Hamburg is filled with attractions, whether you prefer strolling through museums or getting closer to nature or simply hanging out like a local.
Many of the city’s top attractions can be found in and around the Altstadt, a neighbourhood you’ll definitely find yourself spending plenty of time in during your stay in Hamburg. If you’re an art fan, you’ll love the Hamburger Kunsthalle which is filled with fantastic pieces by world-famous artists including the likes of Monet and Munch. Altstadt is also home to the Rathaus Hamburg, the city’s impressive town hall. Not only is the building well-worth a visit, but you’ll find that lots of events take place in the square in front of the Rathaus, including outdoor movies during the summer.
One of the things you’ll notice about Hamburg is that it is home to a number of easily identifiable churches, their spires punctuating the city’s skyline. The most impressive of these churches is probably Hauptkirche St. Michaelis, also located in Altstadt. Boasting a 132-metre tower, it’s one of the best places to go for incredible views of the city.
After you’ve wandered around inside museums and churches, you might want to spend some time in the great outdoors. Open green areas are not in short supply in Hamburg, with parks like Planten un Blomen and the Stadtpark providing plenty of paths for you to stroll along while enjoying the scenery. On top of that, Hamburg has its own lake. Alster Lake is one of the city’s top attractions, hosting lots of water-based activities including kayaking and boat trips. You can also just stroll along the banks and appreciate the view out across the water.
If you’re visiting Hamburg, try and get to some of the neighbourhoods outside of Altstadt and the Reeperbahn. One of our favourites is Schanzenviertel, which is just a short train ride from the city centre. In this area you’ll find some of the coolest cafés and restaurants in the city, plus plenty more.
Glockengießerwall, Altstadt, Hamburg, Germany
If you’re looking for a bit of culture while in Hamburg, head on down to the Hamburger Kunsthalle and check out the wonderful art collection housed inside the impressive building. From the Renaissance up to the present day, works of art on display here include pieces by famous artists like Van Gogh, Munch and Monet.
Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-9pm, closed Monday; admission €10.
Kehrwieder 2-4, Hafen City, Hamburg, Germany
The name of this unique attraction is fitting as it really is a miniature wonderland comprised of the largest model railway in the world. This is divided into a number of different display areas which include Hamburg, America, Scandinavia and more. The detail in all these different models is incredible and the displays become even more impressive when they turn down the house lights and some 300,000 lights illuminate the various models.
Open Mon & Wed-Fri 9.30am-6pm, Tues 9.30am-9pm, Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 8.30am-8pm; admission €10.
Englische Planke 1, Altstadt, Hamburg, Germany
The view of Hamburg from the Hauptkirche St. Michaelis is nothing short of stunning. You’ll also get great views out across the Elbe at the top of this 132-metre high tower, which you can thankfully scale using the elevator. As well as checking out the tower, make sure you have a wander around the impressive interior and check out the creepy crypt.
Open Nov-Apr daily 10am-5.30pm, May-Oct daily 9am-7.30pm; admission €5 for tower and crypt.
Lokstedter Grenzstraße 2, Stellingen, Hamburg, Germany
One of the first zoos in the world to start using open-air enclosures without bars, Tierpark Hagenbeck has been welcoming visitors for over a hundred years. Along with elephants that visitors can hand-feed, this zoo also houses giant otters, orang-utans, giraffes and large cats. The Tropical Aquarium is on the same site and is home to a colourful kaleidoscope of maritime creatures as well as exotic snakes, creepy crawlies and more.
Open daily from 9am, closing time varies with season; admission €25 (includes both zoo and aquarium).
Rathausmarkt 1, Altstadt, Hamburg, Germany
Splendour is one word to describe the interior of Hamburg’s Rathaus or Town Hall. Take one of the frequent tours and you’ll be shown around rooms with names like the Emperor’s Hall and the Phoenix Hall. Breathtaking chandeliers, huge tapestries and ornately carved wood are just some of the things awaiting you in these rooms. Equally impressive from the outside, it also boasts a cool little courtyard at the back where you’ll find a beautiful fountain.
Tours depart on the hour (French/English) & on the half hour (German) Mon-Fri 10am-3pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm.
St. Pauli, Hamburg, Germany
Home to Hamburg's infamous Reeperbahn with its bars, clubs, strip joints and sex shops, St. Pauli is undoubtedly the centre of the city's nightlife. Keep in mind that there's more to this area than just its role as the home of Hamburg's red light district. It's also where you'll find the Hamburgermuseum along with a great variety of reasonably priced restaurants, theatres and more.
Hafen City, Hamburg, Germany
This area is the subject of ambitious urban development which involves housing, cultural institutions and much more. On a visit to this part of town you can check out the International Maritime Museum of Hamburg and more. As you wander around the various harbours encapsulated by Hafen City you’ll find plenty of open terrace areas where you can chill out for a while, including the Magellan Terraces and the Marco Polo Terraces which are popular with locals and visitors, especially on fine days.
Altstadt, Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg’s Altstadt or Old Town is a must when visiting this city as it is home to some of the city’s top attractions including the Rathaus and the Hauptkirche St. Michaelis. From here you’ll also be able to stroll along by Hamburg’s Binnenalster or inner lake, go shopping along Mönckebergerstrasse or stop for a bite to eat at one of the many cafés, coffeehouses and restaurants scattered around Altstadt.
Altona, Hamburg, Germany
You’ll probably end up paying a bleary-eyed visit to this part of town if you’re lucky enough to be in Hamburg on a Sunday morning as this is where the weekly Fischmarkt is held. It’s worth noting that there are some other cool attractions to be found in this district to the west of the city centre. You can find out more about the Altona area at the Altona Museum or check out the funky facades of the Patrician houses along Palmaille.
Schanzenviertel, Hamburg, Germany
Without a doubt one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Hamburg, Schanzenviertel is just a short subway trip from the city centre and is home to a wonderful variety of eateries, popular drinking establishments and funky shops. A triangle of streets, namely Susannenstrasse, Schulterblatt and Schanzenstrasse are at the heart of this district which boasts a welcoming, boho atmosphere.
Ballindamm 40, Altstadt, Hamburg, Germany
Spread out over four main floors, Europa Passage is one of the most popular shopping centres in Hamburg. Alongside clothes shops like Tommy Hilfiger, Levis and Oakley, you’ll find stores offering up funky interiors, watches, jewellery, electronics and more.
Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, closed Sunday.
Neustadt, Hamburg, Germany
Shopaholics will be in their element along this stretch boasting a plethora of designer stores and more upscale boutiques belonging to some of the world’s top names in fashion, from Gucci to Louis Vuitton. If you’re in the market for some serious bling, Cartier, Bulgari and Tiffany’s also have branches on this street.
Altstadt, Hamburg, Germany
This is the main shopping street in Hamburg and, as such, is filled with a wide variety of stores selling clothing, shoes, accessories and more. Plenty of internationally recognisable names can be found here including Adidas, Fossil, H&M, Esprit and Zara, while many local brands are also available.
Grosse Elbstrasse 137, Altona, Hamburg, Germany
Not just a shopping experience but a top Hamburg attraction in its own right, the weekly Fischmarkt is a spectacle that shouldn’t be missed. Along with stalls selling fish, fruit and tasty treats, you’ll also find clothes, shoes, handcrafts and plenty more. And if that’s not enough, live bands entertain market goers in the main hall. So, either set your alarm clock or remember to stumble that way after you’re done partying in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Open Sundays Apr-Oct 5am-9.30am, Nov-Mar 7am-9.30am.
Karolinenviertel, Hamburg, Germany
If you’re looking for something a bit more alternative why not check out Marktstrasse at the heart of Karolinenviertel, one of Hamburg’s coolest areas. Funky little boutiques rub shoulders with shops selling army gear, music stores, piercing and tattoo places and some great vintage options.