How to Get to Berlin from Hamburg

Berlin is one of the most visited destinations in the world and if you have a few extra days in Hamburg, a recommended plan is to visit the picturesque German capital. I tell you all the alternatives you have to travel to the Phoenix City.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

10 min read

How to Get to Berlin from Hamburg

Berlin | ©Niki Nagy

If you plan to visit Hamburg for several days, a good alternative is to spend a few days visiting Berlin, the capital of Germany, which is about 280 kilometers away. This option will not only allow you to discover the contrasts between both destinations but also to get to know the Phoenix City, which is one of the most famous and crowded cities in the world, due to its wide cultural offer and its fascinating history.

You can visit Berlin from Hamburg on a private organized excursion, on a train trip, by bus, on a car tour that will allow you to get to know the cities linking both destinations at your own pace or even by plane, which is an expensive but fast and effective option. In any case, whatever means of transportation you choose, traveling to the German capital is one of the best things to do in Hamburg.

1. Organized private tour from Hamburg to Berlin, the most complete alternative

Brandenburg Gate| ©Soma Biswas
Brandenburg Gate| ©Soma Biswas

Berlin is located about three hours away from Hamburg and offers many attractions to visit, so the most complete alternative to travel to the German capital is to opt for a private organized excursion. These experiences allow you to free yourself from the burden of arranging transportation and also give you the flexibility to design your own itinerary, always based on the recommendations of your expert local guide.

During these private tours, which are generally for groups of up to 15 people, you will be able to visit iconic sites that have marked Berlin's history, such as the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the site of Adolf Hitler's former bunker. In addition, you will be able to explore the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag building and the Jewish quarter of Moabit, among other places that will be put at your disposal to outline your tour.

Note that these private tours are ideal for large groups and that you can also include in the tour some of the main sites of Hamburg, a city characterized by interesting museums and picturesque neighborhoods. In any case, you will be able to outline the scope of your experience and make the most of the tour to get to know two of Germany's most popular destinations.

Interesting details

  • Price: approximately 1,600 euros for groups of up to 15 people, this price usually includes round-trip transfer by van with hotel pick-up and the assistance of an expert local guide.
  • Duration of the trip: between 12 and 14 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: you will be able to build your own itinerary and choose which sites you want to visit in Berlin or what focus you intend to give to the visit.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it is an ideal alternative for groups, but is not available for individual travelers, unless they pay the full price of the van.

Join a private tour of Hamburg

2. Drive from Hamburg to Berlin, the best option to get to know intermediate cities

Driving a car| ©Jackson David
Driving a car| ©Jackson David

If you want to choose an independent alternative that gives you the freedom to explore the intermediate cities between Hamburg and Berlin, you can choose to travel by car on the A24 highway, which will allow you to discover the beauty of the landscape in the heart of Germany and discover the villages along the way.

On the way between the two cities, you can make strategic stops in cities such as Schwerin, known for its Schwerin Palace and its historic center. You can also discover the traditional German architecture of Wittenberg and the cathedrals of St. Peter and St. Paul in Brandenburg.

Please note that for these alternatives you will need to rent a car, which depending on the time of year can change its rate. Also, if you plan to visit Hamburg in winter, when it is common for the roads to be covered with ice or snow, you should be aware of the traffic conditions to ensure a smooth and safe trip.

Once you are in Berlin, the best alternative is to travel around the city by public transport, either by bus or Metro, since many of the capital's attractions are located in the center of the city center, where vehicular access is restricted, as are the available parking spaces.

Details of interest

  • Price: the starting rate for a mid-size car rental in Hamburg is 55 euros per day.
  • Travel time: about 2.5 hours.
  • Advantages of this option: you will be able to discover the intermediate cities between Hamburg and Berlin and do the tours at your own pace.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the car is not recommended for visiting the attractions of Berlin, which are mostly located in the center, because the traffic is very dense and there are not many parking alternatives.

3. Travel by train from Hamburg to Berlin, the fastest land alternative.

Train from Hamburg| ©enric archivell
Train from Hamburg| ©enric archivell

If you want to travel from Hamburg to Berlin with an option that offers a good ratio between price and speed, you can choose the alternative by train, which is the fastest among the overland possibilities. The train trip takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes and you can choose from several service providers, among which InterCity Express of Deutsche Bahn stands out.

As for the cost of the ticket, this may vary depending on the class of service and how far in advance you make the reservation. However, compared to other transportation options, train travel is usually an economical and convenient alternative that starts at 22 euros and reaches 60 euros in luxury alternatives. In addition, the frequency of the trains will allow you greater flexibility in planning your itinerary.

Generally, these trains depart from Hamburg Central Station, which you can access by public transport or on the city's tourist bus routes, which usually have stops nearby in the area. Please note that if you plan to visit Hamburg in the summer or during the high season months, it is best to book in advance to avoid last minute increases.

Details of interest

  • Price: approximately 22 euros for the cheapest alternative and 60 euros for the most complete option.
  • Journeytime: about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
  • Advantages of this option: it is an alternative with a good relation between price and speed of the trip.
  • Disadvantages of this option: You should book in advance to get the best fares, as they may increase in last minute bookings, especially during the high season in the city.

Book tickets for the Hamburg sightseeing bus

4. Bus trip from Hamburg to Berlin, the cheapest option

Hamburg Bus| ©Paul Robertson
Hamburg Bus| ©Paul Robertson

Traveling from Hamburg to Berlin by bus is the ideal option if you want to save money or have a tight budget for your trip in Germany. This economical alternative will also give you the opportunity to enjoy the scenery during the journey along the A24 highway, which will take you to the heart of the country.

During the bus trip you can pass through the intermediate cities of Schwerin, Potsdam and Brandenburg. Some buses also include stops in many of these places, so you will be able to visit other destinations along the way. However, you should consider that the routes change during the different seasons of the year, as well as the frequency of services, which you should take into account if you visit Hamburg in winter.

In addition to the attractive fare, the bus will allow you to enjoy the trip without worrying about traffic or logistical planning, as you would if you were traveling by car. Although the duration of the trip may vary, the comfort and economic savings make this option very profitable to connect these two German cities. There are several companies that provide this service, but one of the most recommended is FlixBus.

On the other hand, keep in mind that although the bus ride may take longer than other faster means of transportation, you will have at your disposal several different stops, because when you arrive in Berlin you can get off at the Brandenburg Gate, in Tiergarten or at the Central Bus Station of the city.

Interesting details

  • Price: approximately 17 euros for the cheapest option and 35 euros for the open ticket with stops in intermediate cities.
  • Travel time: about 3 hours and a half.
  • Advantages of this option: you will be able to save money because it is the cheapest alternative to get from Hamburg to Berlin.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it can be a very slow option, especially if you are planning a short stay in the city, and during some times of the year it changes its frequency.

5. Air travel from Hamburg to Berlin, the ideal alternative for a quick trip.

Flight from Hamburg| ©James
Flight from Hamburg| ©James

If you are planning a short stay in Germany and you want to visit Hamburg but also Berlin, speed and efficiency will be essential to achieve your goal. In that case, an airplane trip will be the ideal alternative during a flying visit. With a flight time of approximately one hour, the air connection between these two German cities will allow you to make the most of your trip.

Although speed is the key to this alternative, you should keep in mind that the option of traveling by plane is usually more expensive compared to other means of transportation. Also consider that the time is substantially reduced in direct flights, but if you opt for options with intermediate stops in other cities these may not be as effective.

When buying your ticket you should also take into account in which Berlin airport you will land, as some of them, such as Willy Brandt Airport, are located far from the city, which will delay the start of your trip.

Interesting details

  • Price: flights have an initial cost of approximately 85 euros, although fares usually vary according to the time of year and the time of purchase.
  • Travel time: approximately 1 hour for direct flights.
  • Advantages of this option: you will be able to make the most of your visit, making it an ideal alternative for a quick trip.
  • Disadvantages of this option: you will have to take into account the arrival airport, because Berlin has 4 runways and some of them are far from the city center.

When is the best time to visit Berlin?

Getting to know Berlin| ©Wilhelm Lappe
Getting to know Berlin| ©Wilhelm Lappe

Berlin is a city that offers attractions all year round, but the best months to visit the German capital are from May to September, when temperatures are warmer and more pleasant than during the winter, which is usually characterized by heavy snowfalls.

In addition, if you plan to visit Berlin in September you can attend the commemorations of the end of World War II and different tributes throughout the city, many of which are concentrated around the Brandenburg Gate and around the fragments of the Berlin Wall that are still standing, mainly in the part that was formerly part of the Eastern sector.

If you plan to visit Hamburg in winter and want to combine your visit with a trip to Berlin during the coldest time of the year, you should keep in mind that the days in the German capital are shorter and temperatures can be very cold. These weather conditions could complicate your tour, so you will have to be careful when planning your itinerary to make the most of your visit.

What tourist attractions should I not miss in Berlin?

Charlottenburg Palace| ©rey perezoso
Charlottenburg Palace| ©rey perezoso

Berlin is one of the global cities that offer the most attractions, mainly because it was the scene of many of the most important events of the twentieth century, making it an open-air museum. In addition to the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building and the East Side Gallery, you can also visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and Charlottenburg Palace.

Between excursions you can also relax at Alexanderplatz, Mauerpark, Tiergarten and Potsdamer Platz, all public places and green spaces that will allow you to relax and discover another facet of the German capital. If you want, you can also combine these tours with a visit to some of the most famous museums in the city, such as the Topography of Terror.

You can also visit

  • Pergamon Museum
  • Berlin Zoo
  • Museum Island
  • TV Tower
  • Pankow
  • Moabit
  • Berlin Philharmonic
  • DDR Museum

Which option best suits my travel plan?

Day in Berlin| ©Christian Jensen
Day in Berlin| ©Christian Jensen

The answer will depend on the time you can allocate to the trip from Hamburg to Berlin and, to a large extent, the budget available, because if you have planned a short stay in the city and you have no spending constraints, it is best to choose to travel by plane, which will allow you to make the most of your time in Germany. However, if you want to find a cost-effective alternative, you can opt for the train.

If you are not in a hurry and want to watch your budget, you can choose to travel by bus, which will also allow you to visit several of the cities that lie between the two destinations and that stand out for their history and architecture. The option of the private organized tour, which is the most complete, will be ideal if you plan to visit Hamburg in a group or with other people.

The best of each of the alternatives

  • Private organized tour
  • The most complete option
  • Includes round trip transfers
  • You will be able to create your own itinerary
  • You will be accompanied by a guide
  • Travel by car
  • You will be able to manage your own time
  • You can include intermediate stops
  • Ideal option to combine visits
  • Fast alternative
  • Travel by train
  • Fast option
  • Get to know an alternative route
  • Get panoramic views
  • Flexible schedules
  • Travel by bus
  • Economical fare
  • Flexible schedules
  • Includes several stops
  • Excellent cost-benefit ratio
  • Direct air travel
  • Fastest option
  • Dynamic fares
  • You will be able to choose different airports
  • Ideal for a quick trip