Hamburg, located on the banks of the Elbe River in northern Germany, is the country’s second largest city after Berlin.
Home to 1.8 million people, Hamburg has the largest port in Germany, the third busiest in Europe.
Hamburg’s central area is located around the “Binnenalster” and “Außenalster” (inner and outer Alster), both artificial lakes formed by the Alster River, which joins the Elbe River in Hamburg.
The best way to explore Hamburg is on foot and bike. But you might also be interested in buying Hamburg Card from €10.50. This tourist pass offers unlimited travel in the city’s public transport network, which includes ferries, as well as discounts on more than 150 tourist attractions, restaurants and shops.
Hamburg Top Attractions
Altstadt: The historic heart of is the ideal place to start your Hamburg visit. The main medieval square, called Rathausmarkt, is dominated by the Town Hall of Hamburg, an impressive neo-Renaissance building. Then walk to Deichstraße, the oldest remaining street and a nice area with canals where you can feel the Old Hamburg. On Cremon, you’ll find the last old historic warehouse dating from the 18th and early 19th century.
St Michael’s Church: Its unmistakable copper roof and 132-metre high spire won’t go unnoticed in your Hamburg visit. If you’re not afraid of heights, climb to the top for amazing views of the city. The inside of this baroque church is beautiful too, and there is an organ recital you can enjoy at noon each day.
Sankt Pauli: Saint Pauli is famed for its nightlife and for the Reeperbahn, a street of bars and nightclubs, part of Hamburg’s identity. It’s next to one of Europe’s biggest red light districts.
Fischmarkt: If you’re in Hamburg on a Sunday morning, get up early and pay the market a visit. From 7am to 9.30am November to March (5am to 10am the remainder of the year), you get to experience a mix between food truck vendors, market vendors (selling fish and meat), and a flea market.
Port of Hamburg: This is one of the nicest areas in the city. Besides several beautiful old buildings surrounded by water mixed with nice restaurants and cafés, there’s a great choice of travel by boat to explore the harbour and city. Most boat tours depart from the floating dock known as the “Landungsbrücken” (landing stages). Take the regular public ferry 62 for a great and cheaper option.
Where to Stay
There’s no shortage of accommodation in Hamburg. Many hotels have waterside locations.
- Citadines Michel Hamburg: studios and apartments with fully equipped kitchen in downtown Hamburg.
- Scandic Hamburg Emporio: eco-friendly design hotel in central Hamburg.
- Le Méridien Hamburg: directly on the Alster Lake, it offers great views.
Seafood reigns in Hamburg thanks to its proximity to the sea.
Fischbrötchen is basically a fish sandwich and it’s a specialty from Northern Germany. In Hamburg, some say that Bruecke 10 offers the best Fischbrötchen in the city combined with a great location on the Landungsbrücke.
For a fish and seafood meal, there are many great restaurants, including Hummer Pedersen near the fish market or the Rive overlooking the Elbe.