The Outer Alster Lake (Aussenalster) is the larger of Hamburg’s two lakes, stretching to almost 400 acres (162 hectares) in size, although never more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) deep. Equally popular with tourists and locals, it provides a welcome place of calm and tranquility against the urban backdrop of the busy city.
Created in the 13th century by damming the Alster River, Outer Alster Lake has always been a favored location for the wealthy of Hamburg to set up residence. This is partly due to strict building regulations that require properties around the lake to be painted white with copper roofs in order to retain a uniform aesthetic that blends in with the natural surroundings.
Enjoy this little bit of paradise by simply walking or cycling the lake, about 4.5 miles (7 kilometers) around. Alternatively, hire your own sailboat, kayak, canoe, rowboat or paddleboat; explore the lake as part of a group tour; or simply relax in the parks dotted around the Aussenalster. You can also sightsee around the Alster via the Stadtrundfahrt Hamburg hop-on hop-off bus.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Outer Alster Lake is a lovely spot for anyone seeking a respite from Hamburg’s hustle and bustle.
- There are many boat-rental locations around the lake.
- Restaurants, cafés, and beer gardens line the banks of the lake, offering plenty of options with waterside views.
Outer Alster Lake is in the northern part of Hamburg, north of Inner Alster Lake and the main train station. The closest U-Bahn stations to the lake’s southern end are Stephansplatz and Hauptbahnhof Nord.When to Get There
Outer Alster is lovely year-round, but some facilities may be closed in winter. The lake can become busy in the afternoon, particularly during the summer months, so head there in the morning for a more tranquil visit.Visit the Hamburger Kunsthalle
Nearby the lake is the Hamburger Kunsthalle, one of the largest and most prominent art galleries in Germany. It houses an impressive permanent collection that spans more than seven centuries of art history, while the building itself is a visual highlight, comprising three very distinct architectural styles.