Hamburg – the city you greet each other with “Moin! “and not “Hello. ” Hamburg is one of my favorite cities in Germany, so it’s about time to finally give you some Hamburg Travel Tips.
Located in the north, it’s filled with so much charm and maritime flair. The city has one of Europe’s largest ports, and the Hanseatic style can be found in every corner. Its rivers and canals spread through every part of the city and make it the city with the most bridges (2500!) in Europe! Who would have thought that? Forget about Venice – go to Hamburg!
So let’s dive into those Hamburg Travel Tips together and trust me, you’ll love Hamburg (*ok, maybe not the weather. It changes a lot and goes from sunshine to rainy and windy in only a second. But hey, that’s what we love about the North, right?)
Travel Tip 1 | Speicherstadt
Since the Speicherstadt is my favorite place in the whole city, we’ll start our little travel guide here.
The Translation for Speicherstadt would be “The City of Warehouses,” which describes the area’s use quite well. It is the world’s largest warehouse district built on timber-pile foundations, making it one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Speicherstadt buildings are still used as warehouses and handle 1/3 of the world’s carpet production and goods like Cocoa, Coffee, Tea, and Spices. It’s also a major tourist attraction housing many museums, like the Miniatur Wunderland, which is my next tip.
(You can also explore it by boat, but we’ll come to this later!)
Travel Tip 2 | Miniatur Wunderland
This Museum is an absolute MUST SEE in Hamburg. The “Miniature Wonderland” is the largest miniature exhibition in the world and an attraction for visitors of every age. There’s a model railway, a miniature airport, and replications of some famous cities. The 15,715m long tracks run through 9 differently themed areas with 1,040 trains and 4,340 buildings! There are so much love and devotion in every single piece. The number of hours they invest in precisely building the littlest details is breathtaking.
The entry fee is 20€, and I’d recommend buying your tickets online in advance to avoid the queues!
Travel Tip 3 | Chocoversum
My second favorite Museum is the Chocoversum, a Chocolate Museum by Hachez. It’s located in the Kontorhausviertel district, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. (You’ll see, the buildings are insanely pretty.)
The Chocoversum can be visited with a guided tour and let me tell you: it’s worth every single cent. They take you through the whole process of chocolate production and, the best thing, you can try everything! Every other step, you’ll be given a chance to try the product in its current development stage. My personal highlight, though: At the beginning of the tour (after indulging in the chocolate fountain, yum!), you will craft your own personal chocolate bar to take home with you as a souvenir!
Tickets are available for 19€ or, if you book online in advance, for 13€. If you love chocolate, you can’t miss this one.
Travel Tip 4 | Go on a Harbor Tour
Hamburgs port is the third-largest port in Europe and offers space for cargo and passenger ships. I can only recommend booking a harbor boat tour to see the container and cruise ship terminals, the Hafen City, and the Speicherstadt.
When booking a tour, you can do so online or at the port itself. Many different companies are providing those kinds of tours. The classic 1hr tours range from around 15€ to 20€. If you feel extra fancy: there are also other tours like a sunset tour or brunch tours.
Important: Not every ship can go through the Speicherstadt. If you want to go on a tour that includes the Speicherstadt, make sure to book a tour on a “Barkasse.” These ships are flat-bottomed enough for the “Fleets,” which is what you call the canals in the Speicherstadt. Still, if the water level is too low, they might not be able to ride through the Speicherstadt.
I’d recommend booking your tickets at the harbor to avoid going on the “wrong” boat and get information on whether the boats can ride through the Speicherstadt at that time. The boats are leaving multiple times a day at the Landungsbrücken.
If you’re interested, you can also visit two museum ships: The Rickmer Rickmers and the Cap San Diego. BUT – let’s twist this up a little – visiting a ship is for everyone. Did you know both ships have escape rooms? Such a cool activity to not only see the ship but also have some fun with your friends. If you’re a little more adventurous: Every Saturday, you’ll be able to climb up the mast on the Rickmer Rickmers and enjoy the view from up there! Such cool bucket list activities, right?!
Travel Tip 5 | Watch a Musical
Hamburg offers various musicals to visit, just like Pretty Woman or Mamma Mia (Starting 2021). The most known must be The Lion King, though: The theater on the harbor had seen over 11 million visitors since 2001 when the show started running. Watching The Lion King in Hamburg is truly a spectacular experience. As soon as you hop on the boat to go to the theatre, you’ll dive into a magical night and an amazing show. I’ve already watched it twice, and it’s been great every single time (i might even have cried a little, lol).
Travel Tip 6 | Spend a night out at Reeperbahn
It’s not too often when you can justify a night out with the simple fact that it’s a tourist attraction, and you HAD to hit that bar, right?
The Reeperbahn can be found in the Red Light district of the St Pauli area and basically offers everything for a wild night out. Clubs, bars, bawdy houses – you’ll find all of that. There’s even a street, the Herbertstraße, that’s not accessible for women. What you’ll find there? Well, I only know it’s one cathouse after another. It might sound weird for someone not familiar with the city that seeing a street full of bars and prostitution is an actual attraction. I totally understand that, though it’s a classic with a lot of history. You can also go on a guided tour and learn more about the “Kiez,” its people, and its stories.
Travel Tip 7 | Walk around the Old Town
Strolling around the old town is another must-do in Hamburg. Its city center welcomes you with the Hamburg City Hall and the Rathausmarkt in front, where you’ll find seasonal markets if you’re lucky. From here, you can walk through the Alsterarkaden – a shopping arcade beautifully located along the canal. After this, you’ll reach the Jungfernstieg, the area along the Binnenalster. From here, you can go on a boat tour on the Alster or simply enjoy the view, have some coffee and check out all the stores.
Restaurant Tip: There is an “ALEX “Restaurant directly on the Jungfernstieg with a really nice view of the water. The overall prices are fair, and on Sundays, they offer a great Brunch buffet with a view. I can only recommend it!
Travel Tip 8 | Walk through the Elbtunnel
The Elbtunnel is an underwater tunnel connecting St Pauli with Steinwerder. It’s been the first river tunnel ever built on the continent and is still open to the public. You’ll find it’s entry at the Landungsbrücken (the area where all the boat tours are leaving) in a Building with a dome. From here, you’ll need to take an elevator down the 24 meters. After walking 426m underneath the ground, you’ll reach the other end from where you can enjoy the panoramic view over St. Pauli and the harbor.
Travel Tip 9 | Elbphilharmonie
The Elbphilharmonie is probably one of the most spectacular buildings in Hamburg. Its outstanding architecture will catch your eye right away. The Elbhilharmonie is a concert hall, which gained a lot of fame even before it opened. The construction took a while and cost 11 times more than expected – a total of 866 Mio.€. That’s a lot, right?
After “Elphi “opened its doors in 2017, it definitely lives up to its reputation as one of the most spectacular concert halls ever built. It attracts millions of visitors from all around the world.
You don’t necessarily need to book a concert ticket to see “Elphi “from the inside: The Plaza is open to the public and offers a great view of the harbor and the Speicherstadt. Tickets to the Plaza are free.
Travel Tip 10 | Fischmarkt
The Fish Market is one of the most prominent attractions. Well, it’s not only an attraction, but it’s also an experience! The Fish Market takes place every Sunday on the harbor starting at 5 am. From there on, you can buy fresh fish, eat brunch, buy plants, and listen to the sellers advertising their fish. You’ll even get to listen to live music in the auction hall, which is where you can also go for brunch.
If you want to visit the Fischmarkt like the locals: Go to the Reeperbahn, party until 5 am, go to the Fishmarket, get some fresh fish in a bread and head home. Is this the best thing to do? Probably not. Is it a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Hell yes!
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
Hamburg has so much more to offer. You can’t even sum it all up in one article. Since the weather can change fast (for the worse), you should definitely have some To-Dos for rainy weather.
Some more Hamburg Travel Tips would be…
Talking about rainy weather: If you’re in the city for a few days, you might want to consider getting the Hamburg Card. It doesn’t only offer discounts for many attractions but also free public transport. If you plan on taking the metro more than once a day, it might save you some money.
Here’s a map with all the Travel Tips I’ve talked about for a better overall view.
I hope my “Top 10 Hamburg Travel Tips” tips were helpful. If you’re reading this before leaving for the city, I hope you’ll have the best time! As always, feel free to leave me a comment on whether you liked it or about your personal experience!
See you soon,