Exploring the City of Hamburg in 2 Days [Itinerary, Tips, Attractions & More]

Germany was was of my favorite countries on my recent Euro trip and the lovely city of Hamburg stole my heart. Covering Hamburg in 2 days seemed like a feat but sadly, I just had a weekend to explore this amazing town.

So, I packed my bags, grabbed a friend and together we took the first bus out of Berlin. Within a few hours, we were comfortably checked into the awesome Heikotel am Stadtpark.

We discovered there were plenty of things to do and places to visit in Hamburg so without wasting any time, we started our 48 hour Hamburg itinerary.

Hamburg Attractions to Include in your 2 Day Itinerary

hamburg in 2 days

With so much to see and do its hard to choose how you want to spend your weekend in Hamburg but here’s a starting point based on my own travel plans.

Embark on the Hamburg City Tour HOHO Bus

First things first, we wanted to get a good overview of the city so we got into our Hop on hop off city tour bus that covers this route.

Hamburg city guide

Get off your HOHO Bus to walk around and soak in the city vibes

The guided tour was in German but there was an option to download their app for the English translation. Luckily, my friend was German so she translated the highlights which were fun and entertaining insights to the various cathedrals and architectural delights we crossed.

hamburg canals

Stunning canals all around town

Sadly, the bus didn’t take is in the mecca of the center due to the big Schlagermove music parade happening that weekend, however the festival turned out to be one of the highlights of our 2 days in Hamburg.

Enjoy Relaxed Boat Tours Around the City

Steam boat tour in Hamburg

Steam boat tour in Hamburg

As a city that boosts of one of the largest ports in Europe, spanning across 110 kms, harbour boat tours are pretty much a norm here. Elbe river is bustling with boats of all sorts, shapes and sizes. From people trying paddleboarding to small yachts, speed boats and sailing ships – the river is bouncing with activity.

hamburg 2 day itinerary

Enjoy the city view from water

Your best bet for boat tours will be Barkassen-Meyer or the lovely steam boat tour with the “St. Georg” at lake Alster.

Both offer a great guided insight into the city and its history plus a peak into daily life as you see people enjoying by the river.

Tip – You can even sneak down to see how the steam boat actually works and the staff on board is more than happy to show you around.

Hamburg City Cycles Tour

Hamburg city cycles offers an excellent insight into the city of Hamburg and is perhaps the best way to explore the city – On a bike!

hamburg city cycles

Loved riding around the vibrant city of Hamburg

They have lovely, comfy bikes suitable for all age groups and heights (Almost!). They take you on an easy paced, fun and educational ride around the city for 3 hours. From ghettos to upscale streets, parks to cathedrals, you see it all! Plus, you have a witty English speaking guide leading the small group tour and we learnt more about Hamburg in those 3 hours, than we did in rest of the 45.

Hamburg on bike

Riding by the lake

hamburg on bike

Exploring Hamburg on bikes

So definitely a great tour to learn all the interesting facts and explore different parts of town.

Go During a Festival

Want to make your short 48 hours in Hamburg extra special and fun? Well, then you are in the right city. The city boasts of several epic locales for festivals making it a hot spot host for special events, theater, festivals, parades and markets.

We were lucky enough to enjoy the city during the fun Shlagermove parade which was simply epic. Since we weren’t prepared, we simply bought some accessories off the street, minus the funky wigs (Though now I wonder why not?) and got right into the festive spirits.

Shlagermove music parade in Hamburg

Enjoying Shlagermove music parade in Hamburg

The streets were bustling with people dressed in their favorite 70’s costumes – think flowers, peace signs, bell bottoms and pastel colors .. and thousands of people on the streets drinking beer, dancing to Shlager music. What mad fun it was! This surely made our Hamburg 2 day itinerary unforgettable.

Party at St Pauli

Nightlife in St Pauli, which is the wicked red-light and party street of Hamburg, is considered one of the best in Europe. From cheap bars, outdoor beer stands, street parties as well as high-end clubs, St Pauli is a great way to celebrate your weekend in Hamburg.

st pauli street hamburg

Tip – Best way to travel around the city is to get a Hamburg card which allows you unlimited travel on public transport and huge discounts on top attractions. This handy card allows you to make the most of your 48 hours in Hamburg.

Where to Eat During Your 2 Days in Hamburg

Hamburg has plenty of eating out options. You can opt for a local diner, classy joint or even try some street food. I would say mix it all up but surely check out my top picks –

Dine in Style at VLET an der Alster

In mood for a classy dining experience? Well, then VLET an der Alster is the answer. Perfect location on the lake overlooking town hall, this restaurant service impeccable local cuisine.

hamburg food

Lovely outdoor sit out

Superb and cozy indoor seating as well as lovely outdoor dining options are available for all guests. Since it can get a bit chilly outdoors, warm blankets are offered as well. Gourmet meals are served with elegance and having a full course meal with wine is a norm.

hamburg restaurant

Scrumptious sea bass as main course

Absolutely must try when in Hamburg!

Devour Tasty Organic Burgers at Better Burger Company

Not your fancy dinner joint but surely the tastiest and most filling burgers I have had in Germany. I ordered the burger meal alongside fries and cola which I wasn’t even able to finish. You can choose 5 items to add to your burger from an array of fresh toppings.

better burger company

Burger meal combo at BBC

If you want to try authentic, organic Hamburg burgers (yeah I see the tongue twister here), THIS is the place to be.

If I had more time, I would surely keep a week to enjoy the wonders of Hamburg. After all, I totally missed the cool , alternative district of Hamburg Schanzenviertel. There are several other tours and un-missable attractions and plenty to keep your days occupied here.

hamburg: Get Your Guide

So if you have explored Hamburg in 2 days as well? Let me know your weekend itinerary and tips in comments below.

Disclaimer – My Hamburg 2 day itinerary was chiseled and fine tuned in collaboration with Come to Hamburg. All opinions and wardrobe fails during the Shlagermove are, however my own 🙂

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