One Day in Hamburg | Itinerary, Route, Map & Tips

You have only little time or even only one day in Hamburg, Germany and still don’t want to miss any highlights during your city trip to the pearl on the Elbe? In this Hamburg travel guide, I’ll show you a round trip of how to experience the best things to do and highlights of Hamburg in just one day.

With JOURNICATION’s travel tips, you’ll be well prepared for your short vacation in Hamburg. You will see, in 24 hours in Hamburg there are more sights to discover than just the Elbphilharmonie, Reeperbahn, Speicherstadt, Hamburg harbor and Michel. Let’s go for one perfect day in Hamburg in 2022!

What will you learn in this article?

The top attractions for one perfect day in Hamburg 🇩🇪

Your overview & checklist for a perfect day in Hamburg – of course best suited for screenshots 📷📝

Quasi your personal Hamburg Bucket List to check off. So you can make sure you don’t miss any of the Hamburg highlights.

One day in Hamburg – Your morning

  • Sundays: Hamburg Fish Market
  • Jungfernstieg & Binnenalster
  • Alsterarkarden
  • City Hall
  • Chilehaus
  • Speicherstadt
  • Optional: Miniature Wonderland
  • Optional: Hamburg Dungeon
  • Traditional ship harbor
  • Hafencity
  • Elbphilharmonie
  • View from Hamburg Michel
  • Landungsbrücken

Hamburg in one day – Your afternoon

  • Old Elbe Tunnel
  • Steinwerder: City Panorama
  • Dockland Office Building
  • Elbe beach
  • Altona Balcony
  • Altona City Hall
  • Sternschanze
  • Karolinenviertel
  • Planten un Blomen
  • Millerntor & Flak Tower IV

One day in Hamburg – Your evening

  • Strand Pauli
  • Portuguese Quarter
  • Reeperbahn St. Pauli
  • Davidwache
  • Große Freiheit

 

View of the Elbphilharmonie from the Michel in Hamburg

View of the Elbphilharmonie from the Michel Tower in Hamburg

Hamburg Highlights – Your map with route & itinerary for the city tour

To experience the best things to do in Hamburg in one day is definitely a sporty undertaking. But with the route and map of JOURNICATION you are well prepared to not miss any highlights of Hamburg during your city trip.

We have summarized the best things to do in Hamburg and the itinerary route for you in addition to the BIG5 in an overview map:

Click on the icon in the upper left corner to use the full range of map options!

One Day in Hamburg – Helpful Websites and Resources

  • As an additional source of inspiration in Hamburg and a practical local travel guide, I recommend the Lonely Planet for Hamburg:

  • You want to prepare yourself optimally for your vacation in Hamburg and get a good overview? No problem! In another detailed article on JOURNICATION you will find an overview of the 16 best things to do in Hamburg

One day in Hamburg – Things to do in the morning

If you are in Hamburg on Sundays, you have to set your alarm clock early: Because the Altona fish market opens from 5:00 to 9:30. The old market halls and many stalls on the square in front of it directly on the Elbe are an absolute spectacle. Here you can find not only fish, but everything your heart desires: Whether fruit, flowers, clothing or souvenirs – here you get everything!

Visit Hamburg fish market early Sunday morning

Visit Hamburg fish market early Sunday morning

Highlights in Hamburg’s city center

Start your perfect day in Hamburg at the Jungfernstieg directly at the Binnenalster. The station is very well connected by buses and many subway and train lines. No matter the location of your accommodation in Hamburg, you are quickly here.

You can also comfortably treat yourself to a second (or first?) breakfast at one of the many bakeries. Sit down with a coffee and the typical Hamburg Franzbrötchen at the Jungfernstieg. From here you have a great view and get an impression of the splendor of Hamburg.
Old department stores and city mansions are located around the Binnenalster, a paradise for relaxing and shopping.

 

 

 

The tour continues through the Alsterarkaden to the imposing Hamburg City Hall. The Alsterarkaden are sometimes called “Little Italy” because of the many canals. Yes, here and there it already feels like Venice.

One day in Hamburg highlights itinerary: Hamburg City Hall reflected in the canal in front of the Alster Arcades

Hamburg City Hall reflected in the canal in front of the Alster Arcades

 

Let’s go in the direction of Speicherstadt! On the way you pass many canals before you reach the Chilehaus. The impressive Kontorhaus in the style of brick Gothic (yes, the word really exists :-)) was built in the early 1920s. Take a look around the Kontorhausviertel if you are also so enthusiastic about these buildings.

Stroll through the famous Speicherstadt

From the Chilehaus you walk directly over the Wandrahmssteg into the famous Speicherstadt of Hamburg. From the Poggenmühlen Bridge you have one of the best photo spots of Hamburg: The moated castle is reflected in the water of the Speicherstadt.

One day in Hamburg highlights itinerary: The famous Hamburg Speicherstadt is divided into several blocks

The famous Hamburg Speicherstadt is divided into several blocks

 

The Speicherstadt market halls are a great place for a snack. Or you can enjoy one of the best coffees in Hamburg at the Speicherstadt coffee roastery.

The Speicherstadt is also home to two of Hamburg’s best attractions: Miniatur Wunderland & Hamburg Dungeon. To experience all the sights in Hamburg in one day, it will be a bit tight to devote several hours to these attractions. If you have more than one day in Hamburg, now is a good time to visit them.

 

 

Along the Hafencity you now stroll past the traditional ship harbor. Here you can find not only exciting ships, but also super delicious fish sandwiches! Slowly one of the highlights of Hamburg comes into view

Aaaaaaand drum roll:

Hamburg landmark: The Elbphilharmonie

The “Elphi” is undoubtedly the new landmark of Hamburg! The spectacular architecture of the Elbphilharrmonie stands out even from the modern Hafencity. From the visitor platform you have a unique view over the harbor and the city. Tickets are free and can be booked online. Be there early to avoid the big tourist crowds and long lines.

One day in Hamburg itinerary highlights: Elbphilharmonie_Rundfahrt_Hamburg_Deutschland_Germany_things to do_one day_itinerary_ein Tag_Sehenswürdigkeiten_Reisetipps_Highlights_travel tips

Hamburg’s new landmark: The Elbe Philharmonic Hall

 

Had enough of the great view? Okay, let’s move on! Along the Elbe you will pass many other attractions, including the museum ships Cap San Diego or great sailors like Rickmer Rickmers.

Through the Portuguese quarter, it goes over the Michaeliswiese up to the most famous church in Hamburg!

Unbeatable view from the Hamburg Michel

Now get a complete overview and look at the pearl on the Elbe from above! This is possible from no place better than from the Hamburg Michel. This is what the people of Hamburg affectionately call the tower of the main church of St. Michaelis.

The 132m high tower is a landmark of Hamburg’s city center. At 82 meters high, after 462 steps, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful view of the city. A beautiful view of the Elbe, Speicherstadt, the harbor and the rest of the metropolis lies before you.  And don’t worry: there is also an elevator in the Hamburg Michel,

 

 

Busy at the Landungsbrücken

You have after height again longing for the proximity to the water? Understandable! So back to the Elbe again! And there they are, the famous Landungsbrücken of Hamburg!

Here again you have many opportunities to get a snack with delicious fish or crab rolls and take a short break! There are numerous benches to pause for a moment and watch the busy – mostly very touristy – hustle and bustle. Ferries and excursion boats constantly leave here. Most tours for a harbor tour in the port of Hamburg also start here.

 

 

So: The Landungsbrücken are a good place for a hearty lunch break with a view of the Elbphilharmonie and the Hamburg harbor.

Want to know more about the best sights in Hamburg? Read on in the detailed article about it!

One day in Hamburg – Things to do in the afternoon

Well strengthened for further sightseeing during the Hamburg in one day tour? Let’s go, there are still many highlights to discover! The first you will find directly at the Landungsbrücken: The Old Elbe Tunnel!

More than 20 meters you have to go down the historic freight elevators or stairs under the river Elbe. The tunnel is still free of charge for pedestrians and cyclists. You should not miss this! Especially when you consider that just a few meters above you is the great Elbe and on it huge container ships.

Hamburg_Germany_things to do highlights one day travel tips hotel recommendation: The old Elbe tunnel is still walkable today and absolutely worth seeing

The old Elbe tunnel is still walkable today and absolutely worth seeing

 

On the other side of the tunnel you will find a great city panorama on the Steinwerder. From here you can see the skyline of Hamburg, from the Elbphilharmonie to the Landungsbrücken and St. Pauli.

One day in Hamburg itinerary map: Panorama of Hamburg skyline with landing stages from Steinwerder

Panorama of Hamburg skyline with landing stages from Steinwerder

 

Back at the Landungsbrücken you go on one of the ferries! What would a perfect day in Hamburg be without a trip on the Elbe?
Take ferry 62 towards Finkenwerder to explore more waterfront sights and enjoy a cool Alsterwasser on the beach! As you pass by, you’ll also see the famous Hamburg Fish Market and the Hamburg Submarine Museum.

After a short stop, the trip continues downriver to the Cruise Center Altona and the Dockland Office Building. The striking office building looks like a ship – in keeping with the port and the Elbe River virtually on the doorstep. At the top of the building is a public lookout point. The view over the Elbe, the harbor and back to the Landungsbrücken is well worth it. It’s no problem at all to get off the ferry here and continue with the next one.

 

 

Hamburg harbor and relax on the Elbe beach

Next, the ferry stops at the museum harbor Övelgönne. From here you can take a short walk to the Elbe beach. Stretch your feet in the sand in the middle of the city – you can’t do that everywhere! The Elbe beach is a great place to sunbathe and watch ships. The huge Hamburg harbor is right across the street. Refreshment is provided by small beach bars and restaurants, e.g. my favorite: the Strandperle! Sit down, take off your shoes and enjoy the surroundings with a cool drink.

 

 

After a well-deserved break at the great Elbe beach, we continue. You can now take the ferry again. Ferry 62 crosses the Elbe and stops on the other side in Finkenwerder, from where it starts its return journey upstream towards Landungsbrücken.

If you feel like another long walk, you can walk along the Elbchaussee (cool luxurious villas) to the Altonaer Balkon. From here you have a great view of the Hamburg harbor and the Dockland Office Building. It’s only a short walk to the Altona City Hall. Altona is an upscale district with the neighborhood of the same name, known for its bustling Sunday market.

The Altona balcony in spring

The Altona balcony in spring

Exciting neighborhood: Schanze and Karolinenviertel

Hamburg can also be alternative! The next destination of your perfect day in Hamburg: The Schanzenviertel! The neighborhood has a very special flair. Squatted houses and walls painted with graffiti show a different Hamburg than just in Altona. Walk down the Schulterblatt, a lively street full of bars, restaurants and cafes.

 

 

The Karolinenviertel (Karoline Quarter) flows seamlessly into the Schanze. In the “Karo-Viertel”, many hip and alternative stores and cafés invite you to take a leisurely stroll. A good address for coffee and cake is Gretchens Villa with a large selection of home-baked delicacies.

Alternative stores and restaurants you can find in Karolinenviertel Hamburg

Alternative stores and restaurants you can find in Karolinenviertel Hamburg

Planten un Blomen & St. Pauli

You can still a little and want to marvel at another highlight in Hamburg? Then head to the extensive park “Planten un Blomen”. In the former ramparts great gardens and a large collection of different plants were created. My personal highlight is the Japanese garden with the tea house. Here you feel like you’ve been transported to another country.

One day in Hamburg itinerary map highlights: Hamburg_Germany_things to do highlights one day travel tips hotel recommendation: The Japanese garden in the large Planten un Blomen area

The Japanese garden in the large Planten un Blomen area

 

You can return to the Elbe either by subway or on foot. If you choose the second option, you will pass the traditional Millerntor Stadium of FC St. Pauli and the massive Flakturm IV. This eye-catching relic from World War II is now being converted into apartments by investors after more than 60 years.

Past the Millertor and across the Heiliggeistfeld (venue of the famous folk festival “Hamburger Dom” you come to the old Elbpark. Under the eyes of the huge Bismarck statue you walk up to a great viewpoint directly above the landing stages. What a circular walk through Hamburg!

Landungsbrücken and Elbphilharmonie

Landungsbrücken and Elbphilharmonie

 

You want to know more about the best sights in Hamburg? Read on in the detailed article about it!

One day in Hamburg – sights in the evening

Sooooo many steps today towards the best sights of Hamburg…. And now you have earned so much!

First address: Strand Pauli. One of several beach bars near the Landungsbrücken. Great, simple atmosphere, cozy lamps and – very important – lots of sand make for just the right environment to start the evening.

Relaxing in the beach bar Strand Pauli

 

You can find your dinner in the nearby Portuguese Quarter. There is an unbeatable density of great restaurants here. Not only Portuguese, but these are especially recommended. It’s best to reserve a table here, otherwise it can quickly become tight with seats!

Reeperbahn St. Pauli – Germany’s most sinful mile

And now off to the nightlife. Where to? No question: St. Pauli with the Reeperbahn and the surrounding streets is the place to be!

The Reeperbahn on St. Pauli is the entertainment and red-light district of Hamburg known throughout Germany – and certainly far beyond. On the “Kiez” you will find everything: small clubs, pubs, discos, theaters, brothels and wicked nightclubs.

If you are interested in the history of the notorious “Sündige Meile”, there are many guided tours of the Kiez. Here you will learn many interesting stories about the Reeperbahn: from violence to prostitution to the development of the culture and party center of Hamburg.

 

Here you will also find the most famous police station in Germany: the Davidwache. It is the center of various television series. The station has the smallest area in Germany. So much simply happens on and around the Reeperbahn.

One day in Hamburg itinerary map tips: The Davidwache on St. Pauli is probably the most famous police station in Germany

The Davidwache on St. Pauli is probably the most famous police station in Germany

 

Your evening will hopefully not end at the Davidwache 😉 No, “Große Freiheit” is the name of the game. And the name says it all. In the street with the iconic “Dollhouse” sign there are not only table dance bars, but a variety of bars, pubs and discos with different music styles. Another hotspot on St. Pauli is Hans-Albers-Platz. with many surrounding places to eat and drink.

One day in Hamburg tips map: The Große Freiheit near the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli is famous for its nightlife

The Große Freiheit near the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli is famous for its nightlife

 

Alternatively, in the truest sense of the word, you can spend your evening in the bars on Schanze, another epicenter of Hamburg’s nightlife….

 

You don’t want to take care of everything yourself? Just enjoy your vacation and still not miss the best things to do in [City / Destination]? No problem, great tours and excursions are offered on site:

 

Where is the best place to stay in Hamburg?

Especially with the famous nightlife in Hamburg on and around the Reeperbahn, you will be on your feet most of the time during a day in Hamburg. And afterwards just falling into bed in a good hotel sounds great? Then here are our Hamburg hotel recommendations for every budget.

Recommended location for a hotel in Hamburg:

For a comfortable exploration on foot, an accommodation directly in the city is recommended. However, due to the well-developed network of subways and suburban trains, you can easily book a cheaper accommodation a little further outside and still be everywhere quickly. Some recommendations can be found here:

  • Budget in dormitory + top location: MEININGER Hotel Hamburg City Center (Goetheallee 9-11, Haus 3, Altona-Nord, 22765 Hamburg; dormitory from 35 Euro, double room from 100 Euro) – clean hotel with very good location in the center of Hamburg.
  • Budget with good connections: B&B Hotel Hamburg-Wandsbek (Brauhausstraße 24, 22041 Hamburg; from 60 euros in a single room, from 70 euros in a double room) – inexpensive, clean hotel. The subway with very good connection to the city is only a few minutes away.

 

  • Medium with great location: Hotel am Museum (71 Rothenbaumchaussee, Rotherbaum, 20148 Hamburg; double room from 130 Euro) – super stylish hotel with noble white furnishings and high-quality wooden floors, here you feel good in a good location!
  • Medium with kitchen + lake view: Boardinghouse St. Pauli(Königstrasse 7, Altona-Altstadt, 22767 Hamburg; double room from 160 Euro) – super rooms with own kitchen and partly with lake view! Great location in the old town of Altona, especially for discovering St. Pauli Ottensen or Altona on foot.

Treat yourself to some luxury during the city break in Hamburg

  • Noble 5 stars in city center: Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten (Neuer Jungfernstieg 9-14, Hamburg-Neustadt, 20354 Hamburg; double room from 450 euros) – Vier Jahreszeiten, says it all! In this classic 5 star hotel you lack nothing, the location directly at the Binnenalster in the absolute center of Hamburg is unbeatable.
  • Noble with roof top pool: The Fontenay (10 Fontenay, Rotherbaum, 20354 Hamburg; double room from 500 euros) – treat yourself to some luxury on your Hamburg city break with a great location and view over the Outer Alster. This 5-star hotel also has everything your heart desires. Including wellness and pool area on the roof

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You have more than one day in Hamburg?

If you have more time than just one day in Hamburg, have chosen the city as a destination for a weekend trip or even longer? Then you have many options beyond the Hamburg sights for just one day.

  • Hamburg Harbour tour

 

  • Musicals
  • Kiez Theater
  • St Pauli stadium visit
  • Visit the famous Hamburg fish market
  • Shopping on the Mönckebergstraße
  • Excursion to the elegant Blankenese: Here you will find fishermen’s houses in half-timbered style, villas from the pre-war period as well as the Treppenviertel with winding staircases leading up to the Süllberg mountain
  • Take a look at the Germany train guide for day trips out

 

If you are looking for great day trips from Hamburg, these can be recommended:

 

As an additional source of inspiration in Hamburg and a practical local travel guide, I recommend the Lonely Planet for Hamburg:

 

Now you know the best things to do in Hamburg in one day and see what a great destination the city in northern Germany is. Are the Elbphilharmonie, Speicherstadt and the Port of Hamburg now on your bucket list?

 

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