Public Transport in Hamburg Germany

Public transport in Hamburg and the metropolitan area is operated by the HVV, which means “Hamburger Verkehrsverbund”. On its website, you can download an informative brochure in English about public transport in and around Hamburg. It provides you with a comprehensive introduction to the available ticket types and also explains different ways to buy them. Tip: The brochure contains a map of the rapid transit rail system, which is a helpful guide while you explore the city and change lines. Moreover, if you want to know the best way to move from one location to another, as well as the corresponding price and duration of the ride, you can create a personal schedule by entering an address, a station, or a point of interest.

Overview of Public Transport Tickets in Hamburg

In the following, I want to highlight the most interesting tickets for tourists and add some tips and recommendations. In general, it is important to know that the ticket prices are based on (unfortunately quite confusing) fare zones instead of a certain number of stations. In the vast majority of cases, for example if you arrive at Hamburg Airport and want to reach your hotel, you will be traveling in the so-called Greater Hamburg Area (fare rings AB). Moreover, children under the age of 6 years can use Hamburg’s public transport free of charge!

Single Tickets

A single ticket is the right choice if you plan to use public transport one-way or for a short distance. This ticket is not transferable and only valid for one journey. You are allowed to change lines within the selected fare zone(s) as long as you stay on the direct route to your destination, i.e. round trips or return journeys are not permitted but you can continue your one-way trip across different trains and buses.

Ticket: Single Ticket Adult Single Ticket Child
Greater Hamburg Area
including Hamburg Airport to Hamburg Central Station
3,20 € 1,20 €
Short or Local Journey
valid for a varying number of a few stations
1,60 € – 2,20 € 1,20 €
Details For one adult. For a child aged 6–14.

Day Tickets

If you plan to use the HVV several times a day or at least twice for a larger distance, it pays off to select a day ticket. It offers you unlimited public transportation services and the highest flexibility – you can simply hop on and off. Tip: The cheaper 9 am day ticket, which is time-wise restricted from Monday till Friday, is valid all day on Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays.

Ticket: 9 am Day Ticket All Day Ticket
Greater Hamburg Area 6,20 € 7,60 €
Details For one adult and three children aged 6–14. Valid Monday – Friday from 0.00 am – 6 am and from 9 am – 6 am the following morning.* For one adult and three children aged 6–14. Valid all day until 6 am the following morning.

*From Monday till Friday, it basically means that the commuter rush hours from 6 am – 9 am are excluded, you can still purchase the ticket during that time it is just not valid to be used. For Saturday and Sunday, the 9 am Day Ticket is valid all day, so there is no need to purchase the more expensive All Day Ticket (a fact that many people don’t know). Both types of Day Tickets are valid on the day of purchase until 6 am the following morning, which allows you to return to your hotel even after midnight.

Group Tickets

If you travel in a group of up to 5 persons of any age, the 9 am group ticket represents the cheapest option. This ticket starts to pay off for two adults since you already save money compared to two single 9 am day tickets. Tip: Like the single 9 am day ticket, this group offer is also valid all day on Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays.

Ticket: 9 am Group Ticket
Greater Hamburg Area 11,80 €
Details For up to five persons of any age. Valid Monday – Friday from 0.00 am – 6 am and from 9 am – 6 am the following morning.

Week Tickets

You will stay in Hamburg for a whole week and plan to use the HVV regularly? In that case, a week ticket is the right choice for you. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase a week ticket at the ticket vending machines. Instead, you need to visit a HVV service center, e.g. located at:

  • Hamburg Central Station (entrance Kirchenallee):
    open Monday – Friday from 6 am – 9 pm; Saturday – Sunday from 8 am – 9 pm
  • Hamburg Airport (Terminal 2):
    open Monday – Sunday from 6:30 am – 11 pm

You can also purchase a week ticket online up to 14 days in advance through their Onlineshop or via the HVV App for iOS or Android. This printed or mobile ticket will be personalized with your name, and you need to show it along with your ID if there happens to be a ticket check. The only potential barrier is the German booking process. Either you know a little German, or maybe Google Translate is of help if you would like to book in advance instead of visiting a HVV service center once you arrive.

Ticket: Week Ticket
Greater Hamburg Area 27,70 €
Details For one person. You are free to choose the exact period of validity as week tickets do not need to start at the beginning of a week, but will be valid for seven days counting from the date of (scheduled) issue.

Hamburg Card & Hamburg City Pass

In case you plan to do a lot of sightseeing while exploring the city, you might want to buy the Hamburg Card to combine free travel on Hamburg’s public transport with up to 50 % discount on harbour cruises, Alster cruises, sightseeing tours, guided walks, museums, musicals, theatres, restaurants, and many more attractions.

Ticket: Single Hamburg Card Group Hamburg Card
One Day 9,90 € 18,50 €
Two Days 18,90 € 32,90 €
Three Days 25,50 € 44,50 €
Four Days 33,90 € 58,50 €
Five Days 41,50 € 73,50 €
Details Both tickets are valid in the Greater Hamburg Area. A regional version for the entire HVV network is also available.

Hamburg City Pass

You can also go for the All-inclusive Hamburg Pass for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days and visit as many of the cooperating museums, exhibitions and attractions in Hamburg as you like, with free entry to all attractions and free public transport.

Hamburg City Pass: Adult Teen (15-17) Child (3-14)
One Day 39,90 € 29,90 € 19,90 €
Two Days 59,90 € 39,90 € 29,90 €
Three Days 79,90 € 49,90 € 39,90 €
Five Days 99,90 € 59,90 € 49,90 € 

Free Sightseeing Tips using your HVV Ticket

Harbour Boat Trip on the Elbe River in Hamburg Germany

You are surely going to visit the unique port of Hamburg. As a HVV ticket holder, you have the opportunity to go on board on six harbour ferries that are part of the public transportation network. Therefore, you can enjoy exciting harbour boat trips on the Elbe river for free using your day ticket! Ferry line number 62 in particular has a beautiful route starting at Landungsbrücken Brücke 3 and stopping at four interesting locations along the way to Finkenwerder. As for all HVV services, children under the age of 6 years can accompany you free of charge.

In order to get to the port, I would recommend to either walk if you are starting from the central shopping area Mönckebergstraße or Jungfernstieg (approximately 30 minutes, passing by the impressive church ruins of the memorial St. Nikolai – currently under construction but still open), or to choose the yellow railway line U3 to reach the station Landungsbrücken, because this train runs above ground in the port area and provides a wonderful view while you arrive.

Once there you could also hop on and off the bus line 111, which has a great sightseeing route from the architecturally fascinating HafenCity to Altona. It goes from Überseequartier via Marco Polo Tower, Magellan-Terrassen, Speicherstadt, Elbphilharmonie, Baumwall, Hamburg’s Michel, Landungsbrücken, Davidstraße, Reeperbahn, Große Freiheit, Fischmarkt, Containerhafen, Altonaer Balkon and Altonaer Rahaus to Platz der Republik and operates every 20 minutes. You can download the “111-Stadtplan” as PDF file – there is only a German version, but it shows you the bus route and illustrations of the main attractions on one page.

Frequency and Hours of Operation of Hamburg’s Public Transport

Trains and buses usually run every 5 or 10 minutes within the inner city. On some less frequented routes, e.g. concerning regional buses, you might have to wait 20, 40, or 60 minutes for the next bus to arrive. Once you know where your accommodation is located, it’s a good idea to check which station(s) is/are nearby and to check the station timetable to spend more relaxing time enjoying your breakfast instead of hurrying and then waiting at the bus station.

In addition, it’s important to know that public transportation in Hamburg is only provided in an all-night service from Friday to Sunday and before public holidays. From Monday till Friday, they pause between approximately 00:30 am and 5 am, in that case you could use one of the night buses or prefer to take a taxi. You can download the HVV night bus map from Monday to Friday or the HVV night services map on weekend nights as PDF files if you wish to see the covered routes at a glance.

Image © Bernd Sterzl (1) / PIXELIO; Travel to Hamburg (2)

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32 thoughts on “Public Transport in Hamburg: Tickets and Tips

  1. thank you for this valuable information
    hoping to continue supplying us with updated informations

  2. Thanks for these great information.

  3. Hi, great information. I will be visiting Hamburg for just two days in September. I will be arriving by train. I still have to book a hotel . Very expensive near the HBF. The main reason for my visit is to see Miniatur Wonderland and explore the harbour. Should I get a Hamburg Card or just a day ticket for travel. Cheers, Liam in the UK.

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Liam,

      I’m glad to read you find this website helpful and I hope you’ll find a nice hotel. Since you’re going to purchase a public transport ticket for both days anyway, maybe look for a hotel that’s not as centrally located but very close to a bus or train station with a good connection to either Landungsbrücken or Baumwall.

      Regarding your question, the Hamburg Card does only make sense if you plan to visit multiple attractions since you’ll only save 1€ per ticket at the Miniatur Wunderland. If you also plan to go on a big harbour cruise instead of the already included HVV ferry, then it starts to be a good deal as you save additional 3-7€ depending on the cruise type. All potential savings are listed in this Hamburg Card flyer.

      Have a fantastic stay!
      Lidia

  4. Hello, thank You for this valuable information.
    Could you please be so kind and advise if a single ticket for All day with price of 7,60 €, include the ferry line no 62?
    Many Thanks,
    Krystyna

  5. Hi, thank you for providing such valuable information. We will be travelling as a group of 4 on 9th December staying in hamburger Bernstein in billstrasse travelling home to scotland on 11th. I think we should purchase a group ticket – do you agree. Also should we travel to Hamburg central station and catch a bus or should we walk to our hotel from the train station. Thanks in advance for your help x

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Karen,

      purchasing a group ticket is indeed a good idea.

      I would recommend to reach your hotel by bus. Several lines are stopping nearby and Google Maps will show you various bus options depending on your selected day and time. You could also walk, but the 40 minutes walk along the busy streets “Amsinckstraße” or “Hammerbrookstraße” leads you through rather industrial areas, and I think Hamburg has many better sightseeing routes to enjoy. 🙂

      Best,
      Lidia

      • Hi Lidia, Thank you very much for your quick response. Should we travel from the airport by bus or should we transfer to a bus once we arrive at Hamburg central train station. We have stayed in Hamburg before at the Kronprinz opposite the train station so are familiar with this area but are not familiar with the hamburger Bernstein area. Thanks in advance for your help. Kindest regards, Karen

        • Travel to Hamburg

          Hi Karen,

          good point – it’s the latter. You would travel from Hamburg Airport to either Berliner Tor or Hamburg Central Station by train using the S1 before switching to one of the buses.

          At Berliner Tor, you have the option to take bus line 154 that departs every 20 minutes and brings you to the station “Billstraße”. At Hamburg Central Station, you need to go through the Wandelhalle to reach the bus stop HBF/Steintorwall located next to the retail store Saturn. You will find the bus lines 3 and 124 there, departing every 10 minutes to “Billhorner Brückenstraße”. Both routes are good options with just a few steps left to check in at your hotel.

          Enjoy the charming pre-Christmas season in Hamburg!

          Best,
          Lidia

  6. Would anybody be able
    To tell me if underground/public transport will still be running on NYE? And if so what time until?
    Thankyou,
    Adam

  7. Hi Lidia, I want to thank you for your help and travel tips. We had a fantastic time in Hamburg and can’t wait to go back next year. Hope you have a lovely Christmas, regards Karen

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Karen,

      I am very happy to read that you enjoyed your stay in Hamburg! 🙂 Thank you so much for your Christmas wishes – I am wishing you a wonderful Christmas time, too!

      Best,
      Lidia

  8. Hallo!
    I’m going to spend 3 months in Grosshansdorf, and need tickets from the train station Schmalenbeck to the center, to take lessons. Which would be the most appropriate? Card per week?

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Celia,

      everyone who stays in Hamburg for the duration of at least a month or longer can visit a HVV service center to purchase a flexible monthly season ticket, which needs to be renewed on a monthly basis and also requires a portrait photo (no strict regulations). The period of validity can be chosen at your convenience, i.e. the ticket does not need to start at the beginning of a month.

      The current flexible monthly season ticket price for your required fare zones is 103,70 € instead of 109,20 € (4*27,30 €) for weekly tickets.

      Enjoy your lessons!
      Lidia

  9. Hi Lidia,

    First of all, congrats for your help to all of us!
    I will be in Hamburg in New Years Eve. My hotel is in Bergedorf. Do you know if the s-bahn is going to be open after the midnight at about 2-3 am? And what about the nacht buses?

    Thank you very much in advance!

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Antonis,

      thank you!
      On New Year’s Eve, buses and trains run after the Saturday schedule and offer a continuous night-time operation. The S21 will conveniently take you to Bergedorf every 20 minutes, so there’s no need to look for a night bus. Have a great time in Hamburg!

      Best,
      Lidia

  10. Hallo Lidia,
    was gibts? 😀

    I hope that I will get a job in Barsbuettel. Tell me about Monatskarte.
    The Wandsbek Markt will be a near U-bahn station from my job so I need to know do I with Monatskarte can use U-bahn, S-bahn and busses?
    Thanks a lot,

    Vladimir. 🙂

  11. Hello Lidia,

    Your post is great, really!

    Me and my partner will be staying on the “Holiday Inn Hamburg” hotel from January 28th until the 30th and we will arrive and leave at 8 p.m. We would like to use the public transport as much as possible. On the 28th we won’t go to the city center so just the necessary tickets to arrive to the Hotel will be enough. How do you think that we should get to the Hotel from the airport? Also for the following days we are planning on doing a lot of tourism and visiting many different places (miniatur wunderland, St.Michaelis, Aussenalster, Hamburg port, Planten un Blomen, Dialogg im Dunkeln, Warehouse district, etc…) do you think that an “All day ticket” would be convenient to us?
    The all day ticket can be used from the moment you activate it until 24h later, am I wrong? If so, how can we get from the city center to our hotel late in the night (1-3 a.m.)?

    Thank you very much for all of your efforts on helping us!

    Kind regards,

    Juan

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Juan,

      thank you so much for your positive feedback!

      The cheapest ticket option to reach your hotel are two Single Tickets for 3,20 € each. You will need to change lines on your way and that is allowed as long as you stay on the direct route to your destination, i.e. round trips or return journeys are not permitted in this case but you can continue your one-way trip across different trains and buses.

      There are different connections possible to get to the “Holiday Inn Hamburg”, I would recommend to check Google Maps and switch the navigation type to public transport to find your most convenient route. Under options, select your date and time of arrival and the appropriate HVV schedule will automatically be taken into account.

      For your sightseeing days, the best ticket option depends on how early you start your day. If you plan to use public transport after 9 am, select a 9 am Group Ticket. If you head out earlier, you will need to purchase two All Day Tickets. The All Day Ticket does not follow a “24 hours after activation”-logic, but is always valid until 6 am the following morning (the same applies to the 9 am Group Ticket). Since you are staying over a weekend, public transport runs all through the night and both ticket types cover late-night returns to your hotel.

      Have fun exploring the city! 🙂

      Best,
      Lidia

  12. Hi Lidia,

    Your posts here have been very informative. Thank you for helping our fellow travellers.

    I will be in Hamburg for about 1 month starting 16th Jan staying near Jungfernstieg. I will be traveling to Hafencity almost daily. I was planning to go for a 1 month pass. There seem to be options like 1 zone, 2 zones, 3 zones etc. Over the weekends I will visit some of the sight seeing locations (possibly Blankenese too). Which type of monthly pass should I choose?

    Thanks in advance and take care.

    Hrishi

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Hrishi,

      thank you so much for your feedback! 🙂

      I would recommend to select the flexible monthly season ticket for the Hamburg AB area (fare zones). As of January 1st 2017, it costs 105,40 € and will cover sightseeing trips to Blankenese and further interesting districts.

      Please note that this ticket type requires a portrait photo (no strict regulations). The period of validity can be chosen at your convenience, i.e. the ticket can flexibly begin when you arrive on January 16th.

      Have a great time!
      Lidia

  13. Hi,
    Apologies but I’m a bit confused with the times for the 9am ticket.
    “Valid Monday – Friday from 0.00 am – 6 am and from 9 am – 6 am the following morning.” I arrive this Saturday and understand I can use all day, but am unclear regarding the times for Monday.

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Neil,

      I agree the official wording is a bit complicated. Let me explain the rules for workdays and weekends in other words:

      From Monday till Friday, it basically means that the commuter rush hours from 6 am – 9 am are excluded, you can still purchase the ticket during that time it is just not valid to be used. For Saturday and Sunday, the 9 am Day Ticket is valid all day, so there is no need to purchase the more expensive All Day Ticket (a fact that many people don’t know). Both types of Day Tickets are valid on the day of purchase until 6 am the following morning, which allows you to return to your hotel even after midnight.

      Have a great time in Hamburg,
      Lidia

      • Thank you so much Lidia, this makes much more sense.
        Looking forward to our weekend in Hamburg.
        Any recommendations/must sees? We literally have no plans.

  14. Thanks for these great information, it helped me more than you imagine

  15. Hello 🙂 first of all, thank you for the good piece of information in this post, it really helped to narrow down the transport situation! I’ll be in Hamburg with other 13 friends (yes… thirteen!) and I still have a couple of doubts related to this matter. First of all, sorry if it seems a silly question, is the cost of the group ticket per person or total? I’m guessing total because it seems obvious, it just seemed weird to me that a full day ticket would be costing 2,40€ divided by 5 persons!
    We did not consider Hamburg Card because we don’t know if we will be going on ferries and since we’re all students we should be sort of covered in discounts for museums!
    Thank you in advance for your attention, have a nice day 🙂

    • Travel to Hamburg

      Hi Marco,

      this sounds like a fun trip ahead! You are right, the 9 am Group Ticket really pays off in your case as it’s 11,80 € in total for max. 5 persons. You can even board HVV ferries! I guess it’s a mixed calculation as many already choose this option with a group size of two. I also agree with your assumption that your student status will qualify you for discounts in many cases.

      Have a great time exploring the city!
      Lidia

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