Top 12 Hamburg sights to see in one day. With photos, descriptions, addresses, and official museum websites.
Hamburg, as the Germans say, is made up of the three “m’s”-bridges, sailors and millionaires. How many oligarchs live in this financial center of Germany cannot be counted. But the number of residents is known – it’s about 2 million people. The city is proud that since the times of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa it has never submitted to anyone. But we know that this is not entirely true – were in the history of Germany and the 40th years of the twentieth century. Anyway, the “Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg” is its official name, a reminder of its merchant and burgher origins.
As for tourists who have not yet seen with their own eyes either Hamburg sailors or millionaires, what usually comes to mind when Hamburg is mentioned is hamburgers, sausages and, of course, the expression “everything on the Hamburg bill”.
Germans themselves, hearing about hamburgers again, are offended. They prefer to compare the city to Venice. After all, in Hamburg, more bridges than in Amsterdam, London and St. Petersburg together – almost 2.5 thousand.
sightseeing tours in Hamburg
Tours from locals on Tripster are an unusual way to explore the city. You can start with a sightseeing tour of Hamburg. It’s a great time-saver to walk through the landmarks and map out your own walking routes. Plus, your guide will tell you where to spend your free time and how to save money in the city.
What to see in Hamburg in a day
In one of the largest cities in Germany, tourists obviously will not be bored. We’ve put together 12 of the top sights in Hamburg that you can see in one day. Plus a list of interesting museums that are worth checking out if you have an extra 1-2 days free.
1. Michaeliskirche or cathedral “Michel.
Address: Englische Planke 1, Hamburg
The “Michaelmasters’ Cathedral”, as the citizens of Hamburg affectionately call the Michaeliskirche (Church of the Archangel Michael), is probably the most beautiful of all the baroque churches in Germany. And it is located in the heart of Hamburg. And the silhouette of Michael is even engraved on the emblem of the city. It is absolutely worthwhile to take the elevator to the observation deck of the temple.
It rises to 82 meters above the city. Climbing will not take much time, yet this is not the campaign in San Marco, where it is customary to take a turn almost a day before the visit. From the top there is a magnificent panoramic view of the port.
Next to the kirche, don’t miss another landmark of Hamburg – the monument to Otto von Bismarck. The “Iron Chancellor” of Germany lived for some time on an estate near Hamburg.
2. Town Hall Square
Address: Rathausmarkt square, Hamburg
Hamburg’s Old Town begins at the St. Georg railway station, known as a gathering place for local and visiting hippies, drug addicts, and other informal elements. It stretches through Menzhberg Street to Town Hall Square. That’s where the main “top” places of Hamburg are concentrated. It must be said that not many old houses are left after the devastation of World War II. Such are the unintended consequences of the “Barbarossa Plan” and the work of British military pilots. From the oldest part of the city only the buildings on Deichstrasse have survived. However Hanseatic (as Hamburgers like to call themselves) carefully preserves the surviving architectural sights of Hamburg.
And building No. 1 in the list of must see – the majestic Renaissance Town Hall. There is no problem to let anyone who wants to go on a tour there. Germans are especially proud of the fact that in this building more rooms than in Buckingham Palace itself.
Under the walls of City Hall unexpectedly sprawling lake, in which swans swim. Also adjoining the Town Hall is a late Classical style house. This exchange building on the Rathausmarkt is the oldest institution of its kind in Northern Europe.
3. Kunsthalle Art Gallery
Address: Glockengießerwall 5, Hamburg
Germans claim that the collection of paintings in the Hamburg Kunsthalle belongs to the best in the EU. After all, almost all European classics are collected there, although there are more representatives of German Romanticism. Be that as it may, the Kunsthalle is the most important cultural institution in Hamburg and all of Germany. The museum’s collection includes paintings from the Middle Ages, baroque paintings and a collection of prints. The most stellar exhibits are works by Rubens, Picasso, Rembrandt and Van Dyck. The Kunsthalle also has a modern art gallery and a coin room.
4. Hamburg History Museum
Address: Holstenwall 24, Hamburg
This is a classic, and therefore the most popular and most visited museum in the city. Go to it or not in the small amount of time (we are trying to figure out what you can see in Hamburg in 1 day), you decide. But if you wonder what hides behind the history of the city, which for 12 centuries turned from a defensive fortress to a noisy and modern metropolis, then you’ll find the answers in the halls of the museum. One of the most curious exhibits is the skull of the pirate Klaus Sturtebecker, a folkloric character originally from Hamburg.
It is said that he was the prototype of the legendary Robin Hood.
5. Port of Hamburg
The districts of Australiastraße, Industriestraße, Nippoldstraße, etc.
The heart of any coastal city is the port. And Hamburg is no exception: when you first enter the city, everyone wants to get there, where classicist and baroque houses neighbor with the high-tech of portal cranes and docks. The port attracts not only merchant ships and logistics infrastructure, but also many gawkers. Annually 12 thousand ships come here. Port of Hamburg is at the mouth of the Elbe River, 100 km from the sea. But all things considered in such a way that even large ocean liners can moor.
But most interesting for tourists there are museums and exhibitions. Especially notable is the harbor Sandtorhafen, where are moored ships, museums.
6. Cap Museum San Diego.
Address: Überseebrücke district, Hamburg
“Cap San Diego is the world’s largest maritime museum, located on a freighter. From 1962 to 1988, the Cap San Diego made regular ocean voyages to the coast of South America, and today is owned by the Hamburg Admiralty. And now retired sailors are working aboard her. For its beautiful shapes and white color, the ship was called the white swan. It is a real jewel of the port of Hamburg and the most striking attraction of the city. Visitors to the museum can view all the exhibits.
One can freely visit the staterooms, the decks, the engine room, study the instruments of navigation and climb the captain’s bridge. For information on ticket prices and hours of operation, visit www.capsandiego.de.
7. Hamburg Opera House
Address: Große Theaterstraße 25, Hamburg
Hamburg merchants, manufacturers and ship owners were not only good at investing their money, but also generous patrons of the arts. Thanks to their donations the first public opera house in Germany was opened in the city in 1678. The young Georg Friedrich Handel played violin and cello here, and wrote his first operas for the theater. The land of Hamburg has also given the world other famous composers – Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn.
In its 300-year history the Hamburg Opera House has experienced countless misfortunes – from financial crises to devastating war bombings. Today it is an international opera house with a rich repertoire. Prices for tickets to the Hamburg Opera House are more than affordable (from € 10 per person). But you have to buy them in advance – they sell out immediately.
Hamburg is beloved by theatergoers and European bohemia. In addition to the opera house, there are four public and about 40 private. But especially the city is famous for musicals. Everyone can visit the legendary “Phantom of the Opera” or “Cats.
Address: Reeperbahn district, Hamburg
The famous Reeperbahn, the local equivalent of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, beckons adventurers. The revelry goes on all night long in St. Pauli, where a motley crowd of commuters moves from bars to discotheques and from there to nightclubs and picturesque beer gardens. They talk and laugh loudly, and the St. Pauli area is buzzing with life, with strip bars, porno cinemas, and sex shops. In the morning, the cheerful travelers are welcomed by… the Fishmarkt, which has been famous since the beginning of the 18th century. There is a variety of fish and seafood there more than in all the Dutch still lifes put together.
By the way, German lady prostitutes work quite legally and are even organized in a trade union that firmly defends their rights. It is worth remembering that it was here, in the clubs of Hamburg dockers and sailors, that the four guys from Liverpool, the Beatles, began their careers in the 1960s.
The Reeperbahn creates a striking contrast to Hamburg’s other attractions. Business-minded and discreet city of shipowners, bankers, merchants allows itself to briefly throw off the strict jacket and forget about everything in the world.
9. Museum of Miniatures
Address: Kehrwieder 2-4/Block D, Hamburg
Miniature Wonderland is a fabulous museum that began with an ordinary railway layout and then grew into a huge country with cities, fields and even an airport. This is not a boring exhibition of static models, but a land of miniatures, living in perpetual motion. Trains and cars are moving, ships are sailing, and days and nights change. All the details are made with such meticulousness and precision that they enthrall not only children, but adults as well.
10. the Elbe Philharmonic
Address: Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1, Hamburg
Not far from the Museum of Miniatures is the Elb Philharmonic Hall. This structure of glass, brick and concrete is famous all over the world thanks to its unusual architectural forms. In fact, the building is not as new-built as many people think. Built on the island of Grasbroek and now the tallest building in Hamburg, it was originally a warehouse on the banks of the Elbe. Until, according to the design of J. Herzog and P. de Meuron, it was transformed into an ultra-modern concert hall.
There are full guided tours of the Elbe Philharmonic Hall (prices on Getyourguide range from € 19 to € 30). Plus a visit to the local viewing platform Plaza is highly recommended. The view from there is as good as from the bell tower of the Michaeliskirche.
Hamburg Botanical Garden
Address: Marseiller Str. 7, Hamburg
The picturesque Botanical Garden also stands in the middle of the concrete jungle of Hamburg. Its origins go back to a small apothecary’s kitchen garden. Today it is an area of 24 hectares, where for the convenience of visitors are installed benches for recreation. The garden is divided into departments and zones. For example, in the department of systematics plants are planted in the form of a tree, symbolizing the evolution of vegetation on Earth. And the geography department allows you to admire the plants from the farthest corners of the Earth. The Japanese garden, alpinarium and oasis in the desert are originally designed.
12. lake Alster
District An der Alster, Schwanenwik, Alte Rabenstraße, etc.
The port and the number of ships does not prevent Hamburg from being a garden city. Any guide will proudly tell you that there are three trees for every inhabitant. Indeed, Hamburg is comprised of about half of its squares, parks, canals and lakes. The city has another ecological attraction – the Alster Lake, formed in the XIII century, the size of which exceeds the area of Monaco.
Partly it is bordered by Hamburg City Hall – in one of the channels swans swim. Also the view of the Alster opens from the windows of the Kunsthalle.
Where to stay in Hamburg
To see most of the sights of Hamburg in one day, it is better to choose an accommodation as close to the center as possible. Or alternatively – the central station St. George (German Hamburg Hauptbahnhof). Prices for hotels there are high, if you take the average in Germany. But first of all the city itself is not cheap. And secondly, the time savings for traveling around the city is tremendous.
Settle in the sleeping area may be appropriate only if you have a reserve of 7-10 days. And even then, if you have plans to tour the outskirts of Hamburg (Bremen, Travemünde, Kiel), then live near the station is still better.
Hotel Wedina an der Alster ***
Gurlittstr. 23, St. Georg, Hamburg
Hotel Wedina an der Alster in Hamburg
Stylish hotel 150 meters from the Alster Lake (the railway station is about 7-10 minutes walking distance). Occupies five buildings, the rooms are not similar to each other. But at the same time in each of the wooden floors, beds with orthopedic mattresses, heated floors in the bathroom, hair dryer, free Wi-Fi. The homemade breakfasts are amazing!
2. Stay! Hotel Boardinghouse
Kreuzweg 12, St. Georg, Hamburg
Standard Double Room
The aparthotel is 300m away from Hamburg’s uncomplicated Central Station. It’s a 15-minute walk to the shopping street Mönkebergstrasse. The rooms are freshly renovated and have everything you need, including Wi-Fi and a kettle. Breakfast is excellent; there is a restaurant and free parking.
Tourist buses and museum map
Hamburg has all the options mandatory for a tourist city. There’s the Hamburg Card, double-decker buses running in circles, and boat rides – just like in Budapest, Amsterdam, and Venice.
Let us mark with ” + ” and ” – ” what is worth spending money on and what will probably be useless. At least on your first visit.
[list style=»check»] [li]Туристическая карта Гамбурга. Официальное название Hamburg Card. Может быть полезна, но только не тем, у кого в запасе меньше трех дней. ( – )[/li] [li]Автобусы hopp-on hopp-off. Это те, куда каждый обладатель билета можно зайти в любой момент и выйти, где пожелается. Точнее, на любой из 29 остановок по маршруту. Курсируют они, естественно, по центру города, а маршрут продуман таким образом, что все интересные места Гамбурга можно при желании осмотреть за один день. Хотя бы из окна автобуса. ( + )[/li] [li]Прогулка на кораблике. Одно из лучших вложений денег, которое можно сделать в Гамбурге туристу (кроме акций). И порт Гамбурга с его «ХафенСити», и Эльбская филармония, и район Санкт-Паули с воды выглядят великолепно. ( + )[/li] [/list]
What are the top three places in Hamburg? If you reduce the list of 10 attractions to three, they would be the Port of Hamburg, the Reeperbahn and the Kunsthalle Gallery. If you’ve been to each of these places, you can safely say you know Hamburg like the back of your hand.
What public transportation is available in Hamburg? The main ones are the subway, buses, and ferries. There are also commuter trains, but they’re unlikely to be useful for exploring Hamburg’s top destinations. If time is short, you can take a hopp-on hopp-off tourist bus. Or by boat: The city is unique in that you can take a tour not only by land but also by water.
If you’ve already visited Hamburg, where else can you go? Kiel, Travemünde, and Bremen are the most interesting cities that are easy to get to in a day.
10 things to do in Hamburg
One of the most popular places for city residents is the Alster Lake, which is located right in the city center and appeared in the 12th century thanks to the efforts of Count Adolf III, who commissioned the damming of the tributary of the Elbe. The lake is divided into two: the inner and outer Alter. The Alter covers a huge area of 164 hectares and is surrounded by parks and a 7 km long “health trail”. Townspeople like to come here to take a break from the hustle and bustle, sit on the waterfront, exercise, or just watch the swans and fountain.
2. See the city from a bird’s eye view
The church of St. Michael is a true symbol of Hamburg, and is affectionately known as St. Michael’s Church by its inhabitants. It was built in 1762 and has been rebuilt several times, and is now the largest in all of northern Germany. The distinctive feature of Michel is the 132-meter-high bell tower, which has long served as a lighthouse for ships entering the port, as well as the largest tower clock in the country. At a height of 106 meters there is an observation deck with a panoramic view of all sides: the port and the Speicherstadt, as well as the central part of town and Alster Lake.
3. Eat a FISH BURGER
When it comes to culinary attractions, the first thing we want to mention is hamburgers. Although they first appeared on tables in the U.S., they originated in Hamburg. However, hamburgers are not very popular here, because fish delicacies are in the foreground (after all, the city is a port city). They say you can’t go to Hamburg without trying a fish dish. You don’t have to look for it for a long time: There are dozens of different eateries along the harbor promenade. One of the most famous eateries, Brucke 10, specializes exclusively in fish fast food. Locals say that the most delicious fish sandwiches are served there. The prices are quite democratic and the fish is always fresh. Among the local drinks are Fritz Cola, invented by two local guys, and Astra beer. The fish market is open on Sundays from 5 to 9 a.m. nearby and offers seafood for a reasonable price.
4. WALK ALONG THE BOTTOM OF THE ELBE
Not far from the city port there is a landmark – an ancient tunnel, laid at a depth of 24 meters almost at the bottom of the river Elbe. The need for such a project arose at the beginning of the last century, when the port of Hamburg began to expand at a rapid pace, and it became vital to improve transport links with the southern bank of the river. Opened in 1911 the tunnel was 426 meters long, the first of its kind in Europe. Now it has lost its original meaning and is used exclusively by tourists. It is free to walk or ride a bicycle through it at any time of day or year. From the southern bank of the Elbe, where the tunnel leads, opens a stunning view of the city.
5. Get lost in the “warehouse city” and count all the bridges
Hamburg has the second largest port in Europe (and the largest in Germany), the city is only a hundred kilometers from where the Elbe flows into the North Sea. The port itself is so huge that it employs about 150,000 people and covers an area of 75 square kilometers! A huge number of different goods from all over the world have always passed through the port of Hamburg. To contain them in 1883 on the site of a quarter where Dutch merchants lived, directly on stilts was built a complex of warehouse buildings, which is still the largest in the world.
The territory of the Speicherstadt is riddled with canals, all of which look as if the buildings were growing right out of the water. The water level in the canals is controlled and specifically raised so that small river boats can safely enter to unload/load goods. In 1991, the complex was declared a monument and since then it has been under state protection. Today, the local warehouses house coffee and tea, various spices and spices, merchandise, oriental carpets, etc. In addition to its visual beauty, the “city of warehouses” plays an important role for cultural education: on its territory there are many museums and exhibitions, such as the customs museum or the museum of coffee. The latter, by the way, is very interesting because almost all the coffee that is imported from outside Europe ends up first in Hamburg. The museum exhibit shows the history of the coffee and tea trade in Hamburg, and there is also a store where you can buy something exotic as a gift or a memento of your trip.
6. Feel like a child
Can a toy railroad get you excited? And dollhouses? And hundreds of tiny little people, each doing their own thing? If you go to the Miniature Wonderland, it is as if you are in a huge game room – children’s emotions will overwhelm you regardless of your age. The area is divided into several zones, imitating different countries and cities. Day alternates with night, summer scenes are interspersed with winter ones, and you can activate simple mechanisms at the touch of a button, and then the car will start to move, the balloon will fly, and the tree will fall on the roof of the toy house. Trains drive through all the zones, planes land and take off in one of the halls, and thousands of scenes with elaborate details keep your attention for a long time, making you scrutinize everything in every detail.
7. ADMIRE THE AREA OF THE FUTURE
Right next to the Speicherstadt you will find the ultra-modern “district of the future” called “Hafencity”. It is architecturally stunning. Today it is one of the most advanced projects in the world, which has no analogues. Hafencity began to be built right on the site of the old port on stilts. It is truly a district of the future: it has its own subway line, and during the construction only environmentally friendly technologies are used. At the moment, only the western part is built out, which is only about 30% of the area of the entire district. Finishing work is scheduled for 2025, but who knows, maybe it will grow even further? There is also a futuristic building of the Philharmonic Hall, which cost a lot of money (almost a billion dollars).
8. To relax mind and body.
For many years now Reeperbahn attracts tourists from all over the world who want to plunge into a world of debauchery and entertainment. That’s why the Germans simply call it “Sin Mile”. This is not only the center of the controversial St. Pauli district, but also the center of the nightlife of Hamburg. Here you can find taverns, strip bars, nightclubs, brothels, sex shops, casinos, and other such establishments. During the day street looks quite normal, not counting tourists and various informals, but at night it changes its appearance. The street began to gain popularity in the early 19th century, when the sailors from the arriving ships in Hamburg came here in search of entertainment, cheap alcohol and available ladies. By the way, there’s a street here, an analogue of Amsterdam’s red-light district, where working women also sit behind shop windows while waiting for customers. The street is called Herbertstrasse and is only open to men, women and children are not allowed.
9. GO TO THE CONCERT AT THE FIRST CLUB OF THE BEATLES
It is probably no secret that the Beatles are from Liverpool. At the same time not everyone knows that the musical career of the Liverpool four really began in Hamburg. In the 60s, the rock and roll fashion came to the German port city together with foreign ships. The Brits’ first concert took place on August 18, 1960 in the Indra club, and in only two years of the Hamburg period the band gave about 800 concerts. In 2008, at the intersection of Reeperbahn and Grosse Freiheit, The Beatles’ square was opened, the only one in the world. Curiously enough, it is shaped like a gramophone record because it is completely round. Right on the square are steel sculptures in the form of silhouettes of the band’s musicians.
10. ADMIRE THE SUNSET
Perhaps the most romantic place for evening gatherings is the observation deck on the roof of the Dokland office building. It was built in 2005 and looks like the bow of a ship rising out of the water. To get to the observation deck you have to climb about 140 steps. The platform is open 24 hours a day and is absolutely free for everyone. The Elbe estuary is wide enough to allow huge cruise ships to call Hamburg. The cruise center’s website has a schedule of when and where you can see the ships. Dokland is not only an ideal place to watch the sunset, but also to watch the ships coming into port.