8 Cool and Alternative Things to Do in Hamburg in Winter

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One of my favorite cities in Germany is Hamburg. While many people may not flock to Hamburg in winter, it certainly has enough to keep one occupied for a weekend break. 

Are you planning your trip to Hamburg last minute?

If youʻre booking your trip to Hamburg last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

🇩🇪  Top Experiences and Tours in Hamburg:

  1. Hamburg Harbor Light Tour (amazing winter experience!)
  2. 1.5-Hour Harbor and Speicherstadt Day Cruise (popular cruise!)
  3. 3-Hour Culinary Tour of the Schanzenviertel (traditional German food!)
  4. Elbphilharmonie, Speicherstadt & HafenCity Tour (popular tour!)

🛏️. Top Hotels in Hamburg:

  1. Movenpick Hotel in Hamburg (luxury – I stayed here and loved it!)
  2. prizeotel Hamburg-St.Pauli (excellent location, interesting design!)
  3. Ibis Hamburg City  (budget option!)

🚗  Looking for the best way to get around Hamburg? Click here to check rental car rates for Germany!

This is a guide to things to do in Hamburg during winter.

Best Things to Do in Hamburg in Winter

I love traveling to places during winter.  In fact, I much prefer it. I don’t enjoy sweating and in Germany, where air conditioning is a luxury and not a commodity, I often find it hard to get cooled off when traveling during the summer months. 

And while I love having a terrace beer or coffee as much as the next guy or gal, I’ll gladly have one inside to avoid traveling during warmer months.

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter. forest in hamburg
Hamburg in Winter

Many people in Hamburg will tell you to ‘come back during the summer months’, and while I’m sure summer has a lot to offer, don’t shun winter travel to the city. 

There are so many things to do in Hamburg, Germany during the winter months.  Some are fairly obvious, but others take a bit of research to get planned. 

I am completely convinced that Hamburg has a lot to offer tourists and travelers no matter what time of the year they travel to the city whether it be for just a day in Hamburg or much, much more. But, Hamburg in winter won’t let you down if you plan accordingly.

Renting a Car in Germany

Are you wanting to rent a car for your winter trip to Hamburg? Driving in Germany can be fun, yet a bit daunting for those not comfortable behind the wheel. 

Germans are safe drivers, but yes, they do drive pretty fast! I only recommend renting a car if you’re comfortable and want to experience the autobahn at its finest. You don’t need a car in Hamburg city, of course, but outside of the city, you may want one.

>> Click here to Rent a Car in Germany

Click here to rent a car in Germany

Hamburg City Pass

One of our top recommendations for getting the most out of a city is to grab up the city pass if one is available. Hamburg has a great city pass and it is affordable and offers freebies and many discounts to those visiting the German city.

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter. river cruise through hamburg
Boat cruise in Hamburg

>> Click here to buy the Hamburg City Pass

What to Do During Winter in Hamburg

1. Take a Break in the Forest

I know you’re asking yourself why I listed ‘going to a forest’ first, but trust me. 

I like the forest probably 99% more than the average person, but I especially love visiting and getting lost in the forests of Northern Europe during the winter.  I find them creepy and haunting and particularly photogenic.

Hamburg has quite a few green spaces, parks, and city forests… which is something I was extremely surprised and pleased about when visiting. 

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter. forest in hamburg

We happily walked through them when we found them and the fog was heavy which added to the mystery of the place. Another great thing about forests in Germany?  There is a high probability that you will see dogs in them.  Pretty much a win-win situation, if you ask me.

2. Hop On a Hamburg Cruise at Dusk

While this activity may be enjoyed better in summer due to the weather, I can highly recommend it as a winter activity, too. The reason?  Fewer crowds and you get to do it at dusk (which is like 3 pm in Hamburg in winter).

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter.
Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

The cruise starts off going through the historical district of Hamburg and then takes you through the industrial and port part of the city where you will sail through shipbuilding docks, seeing historic German warships and massive container ships. 

>> Click here to book Hamburg’s most popular evening harbor cruise

3. Enjoy Hamburg’s Best Cafes and Coffee

The coffee and cafe scene in Hamburg is amongst Germany’s best. It was easily one of the top things I was looking forward to in Hamburg in winter and that season is the best time to explore it and explore it thoroughly as it gives you an excuse to take refuge in cafes all day. 

The best coffee and cafes in Hamburg, Germany elbgold roastery
Specialty coffee in Hamburg

I tend to prefer specialty coffee, but the city caters to all types of coffee and tea lovers. Click here to find out which Hamburg cafes recommend for awesome coffee.

4. Visit the Hamburg Planetarium

We went out to visit the Planetarium when in Hamburg and unfortunately, our tickets got mixed up, so we didn’t have a chance to actually do anything there. On the other hand, I am really happy we actually ventured out that way as we discovered some cool parks along the way. 

And… the Planetarium looks amazing inside.  I am a nerd for all things space and astro- and it seems as though the Planetarium really would have been something I would have thoroughly enjoyed.

The Hamburg Planetarium is one of the oldest in the world and also one of the most visited ones. They have several shows and exhibits that will not only impress the kids but also the adults.

Working Hours: all week from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Saturday – 12:00 AM to 10:30 PM, Sunday – 10 AM to 7 PM, closed on Mondays

Ticket price: 12 Euros (13 USD)

Address: Linnering 1, 22299 Hamburg

To find out more information, check out their Website.

5. Indulge in Hamburg’s Craft Beer Scene

One thing I love in particular about Hamburg is that it is the epicenter of craft beer in Germany. Many would be quick to say that Berlin reigns king, but I beg to differ.  I have always found Hamburg on the cusp of something bigger and the brewers in Hamburg more willing to experiment. 

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter. craft beer
Craft Beer in Hamburg

Maybe it is the Nordic feel of the city?  Or maybe the locals just have this ingenuity about that that inspires them to go big or go home.  Whatever it is- I’m diggin’ it.  Click here to read about craft beer in Hamburg.

Are you wanting to learn more about craft beer in Hamburg? If so, this tour takes you around the city where you will get to learn about and taste the local Hamburg beer.  Definitely worth it, in my opinion!

6. Check out Awesome Hamburg Street Art, Markets, and Everyday Life

Hamburg has a unique feel to the city compared to that of what you’ll find in other parts of Germany. There are a few weekend markets in Frankfurt, but perhaps nothing as cool as the ones you will inevitably stumble upon in Hamburg. 

Street art rules the streets and the locals go about their everyday routine in such a cool and careless manner. 

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter. street art hamburg
Street Art of Hamburg

Down where I live in Frankfurt, life is stiff and everyone looks slightly more stressed than our neighbors in the north.  I must say I prefer the effortlessness of the North.

7. Trace Someone’s Search for a Better Life at Emigration Museum BallinStadt

This museum is something I had always wanted to check out in Hamburg. Most of my ancestors came from Eastern Europe (others were native Americans) in search of a better life across the Atlantic in the United States. 

In fact, some of my ancestors came through the same halls that I walked when I went into this museum.

I have done a bit of research in the past regarding my ancestors and it was really fascinating and humbling to be standing in an area where so many people seeking new and better lives for themselves and their future generations.

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter. emigration museum ballinstadt
Emigration Museum BallinStadt

The Emigration Museum BallinStadt doesn’t take long to navigate through and doesn’t just house stories and memorabilia from emigration from centuries ago, but also stuff from recent migrations. 

If you are interested in visiting, it is easily reached via public transportation from the city center.  There is a restaurant/cafe on-site.

Working Hours: all week from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, closed on Mondays

Ticket price: 13 Euros (14 USD)

Address: Veddeler Bogen 2, 20539 Hamburg

To find more information, check out their Website.

8. Go to Miniatur Wunderland

Off the path?  Not particularly.  Obscure?  Yes.

My partner went to the Minature Museum of Hamburg (Miniatur Wunderland) and found it very crowded, but a good time to spend if you want a unique perspective on the city and other cities around the world. 

The museum is split into different countries and you have the opportunity to see scenes from the daytime and nighttime in the different areas.

There is also a full-scale control room where the museum ensures that the model trains and planes all run correctly and take off the way they are supposed to. 

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter. miniatur wunderland
Miniatur Wunderland

In addition to that, there is also a miniature airport that was added recently which is where the planes land and take off. 

Unfortunately, due to the incessant Sunday crowds, he left the museum pretty quickly but said he would have thoroughly enjoyed it had it been on a weekday and there were fewer children around (sorry, kids!)

Address: Kehrwieder 2/Block D, 20457 Hamburg

Do You Need Travel Insurance for Germany?

Yes, you definitely need to prepare travel insurance before hitting the road to Germany. While Germany is pretty safe and it is unlikely you will need it, you really never know. 

8 alternative things to do in hamburg, germany in winter. river cruise through hamburg
Hamburg Port

We recommend getting insurance with the Norwegian company, SafetyWing.  They have affordable policies and worldwide coverage and are an excellent choice for travelers.

>> Click here to get a Germany travel insurance quote

What if I have Problems with my Flight?

As with anywhere, if you’re flying to Hamburg, you might face delays, cancellations, or even get denied boarding. These are all the unfortunate parts of traveling by air. If you experience any of these issues, check if you can get compensation as you may be entitled to up to 600 €.

MYFLYRIGHT lets you check for free and if you do have a claim, they’ll deal with it for you, so you can continue with your trip to Hamburg stress-free.

Best Tours in Hamburg

Hamburg is such a cool and quirky city but it is sometimes hard to see it all yourself if you have limited time or want to explore each sight a bit deeper and get more information. 

There are a few great tours available in Hamburg and here are our recommendations:

Things to Do in Hamburg in Winter (On a Map!)

🗺️  HOW TO USE THIS MAP: You can use your fingers/mouse to zoom in and out. To get more info about a place, simply touch/click the icons. Want to save this map for later use? Click the ‘⭐’ by the map title and it will add it to your Google Maps account (Saved > Maps or ‘Your Places’).

Where to Stay in Hamburg

I highly recommend staying at the Movenpick Hotel in Hamburg for your weekend getaway. 

While it may be a slight splurge for some budgets, the amenities, and location more than make up for it. The hotel is also super-centralized and near everything I mentioned above in this guide- or it is a quick tram or train ride away. 

They also have different tiers of rooms making this a luxury accommodation or a mid-range one, depending on which tier you book. I highly, highly recommend the Movenpick Hotel in Hamburg.

>> Click here for rates and availability for Movenpick Hotel 

Are you looking for something a bit more budget-friendly?  If so, Hamburg has several options but our favorite is Pyjama Park. They have two locations- one in St. Pauli and the other in Sternschanze.

The colorful hostel is friendly and welcoming and you will be located in a great place no matter which one you choose! 

>> Click here to check rates and availability for Pyjama Park

Is visiting Hamburg in winter on your bucket list? What is your favorite thing about the city or what do you recommend travelers do when there?

More Germany Travel Guides

4 thoughts on “8 Cool and Alternative Things to Do in Hamburg in Winter

  1. Richard Bulin says:

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  2. Shermaine says:

    Hi Megan, the photos you took at the city forest are amazing! May i know the name of the place as i am also a fan of nature and parks? Thank you.

  3. peter says:

    my dream to spend my holidays in HAMBURG staying at the Moven pick Hotel in Hamburg for your weekend getaway.i stay in moven pick hotel because the building was unique and every thing is beautiful in the hotel

  4. kazim Gurmani says:

    wow, very nice to read that, visiting the forest and the delicious cuisine is what a traveler would love the most. Seems very amazing with high quality pictures. So wonderful……

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