Boat rides on Alster Lake
In summer Hamburg’s Alster Lake
comes alive with joggers, ice cream vendors and yachtsmen showing off their boats. Alster steamers take visitors across the deep blue lake, located right in the centre of Hamburg, and up the adjacent Alster river
. Rent a small boat to paddle yourself, or walk along the lake’s banks, lined with some of the city’s most elegant buildings.
Lounging at beach clubs
In summer the river Elbe is lined with friendly and accessible beach clubs. Order a Caipirinha and retire to a deckchair at the sandy StrandPauli
, close to the central Landungsbrücken pier. Next door is the stylish Hamburg City Beach Club
, where large palms stand next to large white sunshades. From the sandy beach of the relaxed Strandperle
, a little further west, visitors have a great view of Hamburg’s port, with massive ships passing in the distance.
Open air cinema
Open air cinemas set up throughout Hamburg in the summer, showing both old classics and new releases. Bring a picnic to the Sternschanzen Park
in the alternative-minded Sternschanze district, where old and new films are shown. Alternatively, take your seat in the courtyard of the Altona City Hall for the Zeise Open Air
, which shows the best movies of the previous year. The Summer Cinema Alsterdorfer Markt
takes place on the cobbled market square of Alsterdorf, a little further north, and it’s free.
Summer barbecues are a favourite Hamburg past-time and the city has plenty of spots where visitors can join the action. Bring a disposable grill to the wide lawn of the central Stadtpark
, or take the S-Bahn train to the less crowded Falkensteiner Embankment
, in Hamburg’s Blankenese district. The StrandPauli
beach club, near the Landungsbrücken pier, adds a sandy beach to the barbecuing fun, while the Yacht Harbour Wedel
allows visitors to use its permanent stone grills.
A summer break in Hamburg is a great time to get active. Rent a bicycle and follow the upper Alster river
out of the city. Between Poppenbüttel and Ohlstedt, the route crosses the wildlife-protected Rodenbeker forest
, where trickling waterways cross pre-historic stone formations. Visitors who like swimming can dip into the natural ponds of the Farmsen Strandbad
, in the north-eastern Farmsen, or try the large slides at Freibad Marienhöhe
, in the western Sülldorf district. One of Hamburg’s nicest jogging routes takes runners through Planten un Blomen
, a beautifully landscaped park that features botanical gardens and tropical conservatories.
Some of the best German bands, as well as international stars, hit the open air stage of Hamburg’s Stadtpark
every summer. Besides the rock, pop, jazz and world music offering, there is plenty of family entertainment, including children’s theatre and comedy shows. Visitors who like musicals can catch The Lion King
at its permanent home inside a purpose-built tent on a small island off the Landungsbrücken pier. At Römischer Garten,
next to the Elbe river
in Blankenese, the remains of a Roman amphitheatre are transformed into a theatre stage every summer.