Known as a major port city in Northern Germany, Hamburg is one of my
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Visiting Hamburg, Germany
Why to visit Hamburg
If you are planning to spend a few days in the city of Hamburg, Germany – you´ll definitely not regret it. There are so many unique things about this city – a vibrant old warehouse district, the biggest port in Germany, the mind-blowing Miniatur Wunderland, and even one of the coolest tea shops I´ve ever been to…
Have you ever heard that Hamburg has 2,300 bridges – more than Amsterdam, London, and Venice combined? The city is full of picturesque locations, so check out this Hamburg photography guide in order not to miss any of the best photo spots!
Additionally, if traveling over the winter holidays you can kill two birds with one shot and enjoy the European Christmas (as German Christmas markets are my favorites, alongside Switzerland, and the French Region of Alsace).
Weather in Hamburg
Although, the last time I visited Hamburg in January it was honestly so cold. It´s either the fact that Hamburg is a port city and humidity makes one feel colder, or it´s just me living in warm Spain for way too long.
One way or another, Hamburg is such a picture-perfect city full of unique landmarks, that everyone should visit it at least once in a lifetime.
Hamburg Travel Tips
If you plan to move around Hamburg on your own, consider getting Hamburg City Card with Free Public Transportation or 3-Day Art Exhibition & Gallery Pass. Hamburg is a touristy city (even in the off season) – try to plan your trip and book all the tours at least a week in advance.
Aside from the main Hamburg landmarks in this post, you might want to experience a few unique local tours that Hamburg is known for:
- Schanzenviertel Culinary Tour
- Dialogue in the Dark® Exhibition Guided Tour
- Hamburg Grand Harbor Evening Lights Cruise
- Reeperbahn “Lust & Laster” Tour
- Sex and Crime in St. Pauli Tour for Ages 18+
- In the Footsteps of “Olivia” Reeperbahn Tour
- Hamburg 3.5-Hour Bike Tour
- Port & Fish Market Morning Tour
- St. Pauli Beer Tasting Tour
- 1.5-Hour Tour of the Chocoversum
- Hamburg Dungeon
- Private Street Art Tour and Graffiti Workshop
My 5 Top places in Hamburg, Germany
Every trip to Hamburg must begin at Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse district in the world, built from 1883 to 1927. Nowadays it is also an ultimate business
Speicherstadt is known for its moody industrial architecture. Very much like Lisbon in Portugal, the abandoned docks of Hamburg were turned into one of the trendiest shopping and residential areas over the last few decades.
No wonder, the splendid Speicherstadt is one of the ultimate inspo-locations for world-famous designers, like Karl Lagerfeld (who shoot here his 30th anniversary Chanel collection for the iconic Vogue).
If you do not want to miss any architectural marvels of Hamburg, consider booking a Speicherstadt & Hafencity Guided Tour, Eerie Speicherstadt Tour, or Speicherstadt Walking Tour with Coffee Tasting. Another unique way to explore Hamburg is to take a Private Walking Customized Tour.
One of the top places in Hamburg that would love to visit again with my kids is the world’s largest model railway exhibition Miniatur-Wunderland.
To be honest, I initially expected something like Mini-Europe in Brussels, but the Germans took the details to a whole new level. The exposition of Miniatur-Wunderland houses countries, regions, and even large objects, like airports or stadiums. Most of them are interconnected.
Also read: Spain in Winter – Best Places to Visit
But what´s also quite impressive is their light control system. While you walk around Miniatur-Wunderland the day is followed by the night. So, the objects and the people act accordingly, and everything looks so real till the last detail.
3. The Port of Hamburg
The night lights of Hamburg are a must-see. In the evening, you can enjoy a Night Harbor Cruise to see more of the Port area and learn about its history (via audioguide). If traveling with your partner, this experience can totally make it to your list of the most romantic travel plans (by the way, another great idea for couples in Hamburg is Private Couples’ Photoshoot and Walking Tour).
Even a simple visit to the largest port in Germany, the second biggest in Europe (after Rotterdam) is a must. In the summer months, this area is full of nice cafes and bars. Alternatively, you can also take ferry 62 (like the locals do on a daily basis) to cross the river Elbe.
- 1-Hour Harbor Cruise
- 1,5-hour Harbour Cruise
- 1,5-hour Grand Harbor Evening Lights Cruise
- 2-Hour XXL Port of Hamburg Cruise Tour
- City Cruise on Alster Lake
4. Hamburg-Altstadt / The Old City
As happens with the most of large European cities – Hamburg literally has it all: unique museums, picturesque churches, trendy restaurants and bars, shopping
Also read: The Best Lunch & Breakfast Places in Berlin
Take a walk through the Old City Center of Hamburg to experience the heart of the city. Don´t miss Hamburg´s Town Hall – the largest town hall in all of Germany. I´ll leave for you the list of landmarks and museums at the end of this post.
Another great way to enjoy the city center of Hamburg is to take Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour. Another must-do is Elbphilharmonie Plaza Tour, where you can ride the longest escalator in Europe (82 m / 269 ft).
5. Hamburg Museums & Wasserschloss Tea Shop
The main museums you can not miss in Hamburg are Kunsthalle Art Gallery (featuring eight centuries of the European art) and International Maritime Museum (with its 40,000 exhibition pieces and the Queen Mary II built with 1 million LEGO bricks). If you love old ships do not miss RICKMER RICKMERS Museum and Museum Ship Cap San Diego.
As a tea lover, I really could not miss the Wasserschloss Tea Shop of Hamburg. It is not the most budget-friendly place to shop, but they have amazing quality and a great variety of teas from all across the globe. You can enjoy hot drinks at their cafe.
Every tea I bought at Wasserschloss store was simply perfect. So, every time someone from my friends or family travels to Hamburg, I still ask for a new tea
More top places to visit in Hamburg
- The Hamburg Museum ( interesting expositions related to the history of Hamburg )
- Kaffeemuseum (a museum dedicated to coffee)
- Ohlsdorf Cemetery ( the largest rural cemetery in the world )
- Altona District ( a picturesque neighborhood with a few interesting sights and museums )
- Wallringpark ( especially gorgeous in the Autumn months )
- Heinrich Hertz Telecommunications Tower ( this 124-meter-high building will be reopened to the public in 2023 )
- Elbphilharmonie ( Hamburg Opera House )
- Deichtorhallen Hamburg ( one of Europe’s largest art spaces for modern art and photography lovers)
- Gewürzmuseum (a museum of spices )
- Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe ( Museum for Arts and Crafts )
- Hamburg Zoo ( while I avoid visiting zoos myself, as I´ve told you in my Tenerife and Jardin del Papagayo posts, locals claim that the Hamburg Zoo is one of a few zoos in the world that doesn’t use cages )
- Street Art ( while Hamburg can´t compete with Berlin or Lisbon in terms of countless murals, you can still find a few unique art pieces around Große Elbstraße; don´t miss the feminist art project FrauenFreiluftGalerie )
- Non-touristy Hamburg ( for a more local vibe check the areas of Karolinenviertel and Sternschanze or Reeperbahn)
- the famous red-light and party district of Hamburg is St Pauli – you might enjoy the top-popular Insider Tour of the Reeperbahn & St. Pauli
Day trips from Hamburg
If you have a few days for your Hamburg city break and want to escape the bustling city life, take a day trip to explore more of the surrounding regions. You can set your eyes on Willkomm-Hoft, Schloss Ahrensburg, Lüneburg, Bremen, Schwerin. Personally, I really recommend Lubeck, as it is definitely one of the most picturesque small towns in Germany.
Top day-trip tours from Hamburg:
- Heide Park Resort (Northern Germany’s largest amusement park)
- Lübeck from Hamburg 1-Day Private Trip by Train
- Tour of Blankenese on the Banks of the Elbe
- Reinbek Castle & Ahrensburg Palace Trip by Car
- Private Guided Day Trip to Hanover
For more Hamburg travel tips and alternative itineraries check my Pinterest board Germany Travel.
- Accommodation: For short stays I usually book via Agoda or Booking
- Tours&excursions: My favorites for guided tours are GetYourGuide and Viator
- City breaks&sightseeing: Go City helps to avoid multiple entry fees and paper tickets
- Flights: To find for the best deals I like WayAway
- Train&bus tickets: Currently, I book via RailEurope, Omio, and Busbud
- Car rental: To find best deals I use Rental Cars
- Transfers: For individual transfer services I like Kiwitaxi
- Cruise Reviews: To find the best cruise offer I check out Cruise Critic
- Suitcases&Luggage: To eliminate problems of early arrivals/late departures I find helpful Radical Storage
- Compensation for delayed/cancelled flights: AirHelp is really useful for all flight cancellation or delay claims
- For Bloggers: To monetize my blog I use Travelpayouts