Everyone loves Hamburg. Most of my friends have been there on business, and they all come back raving about the beautiful parts of the city they explore between meetings. After hearing about my friends’ travels for the millionth time, I finally decided to spend 2 days in Hamburg to see for myself.
2 Days in Hamburg
I arrived last Tuesday morning and took the S-Bahn train into the city. Twenty minutes later, I was at the central station.
From there I walked along the trendy cafe-lined Lange Reihe in St Georg to my accommodation for my 2 days in Hamburg, The George hotel.
The George was trendy and chic, with lots of overstuffed sofas in the lobby lounge and hip design elements in the bar and restaurant. There were also big terraces outside that were perfect for relaxing in the summer sunshine.
I checked into my room on the 5th floor, which the hotel had offered me on a complimentary basis.
The room was small, but had a large bed with big white duvets, a comfy chair with a retro Union Jack pillow, a long, low table with a bright red stool to sit on, and a bathroom with a big white sink and a black tiled shower.
I settled into my room and took advantage of the Wi-Fi before setting off to start my itinerary for my 2 days in Hamburg.
My first stop was the Aussen Alster, the larger of two lakes in the city center. The George hotel was only a block away from it, and after I reached it I walked along the gravel path that lined the perimeter.
Every hundred yards or so there were piers with small cafes and restaurants, and out on the lake were sailboats and paddle boats of all sizes.
Back on the path, pedestrians and cyclists shared the walkways, and every lakeside bench was full of couples, families, and others watching the lake. It was peaceful. I could tell I was going to enjoy my 2 days in Hamburg.
After a while I stopped at one of the restaurants on the piers for a big bowl of seafood soup. It was good overall, if the clams were a bit sandy. The views across the lake were unbeatable, though.
It wasn’t the only restaurant I tried in my 2 days in Hamburg, either. Another culinary highlight of my Hamburg travels was a casual Vietnamese restaurant right in the city center.
O-Ren Ishii was packed at lunchtime with the local crowd, but I managed to get a seat at the bar right away. The waitress translated the menu for me, and I went with a chicken rice bowl that tasted absolutely amazing.
What To See in 2 Days in Hamburg
After all of the calories I consumed, I needed to do some walking during my 2 days in Hamburg. It wasn’t a problem. Even though Hamburg was a big city, it was easy to navigate on foot.
From the beautiful historic streets around the town hall to the hyper-modern HafenCity area with its architectural masterpiece, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, I explored the city until my feet felt like they would fall off.
I walked by the Hanseatic buildings on Deichstrasse, which reminded me of my recent trip to Bergen.
I also meandered through the Planten un Blomen park, which was one of the most beautifully landscaped city gardens I’ve ever been to. From fragrant roses to pretty ponds and wild waterfalls, the park had me in awe.
Further afield, I continued my 2 days in Hamburg by spending a few hours at the Hamburg Zoo. When I first arrived, I was surprised to see people feeding and touching most of the animals. The gift shop even sold animal food.
It made for a unique zoo experience, although I was disconcerted when I saw children terrorizing some of the uncaged animals while their parents looked on with little concern.
Another slightly off-the-beaten-path place I discovered during my 2 days in Hamburg was Altona. The area around the train station struck me as an up-and-coming neighborhood with a mix of old stores and shops.
There were also a lot of new cafes and restaurants around. There were several that I would have loved to try had I not just had a huge breakfast.
Back in the city center, I found myself in my own personal tourist hell: the Landungsbrucken. It was the worst of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf and London’s Piccadilly Circus.
With tour buses, tour boats, and tour operators swarming, I was overwhelmed. I got away as quickly as I could and walked up a pleasant street to one of Hamburg’s most famous landmarks, St Michaelis Church.
Aussen Alster and Binnen Alster
But the most pleasant place of all was still the Aussen Alster and its smaller sibling, the Binnen Alster.
In the evenings I spent time walking along their shores, taking in the beautiful architecture of Hamburg on one side and the gorgeous groups of sailboats on the other.
As the sun set behind them, the whole world came out to watch the end of the day. It was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had in the middle of a bustling city, and it made me want to stay forever.
Hamburg 2-Day Itinerary
But I couldn’t, if for no other reason than that I had to return to London to spread the word about the amazing city and share my itinerary for 2 days in Hamburg with others.
I hope it’s inspired you to visit this city in Germany yourself someday. It’s worth a special trip.
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