48 Hours in Hamburg: How To Get The Best From Your Trip

Hamburg is the ideal place for a city break – compact yet with multiple attractions worth exploring. I’m sharing my tips for how to make the most of your time with 48 hours in Hamburg.

Day 1 – 48 Hours in Hamburg

Hamburg is easily accessible from the airport by taxi or underground train in under 30 minutes. The Hamburg card, available online or from hotels and Tourist Information offices, gives free travel on the underground, buses and harbour ferries as well as discounts in more than 130 tourist attractions, so may be worth investing in. Check into your hotel, freshen up and get ready to explore! Start your tour at the Town Hall or Rathaus, located in the Altstadt area. The interior courtyard has an elaborate Hygieia fountain. Hygieia is the Greek goddess of health and the fountain remembers the victimes of the cholera epidemic of 1892.

You might even see a bachelor performing the strange ritual of shovelling coins in fancy dress. Their ‘friends’ have arranged this as a penance for still being single! Still, this guy took it in good nature.

hamburg-bachelor-traditionFrom here, wander around the town centre, admiring the luxury shops such as Montblanc which has its headquarters in Hamburg. The city is known for its stylish covered malls in the Passagen district, as the weather can be changeable.

There are 3 Mutterland stores in Hamburg, specializing in beautifully packaged local produce, great for gifts. Two of them have cafes and make a great lunch option.

mutterland-hamburg-deliAlternatively, the Park Hyatt’s Apples restaurant is a relaxing place to lunch and if the sun is shining, you can eat in the stylish courtyard. Head chef Julia Eckerstorfer is really talented and I’m still savouring the exquisite dishes that we tasted.

apples-park-hyatt-hamburgAfter lunch, head towards the UNESCO World Heritage Kontorhausdistrict,  to see some really interesting architecture. Dating from the 1920s to 1940s, these Modernist office buildings are very striking, particularly the Chilehaus.

unesco-hamburgOn weekdays, you are free to look inside and admire the perfect geometry of the stairwells.

kontorhaus-staircase-luxury-columnistFrom here, it’s a short walk to the Warehouse district, Speicherstadt.

Have you been to Hamburg? It’s one of Germany’s most elegant cities with so many cultural and sporting attractions

A photo posted by Suze 🔸 Luxury Columnist (@luxurycolumnist) on

It’s actually the largest warehouse complex in the world and is certainly atmospheric. The Wasserschloss is the most photographed landmark in this district.

In the evening, it’s worth taking in a performance at the Hamburg State Opera House.

Hamburg is particularly renowned for its ballet school headed by John Neumeier. He focuses on expression as much as technique and the dancers are encouraged to bring their own ideas to the choreography. It’s worth booking tickets for ballet or opera well in advance as it’s very popular. You can also reserve a selection of nibbles and drinks as we did before enjoying the ballet, Tatjana. Based on Eugen Onegin, the novel by Puschkin, it’s an engrossing tale of love and betrayal. If you fancy a cocktail or dinner after the show, Die Bank is a good option. Located in a former bank with high ceilings and a vault storing wine, it has a trendy vibe although service can be haphazard.

die-bank-hamburg-reviewDay 2 – 48 Hours in Hamburg

Start your day with a visit to the Kunsthalle Hamburg which has been recently renovated. It’s part of “A Mile of Art”, a collection of world-class museums in close proximity. At the moment there’s a great Manet exhibition but the permanent art collection is equally interesting and the building itself is beautiful. We had fun with the Eyecatcher machine which takes a photo of your eyes that you can then display on the wall as part of an exhibit. Have a light lunch at the museum’s restaurant, THE CUBE, with its large terrace overlooking the lake. You’ll need to save your appetite for dinner 😉

hamburg-kunsthalleIt’s close to Hamburg’s lake, the Außenalster, with its iconic water spout.

hamburg-water-spoutDuring your 48 hours in Hamburg, you might want to take a sailing lesson, as we did at Segelschule Käpt’n Prüsse, or simply to relax at one of the riverside cafes instead.

sailing-hamburg-luxury-columnistFrom here, take a cab or catch the clean and uncrowded S-Bahn train to Blankenese. If there’s a group of you, consider booking the private boat of luxurious Hotel Jacob as we did. You get great views of the harbour and the soon to be opened Elbphilharmonie Hamburg concert hall, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The port is actually the second largest in Europe.

Enjoy a chilled glass of champagne…

Then get a surprise as the hotel staff all wave a greeting as you sail by!

It’s a pleasant walk along Blankeneser Hauptstraße, the main shopping street into the heart of Blankenese. With only a couple of roads accessible to cars, it’s an unspoilt area bedecked with flowers.

blankenese-hamburg-housesThere’s a panoramic view from the top of Süllberg towards the river Elbe. In fact, Blankense is known as the Stairs District as there are 5,000 steps in the area!

blankenese-elbe-view-luxury-columnistFor dinner, Hotel Jacob is five minutes by cab. It has a two Michelin starred restaurant with a beautiful view overlooking the river. It was booked for a private event when we visited so we dined at their wine bar opposite, Weinwirtschaft Kleines Jacob.

Weinwirtschaft- Kleines-Jacob-luxury-columnistYou might think that the cuisine would be fairly simple with it being a wine bar, but the food is fantastic and there’s a great wine cellar.

hotel-jacob-diningTake a cab back into town and head to the lively St Pauli area.

hamburg-nightlifeThe Beatles played in clubs here several times in the 1960s. There’s a fun rooftop bar, Clouds – Heaven’s Nest on Reeperbahn, with 360 degree views of Hamburg. It can get pretty crowded at night but’s a great place to toast your final night in Hamburg! I loved this place for its fascinating architecture, friendly locals and great cuisine. Well worth a trip!

Stay – 48 Hours in Hamburg

We stayed at Park Hyatt Hamburg, a five star hotel conveniently located right in the centre in the historic Levantehaus, with impressive decor.

park-hyatt-hamburg-reviewSome of the rooms have large balconies overlooking the main shopping street but all the bedrooms are a good size.

park-hyatt-stayThis suite even has its own piano.

park-hyatt-hamburg-suiteThe swimming pool and gym are good if you want to keep fit and are complimentary for all hotel guests. All in all, it’s the perfect base from which to spend 48 hours in Hamburg. Have you ever visited Germany and Hamburg? 

48 hours in Hamburg

  • Hamburg looks like such an interesting place to explore. I’ve never been to Germany and I love to go one day.

    • It’s my second time there and I was surprised at how much there was to do!

    • joachimmueller

      They say “See Rome and die”. I rather see Germany. Exploring the country takes about a year or two. Anything less is just a teaser. A friend of mine is just at the end of a river cruise and he said that Germany was much more fascinating than Vienna and Budapest.

  • Haha I thought that Kenya west said Kanye West at first 😛 Your photos are absolutely gorgeous and Hamburg looks well worth a visit. Also, how do you manage to find insane places to eat wherever you go? Do you use guides or are you just really lucky 🙂

    Rachel xx
    The Daily Luxe

    • That Kenya West coffee is genius ;-). We did find some amazing places to eat, I usually find these myself after researching blogs but the tourist office kindly arranged these

  • Such an amazing post! Your photos look like they were taken from a magazine! Great place and tips!
    Dora http://www.BangsBang.com

  • An excellent guide Suze! I haven’t been to Germany in years and am really keen to visit soon… love the look of the hotel by the way and those stairwells! Looking forward to catching up tomorrow 🙂 xx

    • You definitely should revisit, Ayushi – I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Looking forward to seeing you too, let’s hope for sunshine!

  • The slow pace

    Hamburg is my favourite city in Germany! I have visited multiple times and it has grown on me!

    • I can see how it would grow on you, many of the people that we spoke to said it was their favourite place to live in Germany

  • A very interesting piece on Hamburg, I haven’t visited before but I would like to go one day. I’ve been to Germany once in Munich and stayed with a family which was interesting, really enjoyed the city.

    The coin ritual performed by single men of Hamburg is so odd haha!

    The food looked tasty and enjoyed these photographs, seems like an interesting and quirky place to visit, very unique feel to it.

    Laura xo

    • Staying with a family is such a nice way to visit a place. I liked that tradition with the coin, at least for once it’s with men not women 😉

  • It is one of my wish lists to go there because one of my friends told me it totally worth to go!


  • So cool that you visited Hamburg. Together with Berlin, Munich and Dresden, it’s one of my favourite cities in Germany. I love the different areas Hamburg has and it’s not a coincidence that many German artists and actors have decided to make it their home base.

    • I did love the arty feel and the elegant and sporty vibes too – hard to put your finger on but there’s something for everyone!

  • Oh wow, sounds like you really made the best out of the two days. I don’t usually read much about Hamburg so this was such a great read.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  • Hamburg look like a fun place! I love the pool at the hotel, looks very luxurious. I am a big fan of old architecture so I would love to check out the UNESCO World Heritage Kontorhausdistrict. The building looks really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    Eden | Mint Notion

    • The pool was great, I didn’t have time for a dip but I did go in the steam and sauna rooms. The UNESCO area is fascinating

  • Great to see that you visited Hamburg Suze. One of my best mates is originally from Hamburg, and lives in Lüneburg, and I’ve not been there in ages. He’s always talking about cafes there .. so I’d like to visit soon. Thanks for sharing in-depth about your visit. Love the photos. x

  • Ellie Adams

    Hamburg’s never really been at the top of my travel list but it definitely is now, everything is so picture perfect. Gorgeous!!


    • I was pretty impressed, everything is so well organised and the people are so nice

  • joachimmueller

    In the fifties and sixties Hamburg was the centre of my life. The city is an accumulation of hidden gems. Much comes from the fact that the city was severely damaged during WW2 and certain bad quarters were never rebuilt. Much of the areas beauty is around the city. The last time I was there was after the Falkland war when a British air craft carrier was visiting and there was an exhibition with the artefacts from the Titanic. Hamburg has a great theatre culture but that is more attractive to German speaking people.

    • Oh this is so interesting, thanks for commenting Joachim. I think that the ballet can appeal to anyone but I take your point about theatre being more attractive to German speaking people. It’s true that some of the most interesting parts are in the areas outside of the city centre so it’s worth travelling out for those who have time

      • joachimmueller

        You are right, ballet is for everyone.
        One of the fun things in Hamburg I experienced in winter time when the canals were frozen and people went to work on ice skates. Hamburg has more water ways and bridges than Venice.

  • What a lovely city trip! I especially like the idea of hiring a private boat to take in the views of the harbour ♡

  • This is such a lovely post – lovely photos and lovely tips too!!!! 🙂

    Layla xx


  • I’ve never been to Hamburg! For some reason I expected it to look like a rustic gingerbread town. Certainly didn’t expect it to be so glossy and luxe – maybe that’s the incentive I need to visit (you know me, I like shiny things!) x

    Posh, Broke, & Bored

    • A lot of it got destroyed during the war but there are some old buildings, especially in Blankenese

  • Hamburg looks gorgeous!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Adele Miner

    It looks amazing.. I need to visit there some time! x


  • You know why I love this blog Suze? You always have me dreaming about traveling to some new place. And Hamburg looks absolutely amazing. I would definitely consider visiting.

    Kia / KTS

  • Definitely a must visit, can’t wait to go!

    ISA Professional

  • What a great city to visit – there’s so much to see and do and I’m intrigued by all the different styles of architecture.

  • The perfect guide to visiting Hamburg! I love the Piano in the suite and I’m massive fan of Opera – sounds like a very busy 48 hours 🙂

  • Alfredo Ciano

    Fabolous Trip with Suze !!!

  • I’ve just got back from Germany (although the other side) I’m missing it already! Great photos!

  • Frank Thomae

    Great photos, love the Wasserschloss. We’re huge fans of Germany, always enjoy our time there (and the best beer in the world). I had to kind of laugh at the photo at the mention of Hygieia at the top – there was a German city (I think Dresden?) that we went to that had a Hygiene Museum. We thought “how German. A museum dedicated to hygiene”.

    Frank (bbqboy)

  • Oh Hamburg meine Perle. I lived there as a student for four months and loved the city. I’d also recommend a stroll through Planten un Blomen, it’s a lovely park. Oh and Sternschanze is great for nightlife that’s a little less risque than the Reeperbahn!

    Not Quite Enough