What to do in Hamburg
When visiting Germany, most international travelers tend to think of Berlin, Munich, Cologne and maybe a bit of Heidelberg. However, a true insider’s tip to visit is Hamburg, Germany’s second largest metropolitan city! It has an incredible amount to offer so be sure to plan more than just a day trip to Europe’s third largest port city. Here are our top ten things to do in Hamburg.
Free walking tour with Robin and the Tourguides
Acquaint yourself with the city and be sure to do a free walking tour with Robin and the Tourguides. The tours give a great and fun overview of the city, provide the historical as well as current vibes of the city and their guides offer a lot of personalized suggestion of how to spend the rest of your time in the vibrant city. Their tours start every day in English and German at 11 a.m. for the historic city center tour and at 2 p.m. for the harbour and St.Pauli tour. The also offer an incredibly insightful local craft beer tasting tour for all the craft beer fans out there.
Visit the Miniature Wonderland
The largest model train set in the world. Even if you think model trains sounds maybe dorky, the Miniature Wonderland will still blow you away! It is the number 1 tourist attraction in the city, and for good reason. The incredible detail and touch of humor profounds millions and millions of visitors each and every year. Be sure though to reserve a time online, it is not uncommon that the que to get in can be 7 or 8 hours. Not a typical museum, but the most frequented one in Germany!
Enjoy a great view of the city
At the top of the St. Michael’s church steeple, the landmark of the city. 106 meters above the ground, you will enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the entire city and no worries, yes, there are stairs for all of you that don’t want to take the elevator to the top 😉 . It costs only 5€ (4€ discounted for students, seniors, etc…) so also a great value. Our insider tip is to visit either during work days at 10 a.m. or Sundays at 12 p.m. to experience on of the last traditional trumpet player blowing his horn in all 4 directions. Of course, before or after the climb you should also take a peek inside the church because it is an absolutely beautiful church (entrance free – donations for the upkeep requested). The church represents one of the best examples of baroque architecture in Germany today and there are services every day at 12 p.m. with songs played from the 4 impressive organs inside.
Plaza of Hamburg
Walk through the Plaza of Hamburg´s amazing new symphonic concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie. Not only is the building itself architecturally outstanding, but the view of the harbor and modern city surrounding the concert hall is spectacular. The best thing is though that the entrance is free of charge. Inside there is also a nice craft beer bar from the Störtebeker craft beer brewery. So after a nice walk through the building, one can enjoy a nice beer with an extraordinary view.
Stroll through the beautiful parks, Planten un Blomen, in the center of the city. Not much of a gardens person, this will change your mind. Located on the former site of the city walls, the Planten un Blomen is a breathtakingly surreal gardens area with many activities going on as well. From the free water organ concerts every day, Europe’s largest Japanese gardens, the world’s largest outdoor ice-skating rink, the city’s best playgrounds and and and! Or just going for a bit of fresh air as well as a relaxing walk, these gardens are worth a visit year round. Just make sure to not get stuck inside after the closing times at 10 p.m.! Finding your way out might be an unwanted adventure. (Photo: Hinnerk Haardt)
Heart of the City
See the heart of the city’s economy, the ports, up close with a harbor boat tour. Europe’s third largest port offers a bustling array of international ships coming and leaving every day. Ever seen a mega-container ship up close? These ships are around 4 football fields big and carry up to over 20,000 containers on board at once. Don´t believe us, take a harbor boat tour and see them up close and… “oh yes, now I believe you.”. Discover also, the dockyards where luxury yachts, naval ships and various other ships are made and serviced as well as the smaller canals and historic Warehouse districts. The Maritime Circle Line at the Landungsbrücken Nr. 10 offers harbor boat tours in English every two hours and don´t forget to pick up a traditional Fischbrötchen to snack on along the way!
Explore the Kunsthalle with over 175,000 paintings from the middle ages to modern art in its library to explore. With over 13,000 square meters and ever changing exhibitions from world class museums around the globe it is nearly impossible to quench one’s thirst of art here. If an art fan be sure to plan a lot of time because you will need it. Entrance only cost 14€ (discounted – 8€) and there are many lectures as well as friendly staff to guide you through the museum. (Photo: Daniela Kloth)
See, touch, smell and taste every step of the way in producing the world´s most loved sweet, Chocolate, at the Chocoversum museum. Start the tour off with tasting the fresh fruit of a cocoa pod and afterwards, step for step, learn of the sophisticated world to create a simple or luxurious chocolate bar. With Hamburg being Europe’s largest cocoa importer, this museum has a lot of insight to offer into chocolate making. At the end of the tour you also make your very own chocolate bar as a souvenir or to eat right away. An excellent experience for young and old to explore Hamburgs rich and long chocolate history and expertise. (Photo: An-d)
Party at the most sinful mile in the world, the Reeperbahn. Clubs, bars, Djs, Bands, Theater, Events and festivals, there are hundreds of places to have a great night out in the St. Pauli district. Start the evening off with a can of local beer from a kiosk, enjoy a band or two of live music on the Hans-Albers square, sing a few Karaoke songs, walk down the Grosse Freiheit, try the local shot, a mexicaner, where the beatles once played, and meet other night partying folk. Don´t like one place, just go next door. There is something for everyone’s style in St. Pauli… Just be sure though to always check the prices of what your ordering, otherwise you might be escorted by a muscle-packed bouncer to the nearest cash machine. (Photo: Freepenguin)
Enjoy the scenic Alster Lakes. The lakes in the center of the city offer a luscious green area for recreational areas such as walking, jogging, bicycling, rowing and sailing. Bicycles and small boats can also be rented for a small price to enjoy the surrounding villas, parks, wildlife and fresh air. Also, the breeding nests of many birds such as ducks, geese, swallows, storks, and swans are located on the lakes, so in spring their cute offspring can also be admired. There are also great cafes all along the lake to enjoy a nice coffee and cake in this serene setting.
Author: Robin and the tour Guides