Hamburg is one of the richest cities in Germany. But beyond its economic wealth is a treasure trove of culture and rich history reflected through works of art, literature, and architecture. Go for a stroll in Hamburg Altstadt or the iconic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site brimming with charming old churches, shopping arcades, and beautiful medieval buildings.
While there’s no shortage of activities and attractions to see in this Hanseatic city, the only way to truly immerse yourself in Northern Germany’s history and natural beauty is through planning fun day trips from Hamburg. If you love Hamburg, you’ll fall more in love with other breathtaking destinations in the region, from wildlife parks and beaches to quaint villages and castles by the sea or neighboring cities. Tucked away in the countryside are countless hidden gems waiting to be discovered!
Just make sure you plan your visit, as the city can be pretty wet and windy. However, if the weather doesn’t allow you to venture further, you can schedule a tour of the best museums in Hamburg while waiting for the sky to clear up for your day trip. Drop off your bags at a storage locker in Hamburg and be ready for a remarkable adventure!
How to get out of Hamburg
Flying into Hamburg Airport? Get ready for an adventure! Hamburg takes pride in its extensive public transport system, including a light-rail network, underground trains, ferries, and buses. Its rapid transit network and regional train services connect the city center to the greater region, making day trips from Hamburg more convenient, cost-efficient, and faster than ever.
Of course, you can always hire a taxi service or a car to drive to your desired destination. Driving gives you maximum flexibility and comfort, allowing you to stop at as many places as possible without a time limit. But for budget travelers, taking trains or buses will enable them to save more and enjoy scenic views along the way.
There are multiple ways to get out of the city on your day trip, so choose the one that will best meet your needs and budget.
From Hamburg to Lübeck
Ask frequent travelers, and they will tell you that Lübeck is one of the top Hamburg day trips worth adding to your itinerary. Dubbed the Queen of all the Hanseatic cities, Lübeck was founded in the 12th century and remained prosperous until the 16th century as the primary trading center for northern Europe.
Though it suffered significant damage during World War II, its basic structure, consisting of 15th- and 16th-century homes, churches, salt storehouses, and public monuments, remains intact. Explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stroll through the stunning medieval alleys and courtyards. The Old Town is surrounded by water, and at the center is the impressive brick gothic architecture of the churches and merchants’ houses. There are also cultural venues and museums, including the tourist-favorite European Hanseatic Museum.
At the heart of the city is the Town Hall, one of the famous buildings in the brick Gothic style. This magical building looks like it comes straight out of a fairy tale, but it’s actually a working Town Hall where the city parliament meets and couples get married. Guests are welcome for a guided tour and to learn about this historical jewel.
How to get to Lübeck
Bus and train services will take you from Hamburg to Lübeck, and the journey takes just an hour or less. However, the easiest and fastest transportation between the cities is a train, which departs from Hamburg central station to Lübeck main train station. Trains operate daily and leave every half an hour.
From Hamburg to Glücksburg Castle
From a quick day trip to the Queen of the Hanseatic League, head further north of Hamburg to the gorgeous Glücksburg Castle. It’s an old castle and one of Northern Europe’s most significant castles constructed by Duke Hans the Younger. It sits by the lake, with huge gardens and beautiful grounds, adding to its ethereal atmosphere.
The castle features impressive stucco ceilings and architecture and is home to an outstanding collection of Flemish leather wall coverings and Dutch tapestries. It also has many interesting old portrays, which follow the castle’s history and the families who once called it home. It is open to visitors and can be used to host conferences, weddings, and special gatherings.
How to get to Glücksburg Castle
Unfortunately, there’s no direct bus or Train from Hamburg to the castle. The quickest way to get there is to drive, which can take about an hour and a half to two hours. You can still take a bus or a train, but you’ll have to transfer, which may take over two hours.
From Hamburg to Lüneburg
When visiting Hamburg, stop by the neighboring town of Lüneburg during your day trip. It’s one of the most picturesque places in northern Germany. It’s distinguished by its medieval Gothic-style buildings, having been among the few towns to emerge unscathed from World War II. Besides the sights, Lüneburg is worth visiting for its rich history and lively atmosphere that visitors will love.
If you want to learn more about Lüneburg’s past, you should visit some of the most notable historical buildings and galleries in the area. This includes the Am Sande Market Square, Lüneburg Town Hall, German Salt Museum, Water Tower, St. John’s Church, and Lüne Abbey. Meanwhile, if you want to experience Lüneburg’s nightlife, stop by the Stintmarkt and Lüneburg’s oldest pub, Pons.
How to get to Lüneburg
Lüneburg is about 55km southeast of Hamburg, taking 30 to 40 minutes on the road if you’re going by car or taxi. Alternatively, you can go for a 30-minute train ride from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof to the town.
From Hamburg to Altes Land
Experience life in the German countryside at Altes Land, one of the most accessible day trips from Hamburg. Literally translating to ‘The Old Land,’ Altes Land is a unique region that extends from the Hamburg gates over thirty kilometers south of the Elbe to Stade. For centuries, the area has been characterized by its bountiful orchards with fruits reaching far and wide, thanks to its proximity to Hamburg and Elbe River.
Architecture lovers will enjoy a visit to Altes Land, as it boasts some of the gorgeous architecture in Northern Germany. You’ll find Altländer churches in the town centers of Hollern, Twielenfleth, Grünendeich, Mittelkirchen, Borstel, Jork, and more. There are also half-timbered houses with intricately decorated Brauttür-style doors and gates. Besides the architecture, the Altes Land region is home to over 400 monuments, which include half-timbered homes, churches, museums, lighthouses, and windmills.
How to get to Altes Land
The Old Land is a quick drive from Hamburg. There are also bus and train connections that can take you to the region from the city, which can take around one and a half hours.
From Hamburg to Schwerin Castle
The Schwerin Castle, or Schweriner Schloss, is one of Europe’s most remarkable works of Historicism. It was built from 1847 to 1857 by Georg Adolf Demmler under the orders of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The architecture was influenced by 19th-century styles like ancient Greek and Roman or medieval, with the sophistication of Prussian Neoclassicism and Tudor Gothic in mind.
Today, the Schwerin Castle serves as both a tourist spot and museum that visitors frequent for an immersive and informative trip to ancient Germany. Explore the castle’s museum, gardens, cafés, restaurants, and chapel. Admission fee ranges from about $4 to $8 and the Schloss is open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Guided tours and audio guides are also available upon admission.
How to get to Schwerin Castle
Traveling by car or taxi from Hamburg to Schwerin Castle will take you less than two hours. Otherwise, you can take the train from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof or a bus ride from Hamburg ZOB to Schwerin Mitte or Schwerin Hauptbahnhof. From there, take a taxi or walk to the castle’s location.
From Hamburg to Stade
Despite being a small town, Stade is world-renowned for its fantastic sights, credited to its 17th-century style buildings and half-timbered houses. However, as a city surrounded by water, its most significant attraction is its old Hanseatic inland port. It was established in the 11th century for long-distance trade. Although it no longer serves the same purpose today, the historic harbor is still a magnificent sight to behold.
Another attraction in Stade that every tourist must visit is the Schwedenspeicher, a museum for the town’s history and Hanseatic League exhibitions. There’s also a Freilichtmuseum or an open-air museum, where you can visit an Altländer farmhouse, Geest farmhouse, and post mill. However, besides the harbor and the museums, there are more picturesque buildings to explore in Stade.
How to get to Stade
Stade is located east of Hamburg, and traveling to the town by car or taxi takes about an hour or so. As for going by train, there are different routes you can take. You can take the train from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof or Hamburg Jungfernstieg, then transfer to Hamburg-Harburg to get to Stade.
From Hamburg to Wildpark Schwarze Berge
If you’re traveling with your family, the Wildpark Schwarze Berge is the place to go. You can find many wildlife animals here, from pigs, goats, and bears to raccoons, otters, and even birds. However, this park is more than just a zoo. There are regular shows, feeding and petting activities, parks, and playgrounds for young children. If you’re into camping and hiking, the Wildpark Schwarze Berge is also an ideal location.
Wildpark Schwarze Berge is located at Am Wildpark 1 21224 Rosengarten. It’s open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, but you can stay until 8:00 PM. As for the individual admission rates, children’s tickets cost 10€ and adults 12€. Family cards for 10 cost about 100€, and there are also group programs for children’s birthdays and guided tours. As for getting around the park, you can walk around or go for car rentals and the park train.
How to get to Wildpark Schwarze Berge
Hamburg is more than 30km from Wildpark Schwarze Berge, and driving to the location only takes about 25 minutes. As for the train and bus routes, there are three options. However, the cheapest and fastest is to go from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and get off the stop at Hamburg-Harburg. Afterward, transfer to Hamburg Bf. Harburg to bus line 340 towards Rudolf Steiner Schule Harburg to get to the location.
From Hamburg to Holsteinische Schweiz
For thrill-seekers and nature lovers looking for the best day trips from Hamburg, tour the Holstein Switzerland region of Northern Germany. It is filled with rolling pastures, small lakes, and green forests, giving you a different insight into the German countryside. Besides flora and fauna, you can find cozy farmhouses, farms, and windmills, as well as historical sites and castles throughout the region.
Head to Holstein Switzerland Nature Park, which can be explored on horseback, on foot, by bike, or by boat, and stop by quaint towns and picturesque villages. You can sail, row, or canoe on the water or stay on dry land to hike, cycle, and ride across the area. With so much green space, there’s an array of outdoor activities perfect for young and young at heart.
How to get to Holsteinische Schweiz
It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Holsteinische Schweiz from Hamburg. But the fastest way to get to the region is by catching a train, which takes about an hour and twenty minutes. You can take a train from the main city station and get off at Bad Malente-Gremsmühlen Bahnhof.
Elevate your Travel Experience in Hamburg!
Expand your horizon and step away from your comfort zone by taking one of the unforgettable day trips from Hamburg. Escape the city’s hustle and bustle and see Northern Germany’s beautiful nature, alluring historical sites, and lovely cities and towns. Apart from the many attractions in Hamburg, countless cultural jewels and glorious landscapes await you in the countryside within an easy rich from the city.