Alster Lakes


Two artificial lakes in the city center offering activities like boating and biking.

Alster Lakes

Alster Lakes

The Alster Lakes are truly one of the gems of Hamburg, a beautiful city located in northern Germany. Boasting of two artificial lakes, the larger known as Außenalster and the smaller as Binnenalster, Alster Lakes are an indispensable part of Hamburg’s identity. Its captivating charm makes it both a relaxing retreat for locals and a must-visit site for tourists.

The Alster Lakes are formed by the river Alster, hence the name. The larger lake, Außenalster, is known for its expansive views, pretty walking paths, and sailing boats dotting the horizon. You can take a leisurely stroll around its 7.6 kilometers circumference, observing various scenes of everyday life, natural beauty, and the picturesque houses on its banks.

On the western edge of Außer Alster, capitalizing on the lake's beauty, you will find enchanting parks lined with grand villas and historic buildings. One such place is the Winterhuder Park, a charming neighborhood that is famous not only for its luxurious villas but also the rich culture it embodies. Plus, an opportunity to visit the Alster Cliffs (Alsterklippen), a popular picnic spot offering striking views of the Alster River, is not something you would want to miss.

The smaller lake, Binnenalster, is located right in the city center. It has a more urban feel, with numerous shops, cafés, and restaurants surrounding the lake, providing a charismatic blend of natural tranquility and bustling city life. If you’re visiting during Christmas, the lake feels like a winter wonderland with a large ice rink and numerous stands selling mulled wine, gingerbread, and other festive goodies.

Taking a boat trip around the Alster Lakes is a popular activity for both tourists and locals. The tour departs from Jungfernstieg in the city center and circles Außenalster, offering unparalleled views of Hamburg's skyline. This trip provides a unique perspective of the city's architectural styles and waterfront life. Rental boats are also an option if you wish to cruise the lake at your own pace.

Another attraction around the area is the famous Lombards Bridge (Lombardsbrücke), which separates the two lakes. The bridge is a perfect vantage point allowing you to enjoy excellent views of the city on one side and the lake on the other. You can also find numerous architectural treasures including the majestic Hamburg City Hall and Hamburg State Opera nearby.

Another way to enjoy the tranquillity of the Alster Lakes is by cycling or jogging around its periphery. As you breeze through the well-maintained trails, you'll get glimpses of swans, rowers, and sailors indulged in their activities. It’s easy to forget that you’re in the heart of a bustling city as you immerse yourself in the serene landscape.

Further, you might want to check out the cafes and ice cream parlours that are dotted around the lakes' periphery. Pick a table by the window and let the enchanting view soothe your senses as you indulge in local delicacies. For those who fancy culinary delights, the Auster Pavillion offers a memorable dining experience with a remarkable view of the lake.

In the early morning, the Alster Lakes offer a serene beauty that attracts numerous photographers and artists. The golden sun casting reflections on the water combined with the aura of calm makes it a perfect sight. Similarly, at sunset, you can witness the city bathed in an ethereal glow, a view that is both romantic and unforgettable.

If you’re a fan of water sports, the Alster Lakes also offer plenty of opportunities for sailing, canoeing, and even stand-up paddle boarding. The Windsurfcenter Hamburg at the western shore of the Alster Lake provides water sports facilities that make it an adventure lover’s paradise. Experienced as well as beginner windsurfers can enjoy the wind and waves amidst the picturesque setting.

In short, the Alster Lakes, with their alluring vistas and a variety of recreational activities, are a must-visit for anyone traveling to Hamburg. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a shopping aficionado, an adventure junkie, or a foodie, the Alster Lakes area has something for everyone. So, when planning your trip to Hamburg, don't forget to include Alster Lakes on your itinerary - we promise it will be a delightful experience to remember.