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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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