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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
Miniatur Wunderland

Miniatur Wunderland

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Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany, is definitely not your everyday miniature railroad. It’s the largest miniature railroad in the world, and it’s an entire world at a perfect, small scale — one that took 500,000 working hours to create. From software-controlled fire trucks putting out fires in tiny neighborhoods to a 20-foot (6 meter) tall Swiss mountain with alpine skiers and brick tunnels with perfectly timed trains, the features of the different points of interest inside the ‘wonderland’ are not only in perfect working order, they’re filled with details that you could explore for days. Like a ‘Where’s Waldo’ book come to life, the 8 miles (13km) of tracks that wind through Miniatur Wunderland take the visitor on a tour of a tiny world that is utterly fascinating. The airport just might be the world’s most perfect flight simulator, with every possible detail in miniature. There’s a mini Grand Canyon and a mini Las Vegas. ‘Days’ in the different cities last just under an hour, and when night falls each of the city lights come on and different characters come out to play. Spoiler alert: there’s a red-light district, lovers getting frisky in a flowery meadow, and even murder scenes!More
#2
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
#3
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
#4
Panoptikum

Panoptikum

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Established in 1879, Hamburg’s family-owned answer to Madame Tussauds is the oldest waxworks museum in Germany; divided into several sections, it features an entertaining romp through the world of celebrity as well as a look back over the last century or so of history. Many international stars grace the collection, from Angelina Jolie to Madonna, The Beatles to Karl Lagerfeld, while figures from the world of international politics include President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Historic displays review the dictators of the 20th century, from Hitler to Che Guevara, and there’s room full of a rather gruesome waxen medical exhibits tucked away at the rear of the museum that may startle those of a nervous disposition. Special guided tours for children aged between seven and 12 can be arranged in advance.More
#5
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
#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
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
#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
Hamburg Dungeon

Hamburg Dungeon

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The Hamburg Dungeon takes visitors on a 90-minute journey through 600 years of Hamburg's dark history. The dungeon has different areas with various themes based on real events in Hamburg's history, as well as two rides and 11 different shows performed in both German and English by live, professional actors. A visit to the Dungeon is a fun yet scary way to experience the things that were left out of the history books.Gripping storytelling, special effects and rides bring the history to life in a way that will make you laugh and scream. Start your tour with the Elevator of Horror before exploring the Library of Dark History where shadowy figures tell the stories in the books. Experience the Hamburg fire of 1842, try to find your way out of the Labyrinth of the Lost, and see if you can survive the torture chamber. Encounter pirates and ghosts along the way, plus much more terror. The Hamburg Dungeon occasionally has special events for certain holidays, like Halloween and Christmas.More
#10
Hamburger Kunsthalle

Hamburger Kunsthalle

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Discover European art since the 14th century during a visit to the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg’s major art museum. See highlights from the permanent collection including paintings by Manet, Picasso, and Klee. The museum also features a range of special exhibitions from sculpture to abstract art to installations.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

Recent reviews from experiences in Hamburg

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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 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 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
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 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-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-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
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.
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.
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 enjoyed the harbour cruise. It...
Brenda C, Oct 2014
Discovery Ticket: Hop-on-Hop-off Tour, Harbor Cruise and Lake Alster Cruise
The hop on/hop off is always a great way to see any city, Hamburg included.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions
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