Outdoor Activities in Hamburg

Find out about a diverse range of activities, sports and leisure pursuits on offer in Hamburg: walking, hiking, rowing, cycling, ice skating and skiing…

Hamburg is located on the River Elbe, into which the Alster and other smaller rivers flow. To the south, the Harburg Hills (Harburger Berge) offer a fine view over the city. There are forests east of Hamburg, including the Sachsenwald, which is the biggest in Schleswig-Holstein.

There are public parks, woods and green spaces in and around Hamburg that are open to walkers, cyclists and runners. There are also facilities for other outdoor activities: hiking, walking, cycling, and horse riding, as well as some water sports activities and a range of winter sports.

The German National Tourist Board provides information on outdoor activities.

Approximately eight percent of Hamburg is dedicated to nature conservation. These natural areas, which are open to the public, are ideal for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Public Parks

The City of Hamburg has many public parks.

Altonaer Volkspark: Hamburg's biggest park offers sites of historic interest as well as forest, lawns, a miniature golf range, a dahlia garden and a restaurant. To get there, take the Metrobus Line 2 to Stadionstraße station. If going by car, take the A7, take the exit at Bahrenfeld, and follow the directions to Stadion.

  • Tel: 040 428 113 613

Niendorfer Gehege: This former park in the north of Hamburg is now a nature reserve, as well as a recreation and leisure area with two playgrounds, a pony farm offering pony rides for children, a restaurant, and barbecue facilities. To get there, take the 181 bus line from Hagenbecks Tierpark or the U2 to Niendorf Markt. Alternatively, if going by car, there is parking at Beim Niendorfer Marktplatz.

Planten un Blomen: This beautiful park in the city centre has an adventure playground and an open ice rink during winter. The adventure playground is near the park’s entrance in St. Petersburger Street, and the park itself is close to the S-Bahn and Dammtor railway station.

  • At: Wallanlagen
    Tel: 040 428 232 150

Stadtpark Hamburg: Situated in the north of Hamburg and at almost 100 years old, Stadtpark Hamburg offers an athletics stadium, beach volleyball courts, swimming pools, barbecue facilities, lawns and more. The nearest S-Bahn station is Alte Wöhr.

  • At: Saarlandstraße 1, 22303 Hamburg

Walking and Hiking

There are many attractive places for walking and hiking in and around Hamburg.

North Hamburg - Valley of Alster (Alstertal)

The Alsterwanderweg is a trail along the Alster which runs from its source at Kayhude to its confluence with the Elbe. This trail is also part of the Via Baltica, the North-German Camino de Santiago trail.

Hikers can start the trail at the Alter Heidkrug Kayhude restaurant at Segeberger Str. 10A, 23863 Kayhude or at the Poppenbüttel S-Bahn station. By following the yellow road signs, walkers can travel all the way to the Rathaus in the City centre. It is about 18 Km from Poppenbüttel to the Rathaus.

  • For information about the Via Baltica: Click here (in German)
  • For information about hiking from the North German Hiking Association (Wanderverband Norddeutschland e.V.): Click here (in German)
    • Wanderverband Norddeutschland e.V.
      At
      : Nordkanalstraße 52, 20097 Hamburg
      Tel: 040 236 865 87
  • For information about hiking from the Hamburger Wanderverein: Click here (in German)
    • Hamburger Wanderverein
      At
      : Marshallweg 6, 22111 Hamburg
      Tel: 040 230 086

South Hamburg - Harburg Hills and Rosengarten Regional Park

The Harburg Hills offer the only climbing in the region. Walkers can find solitude, beautiful forests and scenic views. There is also mountain biking.

  • For information about the 16,6 Km GPS Tour in the Harburg mountains: Click here (in German)
  • For information about the 10 Km tour in the Rosengarten Regional Park starting at the S-Bahn: Click here (in German)

East Hamburg - Boberg Dunes, Sachsenwald Forest and Elbe River

The Boberg Dunes have footpaths for walking and an airfield for gliders. There is a parking area and bus station at Naturschutz-Informationshaus Boberger Niederung.

  • At: Boberger Furt 50, 21033 Hamburg
    Tel: 040 739 312 66
  • For information about the Boberg Dunes and trails: Click here (in German)

The Sachsenwald is one of the biggest forests in the region, and consists of conifers and broad-leaved trees. There are many walking trails, which can be reached easily by S-Bahn. Get off at Aumühle.

  • For information about walking trails in Sachsenwald: Click here (in German)

One of the most beautiful trails in the Hamburg area is the beaver trail along the Elbe. Beavers have reconquered the habitat in recent years, and there are beaver traces on many trees on the west side where the trail starts. The trail continues along the Elbe, in riverside forest.

  • At: Alte Salzstraße, 21481 Schnakenbek
  • For information about the beaver path: Click here (in German)

West Hamburg

The Klövensteen Nature Reserve situated west of Hamburg offers extensive hiking and horse trails, as well as game enclosures. There are further trails in the western part of Klövensteen and Wedeler Au.

The Elbe riverside trail between Blankenese and Wedel offers views of farmland, the harbour, industrial areas and the city. Walkers can choose which section of the trail to walk: from Hamburg to Wedel, for example.

Climbing

There are several indoor and outdoor climbing centres around Hamburg, as well as high rope courses. The Climbing Centre of the Hamburg Alpinist Association has three buildings with indoor and outdoor climbing facilities. They also organise sports events and training courses.

Cycling

The Elbe River Cycling Path follows the Elbe from its source all the way to Cuxhaven, passing through seven states, many cities and towns, and several nature reserves.

For rides around Hamburg, cyclists can select the area of their choice:

  • The Lauenburg region in Hamburg's southeast or across the river, near Hitzacker
  • The Wedel region or across the river in Finkenwerder in west Hamburg. The trail runs on both sides of the river until it reaches the Zollenspieker ferry. After this point (Hamburg Harbour area), the trail follows the right bank of the River Elbe, until it reaches the Finkenwerder ferry, where cyclists can cross the river and follow the trail on the left riverbank

Many cyclists choose to travel up river because of the westerly winds.

  • For further information about the Elbe River Cycling Path: Click here

There are also other long-distance cycling trails:

  • For information about the trail from Hamburg to Bremen: Click here
  • For information about the Wümme cycling trail: Click here

Cycling in the city

The City of Hamburg provides a navigation and route planning tool for cyclists (in German).

A popular cycling area is the route along the dike east of the city. Starting at S-Bahn Billwerder-Moorfleet, cyclists can follow the street along the Elbe River dike to Zollenspieker and beyond, with few traffic lights or junctions.

The German Bicycle Association in Hamburg (ADFC Landesverband Hamburg e.V.) provides information about cycling in the city and leisure groups.

Mountain biking and bicycle racing

There are several mountain bike and bicycle racing clubs in the region.

The Cycling Association promotes cycling and is composed of over 30 cycling clubs from bicycle racing to track racing, cross country, tourism, and mountain biking.

Horse Riding

Horse riding is very popular in and around Hamburg, with many clubs offering a variety of sports. The Association of Riding Clubs lists three race courses, two studs, polo courts, about 50 riding halls, more than 70 horse riding clubs, and 120 Km in riding trails.

There are many horse riding events which take place in Hamburg throughout the year.

At the end of June, there is a week of horse racing at Hamburg-Horn. The highlight is the Deutsche Galopp-Derby, which is organised by the Hamburg Racing Club.

  • Hamburger Renn-Club (in German)
    At: Galopprennbahn Hamburg-Horn, Rennbahnstraße 96, 22111 Hamburg
    Tel: 040 651 8229

The biennial international horse fair and gala show usually takes place in April, at the Congress Centre.

  • HansePferd
    At: Messeplatz 1, 20357 Hamburg
    Tel: 040 356 90

Rowing

Hamburg has a strong rowing tradition and the many waters in and around Hamburg are perfect for rowing and canoeing. The first rowing club in Germany was founded in Hamburg, and long-established clubs train on the Außenalster, the Dove Elbe, and various canals. Each club has a different tradition and style.

The Hamburg Rowing Association, which organises events in Allermöhe, provides information about the sport.

Winter Sports

Ice skating

When the waters in and around Hamburg freeze, there is ice skating on the Außenalster and the canals. The Außenalster needs at least ten days of continuous frost for the ice to be thick enough, while smaller lakes usually freeze over earlier. However, ensure that the ice is thick enough before going skating, and do not skate under bridges or near industrial buildings.

There are also several ice skating rinks in Hamburg.

Skiing

When snow falls in Hamburg, there are many small toboggan runs (rodelhänge) for children in parks and forests, from Blankenese to Bergedorf.

There are two leisure centres with artificial skiing slopes near Hamburg.