As I handed in my thesis last month, I was exhausted. For the first time in months, I could think about my life after the deadline. My past-self had booked a get-away trip to Hamburg for my dad and I, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the brilliant idea. For Duurzame Student I made a city guide, recounting the highlights that make Hamburg an unforgettable destination for every sustainable traveler.
I had booked this trip several months prior and decided to go by train. Like most train journeys, planning ahead makes the trip way more affordable. If you are traveling last-minute or want to save some money, FlixBus is another affordable option.
If you are traveling by train, I can highly recommend reserving a seat for trains like the ICE (Intercity-Express). With no seat reservation you have a high chance you have to stand in a moving train with your luggage for a few hours, especially during holiday season. To save money and limit your waste during the journey, I suggest bringing your own snacks and drinks.
Before going to Hamburg, I recommend downloading the app from HVV (Hamburger Verkehrsverbund) if you decide to take public transport. In addition, you can look into the Hamburg CARD – an affordable ticket for unlimited travel within the city, as well as amazing discounts around the city.
Rather than relying on public transport, I opted to explore the city on foot, a choice that proved to be both enjoyable and entirely feasible. If you enjoy architecture like I do, you can keep wondering for hours!
Additionally, the city encourages cycling with well-connected bike paths and bike-sharing programs like StadtRAD. Explore Hamburg’s sights while reducing your carbon footprint.
Hamburg, like a lot of bigger German cities, has a variety of food options. I often try to find the balance between local and vegetarian food, which can be a struggle! Below, I will give you my favorite local restaurant and some recommendations for vegan/vegetarian restaurants.
Local: If you want to experience German cuisine, the restaurant Franziskaner is the perfect place for you. The restaurant serves their home-made beer and offers you a variety of specialties, served in traditional German attire. The food is delicious, however there are limited options if you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Address: Große Theaterstraße 9
With its menu changing daily, this restaurant is always full of surprises! They always have a huge range of cakes, which you should definitely try. Address: Feldstraße 36
- Vincent Vegan
If you want to experience a vegan fast food chain, this is the place for you. The chain offers a variety of vegan burgers as well as vegan milkshakes! Address: Ballindamm 40 (at Europa Passage) and Steintorwall 18-20 (at Hbf Hamburg)
Froindlichst offers an array of plant-based dishes that are both flavorful and beautifully presented. With its cozy ambiance, it’s a must-visit for vegans and non-vegans alike seeking a nice, enjoyable dinner. Address: Daimlerstraße 12 and Barmbeker Str 169
- CARINO vegetarisches Restaurant & Weinbar
If you want something a bit more luxurious, CARINO’s winebar is exactly what you need. The restaurant has a beautiful garden to eat in during summer, which I recommend you check out! Address: Schmilinskystraße 11
- Zum Spätzle
This Swabian-inspired restaurant is a nice mix of local and vegetarian: with a variety of options, you can try the Swabian cuisine. Address: Wexstraße 31
Like any other city, there are plenty of activities to do and sights to see in Hamburg. I used the book ‘Time to Momo – Hamburg’ (ISBN: 9789057678820) to discover the city. The book comes with an app, which I found quite useful! However, if you want to save some cash, the Hamburg Tourist Information website is very useful as well.
The highlight of my trip was seeing the musical Hamilton in German at the Operettenhaus. The Operettenhaus is located in St. Pauli, the neighborhood to visit if you enjoy a party. If you want to explore the green side of Hamburg, you should consider:
- Visiting the amazing green areas!
If you want to escape the busy city, visit Hamburg’s parks! The Stadtpark is a sprawling urban park with lakes, meadows, and a planetarium. The Altonaer Balkon offers lovely views of the Elbe and the harbor. For a peaceful retreat, head to the Botanical Gardens, Planten un Blomen, or the Ohlsdorf Cemetery, which doubles as a beautiful park.
- A walk around the Außen-Alster
Hamburg was part of the Hanseatic league, which means it has a rich and old history. In addition, it means the city is surrounded with beautiful rivers and lakes. I can recommend you to visit the Außen-Alster, a lake with gorgeous views.
- Visiting a museum (Check the whole list here)
Pro-tip: Use the Hamburg CARD to check for sustainable ánd affordable museums! You can save a few bucks and help the environment. My recommendation would be the Kiekeberg Living History museum, which is an open-air museum about pre-industrial life! I’ve never visited an outdoor museum before, which I found really fascinating.
- Visiting the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall
You might wonder, why visit a concert hall? Long story short: the Elbphilharmonie is the most stunning piece of architecture in the entire city. However, that is not all. The concert hall has a stunning rooftop plaza, offering panoramic views of the city. Even though it might sound cliche, the views are breathtaking.
If you want to plan a small getaway, Hamburg is the place to visit! From gorgeous architecture to beautiful botanic gardens, there is a lot to discover. Personally, I cannot wait to visit Hamburg again. Don’t forget to also check out our Antwerp and Berlin sustainable city guides!
Have you ever visited Hamburg? If so, tell me which sustainable activity you would recommend!