Hamburg may be a diverse and exciting destination to visit but there’s no reason to limit yourself to one city when there are so many exciting places nearby to explore. These Hamburg day trips will let you discover charming historical towns, magnificent castles and breathtaking natural landscapes. Most are just an hour away and all are accessible by public transport.
Lüneburg – the salt town
The 1,000-year history of Lüneburg is closely tied with the production of white gold (salt) that brought wealth and prosperity to the town. Having survived World War II virtually unscathed, Lüneburg boasts a medieval charm few can rival. Stroll through the beautiful Old Town and browse the speciality shops, cafes, and restaurants housed in gabled buildings. You will also find lovely green areas, saltwater thermal baths and, thanks to the town’s student population, one of the highest concentrations of pubs in Europe.
Distance: 40 minutes by regional train. Price: €17.40 (£15) per person, round-trip with Hamburg public transport
Lübeck – Queen of the Hansa
On the coast of the Baltic Sea lies Lübeck, the former capital of the mighty Hanseatic League. The Old Town is best explored on foot, its historic buildings and narrow lanes a mix of architectural styles from 13th century onwards. Visit the Town Hall and the magnificent Gothic Church of St Mary and don’t leave without trying the marzipan – it’s a speciality. Lübeck is known as the marzipan city.
Distance: 45 minutes by regional train. Price: €28 (£24) per person, round-trip; €40 (£35) for a group of five with a regional day ticket.
Bremen – the fairy tale town
Medieval Bremen is home to the Bremen Town Musicians (bronze statue) featured in the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Admire the Renaissance Town Hall, stroll through Schnoor, a maze of small streets lined with charming 15th- and 16th-century houses, and relax in the sun on the Schlachte riverside promenade. Visit a museum or take a tour of the Beck’s beer factory. Whatever you do, don’t leave before rubbing the donkey’s legs on the Bremen Town Musicians sculpture to secure some good luck.
Distance: One hour 10 minutes by regional train; Price: €23 (£20) per person, round-trip; €39 (£34) for a group of five with a regional day ticket.
Schwerin – the city of seven lakes
The city of Schwerin is a picture-perfect combination of natural and architectural beauty. Its most famous landmark is the majestic Schwerin Palace, situated between two lakes and surrounded by luscious gardens. The nearby market square and cobbled streets are filled with historic buildings housing shops and cafes. Schwerin has a number of excellent museums and hosts a variety of arts and cultural festivals throughout the year.
Distance: One hour 25 minutes by regional train. Price: €23 (£20) per person, round-trip; €39 (£34) for a group of five with a regional day ticket.
Altes Land – largest fruit growing area
Elbe marshlands downstream from Hamburg are home to Altes Land. This fertile land, regained from the river between the 11th and 15th centuries and protected by dykes, is Germany’s largest fruit growing area. In between the large orchards you’ll find villages with half-timbered farm buildings. The best way to enjoy the scenery is to cycle along the bicycle paths. Admire apple blossom in spring, pick fruit in the fall and enjoy delicious cake from the local produce all year round.
Distance: One hour by Hamburg public transport (metro and bus to Jork, or ferry to Cranz). Price: €10 (£8.70) per person, round-trip.
The Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer) coastal area, which stretches from the Netherlands to Denmark, is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world. The ecosystem of dunes, tidal channels, sandbars, mudflats, seagrass meadows and salt marshes is undisturbed nature at its best. Don’t miss the opportunity to go mudflat hiking (wattwandern) during low tide, when you’ll be able to walk from the mainland to nearby islands.
Distance: 1h 45 min to either Cuxhaven or Büsum. Price: €28 (£24.37) per person, round-trip; €40 (£35) for a group of five with a regional day ticket.
Heligoland – the island of breathtaking cliffs
Heligoland is a little further away but is a wonderful day trip destination. The speedy journey across the North Sea is an adventure in itself. The island may be small but it has something for everyone. Nature lovers will enjoy the fresh air, the breathtaking red sandstone cliffs and getting up close with seals. Bird watching enthusiasts will love spotting rare seabirds. Gourmands will enjoy the island’s great restaurants and fresh seafood, while bargain hunters will make the most of its duty- and VAT-free status.
Distance: 3.5 hours by catamaran Halunder Jet from Hamburg. Price: €71 (£62) per person, round-trip.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.