Hamburg: Wind, Water, and Wide Green Spaces

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Germany’s greenest city invites you to enjoy a city break in close touch with nature: with its countless Hamburg parks, nature reserves, beaches, open-air food stands and its unique urban shore, Hamburg ensures a relaxing and yet highly diverse holiday experience.

In Hamburg, inspiring urban environments and soothing greenery go hand in hand – sustainable hotels, retail shopping and gastronomic venues included.

No need for lengthy journeys, complex planning, or rushing. With its 31 nature reserves, Hamburg is one of the greenest cities in all of Europe, allowing visitors to enjoy urban flair combined with beautiful nature experiences.

So why not venture out for a hiking trip in the nearby Harburg Hills, followed by a refreshing shandy at the legendary Strandperle with a view of passing container ships. Or take a leisurely walk around the 200-year-old Planten un Blomen Hamburg park and pop over to the adjacent Karolinenviertel afterwards for fair fashion and natural cosmetics. Or how about an extended bike tour along Hamburg’s urban shore?

With a fresh tailwind, you can cycle alongside giant container ships, from the stairs quarter of Blankenese via the Oevelgönne beaches and past the St Pauli Fischmarkt all the way to the city centre. You can stop over at the Landungsbrücken for a fresh fish roll, or enjoy a cool drink on the Elbphilharmonie’s Plaza at sunset.

Hamburg is a thriving green pearl, with numerous bodies of water, a continuous fresh breeze, tree-lined streets, and residents who love their city just as much as Hamburg’s guests do. Hamburg offers an excellent climate especially in the summer months – and not just in terms of temperatures, but also in terms of street food locations, outdoor cafés, and lush green getaway destinations within easy reach.

Hamburg parks and outdoor spaces – a world of outdoor experiences

Hamburg has actually more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam. Little wonder though when you consider the countless canals and tributaries of the Alster Lake and the Elbe River. In Hamburg’s urban ecosystem, water and nature are embedded in a unique way. If you feel like discovering the city from an entirely new angle, you can rent a stand-up paddle board or a canoe at the Alster Lake in the city centre.

From there, you can make your way along the Alster canals that will take you to green residential areas and to Stadtpark Hamburg, the city’s green lung and a much-loved location for open-air events – and all this while enjoying summery temperatures and a refreshing breeze.

Hamburg provides a laid-back holiday experience – not only on the water, but also on land.

A relaxing summer in the city can also take the shape of browsing around the city centre, strolling through the countless inner-city parks, or chilling out on Hamburg’s waterfront. That’s because Hamburg’s retail opportunities go well beyond shopping centres, and because Hamburg boasts Europe’s largest Japanese garden as well as Europe’s most extensive park cemetery. And because Hamburg is one of the few cities that has its very own urban beaches.

The city’s cultural life is being rebooted cautiously and, due to current circumstances, Hamburg’s cultural venues will not be overcrowded this summer.

But that’s just fine, because Hamburg’s locals have their own way of enjoying a long summer’s night: in the countless street cafés, or at one of the beach clubs, beer gardens and open-air restaurant terraces – some of these with a maritime view of the Elbe, and others with a view of lush greenery on the banks of the Alster.

And all those wishing to get away from the urban environment can simply get a train from the central station to the countryside just on Hamburg’s doorstep:

in the matter of one hour, you can reach the seaside resorts on the Baltic Sea as well as the national parks and the Wadden Sea on the North Sea. The unspoilt nature around the Lauenburg Lakes to the east is also worth a day trip, as are the extensive hiking areas of the Lüneburg Heath in the south of Hamburg.

And even as a stopover on the way to the Baltic Sea, the North Sea or the route to Denmark, Hamburg is the ideal place to enjoy two or three days of urban flair combined with wind, water, and wide green spaces.

For all those who can’t wait to start planning their next Hamburg trip, we have compiled our very own…

Top 10 Hamburg tips revolving around water, wind, and wide green spaces:

Süllberg (Blankenese):

With an altitude of 75 metres, the Süllberg hill in Blankenese arguably offers the best view over the Elbe River and the North German lowlands – including a star-studded terraced restaurant and a beer garden (www)

Falkenstein shore (Rissen):

A hearty beach walk within the city boundaries, with some of the world’s largest container ships passing you by (www)

Jenisch Park (Nienstedten):

On the slopes above the Elbe, Hamburg shows its somewhat stately face: just off the elegant Elbchaussee, this landscaped park, which was designed as an English-style country estate, invites you to enjoy a picnic with a view of the Elbe – and to explore the art exhibits of the Jenisch Haus and the Ernst-Barlach-Haus on-site the premises (www)

Coast by east (HafenCity):

At a prime location in the HafenCity district and with an unobstructed view of the Elbphilharmonie, this restaurant offers Asian-inspired food, with a window front that can be opened and an eye-catching interior wall that is entirely covered by green plants (www.coast-hamburg.de/en/)

Canoeing and kayaking on the Alster:

Perhaps the best and most eco-friendly option are the GreenKayak boats as these combine paddling pleasure with environmental protection. Make sure to stop over at the Café Canale, where you can be served coffee and cake through a hatch while remaining in your vessel (www)

AlsterCliff (Harvestehude):

This prominent venue directly on the Alster Lake is all about seeing and being seen. Guests can choose between the indoor café and the wooden jetty (www)

Strandperle (Oevelgönne):

The ultimate Elbe experience. Look at the ships passing by, dig your feet into the sand and dream away the afternoon with a delicious fish roll in your hand (www)

Strand Pauli (St Pauli):

This beach club creates the perfect holiday atmosphere, including a St Pauli off-scene flair and a fabulous view of the shipyard on the other side of the Elbe (www)

A cycle tour along the Elbe and Hamburg’s urban shore:

Enjoy the tailwind on your trip from Blankenese in the west to the Elbphilharmonie in the HafenCity, with plenty of opportunities for ­refreshment along the way.

Elbphilharmonie Plaza (HafenCity):

A must for all guests since 2017, the Plaza viewing platform provides a unique panoramic view of Hamburg – with a steady west wind and best enjoyed at sunset (www)

Think green. Enjoy Hamburg!

What is one of the main components of a city break in close touch with nature?

Well, nature itself.

Today, metropolitan regions are increasingly taking steps to ensure that nature and natural resources are used in a responsible manner. In Hamburg, a fresh breeze can also be felt when it comes to sustainability, as the city’s ecosystem of fair fashion, regional and seasonal cuisine, as well as sustainable mobility and upcycling projects continues to grow and thrive.

Using the ICE, you can travel to Hamburg in a climate-friendly way, and thanks to Hamburg’s extensive and eco-friendly public transport network, including port ferries and the StadtRAD bike rental system, even families don’t need a car to get around. In fact, Hamburg’s local public transport system is entirely CO2 neutral.

Quite aptly, Hamburg Tourismus has launched the digital “Hamburg CARD Green”, which can be easily downloaded to your smartphone. The Hamburg CARD Green offers unlimited mobility, ensuring free travel by underground, suburban rail, buses and port ferries throughout your stay – in addition to countless opportunities to explore the real Hamburg. What is more, the card offers discounts at numerous (mostly sustainable) attractions across Hamburg.

For example, from the Steinstrasse bus stop in the old town, lovers of regional cuisine can walk over to the Hobenköök – a market hall with Hamburg delicacies and an adjacent restaurant.

Even sustainable overnight stays are easy in Hamburg: the Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus at Inselpark Wilhelmsburg, for instance, offers a holistic holiday experience amidst a forest atmosphere.

And all those who would like to spend the night in a super central location will find sustainable accommodation at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio. To view even more sustainable places and activities in Hamburg, please visit www.hamburg-travel.com/discover-hamburg/experience-sustainability/