Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, is a melting pot of culture, history and modernity. From the impressive harbor backdrop to the charming districts such as the Speicherstadt and the Schanzenviertel, the city on the Elbe has something for everyone. In this blog article, we present a perfect program on how to make the most of your time in Hamburg so that you can experience the highlights of the city and enjoy the local atmosphere at the same time.

How many days should you spend in Hamburg?

To really experience Hamburg and discover the diversity of the city, you should ideally plan at least three to four days. This time allows you to explore sights such as the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, the harbor, the Speicherstadt warehouse district and Planten un Blomen at your leisure without feeling rushed. There is also enough time to enjoy the urban flair in the various districts such as the Schanzenviertel or St. Pauli and to be inspired by the local gastronomy and culture.

The Perfect Program for Your Hamburg Weekend Trip

  • Day One: Arrival, harbor tour, Elbphilharmonie & dinner at the Bullerei
  • Day Two: Breakfast, town hall, Hamburg Michel & dinner and drinks in St. Pauli
  • Day Three: Late breakfast, Planten un Blomen & Labskaus

What does three days in Hamburg cost?

The cost of your 3-day trip to Hamburg depends entirely on your preferences and budget. However, you will definitely find something in one of these three categories that suits you:

  • Favorable: With a hostel or Airbnb for around $30 per night, home-cooked food and use of public transport, you can expect to spend around $150 per day.
  • Mid-range: With a hotel room for around $80 per night, restaurant visits and some activities, you can expect to spend around $250 per day.
  • Luxury: In a 5-star hotel, with upscale restaurants and exclusive activities, the costs can rise to over $500 per day.

Tip: The Hamburg CARD gives you discounts on many sights and activities.

Day One in Hamburg

Boat in Hamburg harbor

Arrival and check-in at the hotel

On your first day, you arrive and make your way to your hotel for the next two nights. We have selected our four favorite hotels in Hamburg, from luxury to budget hotels:

  • 25hours Hotel HafenCity: The 25hours Hotel HafenCity in Hamburg is a real gem for anyone who is looking for something special but doesn't necessarily want to spend a fortune on it. The hotel is located right in the heart of HafenCity and you can immerse yourself in an atmosphere that mixes maritime flair with urbanity. The hotel's roof terrace offers you an unbeatable view over HafenCity and if you prefer to explore the area on the ground, the hotel also offers bike rental.
  • Hotel Atlantic Hamburg: This Hamburg landmark is located directly on the Outer Alster Lake and offers a great view as well as an interesting history. The rooms are luxuriously furnished and the hotel's central location makes it the perfect choice for a short trip to Hamburg. Fun fact: rock legend Udo Lindenberg has been staying at the Hotel Atlantic since 1995 and you are sure to bump into a German celebrity or two here.
  • Adina Apartment Hotel Hamburg Michel: This hotel offers the perfect combination of the comfort of a hotel and the coziness of your own apartment. The apartments are spacious, fully equipped and modernly furnished. Perfect for anyone who likes to cook for themselves on vacation. The hotel also has a fitness area, an indoor pool and a sauna, all at a price that won't break the bank. The Adina Apartment Hotel is located in Michel, which is actually more of a landmark than a district and is named after the Sankt Michaelis church, from which you have a breathtaking view over Hamburg.
  • The Fontenay: Another favorite among the luxury hotels in Hamburg, The Fontenay. It is also located directly on the Alster and promises a view that is hard to beat. The rooms are modern and comfortably furnished and you can look forward to a generously equipped spa area and a pool with a view of the water.

Brunch, Harbor Tour, and Elbphilharmonie

View of the Elbphilharmonie from the water
Once you've checked into your hotel and recovered from the journey, it's time to grab a bite to eat. Depending on your arrival time, this could of course be a brunch or a hearty lunch. The Café Paris in Hamburg's old town is a charming piece of France in the middle of the city. Opened in 1882, this historic café enchants its visitors with breathtaking architecture and an interior that reflects the Belle Époque. You'll find everything your heart desires here, from French classics such as croissants and quiche to hearty lunch dishes. Café Paris is known for its lively atmosphere and the high quality of its food. The prices are reasonable for the central location and unique ambience. The ideal place for a relaxed breakfast or an indulgent lunch that will transport you to another world. Or would you prefer to try a classic Hamburg dish? Enjoy a hearty lunch in one of the fish restaurants or at the fish market at the harbor and be sure to try a fish roll.

After your refreshment, it's now time to get to know Hamburg a little better on your weekend trip, and what's the best way to do that? From the water! Hamburg's port is the second largest port in Europe (after Rotterdam) and has a lot to discover. So you shouldn't miss the opportunity for a harbor cruise. As you glide leisurely through the harbor, you will pass impressive large container ships and the Wasserschloss der Speicherstadt. Today a tea warehouse, this building was used in the 20th century for the work of winchmen and watchmen. Such a tour takes about 1-2 hours and the staff on the boat will tell you fascinating information about the history of the port and the history of Hamburg.

After this successful harbor tour, you can stay in the area and visit the Miniatur Wunderland and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railway layout in the world and offers much more than just trains: entire landscapes, cities and scenes from different parts of the world are recreated down to the smallest detail. The Elbphilharmonie is an architectural masterpiece and a must-see on your short trip to Hamburg and for anyone visiting Hamburg for the first time. It is a real landmark of the city, is a concert hall and is located directly on the Elbe. Its undulating glass façade looks impressive and shimmers in beautiful colors depending on the light and weather. Inside, you can expect world-class concerts with hall acoustics that are considered to be among the best in the world. Even if you are not a concert fan or none of your favorite artists are playing here, the Elbphilharmonie is still worth a visit. The plaza is open to the public and offers you a breathtaking 360-degree view of Hamburg.

Dinner and drinks in the Schanzenviertel

After a successful first day in Hamburg, you can either head straight to dinner or take a short detour to the hotel to freshen up. Head from your hotel to the lively Schanzenviertel and make yourself comfortable in the Bullerei, founded by TV chef Tim Mälzer, among others. Due to its location in a former slaughterhouse, the restaurant offers a unique and authentic atmosphere and you will find a mixture of historical architecture and modern design. The menu includes both German and international dishes and you can choose between meat dishes and vegetarian options. In addition to the restaurant itself, there is also the deli, which is open daily from 12:00 to 16:00 and focuses on Japanese cuisine. Perfect if you prefer to enjoy your lunch here over the next few days.

The Schanzenviertel is known for its lively nightlife, so if you want to discover more after dinner, head to one of the coolest bars in the district. Our favorites are the Bar Katze and the bar Le Fonque.

The Bar Katze invites you in with its cozy, almost living room-like atmosphere. This bar is popular with visitors and locals alike, so it's a good place to really get to know Hamburg. Here you can sip classic cocktails or simply sample local beers. The Katze is the perfect place to enjoy the vibrant life of the Schanzenviertel in a relaxed atmosphere. The Bar Le Fonque, on the other hand, is completely different. This bar shines with its love of music, especially funk, soul and jazz, which is regularly played by DJs or on vinyl. The interior is stylish and reminiscent of the bars of the 70s, with a flair that is both hip and warm. In addition to an excellent selection of drinks, Le Fonque also offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a world of good music and dance the night away. So if you like good music as well as good drinks, you will have an unforgettable evening here.

Depending on your mood, you can wander around Hamburg all night long, but we recommend that you don't return to your hotel too late so that you can fully enjoy the remaining days of your weekend trip to Hamburg.

Day Two in Hamburg

View of Hamburg from the Alster
Start your second day in Hamburg with a walk along the Alster to enjoy the fresh air and the picturesque view of the water. If you haven't booked a hotel breakfast, you can enjoy a hearty breakfast or brunch in one of the many cafés around the Alster, where you can fortify yourself with freshly brewed coffee and local specialties. Go to the ALEX Hamburg Alsterpavillon, for example, and enjoy an extensive breakfast buffet. Use the morning hours to explore the city in its still quiet state before the streets and sights become busier again. Invigorated and inspired, you'll be ready to fill the rest of the day with more adventures in the Hanseatic city.

Hamburg City Hall and Michel

View of Hamburg City Hall and the Rathausmarkt
After your hearty breakfast, you should make your way to the Hamburg Town Hall. It is located right in the heart of the city and is within walking distance of the ALEX on the Alster. Even from the outside, the building impresses with its neo-Renaissance façade, the countless turrets, decorations and the imposing Rathausmarkt front, perfect for a souvenir photo. The town hall symbolizes the strength and prosperity of Hamburg and is the proud seat of the city government and parliament. A visit here is like a little trip back in time, where you can experience the magnificent architecture and the significance of this place for the city's history at first hand. In addition, the Rathausmarkt regularly hosts events and markets that reflect Hamburg's cultural life. If you fancy a little shopping detour, you are not far from Mönckenbergstraße, the city's main shopping street.

Then make your way west towards Hamburg's Michel. The Hauptkirche St. Michaelis is around 19 minutes' walk from the Rathausmarkt and is one of the city's most important landmarks. On the way there, you should definitely stop at a café and try a Franzbrötchen, a typical Hamburg pastry. This magnificent baroque building rises into the sky with its impressive copper dome and characteristic tower and offers a magnificent view over Hamburg. From the viewing platform, you get a 360-degree view that is particularly unforgettable at sunset. But the Michel is not only magnificent from the outside; the interior of the church with its bright, inviting space and detailed interior is also a testament to Baroque architecture. Whether you come for the architecture, the history or simply for the panoramic view, St. Michael's conveys a sense of calm and grandeur in the midst of the urban hustle and bustle.

Dinner at Clouds Heaven's Bar & Kitchen and St. Pauli

Bars on the Reeperbahn
Prepare for Saturday evening in Hamburg at the hotel or head straight to the restaurant after your last stop. For dinner, head to Clouds Heaven's Bar & Kitchen, which is only a 10-minute walk from Hamburg's Michel. This restaurant is a real highlight for anyone who loves good food and a breathtaking view. It is located in the higher south tower of the 'Dancing Towers' on the Reeperbahn, which can be spotted from afar, and takes you to dizzying heights. With a view over Hamburg, you can enjoy your dinner and a fancy cocktail or two here. The modern, elegant interior and floor-to-ceiling windows offer a panoramic view that really comes into its own in the evening, when Hamburg is ablaze with lights. The kitchen impresses with a creative mix of international and local dishes, which are prepared with great attention to detail. Whether for a romantic dinner, a special occasion or simply to treat yourself - Clouds is the perfect place to enjoy culinary delights and the spectacular view of the Hanseatic city in a stylish ambience.

After your unforgettable dining experience, make your way to Reeperbahn, 6 minutes away, to experience the vibrant nightlife of St. Pauli. This famous district is the heart of Hamburg's entertainment, a colorful mix of bars, clubs, theaters and restaurants that together form a lively scene that never seems to sleep. This is where history meets modernity, the maritime meets the urban, creating a unique mix that attracts both locals and visitors from all over the world. The Reeperbahn is not only famous for its entertainment mile, but also for cultural highlights such as the St. Pauli Theater or the Panoptikum. Whether you want to enjoy a cold beer in one of the legendary Kiez pubs, dance until the early hours in one of the many clubs or simply watch the hustle and bustle - St. Pauli offers the right experience for every taste. A visit here is an unforgettable adventure that reflects the genuine, unpolished charm of Hamburg.

Day Three in Hamburg

Your last day in Hamburg is fast approaching. Check with your hotel about check-out times and take every minute you can there, because after a long night on the Reeperbahn, you might not want to get up quite so early on your last day in Hamburg. You can often leave your luggage at the hotel for the day free of charge, so you can continue exploring the city without the hassle of lugging it around. After checking out, make your way to the restaurant La Caffeteria, where you can enjoy a late-riser breakfast until 4 pm! From freshly baked croissants to hearty egg dishes and healthy muesli variations - everyone will find their personal breakfast moment of happiness here. The ambience of the café is cozy and inviting, with friendly service that makes you feel right at home. However, the restaurant is located in the north of Hamburg and is therefore best reached by bus or subway.

Planten un Blomen and Labskaus

Japanese teahouse in Planten un Blomen
On the way back to the city center, you should definitely make a detour to Planten on Blomen Park, the perfect place to enjoy your last day on your Hamburg weekend trip. The park covers a large area and offers a stunning variety of botanical treasures, including beautifully landscaped themed gardens, a large Japanese garden with a painterly teahouse, and even a tropical greenhouse that will transport you to another world. Especially in summer, the waterlight concerts and musical performances in the evening are a highlight not to be missed. Planten un Blomen is the ideal place to enjoy nature and tranquillity in the middle of the city, whether on a leisurely stroll or relaxing on one of the many green meadows. Here you can leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind you, get some fresh air and simply enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature - a wonderful end to your weekend in Hamburg.

Before you finally make your way home, you should definitely try Labskaus, a traditional sailor's dish made from beef, potatoes, rollmops and beetroot. Visit the restaurant Krameramtsstuben, located in the historic alleyways near Hamburg's Michelkirche. This restaurant is a culinary institution known for its authentic North German cuisine, including Labskaus. In the Krameramtsstuben, this North German classic is prepared according to a traditional recipe: a hearty mixture of finely mashed corned beef, potatoes and onions, topped with a fried egg, flanked by sour side dishes such as rollmops and beet. This loving preparation and presentation of Labskaus not only reflects Hamburg's maritime history, but also offers an incomparable insight into regional cuisine.

More Tips for your Hamburg Weekend

  • HVV card: The HVV card is ideal for local transport in Hamburg. You can use all public transport with this card
  • Visit the Isemarkt: The Isemarkt is one of the largest and most popular markets in Hamburg. Here you can find fresh food, flowers, clothing and much more. The market hours are Tuesdays and Fridays from 08:30 to 14:00
  • Tierpark Hagenbeck: Visit Tierpark Hagenbeck, the first zoo without cages
  • Museum of Hamburg History: If you want to learn more about the history of Hamburg, visit the Museum of Hamburg History
  • Rent a bike: Hamburg is a cycling city. On a sunny day, you can take a bike tour through the city and you can rent bikes in many places
  • Festivals in summer: Hamburg is a city of festivals. Find out before your trip which festivals are taking place during your time in Hamburg
  • Mit Vergnügen: Check out Mit Vergnügen Hamburg to discover all the events for this weekend

Give the Gift of an Unforgettable Trip to Hamburg

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