Well, you’ve come to the right place my friends!
Here are some day trips I took whilst in this amazing city. Locations are listed below from closest to Hamburg to the furthest away.
LÜNEBURGDistance from Hamburg: ~ 45 minutes away via public transport
Lüneburg is such a cute town! The architecture is beautiful and it’s pretty small, and very easily walkable. No need to figure out public transportation once you arrive!
We really wanted to go to the German Salt Museum, but ran out of time! The town square area was so gorgeous that we ended up taking a LOT of time taking photographs, haha. It’s really a photographer’s paradise – every street is beautiful!We did get up to the top of the water tower, though, and the view from there was gorgeous. Inside the tower, there are also a ton of different exhibits about its history and connection to Lüneburg! We took the elevator up, and the stairs back down.
WHAT TO DO IN LÜNEBURG:
- Walk up to the top of Lüneburg Water Tower for an excellent view (€5)
- See Lüneburg’s Town Hall
- Photograph the Chamber of Industry & Commerce building
- See the three churches, St. Nicolai, St. Johannis, and St. Michaelis
- Wander around the main town square
- Check out the German Salt Museum (€7 for a self-guided tour)
Bergström Hotel Lüneburg is excellent value for the price if you want to stay right on the water!
Lüneburg Wasserviertel is a little cheaper, and it’s an entire apartment to yourself! It’s about 1km from the center, so not too far at all!
LÜBECKDistance from Hamburg: ~ 1 hour via public transport
This is a great place to visit any time of the year! It’s got a pretty city gate, old medieval architecture, marzipan galore, lots of museums, and a shit ton of history since it was once the capital of the Hanseatic League (aka, it was super important for trade back in the day).
WHAT TO DO IN LÜBECK:
- Marvel at the city gate, Holstentor
- Visit the Rathaus, Lübeck’s impressive city hall
- See the view from St. Peter’s Church (€4)
- Have a marzipan cappuccino at Café Niederegger and play the trivia game to win a small marzipan bar
- Visit the free Marzipan Museum (also at Niederegger)
- Try marzipan ice cream at Marzipan-Speicher-Café
- Visit Europäisches Hansemuseum to learn more about the Hanseatic League (€13)
Motel One is located directly in the town center, and comes with free (delicious) breakfast. Its cozy lobby is decorated with unique light fixtures and nautical elements, while a well-stocked bar makes it nice for a night out.
Distance from Hamburg: ~ 1.5 hours via public transport
This means “Old Country” and the activities vary each season. In the late summer and fall, you can go for apple picking and basically anything related to apples. In spring, you can pick berries and other seasonal fruits, and see the pretty blossoms on the apple trees. It’s definitely busiest during apple picking season, as that’s what it’s also the most known for.
WHAT TO DO IN ALTES LAND:
- Buy local & regional products at specialty shops like Jan Hinrich Feindt
- Get fruit from the vending machine Obsthof Hauschildt’s FruchtBar
- Learn about the history of the region at the free Altes Land Museum
- Gawk at the beautiful half-timbered houses
- In late summer/fall: Go apple picking! The most popular farm is Herzapfelhof Lühs, but there are many others to choose from
- In spring: Go fruit/berry picking and see apple tree blossoms
- In summer: Go fruit/berry picking
I wrote a post on Altes Land, too – you can read it here!Love it so much you want to stay the night? I’ve got ya covered!
Make all your half-timbered brick house dreams come true by staying at Hotel Altes Land! It literally looks just like the buildings in the photos above, and has a garden and buffet breakfast loaded with regional juices and products.
SYLTDistance from Hamburg: ~ 3 hours each way via public transport
Ok, so this is kind of aggressive for a day trip, but it’s so pretty and worth it (IMO!). We just got up really early, spent the whole day there, and took a late train back.
Also, this may not be the best place to go in winter. It’s more of a beach destination, so I’d wait until late spring or summer before embarking upon this journey. Plus, in late summer the island will be covered in purple heather (or “heide” as Germans say).I’d highly recommend bringing bikes with you if you have them (you will have to buy an extra bike ticket if you do this, they cost €5), or planning to rent some there. Sylt is a pretty big island, so it’s helpful to get around via bike! They also have a bus system which seems to work really well, but I personally loved not having to rely on public transportation.
I wrote a post on my day in Sylt if you’re curious about reading more!
WHAT TO DO IN SYLT:
- Rent a bike and explore the island
- Swim at one of the beautiful beaches
- Go lighthouse hunting (there are 5 on the island!)
- Stare at the traditional thatched roof houses
- Walk to the Uwe Dune lookout
Hotel Gutenburg is very reasonably priced for Sylt (Sylt is typically a more expensive destination), located directly on the main shopping street, and is only a few minutes’ walk away from a beach!
If you want something a little more lavish, Dorint Strandrestort & Spa has studio apartments and, of course, a pool and spa! It’s located a little further from the main shopping area, but still super close to a beach.
HARZ MOUNTAINSDistance from Hamburg: ~ 3 hours each way by car; 4 hours by public transport
This is probably only feasible if you have a car – we did an aggressive (apparently my new favorite word) trek where we took the train to Hannover and then my friend’s friend picked us up there and drove the rest of the way.
It is a really beautiful place, though! And the town you pass through right before going into the mountains, Wernigerode, is beautiful. Lots of colorful half-timbered houses, and there’s even a castle on the hill!In the mountains, there’s lots of hiking to be done. We did probably the most famous thing and hiked to Northern Germany’s highest mountain, Brocken. It’s really pretty but also kind of comical as it’s really not that high – only 1,142 meters. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not even half as tall as Half Dome in Yosemite!
There’s a cafeteria with food at the top, too. It wasn’t the BEST meal I’d ever had, but it wasn’t bad.If you don’t feel like hiking, you can also take the historical steam train up – the Brockenbahn! It starts in Wernigerode and goes all the way up to the top of Brocken. Apparently, it’s a really beautiful and scenic ride.
WHAT TO DO IN THE HARZ MOUNTAINS:
- Hike or ride up Brocken on the Brockenbahn (hiking is free, expect Brockenbahn to be €28 one way and €43 round trip as of 2019)
- Meander around the other trails & woods in Harz National Park
- See the medeival town Wernigerode
- Go to Wernigerode Castle (€7)
Altwernigeröder Apparthotel in Wernigerode is an excellent choice – it’s a rustic hotel right in the center of town, complete with a free breakfast buffet and Kartoffelhaus (Potato House) restaurant.
I hope you end up taking one of these day trips from Hamburg – if so, let me know in the comments below!Also, are you looking for accommodation in Hamburg? Here are some excellent options!
- BUDGET: Backpacker’s St. Pauli is a hostel with great reviews and is located between Sternschanze and Reeperbahn, and easily walkable to either location. I’ve also biked/walked past the hostel many times myself (it was on the route to the gym I joined haha), and can attest that it’s a safe area. And, while it’s in the middle of two party places, its actual location is quiet!
- UNIQUE: Want to see what staying on a ship is like? Try out Das Feuerschiff! While I haven’t personally stayed here myself, it sure looks cool! The food was rated really well, as were the views of the Elbphilharmonie and harbor in the dining area.
- TRENDY: East Hotel has really cool interiors and a beautiful looking courtyard! It’s located near Reeperbahn, so ideal if you’d like to experience some night life.
- MID-RANGE: Hamburg is not known for being cheap, but Hamburg Room will give you pretty good value for your money. It’s kind of close to Hauptbahnhof so not my FAVORITE place, but if saving money is what you’re after, this is a good option!
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