With three full months to spend in Berlin, we decided we had time to do some other traveling during a few weekends. I haven’t seen as much of Germany as I’d like, so we started looking at which cities were within two hours or so from Berlin. Number one on our list was Hamburg. I’ve always heard great things about the city, and it’s where Andy stayed for his first study abroad trip when he was a teenager. In mid November we hopped on a train and spent three nights in Hamburg, and here’s what our costs looked like.

Total Hamburg spending

208€ / $280.80 – accommodation
113.50€ / $153.23 – trains
31.20€ / $42.12 – other transportation
174.55€ / $235.64 – food and alcohol
42€ / $56.70 – activities
3.70€ / $5 – miscellaneous
572.95€ / $773.48 – total

Accommodation spending – 208€

After dealing with our bad apartment in Berlin for over a month, we decided to stay in a hotel in Hamburg. We were hoping for some comfort in the standardization of a hotel, but we ended up with a bed that’s much smaller than we’re used to and flat, hard pillows. The hotel was able to dig up some better pillows for us, but we still kicked each other all night in the tiny bed. For just three nights, it was manageable. Our room cost about 69.33€ per night, or 34.67€ per person per night, and included breakfast.

How much we spent traveling in Hamburg

Train spending – 113.50€

There are direct high speed trains from Berlin to Hamburg, but the direct journey on the slower train takes just 20-30 minutes longer for a lot less money, so that’s what we booked. It was roughly two hours in each direction instead of an hour and 40 minutes. We also have 25% off cards for trains within Germany.

How much we spent traveling in Hamburg

Other transportation spending – 31.20€

Hamburg has a pretty good public transportation, and our hotel was located halfway between two subway stations. They have a daily group pass that’s valid for up to five people, and if you get the one you can’t use before 10AM, it costs 10.40€ per day. A single ticket is 1.90€ per person, so taking just six journeys (three per person) made the pass worth it for us.

How much we spent traveling in Hamburg

Food and alcohol spending – 174.55€

Since we were staying in a hotel, we didn’t have access to a kitchen to cook our own food. As I mentioned above, our hotel reservation did include breakfast. This amount includes three days of lunches and dinners, plus a few snacks and a few drinks. We found some outdoor food stalls already selling Glühwein so we had our first glass of the Christmas market season, and we bought a few alcoholic drinks from the grocery store in the evening. This averages out to about 58.18€ per day, or 29.09 per person per day.

How much we spent traveling in Hamburg

Activities spending – 42€

We did as much wandering around to see the city as we could manage in the cold temperatures. The activities we decided to do included the spice museum at 4€ per person, going to the top of St. Michael’s Cathedral at 5€ per person, and Miniatur Wunderland at 12€ per person. Miniatur Wunderland was so much better than the name suggests, and it was totally worth the steep entrance fee.

How much we spent traveling in Hamburg

Miscellaneous spending – 3.70€

This was just a couple of souvenirs from the spice museum. I considered including them in the food category but they ended up here instead. I almost bought some postcards, but they seemed rather expensive so I skipped it.

How much we spent traveling in Hamburg

For three days traveling in Hamburg, we spent an average of 190.98€ per day, or 95.49€ per person per day. Not exactly the cheapest weekend away we’ve ever had but it was a fun break from our routine in Berlin. If you’re looking for ways to do this for less, seek out less expensive restaurants, skip the alcohol entirely, and find a cheaper hotel or a hostel. You could also consider renting an apartment and cooking some or all of your meals.

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8 comments on “How Much We Spent Traveling in Hamburg

  1. Matthew Cheyne

    Considering you were in a hotel, your spending was really well under control and you allowed for a couple of things to make the trip more pleasurable too. There’s no point in being so tight with your budget that you can’t enjoy yourself while you’re travelling. I’m glad that’s not the case here.

    As somebody who frequently travels on trains here in Australia where the journey for me is always two hours or more, an additional twenty minutes in journey time to save a whole lot of money is really a no brainer. If I’m traveling by train to a place for the first time or the first time in a while, I love to look out the window and view the scenery. But if I’m commuting which is what I do most of the time, I just want the train trip over and done with as soon as possible.

    I really liked your suggestions at the end of your article on ways to save money. For non-EU residents like me, would the train travel from Berlin to Hamburg have been covered by buying a Eurail pass?

    One possible suggestion I would like to make for a future article is how you guys go about doing your weekly shopping in Germany, especially when you’re on the road. Do you prefer markets and delicatessens to supermarkets and does Aldi feature a lot in your supermarket shopping like it does for me here in Australia? (I literally live around the corner from my local Aldi here in Morwell, Victoria, Australia and I prefer to go to them first for what they do stock and then to other supermarkets like Coles for things they don’t sell).

    1. Ali Post author

      Yeah, I wouldn’t actually change anything about our spending for this trip. Hamburg just is an expensive city, and budget backpackers can certainly do it for less by staying in a hostel dorm and choosing cheaper food options, but that’s not for us.

      If you had a Eurail pass, you could use it to get from Berlin to Hamburg, the details just depend on what kind of pass you had.

      I plan on writing more about how we travel, like apartment rentals and other details like that, so I’ll be sure to address the topic of grocery shopping. In short, it really depends how long we stay somewhere. Mostly we look for whatever grocery store is nearby. In Minori on the Amalfi Coast, they didn’t have big grocery stores, just a small convenience store kind of place where we bought Coke, juice, pasta, bread, beer, etc. Then we went to another shop that just sold fruits and vegetables, and another one that was a butcher where we got some chicken. In Berlin, we went to the same grocery store (Rewe) we use at home, plus I often bought vegetables at a Turkish grocery store nearby because it was so cheap. We sometimes buy a few things from Aldi but not the bulk of our shopping. At home I sometimes buy vegetables from a local outdoor market and we buy sandwich meat from a butcher/deli place. So yeah, it really varies!

  2. Ryan

    Totally digging this breakdown of expenses! I think I’ll be starting to do something like this in February and I may have to snag some category ideas from this! I really need to get better at remembering expenses…

    1. Ali Post author

      Thanks Ryan! It helps us to know what we’re spending, so I hope it’s useful to readers as well. I use the Trail Wallet app now, and that makes it easy to track.

  3. Meghan

    How have you been finding costs in Germany outside Berlin? Still relatively affordable, or expensive like England/France?

    1. Ali Post author

      Berlin is probably one of the cheapest cities in Germany. Hamburg is one of the most expensive, so it’s a bit of a contrast. Though it really depends what you’re comparing. Eating out in Berlin can be really cheap or really expensive, but I found it easier to eat cheap but good stuff there as opposed to Hamburg. I’m sure it’s also easier to know where the cheaper places in Hamburg are once you’ve been there awhile, like we were in Berlin for 3 months. I haven’t spent tons of time in England or France, so I can’t really compare, though I’m sure England is a bit more expensive.

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