From river to lakes
In medieval times, a dam turned the Alster river into a water reservoir to power the mills operating on its banks. This shaped the face of central Hamburg, as it is now made up of two lakes called the Außenalster (Outer Alster) and the Binnenalster (Inner Alster). From its spring outside of Hamburg, the Alster flows into the Elbe river just south of the city centre.
The Kennedy and Lombard bridges separate the Outer and Inner Alster lakes. The Inner Alster is the smaller body of the two and is facing Hamburg’s city centre. The magnificent buildings along Jungfernstieg, City Hall, the many churches and the fountain in the lake’s centre make for an impressive backdrop for every picture. Have your cameras ready after sunset: the city lights are mirrored by the water and create excellent photo opportunities.
Walking, biking and kayaking
The Outer Alster is surrounded by ancient trees, green parks and beautiful mansions of the Winterhude, St. Georg and Rotherbaum districts, which give the area a sophisticated, exquisite charm. People come there to leave the stressful city life behind for a moment and relax in the shade of the trees. In summer, the parks surrounding the lake are a great place to grill (a national sport), to enjoy the sun’s rays or go for a jog around the lake. Sporty types engage in watersports. Boats, canoes and kayaks can be hired at many spots all around the Alster. Stand-up-paddling is also a fun and highly popular activity.
In cold winters past, the Alster used to freeze over providing an extra-large ice-skating rink for thousands of Hamburg locals. However, given current climates trends, it is unlikely that this phenomenon will occur again with any regularity.
Jungfernstieg, 20534 Hamburg
S1, S2, S3 and U1, U2, exit at 'Jungfernstieg'.
Carpark 'Alsterhaus Hamburg' (Address: Bei der Stadtwassermühle)