We rarely hear about Hamburg, because of the huge shadow of the giant Berlin. But few people know that, Hamburg is the busiest trading seaport of Germany. This city is extremely modern and bustling, with a rich and vibrant nightlife, but still retains its ancient features. In this article we will guide you to travel to Hamburg, Germany’s second busiest port city after Berlin. It is not natural that people often say, Hamburg is the most livable city in Germany. So, how to visit and what to do in Hamburg? Let’s check out our Hamburg travel blog (Hamburg blog) with the fullest Hamburg travel guide (Hamburg guide, Hamburg city guide) for a great budget trip to the 2nd largest city of Germany from how to get there, where to stay, where to go, what and where to eat, to best places to visit, top things to do…to find out the answer!
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Hamburg travel blog: The traveling cost in Hamburg
Hamburg is one of the most expensive cities in Germany. However, depending on your travel style, or if you know how to spend, find the right service, it is not too much to worry. Some travel costs per day you can refer to:
- Sightseeing cost: €6-10 (may or may not)
- Food cost: €17-19 (Breakfast: €3/Lunch: €6/Dinner: €8-10)
- Transport: €3.10
- Traveling cost (for hostel): €20-40
Total travel cost for the day per person: ~ €46-72
Hamburg city guide: When is the best time to visit Hamburg?
Hamburg is a city with relatively much rain during the year. According to statistics, an average of 10 rainy days a month. However, the summers here are quite cool, and in winter, the temperatures rarely drop as low as freezing or snowing.
Spring: This is a very good time if you want to visit Hamburg and explore the parks. Cherry blossoms bloom in April and May. Room rates or services will be slightly lower than during the peak tourist season is summer.
Summer: The peak tourist season in Hamburg, nice weather but more rain than other seasons. Areas such as parks, restaurants, pubs, and beaches are crowded places to avoid the heat and enjoy the summer sun.
Autumn – Winter: The temperatures gradually decrease from the end of October in Hamburg. This is a good time to hunt for cheap tickets to travel to this city, as the weather will gradually get worse. Winter is very bleak, it is cloudy, much cold and rainy days. However, the Christmas season is a very good opportunity to explore Hamburg. There are many festivals take place during the month before the biggest holiday of the year.
Hamburg blog: Where to stay?
As a modern city, you can rest assured there are many options for hotels or hostels in Hamburg. If you have a good budget, you must stay at The Westin Hamburg hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com) with a beautiful view of the Elbe River. This river flows straight to the sea.
Alternatively, you might consider the 5-star Renaissance Hamburg Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com) located in the New Town area. The hotel with deep tones, elegant interior, prime location in the heart of the bustling shopping district of Hamburg center.
If you are traveling alone on an average budget, you can refer to the hostel I stayed at the Generator Hamburg (Agoda.com or Booking.com) . This hostel is located right next to the central station, the surroundings are extremely bustling and crowded. The quality of service as well as facilities in this hostel are also quite good.
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
Hamburg travel blog: What to eat and where to go in Hamburg?
Museums in Hamburg
Kunsthalle is one of Germany’s most important museums. This art museum displays artifacts spanning through 7 centuries, up to the contemporary art era. In addition, the top floor of the building also has a beautiful cafe overlooking the city.
Address: Glockengießerwall 5, 20095 Hamburg, Germany
Hours: 10AM–6PM / Monday: Closed
International Maritime Museum
Hamburg is one of Europe’s most important seaports and this museum is a witness to 3,000 years of maritime history. Here, you will be immersed in the large collections of marine ship models, art, uniforms and images come from Peter Tamm.
Address: Koreastraße 1, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
The Museum of Arts and Crafts
This is one of the largest museums in Europe and it displays decorative artworks from the past 4,000 years. Exhibits everything from fashion (Coco Chanel, Alexander McQueen, etc.), textiles, and jewelry to photography, and graphic design.
Address: Steintorpl., 20099 Hamburg, Germany
Hours: 10AM–6PM/Monday: Closed
Watching the city from St. Michael’s Church
One of the best spots to watching Hamburg from above is from St. Michael’s Church. You can visit the church for free, and pay €5 to take the elevator to the top of the 132m high bell tower. From here you can see the panoramic city with a 360-degree view.
This tourist place is extremely famous in Germany, with its enchanting train models. This complex is located on an area of up to 1,300 square meters, with more than a thousand models of trains, planes, cars and ships. A wonder of miniature world. You can find a little Venice, San Francisco as in real life, from people to scenery.
Address: Kehrwieder 2/Block D, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
Hours: 7AM–1AM/Saturday: 7AM–2AM
Hamburg Street Art
Hamburg is also a paradise of street art or graffiti. You can find it on every meter of street in the neighborhoods of St.Pauli, Sternschanze, and Karolinenviertel. Don’t forget to walk for hours to explore these beautiful street paintings.
Elbe Tunnel also known as St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel, is a long tunnel running under the River Elbe. Completed more than 100 years ago (built in 1911), this tunnel connects the city center with the port in the south of the city. Elbe Tunnel is open 24 hours a day for pedestrians and cyclists, and is also a tourist attraction.
Take some beautiful pictures in Hafencity
The Harbor City area of Hamburg is truly a haven for those who love taking pictures. You can walk along canals in Wandrahmsfleet, step over iron bridges here to see the buildings reflected in the calm water surface. The best time to take good photos is at sunset. When the electric lights from the buildings lights up. A very famous building here is the Wasserschloss with a restaurant inside it.
Planten un Blomen and Stadtpark
Planten un Blomen means for Plants and Flowers in German, is a green park located in the heart of the city. This is a great place for you and your family to relax on weekends, enjoy the freshness of nature. This park has a lot of playgrounds for children. It is also known as the largest Japanese garden in Europe.
Address: Marseiller Str., 20355 Hamburg, Germany
The Stadtpark, often referred to as Hamburg’s “Green Heart”, is also a large park located in the north of the city. This area is filled with statues, lakes, and playgrounds for you to visit and relax.
Address: Hamburg, Germany
Hours: Open 24 hours
Elbphilharmonie Theater (Elbe Philharmonic Hall)
Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall is one of the most modern and large theaters in the world. Although It has just opened, this can also be considered a symbol of Hamburg, like a pearl facing the blue sea. Admission is quite high but you can get up to the 360 degree observatory for just €2, book tickets here.
Address: Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
If you have come to Hamburg without visiting Jungfernstieg, it means you have not come to this city yet. Jungfernstieg can be considered as a shopping, cultural and dining center when traveling to Hamburg. The bustling streets with famous fashion brands, large shopping mall, and countless German restaurants and eateries. In addition, you can not miss Lake Binnenalster with cherry blossoms falling into the lake in spring, beautiful and mesmerizing!
Seaport in Hamburg
Hamburg is Germany’s largest port city, so there’s nothing more exciting than spending a visit to the port with the ships moored here. In particular, remember to visit the area where there are 2 old ships Rickmer Rickmers and Cap San Diego. These ships have been renovated into museums and you can visit and see from afar. Also, do not forget to visit the interior of the former Soviet-era U-434 submarine still anchored at the port.
Experience the Christmas market in Hamburg
The Christmas market that I want you to experience when coming to Hamburg is St. Pauli. Not only the Christmas market, this is really the most “notorious” playing and dining area in this city. Especially the nightlife and the exclusive gay areas. When the Christmas season comes, this area is often lavishly decorated and the earliest in the city. Lights everywhere, harmonized with the music, the sound of playing, very exciting!
Some other attractive places to visit:
- Deichtorhallen: One of the largest art centers for contemporary art and photography in Europe.
- St. Pauli Stadium: The atmosphere in the stadium is always exciting, don’t forget to buy tickets to watch a football match.
- Tierpark Hagenbeck: Hamburg Zoo.
- PROTOTYP Museum: Automobile museum with samples displaying about 50 antique cars throughout the 80-year history of Germany’s famous automobile industry.
- Day trip to Lübeck: An ancient German village recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with just a short train ride from Hamburg.
Hamburg travel guide (Hamburg guide): Transportation and public transport in Hamburg
How to get to Hamburg?
By air: As one of the largest cities in Germany, you can easily catch flights to Hamburg from anywhere in Europe. When arriving at the airport, there will be a subway connecting between Hamburg airport and the city center with just 30 minutes.
By train: The last station for trains from other cities is Hamburg Hauptbahnhof central station, located in the city center. The station connects with 4 lines in the German S-Bahn train system and 6 subway lines of U-Bahn.
By ZOB long-distance bus: Hamburg has a large bus hub right next to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof station. From here you can catch Flixbus to other major cities in Europe.
Getting around the city by public transport
One very convenient thing about getting in and around Hamburg when traveling to Hamburg is regional train, subway, bus and ferry all use the same type of ticket. This standard ticket is used for most major means of transportation and areas of the city including airport access. You can go to hvv.de to plan your itinerary and schedule.
Also you can buy Hamburg Card if you travel a lot because with this ticket you will have unlimited use of public transport. There will also be discounts for some attractions. Traveling by public transport in Hamburg is similar to traveling in other cities in Germany.
The basic types of tickets to travel within the city:
- Single ticket: €3.30 / time
- Daily ticket: €7.80
- Daily ticket (after 9am): €6.50
S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains
The two main types of trains to traveling in the city are the U-Bahn (underground lines) and the S-Bahn (suburban lines). You can take these two trains to get to anywhere. Both operate from 4:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m, and open 24/24 on weekends.
Because there are no barriers at stations in Germany, you will need to validate your ticket to take the train. Sometime, the staff will check randomly and you will get a heavy fine if you don’t have a ticket.
Travel by ferry
Although not very popular with tourists, there are 6 ferry lines in Hamburg that take you to different places in the city. The tip is that you can take the ferry number 61 to reach quite a few famous attractions. Access here for details.
Hamburg travel blog: What and where to eat in Hamburg?
Hamburg is a great tourist destination for those who want to experience food. This city not only has cultural features of Germany, but also has many impressive points of its own. There is still great German beer, but also a variety of seafood from one of Germany’s biggest seaports. Some food experiences you can try in Hamburg include:
Eating at a Vietnamese eatery in Hamburg
The Vietnamese community in Hamburg is quite crowded, so I see there are quite a few Vietnamese eateries in Hamburg. A good one when I went to Europa Passage was Hanoi Deli Rathaus. This shop is located on the food court in this commercial center, with the fried rice with roasted duck with mango juice that I ordered quite attractive.
Address: Schauenburgerstraße 49, 20095 Hamburg, Germany
Hours: 11:30AM–10PM/Sunday: 1–8:30PM; Saturday: 12:30–10PM
Also you can experience the fast food chain AisaHung in Hamburg as well as across Germany. Here they specialize in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, with full of rice, stir-fried noodles, … In general, the taste is suitable for Vietnamese.
Address: Kleine Johannisstraße 20, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
Hours: 11AM–7PM/Sunday: Closed
Experience the Hamburg cuisine at Daniel Wischer
I found this restaurant in Alstadt, which just outside is a large plaza with a Christmas market. This restaurant is quite large and noisy, because many people often come here to drink. I ordered a large beer, a part of Labskaus with fried eggs and bacon, a part of sea fish fillet and pickled vegetables. Although a bit strange but generally good (enjoy!).
Address: Große Johannisstraße 3, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
Hours: 11:30AM–9PM/Sunday: Closed
Romantic dinner at the restaurant Kartoffelkeller – Little Amsterdam
Little Amsterdam is a call for a colorful block houses next to a small Nikolaifleet canal in Hamburg. These houses are romantic restaurants that you will often have to pre-book for your dinner. I ordered a potato part, a meat skewer with sauce, and a heavy glass of vodka. The price for this meal is 23 Euros per person.
Address: Große Johannisstraße 3, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
Hours: 12–10PM/Wednesday: Closed
Above are my travel experiences when explore Hamburg, thank you so much for reading and have a good trip!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Hamburg you can refer to
- Private Hamburg Airport (HAM) Transfers for Hamburg
- Hamburg City Pass
- Miniatur Wunderland Entry Ticket With Priority Entrance in Hamburg
- Hamburg Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour
- Hamburg Discovery Walking Tour
- Hamburg St. Pauli and Harbor Evening Walking Tour
- International Maritime Museum Entry Ticket in Hamburg
- Wax Museum Panoptikum Admission Ticket in Hamburg