Canoeing, sup & sailing in the heart of the city

(Geheimtipp Hamburg)

With more than 2,400 bridges, and thus more than Venice (400) and Amsterdam (1,200) combined, Hamburg actually holds the European record for bridges. Little wonder, then, that the city features numerous waterways, offering ideal conditions for exploring Hamburg in an active way. Whether you are an ambitious athlete or more on the recreational side, there are suitable options for every level. When visiting Hamburg, at least one water sports experience should be on your list as it allows you to explore Hamburg from a unique angle.

On a more tranquil note, canoeing on the Alster and on the countless side canals is suitable for beginners too, since there are no currents or rapids here. And all those who can’t swim don’t have to worry either, because life jackets are always available on request. To turn this into a romantic journey with your better half, you can equip yourself with a bottle of wine and a picnic basket, paddle along the canals to the Stadtparksee and find a cosy spot there. Or stop over at the Café Canale – probably Europe‘s only drive-in café for canoes, where your takeaway coffee is handed to you through a window hatch.

To combine your boat tour with environmental protection, you should watch out for the logo of GreenKayak, an initiative that turns waste hunting into an enjoyable experience, providing boats for free paddling tours at six rental stations along the Alster. The robust green kayaks accommodate two people and can be used without any prior experience. On board you will find two life jackets, a bucket and two rubbish grabs, a local map of the waterways as well as a leaflet with tips for protecting birds and plants. After the tour, the waste collected is weighed – a fun way of helping the environment.

Stand-up-paddlers have long ceased to be a rarity on Germany’s coasts and inland waterways. In Hamburg, the fairly shallow and calm Alster and the many canals offer numerous great routes for an inspiring SUP experience.

More recently, another water sport has developed from stand-up paddling: SUP yoga. To practice SUP yoga, no special athletic skills are required. With the SUP Club Hamburg, you can learn to explore your own limits in a fun way while enjoying the calming effect of the water, the sun and the lush greenery. With SUP yoga, water sports enthusiasts can experience the unique interplay of strength, balance and lightness.

All those who prefer a less contemplative water sports experience can practice their sailing skills on the Alster. However, these waters are for experienced sailors only: especially in the city centre, wind conditions are challenging and the wind tends to change constantly. Less experienced sailors can embark on a spacious keel dinghy under the guidance of a Hamburg City Sailing instructor. Or you can refresh your skills at the “Käpt‘n Prüsse” sailing school, where you can also book taster lessons.

(Christian Spahrbier)

Käpt´n Prüsse
Sailing school, sailing trips and sailing events just outside the Hotel Atlantic. - An der Alster 47, 20099 Hamburg (St. Georg)

Café Canale
Kayak tours that combine environmental protection and water sports. - Poelchaukamp 7, 22301 Hamburg (Winterhude)

Bodo´s Bootssteg
Outdoor café and rental place for rowing boats, canoes and sailboats. - Harvestehuder Weg 1B, 20148 Hamburg (Harvestehude)

Hamburg Sailing City
Hamburg‘s unique city tour under sails - Alster sailing for everyone. - Alsterufer 2, 20354 Hamburg (St. Georg)

The international canoe rental GreenKayak cleverly combines garbage collection and paddling pleasure. The principle is simple: if you collect trash, you get a free kayaking ride.