The Best Day Trips From Hamburg
Beyond doubt, Hamburg is a diverse and exciting destination to visit. But there’s no reason to limit yourself to one city when there are so many exciting getaways nearby. These seven day trips will let you discover charming historical towns, magnificent castles, and breathtaking natural landscapes. Most are just an hour away and accessible by public transport.
The 1,000 year history of Lüneburg is closely tied with the production of the ‘white gold’ 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 let yourself be lured by the speciality shops, cafes, and restaurants housed in its historic gabled buildings. You will also find splendid green areas, saltwater thermal baths and, thanks to the town’s lively student population, one of the highest concentrations of pubs in Europe.
Distance: 40 min via regional train
Lüneburg | © Carschten / WikiCommons
On the coast of the Baltic Sea lies Lübeck, the former capital of the mighty Hanseatic League. Past the iconic Holsten Gate, the water-enclosed picturesque Old Town is waiting to be discovered on foot. The historic buildings that line the narrow lanes and streets are a harmonious mix of important architectural styles from 13th century onwards. Special gems are the ensemble around the Town Hall, and the magnificent brick-Gothic Church of St. Mary. Lübeck is also known as the ‘marzipan city’ – pay homage to the local speciality, your taste buds will thank you.
Distance: 45 min via regional train
The Holstentor in Lübeck | © Christian Wolf / WikiCommons
Another nearby medieval jewel is Bremen, also known as home to the world-famous Bremen Town Musicians from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. 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 one of the town’s great museums or take a tour of Bremen’s famous Beck’s beer. Whatever you do, don’t leave before rubbing the donkey’s legs on the Bremen Town Musicians sculpture, to secure some good luck.
Distance: 1h 10 min via regional train
Bremen City Hall | © Klaus Grünberg / WikiCommons
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, seated between two lakes and surrounded by luscious gardens. The nearby market square and the cobbled streets are filled with beautiful historic buildings housing inviting shops and cafes. Schwerin has a number of excellent museums and it hosts a variety of art and culture festivals throughout the year, making it a must-visit for every lover of culture.
Distance: 1h 25 min via regional train
Round-trip price: 23 € for one person, 39 € for a group of five with a regional day ticket
Schwerin Palace | Pixabay
Elbe marshlands downstream from Hamburg are home to Altes Land – the ‘old country’. This fertile land, regained from the river between the 11th and 15th centuries and protected by dykes, is Germany’s largest fruit growing area. Among the large orchards hide small villages with beautifully decorated half-timbered farm buildings. The lovely scenery of Altes Land is best discovered cycling along the well-developed bicycle paths. You can admire apple blossoms in the spring, pick fruit in the fall, and enjoy delicious cake from local produce all year round.
Round-trip price: around 10 € per person
A farm in Altes Land | © Walter Rademacher / Wikimedia
The Wadden Sea, ‘Wattenmeer’ in German, is a unique coastal area stretching from the Netherlands to Denmark. It’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage list as the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world. The extraordinary ecosystem of dunes and tidal channels, sandbars and mudflats, seagrass meadows and salt marshes, lets its visitors experience undisturbed nature at its best. A not-to-be-missed experience is ‘wattwandern’ – mudflat hiking during the low tide, when it’s even possible to walk from the mainland to the nearby islands.
Heligoland, Germany’s only high-seas island, is a little further away but makes a spectacular day trip destination. Already the speedy catamaran ride across the North Sea to get there, is an adventure in itself. The island may be small but it has something for everyone. Nature lovers will enjoy the fresh air and the breathtaking red sandstone cliffs. Animal friends will love sighting rare seabirds and getting up close with seals. Gourmands will be pleased by the island’s great restaurants and fresh seafood, while bargain hunters will make the most of its duty- and VAT-free status.
Round-trip price: from 71 € per person
The red cliffs of Helgoland | Pixabay