The beautiful maritime metropolis is home not only to Europe’s most important cruise shipyards and shipping companies, it’s also the world’s capital of classification societies. Germany’s largest port city can look back on a rich merchant tradition, inspires architects and designers, and ranks among the world’s top ten travel destinations according to the New York Times.
Called “the world’s most beautiful city” by its inhabitants, Hamburg brims with culture and nightlife. The city combines fantastic urban entertainment, be it theatres, musicals, museums, galleries or sporting events, with enormous recreational value in its parks and gardens, its beach clubs on the Elbe and walks around the picturesque Alster lake.
Harbour & river tours
The port is one of the reasons why people from all over the world fall in love with this city. This is where the heart of Hamburg beats - and we'll tell you where to feel the pulse the most.
Starting from St. Pauli Landungsbrücken, Barkassen (launches) bring you to the most exciting places - from the Speicherstadt UNESCO Site and the stunning Elbphilharmonie concert hall to the enormous docks and container terminals. Also, on specialised bus tours, you can easily reach parts of the port area that not everyone has access to. At the museum harbour in Neumühlen/Övelgönne, it gets even more exclusive.
You are also welcome aboard spectacular museum ships, such as the three-master Rickmer Rickmers or the Cap San Diego, the world's largest seaworthy museum cargo vessel. Why not spend the night aboard? The lightship hotel makes it possible. Once used as a navigational mark for the shipping off the British coast, today it offers space for eating, drinking, celebrating and sleeping.
Only a few steps away from the lightship, you can enjoy true Hamburg lifestyle in the Block Bräu. The restaurant offers daily fresh brewed beer and delicious regional specialities - with a magnificent panoramic view of the harbour. If you feel more like chill-out, drinks and music, just head to Strand Pauli Beach Club next door.
On Sunday, a Hamburg classic awaits you: early in the morning, party people and early risers meet at the Hamburg fish market. Around the traditional fish auction hall you will experience the vociferous show performances of the eccentric fish sellers – and then relax with a walk down the Elbe River to the Strandperle, one of the most popular meeting points on Hamburg’s beautiful city beach. At the latest, you too will lose your heart to Hamburg here.
Hamburg is the musical capital of Germany. It's here where you will experience some of the Disneys`s greatest successe like The Lion King, Tina Turner, Pretty Woman and Wicked or new Broadway hits like Cirque du soleil .
Hamburg is so exciting that it even has its very own musical: Die Heiße Ecke (Hot Corner), which introduces you to the wonderful, loveable and fascinating world of lovers and losers in Hamburg's world-famous red light district.
Through the night
Leaving the South Entrance to Hamburg Messe you literally step into one of Hamburg’s hottest locations: the Caroline Quarter, part of the „Schanze“, a district filled with trendy fashion boutiques, cosy cafes, as well as hip bars and restaurants. Its neighbour-district Sankt Pauli is home to the world famous Reeperbahn. This so called „Kiez“ of Hamburg bursts with clubs and entertainment establishments from theaters to table dance.
At five o’clock on Sunday mornings, early risers and party people from the Reeperbahn meet at the Hamburg fish market to enjoy the vociferous show performances of the eccentric fish sellers. After a breakfast at the fish market, the crowd moves a bit down the Elbe River coast to the Strandperle of Övelgönne, one of the most popular meeting points on Hamburg’s beautiful city beach – a place to fall in love with Hamburg.
Trips to the sea
Belonging to Hamburg, the island Neuwerk is a very popular destination for the locals. You can reach it via ferries and, depending on the tide, by foot or by horse-drawn carriages. Neuwerk is part of the Wadden Sea, a World Heritage Site spanning from the Dutch coastal zone way north to the Danish coast and covering about 14,900 square kilometers of coastal areas like salt marshes, tidal flats, sandbanks and islands that form a natural barrier between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, a paradise for birds and seals. From Hamburg, it only takes 1,5 to 2 hours by car or public transport to reach the city of Büsum, which is famous for its shrimps, and hop on board of a shrimp fishing vessel for an unforgettable and delicious fishing trip.
In case you’re more interested in beaches, then you should head for the Baltic coast. With hardly any tide and calm waters, the Baltic coast lets you enjoy white sandy and natural stony beaches, steep rugged cliffs, peaceful bays and beautiful islands like Fehmarn, that instantly put you in holiday mode. Another option for your weekend trip would be to visit the picturesque coastal cities of Lübeck, Wismar or Rostock. Like Hamburg, they bear the name Hansestadt, which tracks back to the Hanse, a medieval league of merchants and towns that engaged in free trade.
Attractions in Hamburg
Inaugurated in January 2017, the magnificent construction is considered to be the new landmark of the city. Sitting enthroned on a former storage building, the Elbphilharmonie marks the western tip of the HafenCity and attracts worldwide attention among music and architecture enthusiasts. Underneath its glass facade and wave-like rooftop it comprises two concert halls, a luxurious hotel and luxurious residential apartments.
The Elbphilharmonie Plaza, a public area that extends around the whole building, serves as a junction between the old warehouse and the glass structure. At 37 meters above sea level, visitors of the Plaza enjoy a breathtaking 360° view of the city and the harbour. If your schedule allows some time for sightseeing, the Elbphilharmonie should rank in first place.
UNESCO Site Speicherstadt
Welcome to the world’s largest harbour warehouse complex: Speicherstadt (lit. warehouse city) belongs to the historic landmarks of Hamburg and proudly bears the title of Germany’s 40th UNESCO World Heritage Site. On an area of 260,000 square metres, the picturesque neo-gothic brick architecture from the late 19th century makes for a fascinating contrast to the modern steel-and-glass buildings.
Originally built as a free economic zone, the Speicherstadt still comprises many warehouses, but has become more and more popular for its variety of leisure activities. Tourists and locals are equally enthusiastic about coffee or tea tasting facilities, for example the coffee museum Burg or the tee merchant Wasserschloss. You can spend hours at the entertainment sites like Hamburg Dungeon, which shows typical historical stories and scenes of Hamburg on an exciting walkthrough, the International Maritime Museum, showing 3,000 years of maritime history and modern research or the Miniatur Wunderland, which features the world’s largest model railway running through laboriously crafted replicas of cities and countryside areas.
The Speicherstadt’s network of streets, canals and bridges can be experienced best by foot. Simply get off the U3 underground train at the Baumwall station and go for a stroll on the brand-new promenade at the Elbe to visit the Elbphilharmonie platform for free. Afterwards, you can head towards the Speicherstadt to discover the site with its numerous coffee shops, restaurants, museums and other attractions.
Planten un Blomen
Stretching over 450,000 square metres, the park lives up to its name and offers a gorgeous recreation area with manicured flower beds, herb gardens, idyllic ponds, tropical greenhouses and a classic Japanese garden, the largest of its kind in Europe.
The water light shows with music by the park’s lake each day are a highlight: the half-hour light show with coloured fountains and regularly changing music programme takes place every night at 10 pm. A cosy blanket and a bottle of wine are all you need for the right amount of romance.
Whether you want to take a short time out during the day or go for a walk in the evening: Planten un Blomen will recharge you with green energy and entertain you with fascinating sparkling fountains.
International Maritime Museum
Particularly interesting: the International Maritime Museum harbours the world’s largest private collection showing maritime history from 3,000 years ago until today. Thousands of model ships, books, paintings and graphics, nautical devices, uniforms and maritime objects fill up more than 11,000 square metres.
A museum where everything revolves around one thing: chocolate. In the Chocoversum, visitors are taken on a 90-minute tour through a chocolate world of experience. The path of cocoa from cultivation through all stages of production to the finished chocolate bar. The heart of the exhibition is the chocolate workshop, where each visitor creates his or her own bar of chocolate - and so takes home his or her own personal happiness to go.
Burg Coffee Museum
Where does coffee come from? How does the bean actually turn brown? And how do you prepare it properly? These questions and many more will be answered during the guided tours of the coffee exhibition in the Burg coffee museum in Hamburg's Speicherstadt. Hundreds of exhibits from all over the world will tell you the success story of coffee - from then to now.
You can also register for exciting seminars where you can learn more about the world of coffee.
Spicy’s Spice Museum
Immerse yourself in the world of spices!
Located in the heart of the old Hamburg warehouse district on approximately 350 square metres, Spicy's Spice Museum shows the entire processing chain from cultivation to finished product using antique tools and machines. Well over 900 exhibits from the last five centuries tell the exciting history of spices. Whether in containers, as they come from near and far, or in clay bowls on trial tables - let all herbs and spices work on your senses.