Things to do in Hamburg if you have a Hamburg Airport Layover or Extended Hamburg Airport Stopover
If you have an extended layover at the Hamburg Airport or staying in town, why not consider getting out with some fun activities? We list a few here and there are many more on Hamburg.LayoverIdeas.com.
Although HAM Hamburg Airport is located outside of the city centre, the train gets you into the city centre quickly and efficiently. There's lots to see and experience, so take advantage of any extra time to see what you can.
HAM Hamburg Airport is hugely popular with plane-spotters, is surrounded by Schrebergärten (meticulously maintained allotments), park lands, and open green spaces, crisscrossed by bicycle and walking trails. The popularity of this area is not only due to the many viewpoints, but also because Lufthansa Technik (Lufthansa's maintenance service) operates some large hangars on the airport, which means that the site is visited by a variety of rare and interesting aircraft.
Go for a Boat Ride
The best way to explore Hamburg's extensive waterways (Hamburg has more bridges than Amsterdam, Venice and London combined) is on a ferry or pleasure boat. A variety of boat tours lasting from 50 minutes to 3 hours depart regularly from the Jungfernstieg on the Inner Alster lake. The simplest and shortest tour is the Alsterrundfahrt or Alster tour that lasts 50 minutes and takes in the Inner and Outer Alster lakes.
Ride a Ferry
As a low-budget alternative for a boat tour on the river Elbe take a HADAG Ferry that is part of Hamburg's public transport system (HVV, see "Get around"). If you have already bought a HVV day ticket, the ride is free. Most tourists take the number 62 to Finkenwerder, via the museum harbour Övelgönne. The whole ride to Finkenwerder and return takes about an hour. In Finkenwerder, you can continue with another ferry to Teufelsbrück (Line 64 which is also part of the HVV).
Take an Art Walk Beneath a River
You can also walk through the tunnel Alter Elbtunnel from 1911 to the other side of the river Elbe and have great views from there. A lift or stairs bring you the 24 metres down into the tunnel. You then walk through one of its two 427 metre long pipes having 12 metres of water over your head. The tunnel is decorated with ceramic arts of maritime motifs (e.g. fish, mussels, seals, old boots). At the other side, you again walk up the stairs or take a lift. Go out and back to the river to "Aussichtspunkt Steinwerder" for great views on Landungsbrücken and the sights behind. You find the tunnel at Landungsbrücken in the building having the biggest green dome. Signs to "Aussichtspunkt Steinwerder" also point to it. For pedestrians and bicycles it is free and open all day and night, every day.
Stroll Around Schanzenviertel
This neighbourhood is situated right in between Sankt Pauli, Eimsbüttel, and Altona. Get out Sternschanze station and walk down Schanzenstraße southward to reach the vivid centre of Schanzenviertel. Students and immigrants from all around the world and young creatives give this quarter a unique and urban flair. During the last few years, Schanzenviertel became very popular among even wealthy people. The Schulterblatt street with the Rote Flora building and its galore of bars and restaurants represents the centre of Schanzenviertel. The Rote Flora used to be the last squatted house in Hamburg, it's now left to the squatters for free by the owner. During the week, it is turned into a café, concerts of various styles or other events may also take place. On some days there is cheap (mostly vegan) food available. You can sometimes find fantastic parties for small prices on Friday and Saturday.
Visit a Beach
There are a number of small beaches on the North side of the Elbe river between Övelgönne and Blankenese. Even though not common, it is safe to swim in the Elbe there (if you don't swim out too far). Watch out for surprisingly large waves created by large ships passing by and stay clear at least 50m of any structure in or reaching into the water! The best way to get to the most popular beach is to take the harbour-ferry bus from the Landungsbrücken station to Neumühlen/Övelgönne. In addition, there are a usually number of commercial beach clubs during the summer, usually between Fischmarkt and Övelgönne. Other than the name might indicate, these are bars open to the public.
As always, make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to HAM Hamburg Airport and clear security in time for your connecting flight. Enjoy your transit city rather than whiling away the time leaning up against your luggage in the departures lounge.
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