Aiport in Hamburg Germany

You arrive at Hamburg Airport and wonder if there is a cheap and fast Airport Shuttle to get to the center of the city? Yes, indeed! The S1 rapid transit railway has its station directly underneath the terminals and brings air travelers both ways every 10 minutes from 6 am till 11 pm on Monday – Friday and from 8 am till 11 pm on Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays. The first train to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, our central railway station, departs from Hamburg Airport at 4:34 am and the last one leaves the Airport at 00:14 am – operating only every 20 minutes during these very early/late hours.

Unlike other cities you might know, we have no surcharge for the train connection to or from Hamburg Airport. The trip to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof takes only 25 minutes and costs 3,20 € for adults and 1,20 € for children between 6 and 14 years if you choose one-way single tickets. Children under the age of 6 years can use the HVV services free of charge! You can reach the platform by stairs, escalator, and elevator. Tip: Hamburg Airport offers special services for passengers and visitors with reduced mobility.

Just look out for the green “S”-sign

When I arrived at Hamburg Airport, I remembered to take the following pictures to show you how the green “S”-sign looks like that guides you to the train track and the ticket vending machines. In case you wondered: the machines do change money and also accept bank notes and credit cards. There is no need to have the right amount of coins with you. Compared to other cities, you do also not need to stamp your ticket somewhere, just take it with you and be able to show it if there happens to be a ticket check.

Public Transport Sign at the Aiport in Hamburg Germany

Once you reach the platform, you don’t need to worry that you could choose the wrong direction. Hamburg Airport is a terminal station so that all departing trains will take you to the inner city.

Public Transport at the Aiport in Hamburg Germany

When your vacation comes to an end and you want to travel from the city center back to Hamburg Airport, you need to board one of the first three cars, because the S1 trains split up at Ohlsdorf. The front section of the train runs to the airport, the last three cars go to Poppenbüttel. Signs at the train stations are indicating this split and you will also hear an announcement in English once you arrive in Ohlsdorf to remind you to switch cars if necessary. The layout of Hamburg Airport is simple: Depending on your airline, you will need to check in at either Terminal 1 or 2. Both are connected by the Airport Plaza, which is the common security controls area:

Hamburg Airport Departure Terminal Map

In case you arrive hungry, I always prefer to buy a sandwich before the security controls because they are way cheaper and better there. If you leave the S1 train and walk in the direction of Terminal 2, you will directly arrive at the Edeka supermarket, which has a good bakery at the entrance. If you need to go to Terminal 1 instead, you will also come across a nice bakery / coffee shop named Scoom close to the escalators to the Check-in counters that offers fair trade and organic products wherever possible.

Keep in mind that you cannot bring any liquids with you through the following security controls, but in the Duty Free area you will find bottled Viva con Agua water (0,5l for 2€). You might wonder why I am highlighting the brand Viva con Agua – it is a network of people and organizations committed to establish access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation for all humans worldwide and was founded in 2006 by the former FC St. Pauli football player Benjamin Adrion. He visited Cuba for a training camp in 2005 where he experienced a poor drinking water supply at first hand, which inspired him to realize this great initiative:

Tip: Hamburg Airport offers one hour of free internet access. Simply choose HAM AIRPORT FREE WIFI and agree to the terms and conditions.

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:

Hamburg City Pass

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.

Images © Toedti2000 (1) / PIXELIO; Travel to Hamburg (2+3); Flughafen Hamburg GmbH (4)

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47 thoughts on “From Hamburg Airport to the City Center with Public Transport

  1. Hi, is the train from the airport to Hamburg main station underground all the way? For a claustrophobic person

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Maria,

      the train from Hamburg Airport to Hamburg main station is underground only till the next station Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, which takes less than 3 minutes. The rest of the ride is above ground.


  2. Hi
    Thanks, this information is exactly what I needed and couldn’t find anywhere else, because everyone else tried to explain what wasn’t necessary.

    But I have a question, you have written “every 10 minutes from 6 am till 11 pm (otherwise every 20 minutes)”, does it mean that there are trains every 20 minutes on Sunday’s and holidays?

    Thanks for your respond

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Mikaehl,

      thank you so much for your valuable feedback, I’m glad to read you find this site helpful! 🙂

      Good question regarding the hours of operation, I just changed the text to be more precise and also included a link to the official station timetable.

      In a nutshell: On that particular route, the HVV operates every 10 minutes each day, but they switch from the 20-to-10-minutes-mode not before 8 am on Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays instead of 6 am on workdays.

      Enjoy your vacation!

  3. Hi Lidia,

    We will be travelling from the Airport to Lubeck-Travemunde via Hamburg Central Station. Can we buy our tickets for the entire journey at the Airport? Your guide just talks about buying tickets for the city centre at a vending machine, but we would prefer to buy tickets for the entire journey at a ticket office (from a friendly railway employee!)


    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Richard,

      there is unfortunately no Deutsche Bahn Service Center at Hamburg Airport, although I am sure many visitors would highly appreciate this. Nevertheless, it will be easy for you to find the right ticket. You can switch the language to English and the vending machine has one prominent option to select your point of departure and destination (keep in mind that you can choose between Lübeck-Travemünde Hafen and Lübeck-Travemünde Strand).

      Buying tickets for the entire journey directly at Hamburg Airport is cheaper than purchasing tickets to Hamburg Central Station first and visiting one of the two Deutsche Bahn Service Centers there for connecting tickets (you will save 3,20 € per person). The entire trip should cost 18,30 € per person based on the SH-fare for Schleswig-Holstein.

      I wish you a wonderful vacation at the Baltic Sea!


  4. Hey Lidia,

    Great insight on the train. Found it very useful as I will be traveling next week.

    I wanted to know, that I have a connecting train from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof to Copenhagen. So this is the right train to get on from the airport right?


    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Salahuddin,

      exactly, there is only the green S1 train line that takes you from Hamburg Airport to Hamburg Central Station. So unlike other cities you won’t struggle to find the right train at the airport. If you didn’t purchase a ticket to Copenhagen yet, I would recommend to by a ticket for the entire trip at one of the vending machines at Hamburg Airport, because this saves you the additional HVV fee to reach the city center.

      Enjoy your trip,

  5. Hi, I will be catching the train from the central station to the airport, and I was just wondering if I will need to book a ticket for this in advance or if I can just get one when I arrive at the station ? Thanks

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Pepita,

      you don’t need to book a HVV ticket in advance. You will find vending machines at each station, some might not accept credit cards though. So try to have some cash ready just to be on the safe side.


  6. Hi Lidia, we are glad that we found your article so we can have piece of mind once we get to Hamburg and spend couple of days there before our cruise. Thank you so much 🙂

    After the cruise we will try to go to Berlin then Prague from Hamburg, the question is should we be able buy a combo package for 2 days in Hamburg then a one way ticket from there to Berlin then Prague or any other alternatives?
    Your advise is greatly appreciated,

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Kien,

      thank you so much for your positive feedback! 🙂 Your travel plan sounds amazing, I wish you a wonderful time and sunny weather along the way.

      There is no combo ticket available if you’re staying in Hamburg first and returning later to continue your trip. But I can highly recommend to book the tickets to Berlin and Prague as soon as possible if you already know the dates, as the Deutsche Bahn offers limited tickets at a large discount – first come, first served!

      Thanks to the Saver-ticket, you can discover Germany starting at 29€ per person, or travel to a destination in Europe for as little as 39€. These special offers are unlocked 91 days before travel. Keep in mind that unlike the flexible fare, your Saver-ticket is only valid for the selected train connection.

      You can easily purchase these tickets online at and then bring a printed version and your chosen ID with you. I found a series of helpful videos explaining the entire booking process in English.

      Enjoy your vacation,

  7. Good morning,

    Can we get to Hamburg Messe und Congress from the Airport by S Bahn please? Thanks,
    Steven UK

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Steven,

      yes, you can easily reach the Hamburg Messe und Congress area by public transport. The journey takes approximately 35 minutes, just keep in mind that you will need to switch lines once because there is no direct connection. The huge Messe area has different entrances, so you might want to choose a station that is closest to your fair. This website contains an overview of all stations within walking distance. Personally, I like to arrive at either Dammtor or Stephansplatz and walk through Planten un Blomen to the East Entrance if the weather is fine.


  8. Hi,
    I would like to go to Hamburg Messe from hbf,and want to take the train nearest to its central entrance.
    Please guide.

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Mehdi,

      the Hamburg Messe is built on a huge area and has different entrances depending on the buildings that are booked for a particular fair. This website contains an overview of all stations within walking distance.

      You will need 15-20 minutes to reach the Hamburg Messe from Hamburg Hbf by public transport. You can either
      • take the lines S11, S21, or S31 to Hamburg-Dammtor or Sternschanze and enjoy one of the most beautiful city views to the left over the Binnenalster, or
      • take the line U3 to Sternschanze because this train switches from under- to overground on the Elbe river, which results in a great harbour view, or
      • choose the U1 to Stephansplatz or the U2 to Messehallen, both going underground.

      Enjoy your stay,

  9. Thank you very much for this complete and useful page!

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Thank you very much Seza for your feedback, it’s always motivating to read that people find my website helpful. 🙂

  10. Hi Lidia,

    We are travelling to Holiday Inn, Billwerder Neuer Deich on 23rd November. Our flight arrives at 23:00. Will there be a train that will take us to our hotel at this time? If so, which one is best?

    Thank you in advance for your help.


    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Laura,

      I wish you a wonderful stay ahead!

      In terms of transportation, my personal recommendation in your case is to go by taxi at that late hour because streets will be empty so that you are going to reach your hotel very quickly and conveniently this way. The alternative is to change between trains and buses two or three times and still walk 5-15 minutes depending on the connection.


  11. thank you for your useful information we are going to the christmas markets next weekend and just wondered about the return trip to the airport do we need the front carriages for return to airport?

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Lin,

      you are right – when you travel from the city center back to the airport, you need to board one of the first three cars, because the S1 trains split up at Ohlsdorf. The front section of the train runs to the airport, the last three cars go to Poppenbüttel. Signs at the train stations are indicating this split and you will also hear an announcement in English once you arrive in Ohlsdorf to remind you to switch cars if necessary. I added this information in the article above, thanks for your good question.

      Enjoy the Christmas markets!

  12. Hi Lidia,
    For some years I flew into Hamburg and used Jasper back and forth to the train station. Then I came in that last year and no Jasper and really no info readily available. So took a taxi. For several years now I’ve been flying into Dusseldorf or Frankfurt and training to my destination.

    Enjoyable, but this year due to some great short sales for airline tickets I’m doing the Hamburg flight and train setup. Of the several sites regarding transportation between the Airport and central train station, yours is by far the best organized and informative. I’ve found exactly all the information I wanted and needed.

    So, a very long-winded thank you and congratulations on an informative and well organized and visually appealing web-site.


    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Tom,

      thanks a million for your great feedback! 🙂

      Yes, Jasper Airport Express was the only direct alternative to a taxi until they stopped operating in 2009 as a result of the new train connection. I am sure you are going to enjoy the train ride, the S1 runs above ground and eliminates the risk to be stuck in a traffic jam.

      I wish you more good airline ticket offers via Hamburg in the future & bon voyage!


  13. Hi Lidia
    We will be visiting Hamburg in January and need to go from the airport to Lubecker Strasse, is this direct or will we need to change? Are the maps and instructions clear enough for me not to get lost?!!

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Lloyd,

      my recommendation depends on the exact area of the Lübecker Straße that you would like to reach. The easiest way is the direct route, which means you take the S1 from Hamburg Airport to Landwehr and walk ~10 minutes to your destination. Alternatively, you could change trains in Barmbek and look for the U3 (yellow line), which then stops at the station Lübecker Straße. Both routes will take approximately 30 minutes.

      I am confident that you won’t get lost 😉 – there will be lots of signs and the Hamburgers will be happy to show you the way if you ask.


  14. Thanks Lidia
    It’s the station closest to the Novotel Hamburg City Alster.

  15. Hi Lidia,

    HAMBURG Tourismus offers a Tageskarte for 9.90 E. Do you know if that card also allows me to travel on the S1 to and from Hamburg Airport?


    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Dwight,

      yes, that is the so-called Hamburg Card. It offers free public transport services in the Greater Hamburg Area, which also includes the S1 connection to and from Hamburg Airport.

      If you only need a Day Ticket without additional discounts for sightseeing, I would recommend to buy the regular HVV Day Ticket for 7,60 € instead.

      You can find more information on different ticket types under public transport.


  16. Dear Lidia,

    Can you please guide me on the train route? Once arriving Hamburg Airport, I will be heading to Mercure Hotel Hamburg at Amsinckstrasse 53. How can I get there by train?

    Thank you.



    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Chua,

      the most convenient option is to take the S1 from Hamburg Airport to Hamburg Central Station, where you can switch trains and continue with the S31 to Hammerbrook. From that station it’s only a six minutes walk to reach your hotel. The whole journey takes 40 minutes.

      Enjoy your stay,

  17. Dear Lidia,

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    Can you please let me know how much it costs by taking the train from Hamburg Airport to Hamburg Central Station, and from there to Hammerbrook, the closest station near to Mercure Hotel Hamburg at Amsinckstrasse 53?

    Thanks again.


    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Chua,

      the Single Journey Ticket costs 3,20 € and also allows you to change trains as long as you go in one direction (no return/round trip). If you arrive early in the day and plan to use public transport more often, consider buying a Day Ticket for 7,60 € instead.


  18. Thanks so much for your feedback and advice, Lidia.

    You have a nice day!

    Kind regards,


  19. is there any cheap public bus from central to airport?

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Jebak,

      there is unfortunately no cheaper alternative to reach Hamburg Airport from Hamburg Central Station than to take the S1 train for 3,20 €. There are some alternative bus routes, but they are quite complicated as they require you to switch lines two times. In addition, they do also cost either 3,20 € or even 5,20 € as some routes include an express bus, which charges a supplement.


  20. Hi,
    how long takes walking from the arrivals at Hamburg airport to the S-bahn station in the airport (no need of picking up lugagge, just going directly after the arrival to the S-bahn)? there is an S-bahn to the city center leaving 25 minutes after my arrival, I would like to know whether it is feasible.

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Iván,

      yes this is feasible if you arrive directly at the gate, not on an outer position, and if the waiting line for the border control is not too long. Anyway, the train departs every 10 minutes so I’d say there is no need to hurry.


  21. Hi Lidia,

    We are planning a day trip by rail to Lubeck from the Hamburg Airport. Can we buy RT tickets for the entire trip at the airport station and what is the cost? Also, is there more than one rail station in Lubeck, and if so, which is the best tourist stop?

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Don,

      yes, you can purchase your rail ticket for the entire journey at a vending machine at Hamburg Airport or online at if you already know the date. I would recommend to choose Lübeck Hbf as destination. The entire journey takes 1,5 hours and you can choose between the Schleswig-Holstein-Ticket for 31 € (two adults) or the SH-Ticket for small groups for 34,90 €.

      Both tickets can be used for a same-day round trip. However, the Schleswig-Holstein-Ticket is a specific-train booking, i.e. the ticket is only valid on the trains printed on the ticket. The small group ticket covers up to 5 people, which might not be necessary, but it also offers you more flexibility because you can spontaneously decide which train you want to choose to return to Hamburg that day.

      Enjoy your trip,

  22. Oh my God! I`ll be flying to Germany (Hamburg) all by myself in a couple of days and I was freaking out cause I needed someone to explain me in details all the way through . You rock (whoever you are!) 🙂 .
    I need to get from the airport to the central station and take the train to Hannover. So, just to confirm, I need to firstly take the S1 green train in order to get to the central station? Right? I have already got ticket for the train to Hannover, however I am not quite sure how to know I`ve chosen the right train . Any hints and tips? I mean, in order to get to the platforms, do I walk through underpasses?

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Flower,

      thanks for your feedback, it is always great to read you found exactly the information you were looking for! 🙂

      You are right, you need to first take the S1 train to Hamburg Central Station and you will easily find the platform from both terminals. Once you arrive at Hamburg Central Station, you will be located underground and outside of the so-called Wandelhalle, from where the long-distance trains depart. It basically does not matter which side of the platform you choose to walk upstairs. As soon as you are above ground, simply walk into the Wandelhalle and look for the huge billboard that displays all upcoming departures. In case you have time left, you will also find some stores and restaurants there.

      As several trains can depart from your platform within a short period of time, always check the platform’s display to make sure you board the right one. The display usually shows the current and the following trains’ unique number (compare with your ticket) and destination.

      Safe travels,

  23. Dear Lidia,
    Thank you for the useful information! 🙂

    My friend and I are planning a short trip to Hamburg next week. We’re going to stay at hotel Nevada (Grevenweg 83, 20537 Hamburg). As we arrive at about 21:00h in the evening at the airport, would you recommend us the best way to go from the airport to the hotel by public transport and how much is the ticket (as I understand we can buy Hamburg card for both of us for three days)?

    Also, according to you, what’s the “must see/do” on Friday in Hamburg for tourists? 🙂

    Thanks again for your help!

    Wish you all the best 🙂

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Mariya,

      I’m wishing you a great vacation!

      You can easily reach your hotel with public transport if you don’t mind a straightforward seven minutes walk south from the closest train station, Burgstraße. Simply take the S1 train to Berliner Tor and change into the U2 in the direction of Mümmelmannsberg. Your final destination Burgstraße is only one station away.

      The cheapest ticket option are two adult Single Tickets for 3,20 € each, and you are right you can purchase a Hamburg Card for the following sightseeing days to combine free public transport with several discounts. You can get the Hamburg Card with your desired start date at any vending machine or conveniently at the Airport Office.


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