Hamburg; a city of style, culture, waterways and tunnels
This was our second visit to the charming city of Hamburg in northern Germany, and I certainly don’t think it will be our last.
Hamburg is perfect for a weekend break all year round; however, Hamburg at Christmas time is magical.
I just love it down by the harbour at Hafencity, the bustling Elbe River is not only transporting inquisitive visitors along its waterways. It’s also has a day job to carry on with.
While Hamburg is a port city, you feel that this is truly part of its charm and strolling around the Speicherstadt district with its striking warehouses is magnificent.
Where is Hamburg
How to get to Hamburg
- By Air
Start creating your own Hamburg adventure and discover the UNESCO Speicherstadt district for yourself. Search for your flights in one easy place with ebookers.com. Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates. Then hop on a train for around 1 hour, and you’re there.
- By Car
If your venturing from the UK, jump on Le Shuttle and tour to Hamburg under your own steam. Alternatively, it’s so easy to visit on a road trip. Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.
Why not stopover in Aachen on the way?
A little history on HamburgAn ancient Hanseatic City
Grab your Hamburg Card
Whether you are located in the heart of Hamburg or just out of the centre, the Hamburg Card will come in very useful.
With unlimited free public transport, we were able to scoot around everywhere.
You’ll also receive discounts on over 150 tourist attractions.
Places to visit in HamburgLet's start at the tourist office
Our list of places to visit
- Head to the Old Elbe Tunnel
- Stroll along St. Pauli Landing Bridges
- Visit the Elbphilharmonie
- Discover the Speicherstadt
- Pop into Miniatur Wunderland
- Get scared at the Hamburg Dungeons
- Learn about all things nautical at the International Maritime Museum
- Stroll around Chilehaus
- Remember the past at St.-Nikolai-Kirche
- Discover the Rathaus and the Alsterarkaden
- Take in some culture at the Hamburg Kunsthalle
- Explore the city with a Hop-on/Hop-Off Bus tour
- Enjoy an evening illumination cruise through harbor
The Old Elbe Tunnel, HamburgA restored art deco beauty
Head to the southern banks of Hamburg
The Landungsbrücken PiersEat, drink or discover more of Hamburg
The Elbphilharmonie in HamburgA striking symbol of modern Hamburg
Views across Hamburg
Hamburg’s Speicherstadt districtA UNESCO site you will love
This district of Hamburg became Germany’s 40th UNESCO site, and the 260,000 square metres that it covers, is the world largest complex of warehouses.
The beautiful neo-gothic red brick buildings were erected into the Elbe River on oak poles between 1883 and the 1920s. During its maritime heyday, this would have been a bustling part of Hamburg, with its dockworkers coming and going unloading their goods.
Exploring Hamburg’s warehouse cityThere will be something to tempt you
For the big kid inside you, just shouting to get out, you must head to Miniatur Wunderland. This is great to visit with all the family, even if they’re aren’t train enthusiasts.
Every 15 minutes, the whole environment will cover a 24-hour period, so whichever location you are in the museum the nightfall descends. This is great to see when the streets of Las Vegas come to life.
For something a little more sedate head to The International Maritime Museum housed in Hamburg’s oldest standing warehouse.
If you love nautical stories, history and model ships, this is for you.
The Chilehaus, HamburgAnother don't miss in Hamburg
St.-Nikolai-Kirche, HamburgMemories of a darker time
Within the crypt is a fascinating museum, where we found out about the whole of St Nicholas Church’s timeline.
From its origins as a Seaman’s chapel, the aftermath of Hamburg’s Great Fire and the devastation of WWII.
Hamburg AltstadtHome to the impressive Rathaus
Hamburg Old Town is another fascinating area to discover. Perhaps it doesn’t have the quainter historic architecture of some German cities, but it has a lot of character, nonetheless.
The beautiful building that takes pride of place in the centre is the Rathaus (City Hall). It houses Hamburg’s seat of government, the parliament and senate, which still assemble here.
Hamburg at Christmas
Shopping in HamburgA little bit of retail therapy
Discover more in HamburgAround the Binnenalster
This is a lovely lake to while away some time, there are lots of things going on to entertain you or you can even embark on a boat trip around the lake.
If you then fancy brushing up on your art knowledge head to Hamburg Kunsthalle. This a beautiful gallery, full of spectacular and fascinating exhibitions.
The Hamburg Kunsthalle is one of the largest museums in Germany and has on display seven centuries of European Art.
Other sights in HamburgThe quirky U-Bahn station
Where to stay in HamburgPerfect for the airport or a road trip
Located close by Hamburg airport; however, it was so peaceful.
The staff were accommodating and friendly.
The hotel is out of the city centre, which was ideal for us, as there was secure parking. It took around 30 minutes to get into the heart of the city centre.
The room was very comfortable, clean & peaceful. The desk area was a good size, allowing us to set-up our charging station, and work on the laptop with plenty of room.
There was a wide variety of food and drinks for breakfast, and all served in a pleasant location.
Where to eat and drink in HamburgEnjoy the tastes of the city
Labskaus can be made in various ways, although the main ingredients in Gary’s dish were minced beef, egg, beetroot and a side dish of pickles and herring.
Gary enjoyed it, although it isn’t really my cup of tea.
For us, no trip to Germany would be complete without a currywurst.
Hamburg's Local Tipple
A few more recomendations
It's a city, so there are literally hundreds of places to try, but these are the ones we tried, or they caught our eye.
- Restaurant Schoppenhauer - traditional half-timbered Inn where we had our Labskaus.
- Altstädter Stube Willig - a smokey little bar/restaurant, but friendly and great beer.
- Roncalli Grand Cafe - to be honest we didn't go in, but it looked fabulous - one for next time.
- Störtebeker - In the Elbphilharmonie, we stopped for a pitstop & pretzel. Cool, stylish and a great range of beers.
- Mö-Grill - Loved these two street snack vendors on Mönckebergstraße. A very welcome Currywurst stop here.
Our video of HamburgThe city through our eyes
We have created a little YouTube video of Hamburg. Why not take a look?
Also, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?
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I love Hamburg, though it’s ages since I’ve visited. I really should visit again. Love your photos and your inside tips, as ever!
Thanks very much Esther. Yes, Hamburg is a fantastic city and quite diverse, it’s magical at Christmas time.
I fell in love with Germany on my first trip to Munich 10 years ago. I have not been to Hamburg but it looks just as beautiful and I love cities that are built around canals. Hamburg is definitely on my list of cities to visit. #farawayfiles
We visited Munich a couple of years ago at Christmas time, it was wonderful, although I’d like to return Spring time to discover more of the city. Hamburg is fantastic, like you, I love the canals.
I really enjoyed my first trip to Hamburg last December. The Christmas market, in particular, was so special. I’d like to return in the spring or the summer so that I could see the famous swans on the lake. I really enjoyed reading about your trip and your excellent tips on this week’s #farawayfiles
We were there last December too, the Christmas markets are fantastic. This latest visit was in October, I think the swans had gone into hiding.
Just revisited your beautiful post, Janis. You guys know most German cities so much better than Ellie & I do. I think there are only a handful left now where I feel I can trump you… basically the places I lived in while still based in Germany. Give it a year or two, and you will outdo me on those as well as you travel more and my memory fades haha..
Thanks very much, Stefan, that means a lot. Gary and I love visiting Germany, there’s so much incredible history.
So, which towns and cities do you recommend us visiting that you’ve lived in?