Best Day Trips from Hamburg in 2024

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If you’re visiting Hamburg be sure to save a day or two for day trips! Whether you travel by train or car, there are several easy trips you can make to see more of beautiful northern Germany.

In this guide we show you easy and popular, as well as more off-the-beaten path day trips from Hamburg.

Hamburg Rathaus

Where Can I Travel On A Day Trip From Hamburg?

Hamburg is close to all sorts of amazing destinations that are perfect for day trips.

You have, for example, islands, beaches, or coastal towns like Sylt, Heligoland, Cuxhaven, and Sankt Peter Ording.

If you’re more into beautiful historic cities, Lübeck, Stade or Bremen are great options. There are also smaller towns like Lüneburg and Bremerhaven or the Altes Land countryside.

I lived in Hamburg when I was younger and traveled around northern Germany any chance I got. I still love returning to my favorite places and exploring new ones. The good new is that no matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong because they’re all great!

Germany map highlighting Hamburg

Where Can I Find The Above Map?

It’s part of our Germany Travel Planner, and it’s your Germany travel planning BFF! Using our custom interactive planning map you’ll be able to quickly see the best sights, castles, hotels, day trips, and more – along with our photos and up-to-date insider tips. Seeing where these things are in relation to each other makes it much easier to plan your overall itinerary, as well as each day of your trip. If you don’t yet have it, click here to get access.

What’s The Best Way to Get Around Northern Germany?

Option 1: Car

The most flexible option is by rental car since you can customize your itinerary and hit multiple spots in a day on your own timeline. If you want to visit some beaches or smaller villages, driving can be easier. That said, you can reach all of the day trips in this guide by train (except for Heligoland) so don’t feel like you need to rent a car, just to do a day trip.

Option 2: Train

Trains are an efficient way of traveling around the area because of how well connected the German rail system is. For some day trip destinations you can take a high speed train, for others a regional train or the local Hamburg S-bahn.

If you plan to use regional transport, you can save money on unlimited travel on one day by using the Schleswig-Holstein Day Ticket for trips in the state north of Hamburg and the Niedersachsen Day Ticket for trips in the state south of the city (Hamburg is both a city and a state).

There’s also the Deutschland Ticket, which is valid nationwide and allows you to travel on regional public transit all over Germany. We used it on a 3 month trip and loved the flexibility it gave us. If you want to know more about this ticket and how to use it on your trip, read our guide here.

Keep in mind that these tickets are only valid on regional trains. High speed trains, which are usually the quickest and most comfortable way to travel by rail, are not part of these day tickets.

Option 3: Boat

Some coastal or island destinations can also – or only – be reached by ferry.

train interior

Best Day Trips from Hamburg


Holsten Gate, Lübeck

Lübeck is one of the most popular and easy year-round day trips from Hamburg. Known as both the “marzipan city” and the City of Seven Spires due to its many Gothic churches, the city of Lübeck has remained a hub for maritime trade over the centuries.

Despite the damage that the Old Town section of Lübeck sustained during World War II, the basic footprint of Old Town Lübeck, with its 15th and 16th century churches, salt storehouses, and public monuments remains unchanged. 

What To Do And See In Lübeck

Holstentor (Holsten Gate)
Created in the 15th century, this gate straddles the Trave River and is a symbol of the city.  Take a walk up one of its spiral staircase to get a view of the city and ships below. Tip: Lübeck’s tourism website mentions that the best time to photograph the gate is in the afternoon. But don’t worry, even if you visit on a cloudy day like the last time we were there, it’s still beautiful.

The Altstadt & Courtyards
While there is no shortage of attractions to visit in Lübeck, some of the best sights can be found by chance, just by strolling the alleys and streets of the Old Town.

Not only can you window shop or stop at a cafe or restaurant, you can also explore the courtyards found in the well-preserved Kober area in the north along Engeslwisch, Glockengießerstraße and Engelsgrube, and in the south around the cathedral.

If you’d rather not leave discovering Lübeck’s Altstadt to chance, check out this guided walking tour through the Lübeck’s courtyards and alleys!

Church of St. Mary’s
The Church of St. Mary’s is Germany’s third largest church and sits on the highest part of the old town in Lübeck.  It is a model for countless other brick Gothic churches in the country.

Inside, two bells lie broken on the ground remaining where they fell after an Allied attack during World War II. Don’t miss the Danse Macabre stain glass window that pays tribute to a medieval mural that was destroyed during WWII. Just outside the church, be sure to look for the devil statue sitting on a stone slab.

Lübeck marzipan store

Enjoy All Things Marzipan
Lübeck is famed for its marzipan! Stop by Café Niederegger across from the Rathaus. This is the flagship store of this famed producer of marzipan. This location is a shop, café, and has a museum.  There are two other locations in Lübeck.  One is a marzipan factory and the other is a shop.

You’ll find marzipan everywhere, e.g., marzipan covered in chocolate, marzipan shaped like fruit, marzipan covered cake, and even Marzilade – a marzipan fruit jam! You’ll also find a wide variety of delicious cakes so it’s a great place to stop for Kaffee und Kuchen.

Hospital of the Holy Spirit
Located at Koberg square in the Jakobi Quarter, the Hospital of the Holy Spirit is one of the oldest social institutions in the world.  It was founded in 1286 and continued in operation until the 1960s.  At Christmastime, the hospital welcomes an international arts & crafts market.

St Peter’s Church
Go to St Peter’s for an excellent view of Lübeck from its 50 m. high viewing platform. St Peter’s was initially built between 1227 and 1250 and then expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries. Nowadays, the church is no longer used for religious services and is now a center for events and exhibitions. A large arts and crafts market occurs in St Peter’s during Christmastime. There’s also a cozy cafe at the entrance.

An der Obertrave
Take a stroll along this promenade, which follows the Trave River along the southwest curve of Old Town Lübeck. Along the An der Obertrave, you will see homes decorated in Medieval and Renaissance architecture.

How To Get From Hamburg to Lübeck

Lübeck is 45 miles (72 kilometers) from Hamburg. By regional train it takes about an hour to get to Lübeck. You can use the Schleswig-Holstein regional day ticket for up to 5 people traveling together. By car it takes about an hour to reach Lübeck from Hamburg (depending on traffic).


From the 13th to 17th centuries, Stade was a prominent member of the Hanseatic League, a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in northwestern Europe. It has previously been a part of Sweden and Denmark. Exploring Stade is a delight!

Things To Do And See In Stade

Old Town & Harbor
The Old Town of Stade is home to historic buildings and churches like the Rathaus Hansestadt Stade (town hall), the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian, and St. Wilhadi Church. The harbor or Stadthafen Stade along the River Schwinge was once a trading hub but now features a charming waterfront ambiance with a scenic promenade. Restaurants and cafes line the harbor and it’s a lovely place to relax and enjoy a drink or meal.

Schwedenspeicher Museum (Swedish Warehouse)
Shortly after the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish conquered Stade and began constructing a supply house from 1692 to 1705.  Today, the former warehouse contains exhibits on the history of Stade as well as the Hanseatic period.

Freilichtmuseum (Stade Open Air Museum)
The Freilichtmuseum is an open air museum where visitors can get a glimpse of rural life of the past through preserved objects from everyday life. The museum also hosts craft and weaving workshops as well as guided tours twice a month. It’s a small yet interesting museum, so it’s easy to fit into a day trip.

Kunsthaus (Art Gallery)
The Kunsthaus is an exciting art gallery constructed within a merchant’s house from the Hanseatic period.

St. Wilhadi Kirche
For centuries, this church has overlooked the city of Stade.  Interestingly, its history includes multiple lightning strikes to the tower! St. Wilhadi also contains an organ by the master by the master organ builder Erasmuc Bielfeldt from 1731 to 1736.

How To Get To Stade From Hamburg

Stade is 34 miles (56 kilometers from Hamburg). Stade is part of the Hamburg transit area so you can reach Stade using a Hamburg transit ticket in about 60 minutes. By car it takes about 1 hour to reach Stade.



Having survived World War II relatively untouched, Lüneburg has a medieval charm that draws visitors from around the world. This city was a bustling trading hub in the Middle Ages and owes its long and prosperous history in part to the production of salt, known as “white gold.” Even if you only have a couple hours to enjoy Lüneburg, it’s worth visiting.

Things To Do And See in Lüneburg

Am Sande Market Square
To best experience Lüneburg’s medieval charm, go directly to the Am Sande market square. The square is surrounded by the beautiful architecture of St John’s Church. Fun Fact: in the Middle Ages, the plaza was covered in sand rather than cobbles to help merchants maneuver their horse and ox carts within the market.

Historic Harbor, Stintmarkt
Now a vibrant waterside district filled with a high concentration of bars and pubs, the historic harbor of Luneburg was previously a shipping center and fish market. Try out one of the pubs for a great view of the historic harbor and cityscape of Lüneburg.

Highlight: At the harbor stands the Old Crane (Alte Kran) which previously loaded ships. You can see the inside of the crane on a guided city tour. (There’s one just like it in Stade, too.)

Old Town Hall (Rathaus)
Construction of the town hall begun in 1230 but took centuries to complete.  The baroque façade of the town hall is something special to behold but the true beauty lies within with murals, frescoes, and intricate wood carvings. Outside of the Rathaus is a large market square.

Lüneburg Abbey & Textile Museum
Approximately a 15-minute walk from the city center, the Monastery Lüne (Kloster Lüne) was founded in 1172 by Benedictine monks as a nunnery and is inhabited to this day!

Textile Museum
The Textile Museum explores the art of weaving and exhibits the textile works of art made by nuns over the centuries.

St John’s Church (St. Johannis)
Luneburg’s oldest church dates to 927 and is known for the crooked steeple. Whoops! While you’re exploring St John’s, keep a look out for the elegant high altar and ornate Baroque organ inside. The composer, Johann Sebastian Bach himself learned to write and compose here while his uncle worked as the choirmaster.

Salu Saltztherme
Luneburg’s saltwater thermal spa! Relax in a eucalyptus sauna or a steam bath. There’s even a water park for children called “Kinderbadeland.”

How To Get To Lüneburg From Hamburg

Lüneburg is 34 miles (56 kilometers) from Hamburg. It’s part of the Hamburg transit area so you can reach Lüneburg using a Hamburg transit ticket in about 50 minutes. By car it takes about 40 minutes to reach Lüneburg (depending on traffic).

Schwerin Castle

Schwerin castle

Walking through the gardens and rooms of Schwerin Castle, it would be an understandable mistake to think you’d become lost in a fairy tale! The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 16th century. Make sure to take some extra time to explore the lakes and gardens nearby!

Schwerin is sometimes called “Neuschwanstein of Northern Germany” relating it to the neomedieval castle in the Bavarian mountains that became world famous. They were both built to remind and imitate ancient and medieval castles. Neuschwanstein was constructed about 20 years after Schwerin Castle.

Discover the most important sights of the old town of Schwerin in this 90-minute city tour.

How To Get To Schwerin From Hamburg

Schwerin Castle is 68 miles (111 kilometers) from Hamburg. By regional train, it takes a little over an hour. Depending on which train you take, you can purchase individual tickets or a day card.

You can use the Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket for up to 5 people traveling together from Hamburg to Schwerin, which is in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

By car it takes about an hour and a half to reach Schwerin (depending on traffic).

Sankt Peter Ording

Cate at Sankt Peter Ording

Sankt Peter Ording is a popular beach destination on the North Sea. This picturesque seaside town is known for its expansive sandy beaches perfect for a relaxing day away from the city or doing outdoor activities.

There are rental beach chairs available so you can spend the day enjoying sunbathing, swimming or walking on the boardwalk by the ocean. You can also do water activities like kiteboarding and windsurfing depending on the weather. 

One of Sankt Peter Ording’s most iconic features is its stilt houses. One of them houses a restaurant and another has toilets! These traditional beach houses give Sankt Peter Ording a charming coastal feel. I’ve been to this beach in various seasons and always enjoy walking up and down the beach on a sunny day.

How to Get to Sankt Peter Ording from Hamburg

Sankt Peter Ording is 87 miles (140 kilometers) from Hamburg. This day trip is best done by car and takes around 1.5 hours from Hamburg to Sankt Peter Ording (depending on traffic).

Altes Land

Altes Land is an area located to the south of Hamburg on the southwestern side of the Elbe River. This area is known for being one of the largest fruit-growing regions in Northern Europe, specifically apples and cherries. Altes Land has beautiful natural landscapes, especially during the harvest season.

The scenic countryside is lined with quaint villages and half-timbered farmhouses. It’s the perfect day trip from Hamburg for those looking for a quiet, lesser known destination.

How to Get to Altes Land from Hamburg

Altes Land is around 28 miles (45 kilometers) from Hamburg. Altes Land is part of the Hamburg transit area so you can reach Stade, Buxtehude or Jork using a Hamburg transit ticket in about an hour. By car, it also takes around an hour from Hamburg to Altes Land (depending on traffic).


Located at the mouth of the Elbe River, Cuxhaven is a maritime town known for its picturesque beaches, piers, and coastal landscapes. We did a day trip here from Stade (via train) but you could also visit on a day trip from Hamburg.

Things to Do and See in Cuxhaven

This tall tower is a historic landmark that used to be a navigation aid for ships navigating the River Elbe and the North Sea. From here you can see huge ships sail by and then walk to the nearby beach.

Wattenmeer (National Park Wadden Sea)
Located in the estuary of the Elbe in the North Sea, Wattenmeer is a national park made up of mudflats, shallow creeks, dunes, and sandbars. When the tide it out you walk out pretty far – though it is muddy so wear appropriate shoes or boots. I tried walking in an area that was still pretty wet and my shoes got stuck in the mud a few times.

Windstärke 10 Museum
A maritime museum that showcases the region’s seafaring history, with exhibits on the dramatic challenges of seafaring in the North Sea.

Schloss Ritzebüttel
A historical 14th-century brick mansion used as a cultural venue for exhibitions and concerts located a short walk from the city center pedestrian zone. You can also stay in the well-preserved castle rooms or visit the gardens and restaurant. There’s also a nice park with walking trails and a small river flowing through it. We enjoyed a relaxing stroll through this area.

Cuxhavener Küstenheiden
A coastal heath or natural reserve ideal for walking or biking.

How to Get to Cuxhaven from Hamburg

Cuxhaven is around 80 miles (129 kilometers) from Hamburg. Cuxhaven is around 1.5 hours away by regional train using the Niedersachsen Ticket. By car, it takes about 2 and a half hours from Hamburg to Cuxhaven (depending on traffic).



Bremen is one of oldest and most important port cities in northern Europe. It has a rich heritage and trading legacy which is reflected on many of its historic landmarks and medieval architecture. We were invited to join a guided English tour of the city and Beck’s brewery and highly recommend both experiences. Book a guided tour so you don’t miss out on the must-see sights of Old Town Bremen!

Things to Do and See in Bremen

Town Musicians of Bremen
A landmark made of bronze depicting the donkey, dog, cat and rooster from the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale. It’s a popular selfie spot!

Bremen Market Square
The Market Square in Old Town is home to the beautiful and intricate UNESCO World Heritage Town Hall, the statue of Bremen Roland, the first Holy Roman Emperor, and the St Petri cathedral. It’s especially beautiful at night.

Schnoor Quarter
This district is a must-see and one of the only parts of the city that has preserved its medieval character. Explore the narrow, winding streets and discover all the historic buildings through this guided walking tour.

Beck’s Brewery Tour
We were invited to join an English tour of Beck’s brewery, which was a lot of fun. During the first part we learned about Beck’s brewing process, and during the second we got to sample several types of Beck’s beer. I only recommend this tour if you don’t have to drive back to Hamburg!

How to Get to Bremen from Hamburg

Bremen is around 77 miles (125 kilometers) from Hamburg. Bremen is around an hour by high speed train. You can also take a regional train, which takes about 1.5 hours. By car, it takes about 1.5 hours  from Hamburg to Bremen (depending on traffic).


Bremerhaven is a small coastal city and important international port. It’s full of interesting museums and research institutes dedicated to not only preserving its maritime heritage but covering a wide range of interesting topics. We visited Bremerhaven on a day trip from Bremen but you can easily visit from Hamburg.

Things To Do And See In Bremerhaven

The German Emigration Center Museum
This is the largest theme museum about emigration in Europe. It documents the experience of emigrants leaving for North America through personal artifacts, interactive exhibits, and short documentaries. I really enjoyed this immersive museum!

The Klimahaus Bremerhaven
This unique museum takes visitors on a climate journey along the eighth longitudinal line around the world. As you proceed, you get to experience how it’s like to live in different places like Switzerland, Sardinia, Niger, Cameroon, Antarctica, Samoa, Alaska, and back to Bremerhaven. Aaron visited this museum and enjoyed his visit.

How to Get from Hamburg to Bremerhaven

Bremerhaven is around 112 miles (181 kilometers) from Hamburg. Bremerhaven is around 1 hour and 40 minutes by taking a combination of the high speed train and regional train. By car, it takes about 2 hours from Hamburg to Bremerhaven (depending on traffic).


Heligoland (Helgoland)

Heligoland is a small archipelago made up of two islands: the main island called Hauptinsel and a smaller island called Düne. The main island is where the harbor is located. It’s known for its red sandstone cliffs, like the famous Lange Anna, pristine beaches, and colorful coastal houses.

How to Get to Heligoland from Hamburg

Heligoland is around 96 miles (155 kilometers) from Hamburg. Heligoland can be reached by ferry or catamaran . From Hamburg it takes about 3.5 hours (from Cuxhaven it takes about 2.5 hours). This is a day trip that would need to be planned out in advance and is best done in the summer when you have lots of daylight.



Sylt is a popular island destination in the North Sea. Its natural beauty is characterized by its long, vast beaches, dunes, and mudflats. The main town of the island, Westerland, attracts tourists with its upscale spas and resorts, shops, and seafood restaurants.

There are also several landmarks worth visiting like the Sylt Aquarium and Musikmuschel music pavilion. I recommend spending an hour in Westerland and then going north or south via bus or rented bike to see more of this beautiful island. If you head north you can visit the most northern spot in all of Germany.

How to Get to Sylt from Hamburg

Sylt is around 134 miles (216 kilometers) from Hamburg. Sylt can be reached by regional train from Hamburg in a little over 3 hours. This is a day trip that would need to be planned out in advance and is best done in the summer when you have lots of daylight.

Hamburg boats at dusk

Hamburg Day Trip FAQ

What’s the best day trip from Hamburg?

If you’re looking for a picturesque small town: Stade or Lüneburg. Larger town: Bremen or Lübeck. Interesting museums: Bremerhaven. Beaches: Cuxhaven or Sankt Peter Ording. Island: Heligoland or Sylt. Castle: Schwerin. You really can’t go wrong with any of them!

What’s the most beautiful city near Hamburg?

Lübeck, Bremen, Stade, and Lüneburg are all beautiful cities just about an hour away from Hamburg.

What cities are near Hamburg by train?

There are so many! You can reach Lübeck, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven, Stade, Lüneburg and more all by train.

Is Hamburg worth visiting?

Most definitely! Hamburg is a beautiful and vibrant city in northern Germany with a lake, canals, and harbor…not to mention fun museums, gorgeous parks, and tons of great restaurants. I lived in Hamburg for a while and it’s in my top 3 favorite German cities. Click here to see the best things to do in Hamburg.

How many days is enough in Hamburg?

Ideally 3 nights, which gives you 2 full days . If you can add another 1 or 2 days you can see more, enjoy a more relaxed sightseeing pace and add 1 or 2 day trips.

What to do in Hamburg in 1 day?

If you only have 1 day in Hamburg I recommend doing the HOHO bus so you get to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time. Check out our what to do in Hamburg guide and choose 2-4 things from that list to add to your day.

Where to stay in Hamburg?

To find the best hotels in the most convenient locations, check out our where to stay in Hamburg guide here.

Image of Best Day Trips From Hamburg guide

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Here’s how we can help you plan your perfect trip in 2024

GERMANY TRAVEL PLANNER: Just getting started? Have questions about Germany’s confusing train tickets or how to find the best guided tours? Not sure which parts of Germany should be in your itinerary (and what to leave out)? Our Germany Travel Planner answers those questions and more via how-to videos, our interactive Germany Planning Map, City Cheatsheets, and MUCH more. Click here to unlock the best of Germany the easy way!

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ACCOMMODATIONS: We recommend using since they have widest range of accommodations available from hostels, boutique hotels, luxury chains, aparthotels, at the best prices. Check out our accommodation guides for specific recommended hotels.

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TRAINS & BUSES: To research train schedules and buy tickets or a Germany Rail Pass, we recommend the official Deutsche Bahn (German Rail System) website (and download their DB Navigator app). For buses, look at FlixBus , which offers tickets for routes within Germany and to other European countries. FlixBus is often cheaper than trains but can take longer.


  1. Nelson Farwell says:

    How do I get on your web sight? I do not see a place to sign in.

    1. Hi Nelson, are you wanting to access the Germany Travel Planner? There’s a link at the top left of the page. If you have any trouble accessing the planner, feel free to send me an email via our contact page. I’m happy to help.

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