-May Festival held annually.

Up to 30,000 bats live in caves inside the mountain in winter, and in summer it’s possible to explore the caves with a guide. We did so and had a thrilling experience.

Bad Segeberg is also home to a lovely lake, perfect for swimming and peaceful hikes.

Nature is always close by here in Bad Segeberg; a climatic health resort and spa-certified town surrounded by lakes of all sizes and the green, hilly landscapes so characteristic of Holstein Switzerland.

In this travel guide, we share the best things to do and see in and near Bad Segeberg, why you should visit, where to stay, when to visit, how to get around, our best travel tips and much more.

Where to stay in Bad Segeberg:

Search for the best value accommodation in Bad Segeberg here.

The Great Segeberg Lake in Bad Segeberg
The Great Segeberg Lake is the best place to relax and find peace in Bad Segeberg.


Bad Segeberg is located in the state of Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany.

It is approximately 50 kilometres northeast of Hamburg and 25 kilometres west of Lübeck.

8 best things to do and see in Bad Segeberg

What to do in Bad Segeberg?

While the mountain is a natural focus point, we think it’s also worth discovering some of the more hidden parts of town as well as the nature areas in its vicinity.

Get ready for the best things to do and see!

  1. Climb the Segeberger Kalkberg
  2. NOCTALIS World of Bats
  3. Hike around Großer Segeberger See
  4. Swim in the lake
  5. Karl-May-Festival
  6. Marienkirche
  7. Ihlsee und Ihlwald nature reserve
  8. Wittenborner Heide nature reserve
  9. Bonus: Other places to visit in Schleswig-Holstein
Bad Segeberg's oldest house
Bad Segeberg’s oldest house dates all the way back to the 16th century.

1. Climb the Segeberger Kalkberg

The Kalkberg (meaning the chalk mountain) is a 91-metre-high rock in the middle of the town of Bad Segeberg.

It’s actually not made of chalk but rather of gypsum. Perhaps Kalkberg just sounded better.

A path leads up the mountain to a viewing platform from where you get a great view of the amphitheatre below as well as of the lake and the town of Bad Segeberg. On clear days, you can see the spires of Lübeck’s famous churches.

Historically the mountain has been as high as 110 metres, but the mining of gypsum had made it smaller over time.

A castle was located on the top during the Middle Ages which surely must have looked cool!

The "chalk" mountain in Bad Segeberg
The “chalk” mountain in Bad Segeberg.
View from Segeberg Kalkberg
The view from up there is just awesome.

2. NOCTALIS World of Bats

Bad Segeberg is sometimes called “Bat” Segeberg because the city is unofficially the bat capital of Northern Europe.

Inside the Kalkberg, caves house up to 30,000 bats in winter.

In summer you can go down into the caves and hear about the special place on guided tours.

The temperature is constantly at around 10 degrees Celsius – so bring a sweater!

You can learn more about the mythological animals in the NOCTALIS bat museum.

Exploring the caves in Bad Segeberg
Exploring the caves is an exciting experience in Bad Segeberg.
Foxi the fruit bat
Foxi is a fruit bat who was never accepted by her pack. Now she is cared for by humans instead.

3. Hike around Großer Segeberger See

On our visit to Bad Segeberg, we walked along the southern shore of Großer Segeberger See (Great Segeberg Lake) and really enjoyed the well-maintained trails.

The lake is in view for most of the time, but sometimes it’s hidden behind the trees and thick foliage.

It’s about 7.5 kilometres to hike all the way around the lake, which will take most people about 2 hours.

We had a tasty lunch at Goldmarie am See which has a nice view of Großer Segeberger See.

The hiking trail along the southern shore of Großer Segeberger See
The trail along the southern shore of Großer Segeberger See is a great place to go for a walk.
The hiking trail along the southern shore of Großer Segeberger See
Lake views from the trail in Bad Segeberg
On the way you’ll be able to catch lots of lake views.
A healthy, colourful lunch with a great view
We had a healthy, colourful lunch from Goldmarie am See with a great view of the lake.

4. Swim in the lake

There are several places around Großer Segeberger See where you can jump into its clear water.

We went for a swim near the campsite Seecamping Segeberg. This spot was very shallow and thus perfectly suited for swimming with children.

As it was really warm when we visited Bad Segeberg, it was delightful to cool down in the water in the evening after a full day of exploring the area.

Swimming at the Great Segeberg Lake
Swimming here in the evening was so lovely.
Beautiful red sunset over Bad Segeberg
And the sunset was extraordinarily beautiful.

5. Karl-May Festival

As you will quickly realise, Bad Segeberg is particularly well-known for its annual Karl-May-Festival (known as the Karl-May-Spiele), where a Wild West-themed play is performed several times a week during the summer in the large amphitheatre.

The amphitheatre (which seats 7,700 people!) is located by the Kalkberg which only adds to the drama.

As far as we can tell, everything is in German. But even if you aren’t fluent, we can imagine it to be a wild show.

The Karl-May Festival
The Karl-May Festival was founded in 1952 and has been on every summer since. ©Franz P. Sauerteig

6. Marienkirche

Most German towns have some kind of impressive church, and Bad Segeberg is no different.

Marienkirche (Mary’s Church) was built in 1156 and is the oldest brick church north of the Elbe.

It’s located just northwest of the Kalkberg and is hard to miss with its tall spire.

Marienkirche in Bad Segeberg
If you’re into history, architecture or simply appreciate a peaceful religious room, we recommend visiting Marienkirche while in Bad Segeberg.

7. Ihlsee und Ihlwald nature reserve

The Ihlsee und Ihlwald nature reserve is a secret spot that is often overlooked by tourists.

But those who do visit are rewarded with a pristine lake, a lush forest and a variety of wildlife (including rare animals).

Swimming and enjoying the lake is probably the most popular activity, but it’s also a great place to go for a hike in the forest.

Ihlsee and Ihlwald badestelle bathing spot
Ihlsee is unusually clear and a wonderful spot for swimming in summer. Photo: Wusel007 / CC BY

8. Wittenborner Heide nature reserve

For a much bigger nature reserve, consider visiting Wittenborner Heide (Heide meaning Heath), located about 15 minutes of driving west of Bad Segeberg.

Many different hiking trails lead through the diverse landscapes that range from open dunes to near-natural deciduous forests.

Bring binoculars and try to spot some of the animals who live here like smooth snakes (non-venomous), common European vipers (venomous), dormice, eagle owls, honey buzzards and woodlarks.

Wittenborner Heide
Pesticides were never used here helping create the species-rich environment found today. Photo: Nightflyer / CC BY

Bonus: Other places to visit in Schleswig-Holstein

Having been fortunate enough to visit Schleswig-Holstein on several occasions, we have experienced many of the best attractions the state has to offer.

From the historic towns to the cultural sites; from the coast along the rivers to the shimmering lakes. Nature is never far away in Schleswig-Holstein, and we think there’s something to do here for everybody.

Whether you’re going on a road trip through Northern Germany or simply want to discover more hidden gems, we hope this list can inspire your travels.

Read more about Schleswig-Holstein:

  • Schleswig-Holstein – An overview of the best places to visit and things to do in the state.
  • Schleswig – A historic Viking city with an impressive cathedral and a Baroque castle.
  • Plön – If you like lakes and lake views, Plön is the place.
  • Eutin – The cultural heart of Holstein with a beautiful castle and access to lovely lakes.
  • Lübeck – Probably Schleswig-Holstein’s best medieval old town centre. Known for its 7 towers and the Holstentor gate.
  • Duchy of Lauenburg – A region in Schleswig-Holstein’s southeast full of historical towns & relaxing nature experiences.
  • Büsum – The gateway to the Wadden Sea and a popular summer spot.
  • The island of Sylt – Germany’s most famous island is more or less one long beach.
<em><noscript><img class=
You might be interested in:Travel Guide to Schleswig-Holstein: 12 Best Places to Visit in Germany’s Northernmost State Everything you need to know about visiting Schleswig-Holstein including what to do, which towns to visit and when to go

Where to stay in Bad Segeberg

Scroll down to see recommendations on some of the best hotels in Bad Segeberg or search for the best value accommodation in Bad Segeberg here (adlink).

Luxury: Apart Hotel Wasserturm

In Bad Segeberg, we stayed at the top of the old water tower at Apart Hotel Wasserturm.

A truly unique place to spend the night!

We had two floors, our own kitchen and an absolutely fantastic 360-degree view of the city and the lake from the round room.

Check prices and availability at Apart Hotel Wasserturm (adlink).

Alex in front of Apart Hotel Wasserturm
It was quite cool staying in the old water tower at the Apart Hotel Wasserturm (adlink).
View from Apart Hotel Wasserturm
The 360-degree view from the Apart Hotel Wasserturm (adlink) over Bad Segeberg is phenomenal. You can also just make out the amphitheatre.
Apart Hotel Wasserturm
Our room on two floors was really spacious. ©Apart Hotel Wasserturm (adlink)

Value for money: Vitalia Seehotel

For a comfortable 4-starred hotel right by the Great Segeberg Lake, check out Vitalia Seehotel.

Here you can choose between jumping in the lake or in the indoor pool in the spa area.

Check prices and availability at Vitalia Seehotel (adlink).

Vitalia Seehotel
Vitalia Seehotel is a great base for exploring Bad Segeberg and Schleswig-Holstein. ©Vitalia Seehotel (adlink)

Budget: Der Gutschmecker Bad Segeberg

With a nice location right next to the lake, double rooms with private bathrooms and free parking, Der Gutschmecker Bad Segeberg is a solid option for budget-friendly accommodation in Bad Segeberg.

Check prices and availability at Der Gutschmecker Bad Segeberg (adlink).

Der Gutschmecker Bad Segeberg
The exterior of the hotel (which is also a restaurant). ©Der Gutschmecker Bad Segeberg (adlink)

How to get around Bad Segeberg

By foot

Bad Segeberg is a relatively compact city, so the best way to get around is to walk.

It’s easy and safe.

Put on some good shoes and get around for free by simply walking from one place to the next – and you’ll be sure to see some interesting things along the way, too.

By public transport

We didn’t use public transportation in Bad Segeberg ourselves but it should certainly be possible to get almost anywhere in the area with a combination of local trains and buses.

By car

Parking is generally free and easy to find in Bad Segeberg (unless you happen to visit on a night of the Karl-May-Festspiele…).

In the case of paid parking, remember to always bring euro coins for the machines as credit cards aren’t accepted everywhere.

How to get to Bad Segeberg

By car

It’s generally easy to reach Germany by car from other countries in Europe as there are lots of motorways connected to neighbouring countries.

As soon as you are in Germany, you can get to the Schleswig-Holstein region via Germany’s famous autobahn (motorway).

Be aware that cars on the autobahn generally drive fast – and by fast, we mean up to 200 km/h!

There are several sections with no speed limit at all so it’s important to look thoroughly in the rearview mirror and side mirror before changing lanes and overtaking.

By train

The train network in Germany is large, relatively cheap and very reliable.

There are many connections between most major cities and to get to Schleswig-Holstein, you can, for example, take the train to Hamburg Central Station (Hamburg Hauptbahnhof) or Lübeck Central Station (Lübeck Hauptbahnhof). From there, there are usually connecting trains to smaller towns like Bad Segeberg.

We have previously used the Deutsche Bahn website to order train tickets.

By plane

To get to Schleswig-Holstein in Germany by plane, you can fly to the big international airport Hamburg Airport (Flughafen Hamburg, shortened to HAM) as well as the smaller Lübeck-Blankensee Airport (also sometimes called Hamburg Lübeck, shortened to LBC) that mostly offers domestic flights.

From there, you can take a train or rent a car.

Use our adlink below to find the cheapest tickets:

Search for the cheapest flight tickets on Momondo.

<em><noscript><img src=
You might be interested in:A Complete Travel Guide to Lübeck: 15 Best Things To Do & See Everything you need to know about Lübeck in Germany, including what to do, when to visit, where to stay and our best tips Read more

When to visit Bad Segeberg

There is really no bad time to visit Bad Segeberg and the state of Schleswig-Holstein, although there are, of course, noticeable differences between the seasons.

But when is the best time to travel to Bad Segeberg?

We were there ourselves in July and enjoyed warm, perfect summer days.

Like almost all tourist destinations in the world, it’s smart to plan your trip around the most common holidays and instead visit in shoulder periods (if that’s a possibility for you).

That way you can avoid the biggest crowds and generally get cheaper accommodation and save on car rentals.

If it’s not possible to travel outside the holidays, fortunately, Bad Segeberg (and Schleswig-Holstein) doesn’t really get crowded.

Average min and max temperatures in Bad Segeberg, Germany


Spring (March, April and May) is a beautiful time to visit Bad Segeberg and Schleswig-Holstein with sunny days and blooming flowers. It can still be a bit chilly, so check the weather forecast before you pack.

Summer (June, July and August) is of course the hottest season and the temperatures can get quite high in July and August. At the same time, it’s also at its rainiest in the summer so pack a rain jacket or an umbrella, just in case. The sun is usually shining from early morning until very late in the evening. The summer holidays in Germany are spread out between mid-June and mid-September.

Autumn (September, October and November) is a wonderful time to visit Northern Germany. The autumn colours paint the landscapes in shades of yellow, orange and red. The most beautiful autumn colours can typically be seen at the end of September and in October, perhaps also at the beginning of November before the leaves fall off the trees.

Winter (December, January and February) is generally cold but on the other hand, there are usually fewer tourists. If you’re planning to visit during Christmas or New Year, it’s smart to book your accommodation ahead of time.

Karl-May Festival in Bad Segeberg
If you visit Bad Segeberg in the summer, be aware that accommodation and parking might be more difficult to get on nights when the Karl-May Festival is on.

Our best tips for visiting

  • Credit cards can be used in most shops, but as in the rest of Germany, cash is still often used and it’s not unusual for cash to be used in parking and ticket machines, at cafés and the like.
  • Get up early and be one of the first at an attraction if you want to avoid crowds in the high season.
  • Drink tap water. It’s not only good for the planet, it’s also good for your wallet. The tap water in Germany is absolutely safe to drink – so bring a refillable bottle.
  • Travel to Bad Segeberg outside of the holidays. Accommodation prices are lower, good deals are easier found and there are fewer tourists. If you are not interested in attending the Karl-May Festival, you may want to avoid visiting Bad Segeberg during the festival dates.

What to bring

  • Travel insurance (adlink). Never travel without it!
  • A good camerahere’s a guide to the gear we use.
  • Sunscreen (adlink). Especially if you visit Schleswig-Holstein in the summer. We recommend that you use an organic, vegan sunscreen without oxybenzone and other harmful chemicals.
  • Hiking shoes, sneakers or other shoes you can walk in comfortably.
  • Swimwear and a towel if you plan to swim in the summer or if you are staying at a hotel with a spa area.
  • A refillable water bottle and snacks. You can drink the tap water in Germany.
  • Cash for parking and other small purchases, especially 1 and 2-euro coins. Not all places in Germany accept credit cards.
<em><noscript><img src=
You might be interested in:What’s in Our Camera Bag? Lightweight Photography Gear for High-Quality Travel Content What camera, drone and accessories we use to capture life on the road Read more

Sustainable travel tips

To travel as sustainably as possible, we recommend the following:

  • Bring your own drinking water in a refillable bottle.
  • Avoid single-use plastics.
  • Dispose of waste properly and do not throw it on the ground.
  • Check your sunscreen before going in the water. Many brands contain oxybenzone and other chemicals that can be harmful.
  • Take only photos, leave only footprints. Let everything stay in its natural place.
  • Respect wildlife.
What do you think of Bad Segeberg?

Thanks for reading our take on the best things to do in Bad Segeberg!

We hope this travel guide to Bad Segeberg in Schleswig-Holstein has been useful.

What do you think?

If you have been to Bad Segeberg or the state of Schleswig-Holstein, it would be great to hear about your best memories and what to do in the area. We would also love to hear about your experience of the Karl-May Festival.

If you haven’t been to Bad Segeberg yet, don’t hesitate to ask us anything in the comments. We are happy to help!

Swimming in Bad Segeberg in the sunset
We wish you a beautiful and rejuvenating time in Bad Segeberg.
Bad Segeberg Travel Guide: 8 Best Things To Do & See Around the Fascinating Mountain
Bad Segeberg Travel Guide: 8 Best Things To Do & See Around the Fascinating Mountain

Our favourite travel resources:
Our camera gear:

Leave a Comment