There isn’t a signed bike route between Hamburg and Lübeck and this poses a somewhat serious problem for the out-of-towner: I had already biked from Hamburg to Lübeck in 2002, really struggling to find my way and in the end riding more than 85 km/53 miles, which took me much longer than I had planned.
This time by searching on the web I found a marvelous German site called Radweit that provides a large number of bike routes between German cities and among these there was also a route connecting Hamburg-Lübeck-Puttgarden which I would need to get to Denmark.
Radweit published a detailed map of each segment: but its layout is really curious and may cause confusion at first; the route is compressed, with the feature of isolating only the sections of the map that contain the bike route and then to rearrange them into a rectangle that can be printed on an A4 sheet of paper.
Once I got used to this unusual format this printed sheet proved to be invaluable and probably would have been sufficient, even without the complementary bike map at 1:50,000 from Land Schleswig-Holstein, which I bought the day before in a bookstore in Hamburg, which, notwithstanding, is an excellent map.
I left on the morning of August 5, and immediately found myself searching for a route through the enormous labyrinth of the eastern suburbs of Hamburg; since the map provides the names of cross streets it was very useful to get out of the Hamburg urban area painlessly, without wasting time searching for the route, and without having to be on those streets with nightmarish traffic.
In fact, almost half of this first segment between Hamburg and Lübeck consists just of getting through the outskirts of Hamburg; finally, at the end, there really is an agricultural environment (as in the photograph of the small village of Trenthorst).
Shortly after this village one already arrives to the outskirts of Lübeck and one can continue there along the Elbe canal which takes one right into the historic center, as far as the most characteristic and well-known feature of this Hanseatic city, the Holstentor, the west gate.