Winter in Hamburg

Seven top winter activities to enjoy in Hamburg



Grey, cloudy skies and lots of rain – that’s the usual stereotype about Hamburg’s weather. But the sun does come out in the far north from time to time. And yes, even in wet weather, this Hanseatic city has a lot to offer. So pack an umbrella and get going! Here are seven must-see attractions to add to your Hamburg checklist.



Ahoy, sailor!
The harbour and the tides – the beating heart of the city

Hamburg, what makes you tick? At its heart, Hamburg is a seafarers’ city. The harbour, the tides, the boats – this Hanseatic city has a rich maritime history, which visitors can discover on museum ships such as Rickmer Rickmers and Cap San Diego. Explore the whole ship from bridge to engine room and enjoy a fantastic range of permanent and special exhibitions. Why not try out an escape room on one of the ships and put your detective skills to the test? There were certainly plenty of secrets and riddles aboard the Soviet spy submarine U-434 during the Cold War. Now out of service, it is moored and open to visitors at St. Pauli fish market. Also underground – almost 24 metres underground, in fact – is the Alter Elbtunnel (literally the ‘Old Elbe Tunnel’). Opened in 1911, this was the first underwater tunnel to be built beneath a river in the history of Europe. To this day, the tunnel connects the floating docks (known as the ‘Landungsbrücken’) with the harbour area in Steinwerder and has been declared a protected monument.

Brave the weather
Venture outdoors

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing – so they say. Even in wind, rain or snow, Hamburg’s natural scenery has a lot to offer. Grab a hot cup of coffee to go or pack a thermos of tea and you’ll be well prepared for a wintry walk along the banks of the Elbe. Starting from the Altonaer Balkon, where you can enjoy a great view of the Elbe, just head down to the river and follow it until you find yourself in the Treppenviertel (literally ‘staircase quarter’) in the former fishing village of Blankenese. A nice alternative is to walk a circular route through the Stadtpark, heading from the model boat pond to the Stadtparksee lake and passing the ‘Liebesinsel’ (love island) on the way to the planetarium. On your way back, you can escape to another world with a book reading at the Lesecafé. If you’d prefer a more fast-paced activity, you can get your skates on and take to the ice – at the EisArena Hamburg located at the centre of the ‘Planten un Blomen’ park, for example.

A haven of warmth and wellness: Hamburg’s thermal baths
Escape the cold

With flushed cheeks and autumn winds blowing you along, you can head straight from your walk to the spa. The Bartholomäus-Therme and the Holthusenbad are housed in art nouveau-style buildings and boast a stylish atmosphere. Stepping into the perfectly heated pool feels like sinking into a warm cup of cocoa. Forget the stresses of everyday life in one of the saunas or let off some steam in an aqua fitness class. For families with children, we recommend a trip to Festland, Germany’s largest water adventure playground. Or you can visit Hamburg’s oldest swimming pool, Kaifu-Bad, which also features a brine pool. This is a tank of highly concentrated salt water solution that you can float in, similar to the Dead Sea. Perfect for a bit of rest and relaxation.

Watch in awe
From the stars in the sky to the stars on the screen

Are you an explorer who wants to know how the world works? Then you should definitely pay a visit to the planetarium, where you can learn all about the Earth’s place in the cosmos and embark on a thrilling journey through the universe. You may only be able to observe the stars from a distance at the planetarium, but at the Tropen Aquarium at the Tierpark Hagenbeck, you can experience exotic animals right up close. Sharks, crocodiles, snakes and all kinds of fish – the aquarium is home to more than 350 exotic species from all over the world, some of which are endangered. If you fancy escaping the real world with a trip to the cinema, you can immerse yourself in a fantastical story at the Savoy Filmtheater. One cinema, one screen, where you can watch the latest blockbusters in their original language. If you’re in the mood for an indie film, your best bet is the Alabama. This art-house cinema doesn’t offer the option to book specific seats – so be sure to arrive in plenty of time.


Culture with a capital C!
Broaden your horizons

The Elbphilharmonie? The Kunsthalle? Everybody’s heard of those. The Museum of Work in Hamburg-Barmbek, however, offers a new perspective on the Hanseatic city. The museum demonstrates how life and work have changed between the 19th century and the present day, with lots of interactive, hands-on activities for visitors of all ages, such as medal-making. For another immersive experience, check out Dialogue in the Dark. On this pitch-black exhibition course, a blind host guides visitors through the unfamiliar world of darkness. This experience promises a shift in perspective that will really stay with you. The course breaks down barriers and brings blind and sighted people closer together. Another way to discover new worlds is to watch a musical. From Mamma Mia to The Lion King, Hamburg is Germany’s musical capital. Visiting the city without seeing a musical would be like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower – simply unimaginable.

Don’t let a bit of rain stop you from getting active!
Raining outdoors, sweating indoors

Bounce, jump, do somersaults – and, most importantly, avoid the rain. At Hamburg’s trampoline park Sprungraum, you can be a kid again and let off some steam. Here in this indoor bouncing paradise, it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like. And for all you thrill-seekers, the trampoline park also features a ‘Ninja’ course. For another sporty challenge, check out the Flashh bouldering centre in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld. With a total of 250 routes to choose from, beginners and seasoned climbers alike are sure to find their favourite. If that sounds like a bit too much action for you, why not go for a round of minigolf at the Schwarzlichtviertel? In this world of UV light, sound effects and optical illusions, your challenge is to manoeuvre the ball into the hole across a 1,000 m² course.

A foodie’s paradise
Adventure in every bite

Got a sweet tooth? Listen up! Hamburg may be known for its famous ‘franzbrötchen’ – cinnamon-filled pastries – but that’s not the only sweet treat this city has to offer. At the interactive chocolate museum Chocoversum, you can sample a wide variety of chocolate products. You’ll also learn about the entire production process, from cocoa bean to finished chocolate. And as a special treat, you get to make your own chocolate bar and take it home as a souvenir. There are even more sweet treats to discover at the ‘Bonscheladen’ shop in Altona. In Hamburg, hard candy is called ‘Bonsche’. And you can watch live demonstrations to discover how it is made at the Bonscheladen. If you prefer spicy to sweet, be sure to stop by Hamburg’s spice museum Spicy’s. Hamburg was once considered a stronghold of the spice trade and therefore has a rich spice history. With up to 50 different spices to discover through touch and smell, the museum promises to be a real feast for the senses.