What should you do with 48 hours in Hamburg?
Although two days is not nearly enough time to see Hamburg, if all you have is one brief weekend in this great city, you should jam-pack it with activities. Here are some great restaurants and hotels, iconic attractions, local bars to visit, and overall fun things to do in this Northern Germany destination.
10AM Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg
With nine floors, this museum is the perfect intro to a city shaped by the sea. The Venetian of Northern Europe – with Amsterdam’s consent – is a city that can only be understood from the water.
Do not miss the miniature collection on the top floor (one of the largest in the world), the romantic paints on the 8th deck, one of Christopher Columbus’ boats made entirely of gold, bone ships (‘prisoner-of-war model ships’) produced during the Coalition and Napoleonic wars by French prisoners who constructed them from the leftover bones of their food rations, and the gigantic Queen Mary made out of Lego.
Their latest admission prices can be found on the Maritimes Museum website.
Once done there, we’d recommend you to walk through the district where the museum is located. It’s a stunning area perfect to explore on foot.
1 PM Flamm’Hus
Am Sandtorkai 23/24
Since 2015, this restaurant at the Speicherstadt offers super-thin pizzas (Flammkuchen) and traditional French bistro dishes like croques, quiches, and tasty desserts. Bear in mind that it closes when the market does, around mid-afternoon, so it is better to visit it for lunch.
More info can be found on their Facebook page.
2 PM Dialogue in Silence
Alter Wandrahm 4
A complete must, this exhibition invites everyone to a different world, one where sounds are muted. Led by a deaf person, if you dare to visit it (only under reservation), you will spend an hour exploring the world through your other four senses.
Related read: Accessible travel and why it matters
3 PM Landungsbrücken
Hamburg Hafen, Hamburg’s St. Pauli quarter
Also known as St.Pauli piers, Landungsbrücken is the largest landing place in the Port of Hamburg and a perfect one to visit right before sunset as dramatic light, locals and tourists gather there while having an Astra (Hamburg’s favorite beer) and a Fischsandwich or Currywurst (steamed, then fried and sliced pork sausage seasoned with curry ketchup and topped with curry powder).
Watch out for live music street gigs nearby the subway’s entrance.
4 PM Barkassen Meyer boat ride
Bei den St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken 6
With a more than reasonable price, their tour of almost two hours at sunset through the huge port of Hamburg is unrivaled. Even so, it is important to note that only some of its tourist routes are in English. The rest, the vast majority, are in German.
On the other hand, and always taking into account the tide – which should not be too high or too low – on some trips it is possible to wander around the city’s canals. In any case, the Elbe river and its surroundings, full of barges, cranes, containers, and megalomaniac structures, will be enough to please everyone.
Find out more on Barkassen Meyer’s website.
5:30PM Elbphilharmonie Laeiszhalle
Platz der Deutschen Einheit
Designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, this building has become one of the city icons, topping every Hamburg on a budget list on the way.
On top of its concert hall, offices, restaurants, and apartments on the upper floors, there is a gorgeous terrace that surrounds it offering a 360-degree view of the city. It’s open until late and the entrance is free after collecting a zero cost ticket in the basement for the same day. Queues are not common but can happen at peak times.
If you have only one day in Hamburg, you MUST visit the Elb Philharmonie!
6:30 PM Hafen city walk at blue hour
The historical character of the port of Hamburg and edgy buildings come together in the district of Hafen City.
From the restored red brick warehouses of the 19th century in the Speicherstadt to the Miniatur Wunderland railway modeling museum, from the old boats in the port of Sandtor to the exclusive residential buildings and hipster cafes overlooking the river; this part of the city deserves to be explored on foot.
And after seeing the sunset from the terrace of the Elb Philarmonie, a walk through this part of the city as it gets ready for the night, igniting its lights little by little and creating a magical atmosphere in the canal area, is a great idea.
8PM Dinner at Cantinetta ristorante & bar
Located inside of the Hotel Speicherstadt, at Cantinetta you can expect a distinctive design and outstanding service, paired with light Italian cuisine, a great wine list, and better cocktails. Try their truffle risotto, homemade pasta carbonara, and 60 hours stewed beef. One of the best places to eat in Hamburg!
10:30 PM Cocktails at Clockers
Hidden, small in size but with plenty of charm, this quirky bar is a sanctuary for everyone in love with a great cocktail or two. Also of those who miss being able to smoke in bars as there, smoking is allowed at Clockers Hamburg.
The music that the DJ played was also quite nice, which is always welcomed and one of our requisites to decide where to go next!
11 PM Reeperbahn and surrounding neighborhoods walk
The infamous Reeperbahn is one of the two centers of Hamburg’s nightlife and an entertainment district in Hamburg’s St. Pauli area. Although, according to the time you are visiting, this district may not be to everyone’s liking. If you enjoyed Amsterdam’s red-light district, Reeperbahn may also be to your liking.
9 AM Breakfast at Mercure Hotel Hamburg City
Their ‘feel energized’, ‘feel happy’, and ‘feel beautiful’ customizable breakfast bowls are everything.
11AM Schwarzlichtviertel Minigolf and Lunch
Kieler Str. 571, 22525 Hamburg
A fantastic black-light world of challenges, dreams, and emotions awaits you in a miniature golf circuit with 18 ½ lanes.
When you are done with their funtastic minigolf, try their cocktails and tasty pizzas.
1 PM Blaue Linie Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus-Tour
Experience Hamburg on one of Hamburg City Tour Blaue Linie convertible double-decker buses. The full tour lasts 1h and 40 minutes, but it is possible to step on and off at each of their fifteen stops to enjoy different city highlights here and there, before continuing with the tour.
These buses’ frequency is 30 minutes, and they cover Outer Alster, the historic warehouse complex, the Reeperbahn in the famous red-light district, St. Michael’s church, and the ‘Hafencity’.
7:30 PM Dinner at Better Burger Hamburg
Rosenstraße Ecke, Gertrudenkirchhof
Better Burger Company’s burgers are well worth a visit.
8:30 PM LSF Hamburg
From Elbphilarmonie’s performances to the Hamburg Opera, independent cinemas, theatres, and other venues host a series of events and festivals all year round. We were lucky to attend one of the LSF (Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage – Hamburg’s International Queer Film Festival) movies at the iconic Metropolis kino and being such film lovers ourselves, we loved it. The movie’s name was ‘Silvana’ in case you want to check it out.
10:30 PM Farewell night walk
There’s nothing like saying goodbye to a great city like Hamburg walking its deserted streets and avenues at night. Do not leave without exploring the city’s foremost boulevard – the Jungfernstieg – and other interesting nearby buildings like the Rathaus, St. Peter’s church, and St. Nikolai memorial ruins.
Do you know of any other things to do in Hamburg Germany or have any suggestions to make the most out of a couple of days in Hamburg? Leave them in the comments below!
We also stayed at a couple of great places – Ibis Budget Hamburg City Centre and Mercure Hamburg City – near the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station). You can find more about them in our article about hotels in Hamburg Germany.
In any case, all the views in this article are our own.