Hamburg Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to Do in Hamburg, Germany

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Welcome to Hamburg, the city with more or less 2,500 bridges! It can single-handedly surpass the combined number of bridges in Venice, Amsterdam, and London. The fact that around 8% of its area is covered by water makes it an even more exciting city with lots of unique experiences to offer.

Best Things to Do in Hamburg, Germany

In this city alone, there are at least fifteen activities that can make your holiday the most memorable vacation ever.

Try Stand-up paddling in Hamburg

Stand-up paddling in HamburgStand-up paddling in Hamburg

Hamburg is rich in steady waterways, and this makes an idyllic venue for many safe water activities. Paddleboarding is easy to learn! You can sit, kneel, or stand as you paddle your way through the canals of this beautiful city. There are around 22 canals in Alster Lake alone, which makes it a perfect venue for this activity. Once you’re at the lake’s land area, you will see many Stand-up paddle (SUP) rentals, and you’ll be surprised how accommodating they are–and the waters too. Try this out, you’ll have tons of fun!

Have an enjoyable canoe ride

Hamburg canoe rideHamburg canoe ride

If paddling’s not enough, or not for you, more options are awaiting you. You can rent a canoe, kayak, rowboat, or all of them! While you’re navigating through the waters, you’ll be amazed at the view. Apart from the stunning architecture of the surrounding buildings, you will notice beautiful swans playing around. Make sure your camera doesn’t fall as you take photos.

Try the Books on Buses program

in Hamburg, bus riders can borrow books permanently installed in buses. These rolling libraries are perfect for book lovers who don’t have problems reading while in transit. Now, long bus rides are not a problem.

Books on buses in Hamburg photo by Raed Halabi via FacebookBooks on buses in Hamburg photo by Raed Halabi via Facebook

If you’re a genuine bookworm who’d love to spend days with a German Nobel Prize winner’s work, Die Blechtrommel is an excellent choice. It is a novel by Günter Grass about the life story of a man who was born with completed mental development at birth and his experiences during World War II. Many have fallen bewitched by Grass’ page-turning writing—you will too!

Watch the sunset behind the city skyline

Sunset in HamburgSunset in Hamburg

The network of canals in Alster is large enough to accommodate a sunset cruise in Hamburg. If you’re interested in group travel, this is undoubtedly a great way to be with friends or make new ones. Many affordable cruises will give you the best view of the sunset and the city in just one sailing. The tour guides are friendly too.

Cycle around Hamburg

Biking in HamburgBiking in Hamburg

The streets of Hamburg will fascinate you! What a great way to work out and practice your cycling than biking around a new city with treasure-like sceneries waiting for your discovery? There are many bike tours available in the city, one of which cycles to Alstervorland park. If you’re on a budget, this is an awesome way to spend 5€. Many tours are 3-hours long, so make sure you’ve had a full breakfast.

Enjoy sips of different beers

Jever BeerJever Beer

Germany has a purity order around beer making, called Reinheitsgebot. For a tourist, this is assuring that local lagers are no less than fine in quality. The country is known for its Beck’s and this is certainly a must-try. If you’re a beer lover, chances are you’ve tried this already. You might want to taste Hamburg’s Jever Pilsener instead (jever is pronounced “yay-ver”). Other great alternatives are the Astra, Flensburger Pilsener, and Ratsherrn Pilsener. If drinking from a bar, don’t take that first sip without making eye contact with your drinking partners and saying cheers (pronounced as “Prost” in German).

Reach many destinations in one day

Miniatur Wunderland HamburgMiniatur Wunderland Hamburg

Miniatur Wunderland is famous for being a model railway and miniature airport, a truly unique feat to have. Imagine, through this railway and airport, you can be in Hamburg, Italy, Scandinavia, and the US all in the same day. If you love the adrenaline rush of country hopping, this is definitely a must-do for you.

Enjoy a cruise from Europe’s second-largest port

Harbor of HamburgHarbor of Hamburg

The harbor of Hamburg is almost as large as Denmark’s capital and most populous city, Copenhagen. There are around 13,000 vessels from all over the world frequenting this city’s port. This makes a stunning movie-like landscape where you can cruise from towards the scenic Speicherstadt warehouses. There are many guided tours and available ferry trips from the piers of this harbor in Landungsbrücken. You will have many options at varying prices, perfect for your travel desires.

Walk over the gleaming seabed to Neuwerk


This exciting car-free island only has 40 inhabitants, yet there are many scenic places. If you fancy seeing an ancient lighthouse, enjoying multi courses of fresh meals, and seeing illuminated ships at night, this is a unique destination for you. The most beautiful way to reach this island is through an excursion from  Cuxhaven-Sahlenburg or Cuxhaven-Duhnen. You can either ride a mudflat vehicle, walk over the seabed, or ride a horse-drawn carriage. Truly unique transportation for a select destination indeed!

Climb the Staircase Quarter

The staircase Quarter in Hamburg by Kroppe via Wikipedia CCThe staircase Quarter in Hamburg by Kroppe via Wikipedia CC

You will find the interesting town of Blankenese in the western part of Hamburg, at the river Elbe. In this town, a neighborhood called Treppenviertel, or staircase quarter, is only reachable after 5,000 steps. If you’re up for a subtle climb, easy cardio, and an exciting adventure, this definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list.

Appreciate the world’s first algae-powered building

This area of Hamburg is known for its eclectic architecture. Strolling around, you will be amazed by a building powered by algae, the BIQ House. The energy is produced through a photobioreactor. The Wilhelmsburg island park is also a sight to behold, as well as the cafes surrounding it.

Bungee jump from a crane

Bungee jump by Tobias Rademacher via UnsplashBungee jump by Tobias Rademacher via Unsplash

Hamburg has a vast and beautiful harbor. Whoever thought of adding a 50m high bungee jumping opportunity through crane installations must be genius! If you’re looking for a 30-minute adventure and an unforgettable view, this right is here is the perfect activity for you. Tickets can be booked through Hamburg’s website.

Take a trip to see Hamburg’s new-born orangutan

Orangutan at Hagenbeck ZooOrangutan at Hagenbeck Zoo

After 15 years, Hamburg has once again, witnessed an orangutan giving birth at the Hagenbeck zoo. The newborn came to the world on the 24th of May 2020 and hooray, it’s a boy!

Apart from our dear cub from the endangered species, Sumatran orangutans, there are around 1,850 animals to see and more than 14,300 exotic species to appreciate. A trip to one of the world’s best zoos is truly worth the time!

Attend live shows at the tallest inhabited building of Hamburg


The new opera house, called Elbphilharmonie, quickly rose to popularity. Having been opened just in 2017, this 354 ft. glass edifice already cracked the 10-million visitor record which is pretty fast. Apart from the world-class shows, the building itself is a tourist attraction. From afar, the structure resembles a water wave, an iceberg, and a quartz crystal. Check out the latest news and available shows about this world-class live stage for the best shows ever.

Check the plaza where the Beatles used to play

Beatles-Platz photo via Wikipedia CCBeatles-Platz photo via Wikipedia CC

Between 1960 and 1962, the Beatles played around 273 nights of life-changing music in the streets of Hamburg. Their then-stage is now called Beatles-Platz, with statues representing each of the iconic band’s members. This historic plaza is located in the crossroads of Reeperbahn and Große Freiheit. If you want to commemorate the early years of this famous band’s career, this place will prove to be inspiring!

Hamburg Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your visit to Hamburg, we listed places to visit and things to do for your itinerary. We also listed some of the best Hamburg travel and tour packages, as well as excellent flight deals and accommodation.

Tripadvisor has a list of the best Hamburg vacation packages. You may check out Airbnb listings in Hamburg for cheap but high-quality accommodation.

Searching for the best Hamburg hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Hamburg hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new tourist attractions in Hamburg, Germany? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, and Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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