Hamburg Travel Guide: Useful Tips and Things to Do

Hamburg Travel Guide: Useful Tips and Things to Do

The northern city of Hamburg is one of the most wonderful places to visit at all times of the year. Want to know the best places to visit, where to stay in Hamburg, and how to get around the German city? See our Hamburg travel guide and find out the best tips for what to do while you’re here, which includes the historic port, red-light district, Old Town, and the lovely waterfront restaurants in Hamburg.


Things to do in Hamburg

What are some of the best places to visit in Hamburg? It all depends on your interests, of course, but there are excellent options in all directions, whether you're into art, architecture, culture, music or history.


Explore the most picturesque bridges

hamburg city of bridges

Hamburg is known as "the Venice of the North" because it has more bridges than any other city in the world, even beating Amsterdam and La Serenissima. Some sources state that Hamburg has more than 4,000 bridges stretching across rivers, canals, and roads. You can get the best views of the city in the bridges situated along the lake Alster (located in the center of the city) and also in the Speicherstadt warehouse district. These spots are perfect for a sunset walk and for taking panoramic pictures.

Admire the Hamburg Town Hall

hamburg travel guide

Located in the Altstadt quarter, the Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus) is a magnificent Neo-Renaissance complex that dominates the center of the city. It is the seat of the local government and senate but it's also involved in many cultural events such as the Long Night of the Museums.

The impressive courtyard of the Rathaus, which resembles an Italian piazza, is decorated with the fountain of Hygieia (the goddess of health and cleanliness) and it is definitely a must-visit.

If you want to explore Hamburg city center and learn more than the average tourist, definitely find time to take a walking tour of the Old Town, to learn more about the city's dramatic history, and see monuments like the St Nikolas Church and town hall.


Explore the Miniature Wonderland

hamburg travel guide

If you want entertainment for both adults and the wee ones, consider a visit to the Miniature Wonderland. It houses the largest model railway in the world, with more than 1000 trains and areas dedicated to different countries, and over 260,000 tiny human figures. The Miniature Wonderland is one of the most popular attractions to visit in all of Germany, and it is sure to provide entertainment for the whole family.


See world-renowned concerts at the Elbphilharmonie

elbphilharmonie hamburg

Taking in some culture at one of the various stunning concert halls here is always a good idea. Experience world-class acoustics at the Elbphilharmonie, one of the largest in the world. Classical music buffs might appreciate being in the city where famed composer Johannes Brahms was born and raised.
If you just want a glimpse of the city's best highlights, consider a free walking tour that covers all the top attractions in the city. You'll hear about the city's WWII bombing and other historical details, plus see how Hamburg's monuments reveal the city's rich and storied past.


How to get around in Hamburg

Just like most German cities, Hamburg is extremely well-connected in terms of public transport: you can get around easily by bus, metro, ferry or train.

hamburg how to get around

To get to the city center from the airport, you can take the S1 S-Bahn, which is a 25-minute journey and costs around €3.

If you want to get around the city in public transport, I recommend buying a Day Pass for €7.70, since a single ticket costs €3.30.

It's also easy to see the city on two wheels, thanks to ample bike lanes and a general bike-friendly attitude among locals. It helps that Hamburg is very safe for a large city, despite certain areas that could be a bit seedy. Red-light districts are centered at the Reeperbahn and around the city center, or Hauptbanhof. Petty crime isn't so common overall, and there's usually a strong police presence in sketchier parts.

It's easy to get around Hamburg without needing to be concerned about your safety. Most locals speak pretty good English, and they're usually friendly enough to give directions or otherwise help a lost traveler.


Where (and what) to eat in Hamburg

Luckily for us travelers, there are plenty of harbor-side-restaurants in Hamburg that offer a feast for both the eyes and belly. Located just steps from the Elbphilharmonie, the lively seafood restaurant Tom & Konsorten is where you can try your first fischbrötchen (traditional fish sandwich) or other typical German fares.

what to eat in hamburg


For a quick water-side lunch, head to the popular street-food joint Brücke 10, where you can enjoy a beer and a fish sandwich on a sunny afternoon.


Where to party in Hamburg


For nightlife, start out in the city's infamous red-light district, known as the Reeperbahn, where you'll get a good shock to the system and see the true Hamburg spirit at night. Continue to St. Pauli, where you'll find a range of loud and rowdy bars, clubs, and more.

Stop at the Blockbräu, one of St Pauli's most typical big beer halls and a great place to enjoy a round of beer with friends. If you're more interested in discovering the history of this legendary neighborhood and how St Pauli got its reputation, hop on a ferry and experience the scene with a well-informed local. See Hamburg's port, fish market, and where the Beatles played for 48 nights in 1960!

st pauli hamburg port
Hamburg is perhaps best known for its historic port. If you're looking for a nice route to walk, try the pedestrian path along the Warehouse District, and then walk along the Kohlbrandbrucke, the almost 4-kilometer bridge along the harbor.

If you're looking for the best panoramic views of the city, you can snap stunning photos for your Instagram feed on this tour: you'll capture superb shots with a trusted local guide leading the way.


Where to stay in Hamburg

There are lots of great neighborhoods that reflect the diversity of the city's residents, but the best place to sleep might be in Hamburg's Old Town (called the Altstadt in German), which runs next to the Elbe River and offers plenty of lovely architectural sights. Here you can find chic boutique hotels with retro furnishings and modern hotels.

To be fair, this is not the cheapest part of town to crash, and Hamburg is not particularly known for being affordable. Especially in comparison to its sister city, the German capital, Berlin, Hamburg is known as a financial center and for its considerably wealthy residents.
There is so much to see and do in Hamburg for all kinds of travelers. Maybe you want to sip sweet mulled wine (Germans call this drink glüwein), from a traditional Christmas market during the chilly months. Or perhaps you're hoping to catch lovely views of the twinkling harbor in the summer.


Whenever you choose to visit Hamburg, you'll find that there's a lot of quaint charm to this historic port and cosmopolitan city. Find free and budget tours in Hamburg on!


By Daniella Ciccone.
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