Of Germany’s many cities, Hamburg may not be the most popular tourist destination. Although it is Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg is also a major port city and that is normally pretty odd. However, Hamburg is one of the most underrated cities in Germany and definitely worth a visit! So, if you are looking for the perfect Hamburg itinerary, here it is!
This post is a round up of our two days in Hamburg providing you with every information you need in order to spend 2 days in Hamburg.
With a broad range of attractions, no one could accuse Hamburg of being a once and done destination. Following our Hamburg itinerary you will be able to enjoy the city with no doubt about what to do in Hamburg in 2 days.
Best time to visit Hamburg
When planning your weekend in Hamburg, the first thing you might think about is the perfect time of your visit. With weather and high season to consider, picking the right time can make all the difference! The absolute last thing you want from your 2 days in Hamburg is miserable weather or crowded attractions.
Most European cities tend to have their high season at around the same time. Luckily, for Hamburg it’s a little different. The busiest months are generally May, August, and October. Since spring, summer and earl autumn usually bring the best weather, the best times to visit Hamburg are typically April, June or September.
Important note: Summers in Hamburg are usually a lot milder than elsewhere in Germany, so don’t expect to be able to dress summerly in the early morning. You should definitely pack a windbreaker and a jacket.
How to get to Hamburg
Although we traveled to Hamburg by car, Hamburg is accessible by train from major German and European cities. In addition, Hamburg has an international airport that is only 9 km from the city centre.
How to get around in Hamburg
In order to make the most of your time visiting Hamburg, you’ll want to know the best ways to get around the city. Walking is absolutely possible and our favorite way to get around in Hamburg. However, it can be quite exhausting or simply not everyone’s cup of tea.
Instead of walking you can also use public transportation. Thankfully, Hamburg is home to a very good public transport network. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before you hop on a bus, tram, metro, train or ferry through!
Where to stay in Hamburg
We’d highly recommend to stay in the city center. Unlike many European cities, there isn’t all that much accommodation in Hamburg’s city center though. As such, the best places to stay in Hamburg are generally places with good access to the city’s public transport network.
The perfect 2-Day Hamburg Itinerary for first timer’s
We get that Hamburg isn’t as popular as cities like Berlin or Munich, but we’re sure that the city won’t have any problem keeping you entertained while you visit! With 48 hours in Hamburg, you will be able to travel around the city and see the famous UNESCO World Heritage Speicherstadt or walk the streets of St. Pauli. Let this Hamburg itinerary guide you to the best things to do in Hamburg.
Hamburg Itinerary Day 1
„Moin, moin“ is what you’ll hear in Hamburg for Good Morning or instead of a simple Hello. The North Germans are friendly people that will great everyone with their authentic moin, moin which can be translated to „morning, morning“ although it isn’t exclusively said in the morning.
To start your visit straight off, it makes sense to first see the best of Hamburg with the city’s iconic harbour waterfront.
The Speicherstadt is actually the largest warehouse complex of its type in the world and, as previously said, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s roughly hundred years old and over 1.5km long. Thanks to the multiple canals and bridges, there are plenty of views to be had.
You shouldn’t miss out on the Jungfernbrücke and the Wasserschlösschen. Both locations are popular photo motifs. The latter is actually a restaurant and called Wasserschloss or water castle due to its beautiful location surrounded by the walls of the Speicherstadt. We’d say it’s definitely one of the most photographed motifs in all of Hamburg.
If you want to capture the orange-pink sky behind the Wasserschlösschen, you need to come there for sunset. It definitely makes sense to visit the Speicherstadt in the morning to avoid all the crowds, but usually the evening is better for photography purposes. We’d recommend to be at the Wasserschlösschen 30-45 minutes prior to sunset to set up your tripod and make sure that you safe your spot. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take a picture since many photographers will be there as well.
Tip: Try long exposure shots to capture the reflection of the Wasserschlösschen!
From Speicherstadt continue southwest to the famous Elbphilharmonie. Just opened in January 2017, the Elbphilharmonie has quickly become Hamburg’s icon. The waterfront concert hall is architecturally unique thanks to the glass exterior on top of a renovated warehouse that is shaped like waves.
Even if you are not interested in concerts and performances that are hosted inside the Elbphilharmonie’s many halls, the building features a panoramic terrace! Plus, the terrace is free to the public. Just make sure to admire the stylish interior as you go!
Old Elbe Tunnel
Known as the Old Elbe Tunnel, this historic tunnel from 1911 passes right under the harbor of Hamburg. You’ll fid the entrance to the oldest river tunnel in Europe along the city’s waterfront near the Landungsbrücken piers.
While it may not sound overly fascinating, venture down to the bottom of the staircase and find out that this is no ordinary tunnel.
St. Michael’s Church
„Hamburger Michel“ also known as St. Michael’s Church is Hamburgs largest and most famous church. While only a hundred years old, churches have stood on this post for centuries already. Inside, the St. Michael’s Church looks more like a grand theatre than a normal church and features five different organs.
Besides this, visitors can climb the bell tower to the 106-meter-high observation deck. From there you’re able to see Hamburg’s cityscape.
Sunset Harbor Cruise
End the day with a sunset harbor cruise, one of the best ways to get to known Hamburg. Alternatively you can try to snap some pictures of the sunset at Wasserschlösschen!
Hamburg Itinerary Day 2
Good morning! It’s the last day of our Hamburg itinerary and today we’re going to explore the inner city a little more. Yesterday, you’ve been able to see the city’s waterfront and incredible Speicherstadt. Today, we’re going to see the city hall, wander the city center and enjoy the afternoon at Inner Alster Lake.
But first, be sure to grab a quick breakfast at your hotel or at a nearby café. We’d highly recommend to try Hamburg’s Franzbrötchen, a popular pastry that you’re going to love if you like cinnamon!
Start the day at Hamburg’s main square, the Rathausmarkt. This square would be rather ordinary were it not for one major landmark, the Hamburg City Hall. The City Hall boasts not only an elaborate Neo-Renaissance design but also 647 rooms inside its huge frame. Make sure to visit the inside and see the glamorous interior of the main foyer as well as the fine details of the central courtyard.
Afterwards, we’d suggest to just wander through Hamburg’s city center. Get to known the popular shopping streets and just enjoy your morning in the city.
Inner Alster Lake
Following the Kleine Alster canal you reach the Binnenalster or Inner Alster Lake. It’s a very popular sunset spot and a lively part of local life. Right along the Jungfernstieg is a series of terraces that leads down to the water and is a place for people to meet tor hang out – especially in the evening.
Besides, it’s also nice to walk around the lake and see the Hamburg skyline from the far side.
Reeperbahn Red Light District
Much like any other major city in Europe, Hamburg is home to a rather well-known Red Light District called Reeperbahn. Along the promenade you can find bars, pubs, restaurants and even a handful of theatres. And actually, there is plenty more to the Reeperbahn than just that.
Seeing this place on a Friday or Saturday night is a sight to behold and a great way to end your visit as well.
End you last day in Hamburg with some traditional seafood and make plans for your next visit!
Hopefully this Hamburg itinerary gave you a feeling of the city and the best things to do in Hamburg. Whilst Hamburg may be not as interesting and full of historic sights like Berlin, it’s definitely worth a visit and can be easily combined with a trip to Germany’s capital city. Maybe spend a week in Germany’s north end explore Berlin and Hamburg together? Whatever your plans might be, we wish you safe travels and a lot of fun!
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