If you are looking for the best places to visit in Hamburg and further sightseeing ideas during your vacation, I listed some all-time favorites for you. As Hamburg’s weather can be quite changeable, I categorized the attractions into inspirations for sunny and rainy days.
Things to do in Hamburg on a Sunny Day
- Make an Alster or Harbour Boat Trip to experience the city from exciting angles and listen to fun facts
- Enjoy a tasty Currywurst at the “Mö Grill” above the public transport station Mönckebergstraße within the city’s main shopping area
- Climb 452 stairs to the top of the church St. Michaelis (“Michel“) and enjoy the amazing city and harbour view
- Have a look at the historic Krameramtsstuben built in the 17th century, Hamburg’s oldest residential buildings, located at St. Michaelis
- Walk through the Speicherstadt, the world’s largest warehouse district and an official UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015, and stop for coffee and cake in the Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei
- Visit the Elbphilharmonie to experience the impressive architecture and harbour view with a Plaza Ticket (2€) or an English guided tour (13€ on weekends)
- Take the bus line 111 to flexibly explore the broader port of Hamburg using your regular HVV public transport ticket
- Relax in a Beach Club at the port of Hamburg, e.g. StrandPauli or Hamburg Del Mar, and watch ships of different sizes as they pass by
- Take the S1 train to Blankenese, a former fishing village and nowadays one of the most expensive residential areas in Hamburg, and walk south to the Elbe river through the impressive Treppenviertel (stair district), passing by many charming villas and the Treppenkrämer Café. If you are motivated to go for an additional 1.5 hours walk, you can continue along the river to Övelgönne’s museum harbour where the Elbstrand (beach) and several bars await you, e.g. Strandperle Hamburg. Look out for the glacial erratic on that route.
- Visit a water-light concert in Hamburg’s famous park and botanical garden Planten un Blomen
- Have a blast at the Hamburger DOM, Germany’s largest funfair, which opens three times a year near Reeperbahn/St. Pauli
- Enjoy a fabulous Sundowner sailboat tour on the Alster with a traditional two mast mahagoni boat and a professional skipper, Henning, who also speaks English. You can come by spontaneously or ideally make a reservation in advance. Curious? You can find images of my own Sundowner tour here.
- Visit Hamburg’s traditional Altona Fischmarkt that takes place each Sunday morning from 5 am – 9:30 am (April till October) or 7 am – 9:30 am (November till March)
- Go to Hagenbeck’s Tierpark, a zoo with approximately 1.850 animals that is engaged in the preservation of endangered species
- Enjoy Hamburg’s nightlife around the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli, the city’s famous red-light district, or explore the vivid Schanzenviertel near Sternschanze with various bars, clubs, restaurants, and unique shops. This is the area where many locals like to go out and meet. It is also fascinating to walk through the illuminated Speicherstadt at night.
Things to do in Hamburg on a Rainy Day
- Visit the world’s largest model railway, Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland, that opens 365 days a year
- Walk through Hamburg’s Alten Elbtunnel that opened in 1911 and is free of charge for pedestrians or cyclists
- Go shopping in the central Europa-Passage (~ 120 shops) or in one of Hamburg’s District Shopping Malls:
- Alstertal-Einkaufszentrum (North): ~ 240 shops, near train station “Poppenbüttel”
- Wandsbek Quaree (East): ~ 90 shops plus several outside, at train station “Wandsbek Markt”
- Hamburger Meile (East): ~ 150 shops, at train station “Mundsburg” or “Hamburger Straße”
- Phoenix-Center (South): ~ 110 shops, at train station “Hamburg-Harburg”
- Elbe-Einkaufszentrum (West): ~ 180 shops, bus connection from train station “Klein Flottbek”
- Visit a fascinating skyshow at Planetarium Hamburg – English, French, or Spanish audio guides available
- Some of Hamburg’s cinemas show English movies (OF = original version; OmU = original with subtitles)
- Get Musical Tickets and enjoy an unforgettable performance in terms of music, dance, and stage scenery
- Visit the Hamburger Kunsthalle, one of Germany’s largest museums of art with varying special exhibitions
- Seeking a bit more action? Have fun at the JUMP House, a huge trampoline park, play Lasertag, or Roulette, Black Jack, and Poker at the Casino Esplanade
- Love chocolate? Enjoy the journey from cocoa beans to a bar of chocolate and create your own bar in the Chocoversum
Hamburg City Pass: Free public transport & sightseeing
If you plan to visit various of Hamburg’s attractions and to use public transport, it can pay off to oder a Hamburg City Pass for 1, 2, 3 or 5 days online. It combines free travel by bus, train and harbour ferries with free entrance to cooperating museums, sights and sightseeing tours in Hamburg. You receive the Hamburg City Pass directly after payment via e-mail, so you can print it at home or download it on your mobile device:
It is also valid for travels from and to the airport. However, if you arrive in the afternoon/evening it makes sense to purchase a regular HVV ticket and to buy a Hamburg City Pass only for those days where you have enough time to enjoy the included attractions.
The Hamburg City Pass offers you the highest flexibility, but you can also configure an individual selection of Online Tickets to benefit from discounts compared to admission fees on-site. The more attractions and tours you select, the more you save. However, public transport is not included in this case. With this option, you only pay & save for the attractions that you choose. Enjoy your vacation!
Video © Andreas Vogel / YOUTUBE
Image © NEC Fotografie