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Things to do in Hamburg

Things to do in  Hamburg

Welcome to Hamburg

Located right on the Elbe and Alster rivers, Hamburg is a city of converging culture, diverse influences, and expanding opportunity. An increasingly popular destination in Germany, it’s renowned as a thriving port, financial center, and cultural and creative melting pot. Essential sightseeing stops include city hall, the harbor promenade, and the Speicherstadt—the old warehouse district, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the St. Pauli quarter, you’ll find the Reeperbahn area, home to a vibrant nightlife scene. Tours explore its rich musical history as the proving ground of the Beatles, as well as its present-day reputation as the largest red-light district in Europe. The city doesn’t seem to do anything by halves: HafenCity is the biggest urban development project on the whole continent. Visitors looking for more traditional attractions can enjoy relaxed walks along the café-laden Schanze neighborhood; the first zoo to feature enclosures without bars; and classic attractions such as the Laeiszhalle concert venue and St. Michael's Church. You can also take tours of the city’s copious street art, drink your way through its impressive beer scene, or get a little exercise by opting for a bike tour. With more than 200 theaters, museums, and music venues—plus its array of festivals—Hamburg offers travelers plenty of opportunities to let loose with a side of culture.

Top 10 attractions in Hamburg

#1

Elbphilharmonie

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The Elbphilharmonie, or Elbe Philharmonic, is a concert hall located in the Hafen City district of Hamburg. It has been under construction since 2007, and the expecting opening date is in January 2017. The concert hall is being built on top of an old warehouse building, and once it is completed, it will be the tallest inhabited building in the city standing at 360 feet. The eastern side of the building will be a Westin hotel, the lower floors will contain restaurants and a wellness and conference center for the hotel, and the upper floors will have residential apartments. The Elbphilharmonie will be home to classical music as well as music from the 21st century. There will be a small hall with 550 seats for chamber music, jazz concerts, and banquets, as well as the Great Hall with 2,150 seats for larger performances. The building's integration with the warehouse combines the modern philharmonic building with Hamburg's history as an important port city.More
#2

St. Michael's Church (Michaeliskirche)

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The baroque Protestant Church of St. Michaelis - or Michaeliskirche - is a Hamburg landmark. Its famous clock tower soaring above the city roofs has been a beacon for sailors since the 1680s. The copper dome and gold clock of St. Michaelis’ 132-meter (433-foot) tower rises above a network of tiny alleys known as the Krameramtswohnungen, lined with half-timbered almshouses from the 17th century. Take a guided tour of the tower for views over the port of Hamburg from the observation platform, and visit the crypt for a historic tour.More
#3

Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus)

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Hamburg's town hall building, or Rathaus in German, was built from 1886 to 1887, and it is located in the Altstadt, or Old Town, in central Hamburg. It was built to replace the old town hall building that burned down in 1842. It was built with an ornate neo-renaissance facade and has 647 rooms. The front of the building features an imposing clock tower and 20 statues of emperors, and the entrance hall is supported by 16 sandstone pillars painted with 68 portraits of important Hamburg citizens. The building houses the city's senate and parliament. Guided tours of the state rooms are available daily in both English and German, and last 40 minutes. Visitors will get the chance to see tapestries, glittering chandeliers, detailed ceilings, and grand portraits while learning about the history of the building and its importance to Hamburg. Rathausmarkt, Hamburg's main market square, is in front of the town hall building.More
#4

Reeperbahn & St Pauli District

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Hamburg’s alter ego is raffish St. Pauli and the Reeperbahn, forever synonymous with strip clubs and the Beatles. The city’s red light district, the Reeperbahn is a pedestrianised street lined with clubs, brothels and sex shops. Its proximity to the port has attracted sailors for centuries, while more recently the Beatles cut their musical teeth playing the seedy clubs here back in the early 1960s. The scene is still in-your-face but a little less brutal these days, and up-market restaurants and theaters hosting shows like Cats and the Lion King rub shoulders with the less family-friendly forms of entertainment.More
#5

HafenCity

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HafenCity, which translates to Port City, is an area in central Hamburg that used to be part of the free port. With the decrease in the importance of the free port, the area dominated by port activities has reduced in size. The city of Hamburg is now developing this area for mixed residential and commercial use. Many of the warehouses are being replaced by apartment buildings, office buildings, hotels and shops, and it is estimated that there will be approximately 6,000 new homes and 45,000 new jobs when it is all completed. At 388 acres, HafenCity is the largest inner city development project in Europe. Aside from the commercial and residential buildings already finished and in use, the International Maritime Museum of Hamburg has moved into HafenCity. Another big project currently underway is the construction of the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, the home of Hamburg's philharmonic orchestra.More
#6

Jungfernstieg

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The stores on Jungfernstieg are mostly upscale shops where you can find high-end clothing, shoes, and jewelry. You can also find accessories, bath products, perfumes, cosmetics, and purses. There is also a spa where you can get a massage and other wellness services. Along with department stores and boutiques, there is also a wide selection of restaurants and cafes where you can stop for a meal while you're shopping.More
#7

Warehouse District (Speicherstadt)

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Speicherstadt is Hamburg's warehouse district and the largest warehouse complex in the world. Hamburg's harbor has been an important influence on the city for centuries, and in the late 1800s, the warehouse complex was built. Since so many goods were shipped in and out of Hamburg, it made sense to have someplace to store them. Shortly after, the area received free port status so that goods could be transferred without paying customs. The area consists of several blocks interspersed with canals that lead to the port itself. Today several of the buildings now hold museums and other tourist attractions. Spicy's Spice Museum tells of the history of the spice trade and Hamburg's part in it. The Hamburg Dungeon shows 600 years of Hamburg's dark history through scary yet funny performances and rides. Miniatur Wunderland has the largest model railway in the world, which runs through several miniature versions of cities, countries, and even a fully functioning airport.More
#8

Miniatur Wunderland

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Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany, is definitely not your everyday miniature railroad. It’s the largest miniature railroad in the world, and it’s an entire world at a perfect, small scale — one that took 500,000 working hours to create. From software-controlled fire trucks putting out fires in tiny neighborhoods to a 20-foot (6 meter) tall Swiss mountain with alpine skiers and brick tunnels with perfectly timed trains, the features of the different points of interest inside the ‘wonderland’ are not only in perfect working order, they’re filled with details that you could explore for days. Like a ‘Where’s Waldo’ book come to life, the 8 miles (13km) of tracks that wind through Miniatur Wunderland take the visitor on a tour of a tiny world that is utterly fascinating. The airport just might be the world’s most perfect flight simulator, with every possible detail in miniature. There’s a mini Grand Canyon and a mini Las Vegas.More
#9

Port of Hamburg

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Trade has always been Hamburg’s raison d’etre, and today the Port of Hamburg is the largest in Germany. The sprawling port takes up more than an eighth of the city, with around 12,000 ships a year delivering and picking up goods. A river cruise is a good way to get an idea of the port’s size and activity, or step aboard the Rickmer Rickmers windjammer to learn more about Hamburg’s rich maritime history. The nearby Cap San Diego is another museum ship well worth stepping aboard.More
#10

St. Nikolai Memorial

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The St. Nikolai Church in Hamburg was mostly destroyed during air raids in World War II. Approximately 35,000 people were killed during the air raids. The ruins of the church now serve as a memorial to the victims of the war. The church's tower was used to help allied pilots navigate, and it still stands today, almost undamaged. The memorial at St. Nikolai Church includes a permanent exhibition in the crypt of the ruins that depicts the causes and consequences of the aerial war in Europe. Black and white photos show images of the war and the destruction that came with it. The memorial also serves as a cultural meeting place. Concerts, films, and lectures link events, social issues, and conflicts of the present. Events deal with the German culture of remembrance and lectures on current international politics. Germany's largest glockenspiel was installed here in 1993, and it is sounded at concerts to remember the victims of the war.More

Trip ideas

The Beatles Music History in Hamburg

The Beatles Music History in Hamburg

How to Spend 1 Day in Hamburg

How to Spend 1 Day in Hamburg

How to Spend 3 Days in Hamburg

How to Spend 3 Days in Hamburg

Top activities in Hamburg

Discover Hamburg Walking Tour

Discover Hamburg Walking Tour

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Hop-on Hop-off Tour by Bus

Hop-on Hop-off Tour by Bus

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Recent reviews from experiences in Hamburg

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A great day in Hamburg
Tourist3180, Jul 2019
Hamburg Half Day Walking Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private ★★★★★
She checked out the places we wanted to visit and made sure the times were accurate.
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Great highlight tour of Hamburg
OnAir53717767988, Jun 2019
Guided Hamburg City Bike Tour
After learning so much about the city and it's history from our guide, Backy, we wanted to see and do more!
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What a great city Hamburg is? We...
Mrs. .J.A. W, Aug 2017
Discovery Ticket: Hop-on-Hop-off Tour, Harbor Cruise and Lake Alster Cruise
We were so happy we had purchased the Essential Hamburg Combo as each section was thoroughly enjoyable and we were able to see this on each section as they were completely different and gave us some idea of what a great place Hamburg is.
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Good hop on and hop off that was...
Brian P, Jul 2016
Hamburg Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour on Red Double Decker Bus
Worth noting that commentary was live with a guide in German and English which is a plus.
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It was very good. One small problem...
Yvonne L, Jun 2016
Hamburg Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour on Red Double Decker Bus
It was a really good way to get to see almost the whole city in just 90 minutes.
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Good value, good price. The Hamburg...
Majbritt B, Jun 2012
Hamburg Card
The Hamburg Card gave me a discount on most of the attractions, I visited.
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Excellent - liked the bus tour...
Kenneth C, Aug 2010
Discovery Ticket: Hop-on-Hop-off Tour, Harbor Cruise and Lake Alster Cruise
This tour is a great way to see the sites of Hamburg!
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Great tour with Jens
sdjmD, Jan 2020
Private Sightseeing Tour with our Minibus 8-seater
He was very knowledgeable about Hamburg , his English was excellent and he told us about the places as we drove around.
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My father and I spend 4 days in...
Nery, Jul 2017
Guided Hamburg City Bike Tour
We decided to do it on our last day in Hamburg, and the tour is so complete that we got to see all the major attractions in 4 hours.
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My tour guide was exceptionally...
Robert F, Jul 2017
Private Small-Group Hamburg City Tour with a Luxury Vehicle
This the ONLY way to see and get to know Hamburg.
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The tour was great and full of...
Mohammed H, Nov 2017
Private 5-Hour Hamburg Countryside Tour in a Large SUV
The tour was great and full of activities.
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Tour was great. We saw much of...
David D, Apr 2015
Hamburg Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour on Red Double Decker Bus
The tour guide was well versed and entertaining, although at times he was a little had to understand in German as well as English.
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This was an excellent well organised...
zamc514, Jul 2017
Private Small-Group Hamburg City Tour with a Luxury Vehicle
Augustin's openness and extremely good English as he described what we were viewing.
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This was an amazing private guided...
Gregory B, Jul 2017
Hamburg Private Guided Tour
The tour was at a reasonable pace and we were able to see most sites in downtown Hamburg.
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a very informative tour taking in...
Valda G, Aug 2014
Hamburg Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour on Red Double Decker Bus
Excellent English speaking guide with a good sense of humour
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This hop on hop off city tour was...
Lori S, Jul 2013
Hamburg Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour on Red Double Decker Bus
This hop on hop off city tour was very convenient and allowed me to see the city.
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The tour guide was very friendly and...
Jennifer L, Dec 2012
Hamburg Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour on Red Double Decker Bus
The tour guide was very friendly and knowledgable about Hamburg, He alternated between English and German very well, Since it was raining and cold, I stayed on the bus for two times around.
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Great tour! Especially enjoyed the...
Rebecca L, Aug 2014
Discovery Ticket: Hop-on-Hop-off Tour, Harbor Cruise and Lake Alster Cruise
The river trip has one in English.
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This Hamburg Hop on Hop off are so...
Ricky Adriansjah, Dec 2012
Hamburg Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour on Red Double Decker Bus
The city is beautiful and absolutely a must to visit.
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We enjoyed the harbour cruise. It...
Brenda C, Oct 2014
Discovery Ticket: Hop-on-Hop-off Tour, Harbor Cruise and Lake Alster Cruise
The hop on/hop off is always a great way to see any city, Hamburg included.

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