Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that boasts a rich maritime history, impressive architecture, and a thriving cultural scene. As a seasoned traveller or someone wanting to start their journey, you already have Hamburg on your must-visit bucket list.
If you’re planning a trip to the city and want to make the most of your time, how many days spent in Hamburg will be worth it? If you are short on time, two days in Hamburg is enough. This is why in this 2 Day Itinerary for Hamburg, we will guide you through some of the city’s must-see attractions and hidden gems.
In your two days in Hamburg, there are things and places to visit that you should take advantage of. Known for its iconic landmarks, such as the Elbphilharmonie concert hall and the bustling red-light district, Hamburg offers something to visitors of all ages and interests.
You’ll also be able to visit the charming neighbourhoods of St. Georg and Ottensen and see the old Elbe tunnel and Hamburg city hall, which greatly benefit the city’s historical heritage.
You should also enjoy the city’s food scene, where you can enjoy authentic and traditional German food. Hamburg is the melting pot of both International cuisine and standard German fare, allowing you to choose from various culinary experiences during your trip.
Additionally, although Hamburg is open all year round, you’ll have to choose a day that will fit your preference and interest. If you spend 48 hours in the city, a weekend in Hamburg is probably the best day to visit.
Each season in Hamburg has unique highlights, but it’s highly recommended that you visit during Spring (March to May) when there is mild weather and fewer crowds.
Most importantly, you must stay in a convenient area during your trip. Altstadt, Neustadt and Pauli are probably the best tourist areas, especially if it’s your first visit. This three offer modernity, attractions, culture and many activities to enjoy during your stay.
With all this broken down into details, all you’d have left to do is pack your bags, grab your passport, and you’re all set. So take notes as you read this 2-Day itinerary we have prepared.
2-Day Itinerary for Hamburg
Overview of 2 Days in Hamburg Itinerary
Here’s a glance at what you’ll see and do in two days in Hamburg:
- Visit the Elbphilharmonie concert hall
- Have coffee at the Pavilion Cafe
- Stroll around the Alster Lake
- Have early lunch at Oberhafen-Kantine
- Explore the Speicherstadt District
- Have fun at the Miniatur Wunderland
- Enjoy the night at the Red-light District
- Discover the Hamburg Fish Market
- Check out the Hamburg City Hall
- Have Brunch at Mit Herz und Zucker
- See the Old Elbe Tunnel
- Visit the International Maritime Museum
- Dine and Shop at Flohschanze
Day 1 in Hamburg
Visit the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall
One of Hamburg’s most iconic landmarks is the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. This stunning building opened in 2017 and is home to a world-class concert hall, hotel, restaurants, and public viewing platforms offering panoramic views of the city and harbour.
The hall’s architecture makes it iconic and famous among tourists and visitors. Below is a 1960s red brick warehouse, topped with a modern glass structure that offers a magnificent view as the early morning light reflects and bounces off its glass walls and windows.
Seeing the city in the morning is suggested to avoid the crowd and get the best view possible. But aside from its exterior view, you can also enter the hall and climb up the world’s longest escalator (the Tube).
Going to a view deck to see a panoramic view of the harbour. You can do all this on a DIY itinerary or book a guided tour to dig deeper into the building’s story.
Have coffee at the Alex Cafe
On your first day, you’ll need lots of caffeine and sugar in your body to keep up with the energy you will be using. So, for breakfast, you should enjoy coffee and some pastries at a great coffee shop near your next destination.
While unknown to many, coffee culture is a big part of Hamburg’s lifestyle, and there are plenty of cafes and coffee shops. Since you will be heading to Alster Lake after you visit the concert hall, why not visit the cosy Alex Cafe?
It is located on the bridge by Lake Alster, giving you a great view and experience of visiting a traditional German cafe. Enjoy coffee or maybe their best-selling hot chocolate with some pastries.
This will also be an excellent opportunity to mingle with other locals and observe how they go about their daily lives.
Stroll around the Alster Lake
The Alster Lake is a beautiful and tranquil oasis in the city’s heart, and it comprises the outer and inner Alster Lake, both parts of the central part of Hamburg.
The larger of the two lakes, the Outer Alster, covers an area of over 160 hectares and is surrounded by various parks, gardens, and historic buildings.
But, both the inner and outer lake has become a popular destination not only for tourists but also for locals as well.
Here you can stroll around the lake’s picturesque paths, take a boat tour, or rent a paddleboat and explore the waters.
Meanwhile, if you’re visiting during the winter, you can also enjoy the water freezing over and maybe watch locals take over the ice as they go skating and play ice hockey.
You can enjoy these activities at Alster Lake, but plenty of other recreational activities await you here.
Have early lunch at Oberhafen-Kantine
Before heading to your afternoon itinerary, it’s best to grab a delicious and authentic lunch at Oberhafen-Kantine. This historic canteen in the Speicherstadt district was built next to the 1906 Oberhafenbrucke hence the restaurant’s name.
Oberhafen-Kantine has an extensive menu offering hearty and delicious German fare, including homemade soups, stews, and sausages. It is also a go-to restaurant for tourists and locals, so you can be assured that you’re getting the real deal here.
Explore the Speicherstadt District
Speaking of the Speicherstadt, this historic district is a must-visit for anyone interested in Hamburg’s rich maritime history. It is considered a UNESCO world heritage site which is
filled with warehouses, canals, and charming cobblestone streets and is now home to various museums, shops, and restaurants.
Historically speaking, the Speicherstadt District was once a free port. Now that it has been reimagined into neo-Gothic warehouses, you can enjoy restaurants, cafes and quaint shops in the area.
Spend at least 1 or 2 hours exploring the neighbourhood, or join a walking tour that will bring you here to gather more facts and information from your tour guide.
Have fun at the Miniatur Wunderland
After strolling the Sppeicherstadt District, it’s time to move to another location that both children and kids at heart will enjoy – the Miniatur Wunderland. The Miniatur Wunderland is currently the world’s largest model railway and a marvel of engineering and creativity.
Here, you can explore miniature versions of famous landmarks worldwide and various small cities and landscapes.
What’s more interesting about the place is everything you will see inside is created by hand down to its finest details. Moreover, you should book your tickets ahead of time to avoid queuing up outside the area.
Enjoy the night at the Red-light District
After the whole day of roaming and exploring the streets and neighbourhoods of Hamburg, it’s time to enjoy your night at one of Hamburg’s most wild and crazy areas, the Red-light District.
Hamburg’s red-light district, also known as the Reeperbahn, is a lively and vibrant area that comes alive at night.
If you are visiting, there’s so much to do in the area, such as visiting several bars, nightclubs, and adult entertainment venues that you can check out individually.
While the Reeperbahn is primarily known for its adult entertainment, there are various other things to do in the area.
Visitors can enjoy live music, theatre, and comedy shows at one of the many venues or stroll through the neighbourhood and admire the colourful buildings and street art.
If interested, you can join a bar-hopping or food tour around the red-light district. This way, you don’t miss out on the best bars and local go-to places, especially since you only visit for 48 hours in Hamburg.
Day 2 in Hamburg
Discover the Hamburg Fish Market
Going around the city on a tight schedule can be overwhelming. This is why for your second day, it’s okay to take it slow and visit places that will share more of what Hamburg is like for locals.
Your first stop on your second day in Hamburg will be the Hamburg Fish Market. This bustling market is a must-visit, especially if you are a seafood lover!
While you might not be an early bird, visiting the market early in the morning is suggested to catch on the freshest seafood they can sell.
Note that the market is open only on Sunday, from 5 AM to 9 AM. During this time, you’ll see vendors selling fresh fish, produce and many local specialities that you can enjoy even as a tourist.
There are also small eateries and restaurants here that you can visit where you can get a hearty breakfast meal before continuing your day tour.
Check out the Hamburg City Hall
Located just in the heart of the city, the Hamburg City Hall is a magnificent neo-Renaissance building that has served as the seat of local government since 1897.
While it may surprise you why Hamburg city hall became a famous tourist spot, this is because of its impressive architecture and interior.
Not only that, but the town hall also is an essential building to the locals and their history, which you will learn more about upon visiting.
It is presently home to the Senate and the city’s parliament, and several halls of the city hall are used for hosting official events and meetings.
As you arrive at the Hamburg City Hall, you can tour the building’s impressive interiors, including the ornate council chambers and grand staircase.
On a guided tour, you will also hear about the city’s general political stand and historical past.
Have Brunch at Mit Herz und Zucker
Mit Herz und Zucker, which translates to With Heart and Sugar, is one of Hamburg’s most popular brunch places. Every day of the week, many people line up in front of the restaurant to get a table and experience dining here.
The restaurant uses sustainable ingredients, sourcing produces from local farms and coffee beans from one of the city’s best coffee roasters. But this is not the only thing Mit Herz and Zucker boast of.
Using quality ingredients, they can produce great food which they serve to locals and tourists who dine in their place.
So, before you continue visiting other sites in the city, why not indulge yourself in good food, enjoy their coffee and pastries, and enjoy Hamburg’s atmosphere while seated on their patio.
See the Old Elbe Tunnel
The Old Elbe Tunnel is a famous landmark in Hamburg that is well worth a visit for tourists. Built-in 1911, the tunnel is an engineering marvel that connects the St. Pauli neighbourhood with the port of Hamburg.
If you decide to visit the area, you will take an elevator or spiral staircase down to the tunnel, which features stunning views of the river and the city skyline.
Along the way, there will be spectacular views and exhibits that you can enjoy, all related to the tunnel’s construction and its significance to the city’s transportation infrastructure.
Visit the International Maritime Museum
Coming from the Old Elbe Tunnel, you must use the bus again to visit the International Maritime Museum.
This is why, within your 2-day trip to Hamburg, having your own Hamburg card is a must. This serves as a ticket and can also give special discounts and promos on some attractions you will be visiting.
Located in the historic Speicherstadt district, this museum is a treasure trove of maritime history, with exhibits on everything from shipbuilding to navigation to seafaring cultures worldwide.
As you arrive at the International Maritime Museum, you’ll see over 10,000 objects on display. The museum has nine decks filled with artefacts, miniatures and paintings.
You’ll also have the chance to view films and hear audio samples that give you a clear image of what it’s like in the marine life.
One exciting thing you can do here is experience sailing by yourself in an area of the museum with a steering wheel stimulator.
Dine and Shop at Flohschanze
After enjoying time at the Museum, time to move to the Sternschanze neighbourhood, where the Floschanze is. Flohscahnze is a popular destination for both shopping and dining in Hamburg, which makes it a must-see and visit.
Since this will be your last stop for your places to visit in Hamburg in 2 days, you can spend most of your late afternoon and dinner here.
The flea market is famous for being vibrant and colourful, home to different vintage clothing, antiques and handmade crafts.
You can take your time looking around and browsing various range of stalls where you can purchase gifts for your loved ones back at home or shop for clothes for you to use for your next trip.
In addition to shopping, you can enjoy a meal or drink here too. Flohschanze is home to various food and drink vendors, offering classic German sausages, beer and other international street food and craft cocktails. The best place to end your Hamburg weekend trip!
Tours in Hamburg
Hamburg is located near several bodies of water, making it a magnificent city. Not only do you get to enjoy land tours, but boat tours as well. One way to do this is to join a small sunset sailing tour on Lake Alster.
Lake Alster is a famous tourist destination in the city. You can check it out through the streets, but to fully experience it, it’s highly recommended you go on a sunset cruise.
During the tour, you will be enjoying a panoramic view of Hamburg from the lake and also see the Elbe River.
Moreover, you will be surrounded by green parks, old buildings and the biggest churches in Hamburg, which you can see within an hour.
But not only that, as you join this small group tour, you will also be provided with a refreshing beverage you can enjoy throughout the guided tour.
Aside from going on a walking tour, if you want something more active and different, you should join a Bike Guided Tour that will take you to other tourist spots in the city.
During the tour, you will pedal your way through the busy streets of Hamburg and be guided by a professional local.
Some places you will visit include the Speicherstadt and St. Pauli districts. You will also see the famous architectural landmarks of Hamburg, including the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, St. Michael’s Church and the Rathaus.
This bike tour is best for first-time visitors, especially if you want to save time moving from one place to another through public transportation.
2-Day Itinerary for Hamburg Wrap-up
Now that you know what your 2-day trip to Hamburg will look like, plan ahead and prepare all the documents you will need.
Get a flight ticket, book an accommodation, budget your allowance, and you’re ready! You’re going to enjoy your visit to Hamburg in 2 days.
Recommended tours in Hamburg
- The Local Tour of Hamburg Historic Centre
- Guided Hamburg City Bike Tour
- PANIK CITY – Udo Lindenbergs Multimedia Experience
- Red light Reeperbahn tour of the neighborhood boys
- Hamburg Small-Group Sunset Sailing Cruise on Lake Alster
- Hamburg CARD
- Private 2-Hour Hamburg Highlights Walking Tour
- Guided bike tour Hamburg with neat city bikes, cruisers, mountain bikes
- Sternschanze kulinarisch: Die Food Tour
- Hop-on hop-off on the water with the Maritime Circle Line in Hamburg
- Hamburg: “All about the Elbphilharmonie” – A city tour for the whole family
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