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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 15 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
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
#4
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
#5
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
#6
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
#7
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
#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
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
#10
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
#11
Grosse Freiheit 36

Grosse Freiheit 36

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Hamburg is famous for its Beatles history. It's the city where the band got their start by playing at various clubs near Reperbahn in the St. Pauli neighborhood, Hamburg's red light district. This is where they eventually gained worldwide fame. Of the many clubs they appeared at, Kaiserkeller, located at Grosse Freiheit 36, is one you can still visit today. The Beatles started playing here in late 1960 after the Indra Club closed. It was a good location for the band since it was closer to the heart of the neighborhood.Today the club, which is known by its address Grosse Freiheit 36, continues to host live shows and other events. Visitors come to explore the history of one of the world's most popular bands at one of the first clubs where the Beatles performed. It's also a fun place to enjoy more current music and experience Hamburg's nightlife. Nearby you can also see the Beatles Square as well as other clubs, both original and reincarnated, where the Beatles once played.More
#12
Miniatur Wunderland

Miniatur Wunderland

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Opened in 2001, Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland holds the Guinness World Record for the largest model railway. One of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions, the vast landmark encompasses more than 1,000 trains, as well as myriad model airplanes, cruise ships, and other vehicles.More
#13
St. Nikolai Memorial

St. Nikolai Memorial

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The St. Nikolai Memorial 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 Memorial 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.Standing at 147.3 meters (483 feet) it is the highest church tower in the city and the fifth highest church in the world. Visitors can take the glass elevator to the observation deck at 76 meters (249 feet) for a panoramic view of Hamburg.More
#14
Outer Alster Lake (Aussenalster)

Outer Alster Lake (Aussenalster)

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The Outer Alster Lake (Aussenalster) is the larger of Hamburg’s two lakes, stretching to almost 400 acres (162 hectares) in size, although never more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) deep. Equally popular with tourists and locals, it provides a welcome place of calm and tranquility against the urban backdrop of the busy city.More
#15
Old Elbe Tunnel (Alter Elbtunnel)

Old Elbe Tunnel (Alter Elbtunnel)

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Hamburg’s Old Elbe Tunnel (Alter Elbtunnel, or officially St. Pauli Elbtunnel) runs under the Elbe River, connecting the St. Pauli jetties on the river’s north side to the Steinwerder in the Port of Hamburg. Comprising two separate tunnels for pedestrians and vehicles, it takes on-foot visitors on a very unique sort of stroll—underwater.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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Private Guided Elbphilharmonie Plaza Tour

Private Guided Elbphilharmonie Plaza Tour

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Hamburg Full Day Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private

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Hamburg Full Day Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private

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Grand Harbor Cruise (1 hour)

Grand Harbor Cruise (1 hour)

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Recent reviews from experiences in Hamburg

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
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-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
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
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
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-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
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
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.
star-4
We really enjoyed our tour of...
Bryan V, Sep 2014
Discovery Ticket: Hop-on-Hop-off Tour, Harbor Cruise and Lake Alster Cruise
However, were VERY disappointed with the supposedly "English" tour of the River Elbe.
star-5
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.

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.

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