Maybe it is hard to believe that I spent only one day in Hamburg, a city which spreads on 755 km2 (292 sq mi). I would love to stay longer, but my time was limited, so I knew, I cannot do and see everything. I decided to only explore Hamburg from the outside. No crazy running, visiting its many museums and churches, theaters and other attractions. I did not feel bad about having only one day in Hamburg, because as soon as I lay my foot on its streets, I knew I will certainly come back here again.
Hamburg in one day is best to explore on a bike
Nothing can beat cycling around the center of Hamburg, even more if the weather is nice. Take your backpack, camera and enjoy, while northern wind is messing up your hair. Cycling in Hamburg is great, because the main attractions can all be reachable in few hours, even though you are not a pro biker. There are few roads which have little bit strange markings, but luckily many locals are cyclists and drivers are very tolerant to them.
Price for renting a bike in Hamburg depends on the company, but let say it is around 13-15 EUR/day. Luckily, I was staying in Scandic Hamburg Emporio hotel, which has free rentals up to 4 hours for their guests.
What to see in Hamburg in one day?
- City Hall
While cycling around Hamburg, you will most definitely pass the City Hall, with the famous 112 meters high tower – one of the most recognizable Hamburg postcard view. The square in front of it offers different street artists and fast food stands. Turning left or right, the streets are perfect for the shopaholics, no matter what your budget is. You might only be disappointed knowing that the Hamburg city center is almost empty at evenings. Hardly anyone is there, what is no surprise as the bars, restaurants and shops are closed. The city of Hamburg want to change this and has started with an open cinema in the summer time. During the winter, especially in the month of December, there are many stands selling traditional Christmas decorations and food.
- Parks and green areas
You will easily noticed, that Hamburg has many parks and green areas. In fact, Hamburg is one of the European greenest cities. Lots of people can be found in parks walking, cycling, jogging, skating or just meeting friends.
- Alster Lake
One of the most known places in Hamburg is also the Alster Lake. Locals like it for its relax atmosphere and good views, while tourists manly come here to embark on the tourist boats, which show Hamburg from another perspective. The ride will take you through many water canals, for which Hamburg has more than 2300 bridges. This high number makes Hamburg the city with the biggest number of bridges in the world.
Cycling will most definitely make you hungry and what to eat is of course your own choice. But if you are already in Hamburg, trying Fischbrötchen is a must! This is actually a sandwich with fish and if you really want to do it like the locals do, try it with the raw fish – Herring. It is normally served with some onions, pickles and a white sauce. This local snack / lunch will cost you about 2,50-4 EUR.
- Teekontor Speicherstadt and Coffee Roastery
If you like tea or coffee, there is no better place than visiting a teahouse Teekontor Speicherstadt on Dienerreihe street or a coffee roastery in the large brick building in HafenCity. The smell of roasted coffee will welcome you already at the front doors…mmmmm….
- Church of St. Michaelis
The symbol of Hamburg is a church of St. Michaelis. It is said to be one of the largest and also the most beautiful churches in Northern Germany. It is built in a baroque style, but it is actually a protestant church. Even if you are limited with time, go off your bike and walk inside. It is breathtaking, not to mention that climbing the tower offers splendid views over the whole Hamburg, its port and even the nearest countryside.
- St. Pauli quarter
If you are already in Hamburg you should not miss the funky quarter of St. Pauli. It is well visited among locals and tourists. You can find wild party atmosphere here. There are lots of bars, clubs and even bordellos. The prostitution is legal here and St. Pauli has always been known for a large numbers of “ladies of the night” and now, there are »only« 4000 of them left. The most attractive street is called Reeperbahn and it is actually Hamburg’s red-light district. If you want to see it, you can only do it if you are a male, aged 18 or more. Maybe the most interesting fact about this St. Pauli quarter is, that just few meters away from the red-light distric, we can find elegant people, visiting one of the most popular theaters in Hamburg.
- Schanczen Strasse and Landungs Bridge
If you are not so much into the St. Pauli quarter, but you still want to have fun, head up to Schanczen Strasse. The street is popular among students and packed with bars, clubs and restaurants. A nice place to spend your afternoon and evening is also around Landungs Bridge.
- Elbe Philharmonic
Everyone who likes culture will love the fact that Hamburg is the perfect place to be in for concerts, operas, theater performances and musicals. Hamburg is actually the place for musicals in German language. Culture in Hamburg has a big importance, so no wonder that one of the city’s main attractions is the new Elbe Philharmonic. It is still under constructions, but even now it already looks splendid. The guided tour is already available and costs from 3 to 5 EUR/pp.
- Fish Market
If you are visiting Hamburg on Sundays, don’t miss out on the famous fish market. Hamburg and Northern Germany use lots of seafood in its culinary and just when walking around the fish market, you will realize, what all can be caught in the Northern Sea.
Hamburg has done a big positive impression on me and that is even though I am not really a fan of big cities. Maybe Hamburg is different because of its tidiness and a mixture of new and old. The diversity in architecture and its people are just icing on cake. I guess a big help to this positive perception was also a nice, sunny weather, but as people in Hamburg say: “There is no bad weather, just wrong clothes!” One day in Hamburg was certainly not enough to see it all, but it was long enough to realize, I will visit it again for sure. I cannot wait to hear and say »moin,moin« to someone again!