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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

Elbphilharmonie

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Opened in 2017, the Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic) is a striking work of modern architecture on the banks of the Elbe River in Hamburg. Made with 1,096 individual glass panes, it houses two concert halls, as well as a hotel and residential apartments. The halls’ acoustics are considered among the best in the world.More
#2
Warehouse District (Speicherstadt)

Warehouse District (Speicherstadt)

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Hamburg really capitalizes on its waterside location with the Speicherstadt, or Warehouse District. Not only will you marvel at the impressive red-brick architecture and canal network within the world’s largest warehouse complex, but several buildings have been converted into museums and attractions that bring the area’s rich history to life.More
#3
Hamburg Dungeon

Hamburg Dungeon

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Located in Hamburg’s UNESCO-listed Speicherstadt District, the Hamburg Dungeon offers a spooky, macabre, and entertaining way to discover the darkest parts of the city’s history. On an interactive, actor-led visit, you can learn about the Great Fire of 1842, hear gruesome tales of torture, and have plenty of suspense and surprises along the way.More
#4
St. Michael's Church (Michaeliskirche)

St. Michael's Church (Michaeliskirche)

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The clock tower of the Church of St. Michaelis (or Michaeliskirche has soared above the rooftops of Hamburg since the 1680s. This baroque Protestant church stood as a beacon for sailors over centuries. Today, visitors arrive for a guided tour of the tower and its observation deck, offering panoramic views out to the Port of Hamburg.More
#5
Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus)

Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus)

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The unabashed highlight of Hamburg’s Old Town (Altstadt), the opulent Hamburg City Hall (Hamburger Rathaus) is recognizable by its soaring tower, coffered ceiling, and vast scale. The neo-Renaissance landmark on the edge of scenic Alster Lake dates back to 1897, and is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.More
#6
Reeperbahn & St Pauli District

Reeperbahn & St Pauli District

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Explore an alternative side of Hamburg with a visit to the Reeperbahn, a street in the red light district at the heart of the St. Pauli neighborhood. This pedestrian street is lined with bars, clubs, and sex shops, but more upmarket restaurants and theaters with family-friendly shows have also opened here in recent years.More
#7
HafenCity

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. HafenCity also encompasses the historical area of Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse complex in the world. Within Speicherstadt, you will find several museums and attractions, such as the Hamburg Dungeon, Miniatur Wunderland, and the Speicherstadt Museum. There are also plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants already open in HafenCity, as well as parks and recreational areas.More
#8
Port of Hamburg

Port of Hamburg

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Approximately 12,000 ships per year deliver and pick up goods at the sprawling Port of Hamburg. The port takes up about an eighth of the city and is easiest to see on a river cruise. Learn about Hamburg’s maritime history during a visit to the MS Cap San Diego, a museum ship that travelers can step aboard and explore.More
#9
Deichstrasse

Deichstrasse

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Deichstrasse is the oldest street in Hamburg, Germany dating back to the 14th century. It is located near Speicherstadt, which is the old warehouse district near the harbor. The Great Fire of 1842 destroyed many of the original 14th century buildings on this street, so most of what you see today are restored 17th-19th century buildings. The tall, narrow, half-timbered houses here represent typical architecture from this region a few hundred years ago.The harbor and the warehouse district played a big part in shaping Hamburg as a city, and a visit here will give you a glimpse at the city's history. Along this road, you will find many restaurants and pubs. The Johannes Brahms Museum is located at number 39, which is the composer's former home. The Telemann Museum, a great place for music lovers, is also located in this area. Around the corner at Peterstrasse 35-39 is a replica of the Beylingstift complex, a baroque building built in 1751.More
#10
St. Pauli Piers

St. Pauli Piers

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The impressive St. Pauli Piers (St. Pauli Landungsbrücken) is one of Hamburg's most popular attractions. Built in 1907, the 2,257-foot (688-meter) landungsbrücke (“pier”) is composed of several floating pontoons, which are accessible from land by 10 movable bridges. Once mooring points for large passenger steamships, today the pontoons are mostly used by sightseeing boats. The structure also features two towers of differing heights, plus several copper domes.The Landungsbrücken is located in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district, between the lower harbor and the fish market, on the banks of the Elbe river. It forms a central transportation hub, with streetcar (S-Bahn), underground train (U-Bahn), and ferry stations all stopping here. It’s also a major tourist magnet, with numerous restaurants and departure points for harbor cruises. (A boat tour is considered the best way to see Hamburg.) With the water on one side, and colorful souvenir shops and quaint fish restaurants serving North Sea shrimp on the other side, it’s easy to forget that you are walking on a floating platform.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

Hamburg Small-Group Sunset Sailing Cruise on Lake Alster
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Guided Hamburg City Bike Tour

Guided Hamburg City Bike Tour

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USD35.42
Hamburg Private Food Tours with a Local: 100% Personalized

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Hamburg Private Food Tours with a Local: 100% Personalized

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Hamburg Private Guided Tour

Hamburg Private Guided Tour

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USD289.77
per group
Sailing trip on the Hamburg Outer Alster
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Hamburg for explorers
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Hamburg for explorers

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Private Guided Elbphilharmonie Plaza Tour

Private Guided Elbphilharmonie Plaza Tour

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USD214.65
per group
Historic Hamburg Private And Customized Walking Tour

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Historic Hamburg Private And Customized Walking Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Hamburg

star-5
Learned a lot in a all German tour!
Susan, Jun. 2022
Guided Hamburg City Bike Tour
I mistakenly chose the German version vs English.
star-5
Relaxed informative City tour.
Dean_C, May 2022
Hamburg Half Day Walking Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private
Guide was informative, personable and spoke very good English.
star-5
Wonderful Day Visiting Lubeck
William_P, Mar. 2022
Lübeck Day Trip From Hamburg By Train With Private Guide And Lunch
Spending a few days in Hamburg we wanted to take the opportunity to visit Lubeck & this tour wound up being a great choice.
star-5
A great day in Hamburg
Cynthia_H, 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.
star-5
Great highlight tour of Hamburg
Jennifer_M, 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!
star-5
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.
star-4
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.
star-4
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.
star-5
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!
star-5
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.
star-5
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.
star-5
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.
star-5
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.
star-5
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.
star-4
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.
star-4
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.
star-5
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
star-5
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.
star-5
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.
star-5
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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All about Hamburg

When to visit

Hamburg sets a lovely holiday scene in December, with Christmas markets, twinkling lights, and the “Märchenschiffe” (fairy tale–themed ships) on Inner Alster Lake. Autumn is equally lovely, with fewer crowds and fall foliage to make up for the cooler temperatures—there’s also Oktoberfest in late September and early October.

Time Zone
CEST (UTC +1)
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