Hamburg by Bicycle

(Click onto picture to download / StadtRAD Alster / Roberto Kai Hegeler)

Did you ever cycle through the Old Elbe Tunnel to the district of Wilhelmsburg? Or to the Altes Land region during apple harvest season in September? Did you ever take part in the »Critical Mass« bicycle gathering? Hamburg by bike offers so much more than a daily trip to the local supermarket.

More and more Hamburg residents use a bike as their primary means of transport. Little wonder, as cycling is fast, cost-efficient and flexible, which makes it the ideal means of transport for short and medium distances. Beyond these specific advantages, an increase in bicycle traffic also serves an important social function: cyclists lead a healthier life and contribute to climate protection, air pollution control and noise reduction. All of these elements play a major role in keeping Hamburg a green, liveable metropolis.

Hamburg is going mobile

And Hamburg offers excellent conditions for those hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists exploring the city by bike: with 560 kilometres of cycle paths, Hamburg has a comprehensive cycle-path network – and the city is continuously expanding this network.

Thanks to Hamburg’s revised traffic regulations, cyclists can now make use of many roads. An increasing number of roads have been widened to facilitate bicycle lanes, while guidance systems and access to public transport are constantly being optimised. What is more, the city’s popular StadtRAD scheme provides easy access to rental bikes.

With more than 2 million trips per year, StadtRAD is the most successful bike rental scheme in Germany. Since 2015, the number of rental stations is being increased to more than 170 stations, with additional facilities at suburban railway and underground stations in the city centre and in major residential areas, business districts and important leisure and tourism spots.

Ideal for excursions

Hamburg’s rental bikes are easily accessible and provide an excellent alternative to blistered feet or more pricy means of transport. The Schanzenviertel, the HafenCity district, St Pauli, the Karolinenviertel and Altona are ideally suited for discovery by bike. The bicycle is also your ideal companion for countryside outings.

So why not up a gear and take a trip from the St Pauli Landungsbrücken through the Old Elbe Tunnel and the port, along the Dove Elbe tributary, underneath the A1 motorway via the dyke roads of Moorwerder. This three-hour excursion will take you via the historic beacon at Bunthäuser Spitze – with a fantastic view of the Northern and Southern Elbe – and Heuckenlock nature reserve to the suburban railway station of Veddel. Or you might want to take a three-hour tour across the Altes Land region: starting from the suburban railway station of Blankenese, you can take the ferry to Cranz and follow the route of the River Este all the way to the town of Buxtehude and over the dyke to Neugraben in the south of Hamburg.

The themed botanic, dyke, park or castle routes via Bergedorf and Reinbek are just as magical and sporty as the Alster cycle path from Ohlsdorf to the Alster’s source in Henstedt-Rhen. Should you have more time on your hands, why not try out one of the tried-and tested cycle routes to Elmshorn, Stade, or even up to Büsum on the North Sea.

Cycling as a statement

Cyclists are of course a common sight also within the city boundaries. At times, cycling is even staged in a spectacular way: for instance, when police shut off the entire Millerntorplatz intersection in St Pauli, with no cars in sight and traffic lights completely disregarded, creating a somewhat surreal atmosphere. Then, suddenly, hundreds of bell-ringing, gleaming bikes are making their way down the wide asphalt road: the “Critical Mass” is on the road again! A kind of flash mob gathering of cyclists, where cyclists meet seemingly randomly to jointly travel through Hamburg’s city centre. Anyone adhering to the road traffic regulations can join in. After all, section 27 of these very regulations states: “Groups comprising 16 or more cyclists may ride side by side as a closed association and thus occupy a complete traffic lane.” Just like at the Cyclassics race. Or more like a Critical Mass.

Photographers Björn Lexius and Till Gläser are among those who participate. The two photographers run We are Traffic, one of Hamburg’s most popular cycling blogs. On their website, they portray local cyclists and their beloved bikes – featuring enchanting vintage bikes, mint-condition racing bikes, self-constructed vehicles, and Grandma Trude on her nostalgic roadster … but also charming Clara with her average city bike. After all, this is the diversity to be encountered on Hamburg’s cycle paths.

Selected Bicycle Routes

For Explorers: All the Way Through the Old Elbe Tunnel

The tour takes you from the St Pauli Landungsbrücken through the impressive Old Elbe Tunnel and the port, along the Dove Elbe tributary, underneath the A1 motorway via the dyke roads of Moorwerder. This three-hour excursion will take you via the historic beacon at Bunthäuser Spitze – with a fantastic view of the Northern and Southern Elbe – and Heuckenlock nature reserve to the suburban railway station of Veddel.

Length: approx. 25 km, duration: approx. 3 hours, highlights: Heuckenlock nature reserve (700 plant species)

Rest points: numerous picnic spots and playgrounds

For Fruit Lovers: a Tour Through the Altes Land

Here’s another lovely route, which also takes approximately three hours: starting from the suburban railway station of Blankenese (S1), you will take the ferry to Cranz. From here, you follow the route of the River Este all the way to the town of Buxtehude and over the dyke to Neugraben.

Length: approx. 18 km, duration: approx. 3 hours, highlights: Buxtehude, Altes Land and its orchards

Rest points: coffee gardens along the Estedeich, as well as numerous lovely cafés with delicious cake in Buxtehude

For Mariners: the Dyke Tour

Starting from the suburban railway station of Wedel (S1), you will cycle downhill in the direction of the Willkomm-Höft ships welcome point on the Elbe. Follow the asphalt roads to the marina, and then the trail along the banks of the Elbe on either side of the dyke. Once you have reached the barrage, leave the Elbe banks in the direction of Scholenfleth and cycle down the Deichreihe, a secondary road that will take you to Haseldorf.

Length: approx. 30 km, duration: approx. 4 hours, highlights: NABU bird park, Haseldorf Castle Park, the late Romantic red-brick church of St Gabriel

Rest points: Deichhof Café Haseldorf

For Adventurers: the Elbe Tour

Starting from the St Pauli Landungsbrücken station (S1 / S3 / U3), you will cycle past the St Pauli Fischmarkt square, Grosse Elbstrasse, and the Altonaer Balkon viewing platform. You will then follow the trail along the Elbe banks to Oevelgönne via the Falkenstein shore and the Rissen shore, passing by the Tinsdal lighthouse. Follow the route of the Flerrentwiete until you finally reach the suburban railway station of Rissen (S1).

Length: approx. 20 km, duration: approx. 2-2.5 hours, highlights: St Pauli Fischmarkt, Altonaer Balkon, Oevelgönne, the view of the Elbe

Rest points: Zum Bäcker (Strandweg 65) and other restaurants on Strandweg in Blankenese

For Romantics: the Alsterwanderweg Tour

From the suburban railway station of Poppenbüttel you will cycle around the Alstertal shopping centre and access the Alsterwanderweg hiking trail via Saseler Damm. From here, you can follow the route of the Alster tributaries for several kilometres.

Length: 22 km, duration: 2.5-3 hours, highlights: Alsterpark, the natural landscape of the Alster with its riverside forests, the Erlenbruch marsh, the boathouse on Ratsmühlendamm

Rest points: the café and restaurant in the mansion on the former Wellingsbüttel estate

Bicycle shops

For the general user: B.O.C.

The huge B.O.C. branches in Altona, Nedderfeld and Wandsbek stock a large choice of bicycles of all types, as well as countless branded products, functional bicycle accessories, jerseys and other cycling outfits, and much more. Whether you would like a mountain bike, a racing bike or a trekking bike – this is the place to go. The staff are happy to assist you, and they also do repairs.

For nostalgics: Classic Cycle

On the Schlachthof premises in the Karolinenviertel, Stefan Jansa tinkers around with his vintage bicycles. All of his bikes are at least 20 years old. “When a ‘steel steed’ has a solid frame, it will remain roadworthy for years,” says Stefan, who is always on the look-out for high-quality bikes, which he then revamps and sells at reasonable prices starting from 100 euro. His vintage bicycles include e.g. racing bikes, roadsters and foldable bikes. 

Neuer Kamp 30, D-20357 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 8750 8297, E-mail:

For the easy-going: Suicycle Store

This is a real hotspot for bicycle fans! Here you can find much sought-after racing bikes, BMX bikes and singlespeed bikes. All bicycles are available from the rack or in customised form. The lads at Suicycle take great pride in their new singlespeed-cross frame. There is always something happening in this small, friendly shop, as Suicycle also stocks courier bags and other accessories, as well as a large choice of skateboards.

Wohlwillstrasse 12, D-20359 Hamburg

+49 40 866 86 28-1 sales
+49 40 866 86 28-3 repairs

For movers: a mobile bike repair service

What happens when your bicycle breaks down underway? No problem: Felix Viole’s mobile bike repair service is accessible almost around the clock and he will come straight to the location of the bicycle in need of repair. The 27 year-old bike mechanic will put your wheels back on track while you resume your business or wait and have a coffee. Felix is even available on Sundays – in case of emergencies such as a puncture during a family bike ride.

Phone: +49 178 204 33 31

For visionaries: Erfahre rental station

Are you tired of using conventional bikes? Erfahre combines innovative thinking and bike rental services with a smart design on power-driven wheels. Electric vehicles do not only ensure sustainable environmental protection, but also guarantee great fun on two wheels. With these little e-roadsters destinations are reached quickly, comfortably and in an eco-friendly way.

Erfahre rental station @ Q-Park City-Parkhaus XXL Gertrudenstrasse 2, D-20095 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 742 036 02

For everyone: StadtRAD Hamburg