The Best Day Trips from Hamburg, Germany

Timmendorfer Strand, Germany
Timmendorfer Strand, Germany | © Marcus / Flickr
Anwesha Ray

There is a lot to love about Hamburg, one reason is its proximity to other fantastic regions worth exploring. In a couple of hours or less you can reach a number of locations that would enhance your Hamburg holiday. Fairytale castles, sandy beaches, a remote island, centuries of history: you name it, Hamburg has it in easy reach. Read on to find out how best to spend a day away from the city.

Heligoland

We would like to warn you beforehand that Hamburg to Heligoland could be a hectic day trip, as the journey time is three hours one way on average. Though ideally you should stop in Heligoland for at least one night, if you are pressed for time and have only a day to spare, we urge you to go anyway. The sheer gorgeousness of the destination—imposing red sandstone cliffs, merry little clapboard houses and sparkling blue oceans as far as the eye can see, plus duty-free shopping—would make the effort worth it.

Aerial view of the island of Heligoland, Germany

Schwerin

The city of Schwerin has almost come to be synonymous with Schwerin Castle, a drop-dead gorgeous piece of architecture sitting like a dream on its own island in the Schwerin Lake. While this sight is reason enough to make the 110km journey from Hamburg worth it, Schwerin has several more attractions in its canon to make your day even better. Spend an idyllic day exploring its 12 lakes, a perfectly-conserved old town, the 13th-century Gothic cathedral and the historic Schelfstadt quarter.

Schwerin Castle

Lübeck

To help you cover as much ground as possible in a day in Lübeck without the need to rush around, we have drawn up this itinerary for you. It allows for time to see the stunning pieces of architecture the 12th century Hanseatic city is famous for, as well as pointing out achingly photogenic spots around the city and providing tips on where to enjoy delicious local cuisine, including the Lübeck marzipan specialties.

Holstentor

Rostock

We came up with this itinerary for enjoying the best sights, sounds and tastes of Rostock in a day, to allow you more time to enjoy this gem of a city and worry less about how to fit everything in. In the course of a typical day in Rostock, you will see gorgeous gabled houses, ancient city gates, and churches, and even treat yourself to an aerial view of this lovely town. Top off your day with a visit to the beach and a stroll along one of the most picturesque harbors you are ever likely to see.

Rostock panorama

Altes Land

Step off the touristy path and explore Germany’s largest and most important fruit-producing region: Altes Land (Old Country), only about an hour’s drive from Hamburg. Forget about must-see lists and simply soak in the simple beauty of this unique countryside. Explore massive orchards punctuated by tiny, picturesque hamlets crisscrossed by bike trails, and treat yourself to fresh fruits and delicious homemade snacks.

Sankt Peter Ording

The lovely resort town of St. Peter Ording in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park doesn’t need an introduction for kite-surfing enthusiasts. However, if you are looking for a more relaxed day out, St. Peter Ording is perfect for you too. If you can tear yourself away from the colorful beach chairs, walk the soft, rolling dunes and perhaps take a rejuvenating dip in a sulfur spring.

St Peter-Ording

Timmendorfer Strand

Timmendofer Strand can be combined with Lübeck, or better still, enjoyed by itself over one or multiple days. This four-mile (7km) stretch of coastline welcomes you to be as active or lazy as you wish to be. You could spend hours sprawled out on the soft sand and treat yourself to a spa session, or get your blood pumping with thrilling water sports or golf. What’s even better, a study conducted by travel agency TravelBird found that Timmendorfer Strand is the cheapest beach in Europe; so this day-trip is big on fun and delightfully low on expenses.

Timmendorfer Strand, Germany

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