Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

The Itinerary You Need to See Hamburg in 2 Days

Make the most out of your 2 Days in Hamburg, Germany: the 21 city’s must-see attractions with photos and pins on Google Maps, so you don’t miss a thing.

Last updated: 14 Feb 2023

Built next to picturesque canals and with impressive architecture, Hamburg is a great travel destination to spend two memorable days.

Walking through its streets, you will quickly realize that it offers all the comforts of a big city without sacrificing the life quality of its residents.

From the Venice-like Alsterarkaden to the impressive Townhall and from the unexpectedly interesting Miniatur Wunderland to the alternative Reeperbahn, you’re sure to have a trip to remember.


Are 2 days in Hamburg enough?

The Große Wallanlagen park

When we talk about Hamburg, keep in mind that we are referring to the second-largest city in Germany, with about 2 million inhabitants.

So naturally, exhausting everything it offers within 48 hours is impossible.

However, by following a carefully designed 2 days itinerary, like the one below, you can visit the most important attractions of Hamburg and get a satisfying taste of the city.

In any case, make sure you wear comfortable shoes as there will be a lot of walking ahead of you!


Is Hamburg worth visiting?

Hamburg Townhall

Before traveling to Hamburg, I had heard that it is the most beautiful city in Germany.

However, I was a bit skeptical, as it is often said for many destinations.

After my trip, I can say that they were right, at least compared to Berlin and Frankfurt, which I visited in the past.

The town is stunning, a place where architecture and natural beauty play side by side.

If you can visit it, do it without a second thought.


Where to stay for 2 days in Hamburg?

View of Speicherstadt

Since you only have two days at your disposal, staying close to Hamburg’s sights is essential.

We found the NH Collection Hamburg City on offer, and it was excellent, right next to the town center. It had a full breakfast, spotlessly clean rooms, and was in a perfectly safe neighborhood.

Alternatively, if the budget is not a concern for you, then definitely check out the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, which is probably the best hotel in town.

Finally, for a more affordable option, CAB20 is a clean hostel, good enough for a short stay.


How do you get to Hamburg?

View of Speicherstadt

The city has two airports; however, only one offers commercial flights.

It’s the Hamburg Airport, also known as Flughafen, which is actually quite close to the city center, only 8.5 km away.

Dozens of airlines serve it, so you won’t have trouble finding direct or connecting flights.

At the same time, the city also has an excellent railway connection, with Hauptbahnhof being its central railway station.

If you are in a nearby city, you may be better off using the train instead of the plane.


Day 1

The recommended route for your first day


1. Neustadt

Laeiszhalle building at Neustadt

Why: The best way to explore one of Hamburg’s most beautiful districts, Neustadt, is, of course, on foot.

Start your walk with two lovely buildings, the Laeiszhalle and the Hamburg State Opera.

From there, continue along Gansemarkt street, enjoying the shops along the road until you reach the Alster Fountain.

Map Laeiszhalle and Hamburg State Opera

2. Alster Fountain

Hamburg in 2 Days: Alster Fountain

Why: The city’s view around this point is magnificent.

On one side of the pedestrian street, you can enjoy the lively city market, full of people, and on the other, the Alster Fountain with impressive architectural buildings in the background.

Take a few minutes and enjoy the fountain in the middle of the lake, with its water reaching up to 60 meters high.

Map

3. Neuer Wall

Neuer Wall street

Why: Immediately after the Alster Fountain, cross the Jungfernstieg boulevard and continue to the Neuer Wall.

It is a notable street full of luxury stores, such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc.

Even if your budget does not allow you to shop in any of them, it is worth the walk.

Map

4. Alsterarkaden

Hamburg in 2 Days: Alsterarkaden as seen from the Reesendamm bridge

Why: Having reached the end of the Neuer Wall, take the parallel street, Am Alsterfleet, and turn back towards the Alsterarkaden.

The arcade here is quite reminiscent of those in Venice, and along it, you will find plenty of restaurants and shops.

Many of them, though, look like tourist traps, so maybe it’s better to be patient until you find yourself in a less touristy part of town.

Instead, continue walking to the Reesendamm bridge and enjoy the view towards the Townhall.

Map

5. Townhall

Hamburg in 2 Days: Townhall

Why: The Hamburg Town Hall, or Rathaus in German, is just as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside.

If you want to know its history and enjoy it thoroughly, I recommend that you follow one of the guided tours offered in English.

Reservations are made by phone – you can find more information on the Hamburg Tourismus GmbH website.

Opposite it, you will find the art museum Bucerius Kunst Forum, while in front of it is the Town Hall Market, which is transformed into a magical Christmas market during Christmas.

Map

6. St. Nikolai Memorial

Hamburg in 2 Days: St. Nikolai Memorial

Why: During World War II, Hamburg was almost entirely destroyed by the bombing of the Western Allies.

The St. Nikolai Memorial gives a picture of the devastation that was caused and is a shocking example of the hardships of war.

Entrance to the outdoor monument is free, but you need a ticket to go up to the viewing platform at the top of the tower.

Map

7. CHOCOVERSUM by Hachez

CHOCOVERSUM by Hachez

Why: CHOCOVERSUM by Hachez is an interactive chocolate museum that offers guided tours as well as a shop.

Even if you don’t want to follow the 90-minute tour, it’s worth a stop here to try some of its signature products.

On the other hand, if you’re going to do the tour, make sure you book it in time, as it is often sold out.

It is available in German as well as English.

Map

8. Chilehaus

Chilehaus

Why: Directly opposite the CHOCOVERSUM, you will find the Chilehaus, an impressive building constructed between 1922 and 1924.

Its shape resembles a ship, honoring the city’s maritime tradition.

Remember to visit its inner courtyard and admire its unique design.

On its walls, you will also find blue signs that explain its history and help you better understand what you see.

Map

9. Speicherstadt

Hamburg in 2 Days: Speicherstadt in the evening

Why: The Speicherstadt area is one of the most beautiful in Hamburg, ideal for your photos.

At this point, you will find an excellent view of the famous Wasserschloss building.

From there, you can continue your walk in the largest warehouse district in the world, next to buildings with remarkable architecture, in the direction of Miniatur Wunderland.

Map

10. Miniatur Wunderland

Hamburg in 2 Days: Miniatur Wunderland

Why: Before visiting Hamburg, I read great reviews about Miniatur Wunderland everywhere but remained hesitant.

How good can a museum of miniatures be?

In the end, the result was in line with the expectations.

The museum remains fascinating, and you can easily spend two to three hours observing its exhibits.

Don’t forget to look for the easter eggs that are well hidden, such as superman saving a car from the cliff, the couple making love in public, and also the millennium falcon.

Map

11. Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

Why: The first of your 2 days in Hamburg ends with the city’s tallest building, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

Access to its outdoor areas is free; from there, you will enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the city.

However, if you want to attend a concert, you must book tickets well in advance as they sell out quickly.

Definitely, a must-visit place.

Map

12. German street food

German street food: kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes)

Why: No trip to Germany is complete without trying local street food, i.e., hot dogs, potato pancakes (kartoffelpuffer), and beers.

I don’t have a specific recommendation for this, as you will find canteens everywhere in the city.

We ate at the Town Hall Christmas Market, and it was delicious, although a bit stodgy.

Bratwurst and weisswurst were my favorites, while my girlfriend, Chrysavgi, loved the potato pancakes.

Map

Day 2

The recommended route for your second day


13. Plants and Flowers

Hamburg in 2 Days: Plants and Flowers park

Why: Plants and Flowers is an awesome park to start your second day with.

It reminded us of Central Park in New York, as skyscrapers pop up behind the trees.

So grab a coffee from the nearby cafes, wander around, and relax.

There is plenty to see around and many walking trails, but make sure not to miss the Japanese Garden.

Map

14. St. Michael’s Church

St. Michael's Church

Why: Continuing the walk through the Große Wallanlagen park, head towards St. Michael’s Church.

It is an impressive church with a beautiful interior space.

In addition, you can admire the crypts and the view from its tower over the whole city.

For the last two parts, you will need to pay admission, either separately or for both.

Map

15. Old Elbe Tunnel

Hamburg in 2 Days: people walking the Old Elbe Tunnel

Why: The Old Elbe Tunnel is one of the city’s most important landmarks that you should not miss during your 2 days in Hamburg.

It is an underground union of two sides of the town, inaugurated in 1911, with a length of 426 meters.

Along it, you will be able to take some impressive photos, and it will lead you to your next stop, the Old Elbe Tunnel viewpoint.

Map

16. Old Elbe Tunnel viewpoint

Hamburg in 2 Days: Old Elbe Tunnel viewpoint

Why: From here you will have the most fantastic view of the port of Hamburg.

If you are lucky enough and the weather is clear, you will enjoy a unique perspective of the riverfront, St. Pauli, and the Elbphilharmonie concert hall.

Around you will also find a canteen with refreshments, for a quick coffee before returning to the opposite side.

Map

17. Harbor Pier & Fischmarkt

Panoramic view of the Harbor Pier and Fischmarkt

Why: The walk continues on the pier that stretches from the entrance of the Old Elbe Tunnel to the Fischmarkt.

If you visit the area early on a Sunday morning, between 5:00 am and 09:30 am, you will also find the famous Fischmarkt open.

It is a traditional market, closed all other days of the week, whose stalls sell almost everything.

But even if you don’t catch it open, the route is scenic and worth seeing before returning to Herbertstrasse.

Map

18. Herbertstrasse

Hamburg in 2 Days: the entrance of Herbertstrasse street

Why: Herbertstrasse is home to Hamburg’s red light district.

The street is like a miniature of those of Amsterdam, maintaining a similar atmosphere.

We crossed it during the day, as women were not allowed to enter in the afternoons, so there were few people in the area.

The surrounding bars, however, help you understand the atmosphere that prevails in the evenings as well.

Map

19. Reeperbahn

Street at Reeperbahn area

Why: Exploring St. Pauli continues with the Reeperbahn area.

Around you will find dozens of shops, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, as well as famous theaters such as the Schmidt Theater.

Directly in front of them is the Spielbudenplatz, which hosts different events depending on the time of year.

We visited Hamburg just before Christmas, so there was another beautiful, crowded Christmas market dominated by – what else? – hot dogs, beers, and gluhwein.

Map

20. Hamburger DOM

People walking at Hamburger DOM during Christmas

Why: The second of your 2 days in Hamburg ends with Hamburger DOM, located just a few meters from Reeperbahn street.

It is a giant amusement park, full of rides and street food, that looks like a scene from a 1990s movie.

Even if you don’t want to participate in the games, it’s worth a walk because of its beautiful atmosphere.

Alternatively, if Hamburger DOM is not operating, right next door is the stadium, museum, and boutique of FC St. Pauli, a football team widely recognized for its focus on social issues.

Map

21. Dulf’s Burger

Dulf's Burger

Why: Before returning to your hotel, a good meal is essential to complete your trip properly.

Dulf’s Burger is well known among the locals, having several restaurants in the city.

Once we tried its burgers, we understood why – both the Dulf’s BBQ Burger I ate and the Vegan Cheeseburger that Chrysavgi got were delicious.

However, you should be prepared to wait to be seated, as there is almost always a line of customers waiting.

Map

Conclusion: what to add or skip

View of Neustadt

The above itinerary should be enough for you to have 2 unforgettable days in Hamburg and enjoy most of the major sights and landmarks.

It requires a lot of walking and will keep you busy all day long.

However, if you think it’s too tight, you can skip the Neustadt district (point 1) on Day 1. Instead, take the subway and go directly to Jungfernstieg station, next to Alster Fountain.

On the second day, if you feel tired, don’t visit the Hamburger DOM – or FC St. Pauli stadium – (point 20) and head to Dulf’s Burger to refuel your batteries.

On the contrary, if you think you can add a few more attractions to your days, don’t miss a walk up to Hamburger Kunsthalle art gallery on Day 1, right after the Townhall (point 5).

Finally, if you have more time, you can stay one more day in the city and follow a more relaxed pace.

In this case, add a visit to the huge International Maritime Museum and the vibrant Sternschanze district, which is strongly reminiscent of Berlin.

Make Your Trip Easier

Accommodation
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. Besides their price guarantee, you can rest assured that you will have 24/7 support in the event of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.

Flight
Don’t forget to use Skyscanner before booking your flights, as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions. Moreover, you can save a lot of money if you are flexible with your dates.

Travel Insurance
Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on a trip. However, these things can happen, so do not miss taking out travel insurance: SafetyWing is the one I use as its plans are affordable and can save you a lot of trouble.

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