Hamburg is an ideal cycling city with thousands of metres of waterside cycle routes. You can enjoy several two-wheeled tour of Germany's premier port.
Similar to Copenhagen, for hundreds of years, much of today’s Hamburg was Danish territory. More than 150 passed but it’s easy enough to see the sign of the past. Like Copenhagen, Hamburg is flat as a pancake. Hamburg has only recently accept the idea that the odd rain shower shouldn’t put people off their bikes. Now, it is easy-access to rent-a-bike and choose a cycle tour of Hamburg a no-brainer.
THE OUTER and INNER ALSTER
Hamburg grew around the Alster river, which was dammed in the early Middle Ages, creating two lakes. One, the small “Inner Alster” is at the centre of town and is the classic postcard snapshot. The other, much larger “Outer Alster” is one of the best place for the locals that say that this is where central Hamburg is at its most beautiful. Starting at the legendary Hotel Atlantic, home to spies and rock stars alike, head north past the cafés and sailboat moorings to your left. It’s a bit loud at first but you’ll get your first pay-off with a great view across the water after a while. After that, the streets get quieter, the houses get bigger, and the views back into town just keep getting better. Just stick close to the water and cross at Krugkoppelbrücke to start heading back into town, stopping off for a drink if you’re thirsty.
THE other RIVER ELBE
Hamburg has another important river, economically far more important, the River Elbe, a mighty European waterway and home to the city’s port. Head to Landüngsbrücken for a first view of the impressive docks and then use the Alter Elbtunnel to cross. Don’t forget to look back across the water for the view that most miss, and then follow Hermann-Blohm-Straße and the railway sidings along Veddeler Damm for a unique look into the workings of a modern port. Turn left back towards town at Moldauhafen, crossing the river over the iconic Elbe bridges, and then head for HafenCity for a look at the city’s biggest brownfield regeneration project.
Another route you can enjoy, starts from Landungsbrücken and follows the river downstream. You’ll pass the renovated redbrick warehouses where cod, coffee and carpets were once traded. Next, it’s the unmistakeable rhomboid form of the Dockland cruise terminal: yes, you can climb up the stairs on the rear of it - and doing so will reward you with a sweeping panorama of the harbour. Keep heading out of town for the village-y charm of Övelgönne and its old fisherman’s cottages and, if you’ve got a whole afternoon, ride out as far as the Teufelsbrück ferry and then turn inland for the beautiful Jenischpark and the Botanic Gardens.