How to Travel From Berlin to Hamburg by Train, Bus, and Car

Scenic View Of Sea Against Sky During Sunset
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With only 247 miles (398 kilometers) of highway separating Germany's two largest cities, Hamburg is just close enough to Berlin to justify a day trip. If you're itching to leave the eclectic capital for the seaside metropolis of Hamburg, you can either book a seat on a train or bus or drive there yourself. No airline offers direct flights between Berlin and Hamburg, but thankfully Germany's rail system is easy to use and the highway system allows for speedy driving.

  Time Cost Best For
Train 2 hours from $30 Convenience
Bus 3 hours, 15 minutes from $5 Budget travel
Car 3 hours, 10 minutes 247 miles (398 kilometers) Flexibility

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Berlin to Hamburg?

With FlixBus, tickets to Hamburg can be extremely cheap if you book in advance. You might occasionally score a great deal with a $5 fare, but in general, tickets will rarely cost more than $20. Buses leave Berlin throughout the day from either the Central Bus Station, the Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL), or Alexanderplatz. The bus journey can take as little as three hours, 15 minutes, or longer than four hours. It depends if there are any stops made on the way, or if you hit traffic while leaving or entering either city.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Berlin to Hamburg?

Thanks to Germany's high-speed trains, you can be in Hamburg in as little as two hours. The Intercity Express (ICE) trains to Hamburg, which can reach speeds up to 186 miles (300 kilometers) per hour, leave hourly from Berlin Central Station and one-way tickets start at $30. It's not as cheap as the bus, but it can save you an hour and the trains are generally more comfortable and convenient. Tickets can either be purchased at the station on the day of, or you can book your seat online.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

It only takes about three hours, 10 minutes to drive from Berlin to Hamburg. If you prefer to leave on your own schedule, and maybe see a bit of the countryside along the way, you could always rent a car and drive yourself to Hamburg. From Berlin, you'll want to travel northwest from the city by getting on the A24 and following this road all the way to Hamburg. It's a well-traveled route, so you should see plenty of signs leading your way.

A trip to Germany is a fantastic excuse to put the pedal to the metal on the Autobahn. The German highway system is famous around the world for not having a speed limit. Just make sure you read up on all the rules and particularities of driving in Germany before deciding that this is the way you want to go.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Hamburg?

The best time to plan a trip to Hamburg is probably in the summer, when the weather is at its warmest. This is the season when you'll find this usually buttoned-up city at its most laid back and it's a great time to dine outside on the waterfront or in a beer garden. Summer also marks the return of Hamburg's DOM, a summer festival that has been an annual tradition in Hamburg for over 500 years. It's a great event for kids and best of all, it's free to attend. Other fun Hamburg events in the summer include Schlagermove, a music parade, and Dockville, an art and music festival.

What Is There to Do in Hamburg?

With a sprawling harbor that's the third-largest in the world and two rivers, Hamburg is a great maritime city. During your trip, you should take the time to walk along the harbor, but if the weather is rainy, you may decide to stay dry and check out some of the city's museums like the Deichtorhallen, the International Maritime Museum, or the Emigration Museum. If you're traveling to Hamburg for a big business trip or another special occasion, consider staying one of the city's best hotels, where you'll find some of the great views of the water.

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