A trip to Germany cannot be completed without visiting Hamburg. Lying in one of the northernmost parts of Germany, Hamburg is famous for being the biggest port city of Germany. You can explore the most important spots of this city in 2 to 3 days, both on foot and by public transportation. Below I have summarized some of the most recommended attractions and neighborhoods. Let’s start the virtual tour of Hamburg from its heart – the Town Hall.
1. Rathaus – Town Hall
Standing in the middle of the Hamburg city center on the Rathausmarkt (City Hall Market Square), the Town Hall is one of the most important buildings of Hamburg. It is the political, historical, and cultural center of the city. Its neo-renaissance architecture style is stunning, with various sandstone columns and portraits of famous people from Hamburg hung in the hallway, stained glass windows, unique carvings made by Hamburg orphans, three huge chandeliers in the Great Hall, and various paintings throughout the building. The front hall can be entered for free. If you would like to experience seeing Hamburg on foot with a local tour guide, look for the red New Sandemans umbrella in front of the Rathaus. The New Hamburg free walking tour starts from here every day at 11 AM and 2 PM.
2. The port of Hamburg
Come to the harbor of Hamburg and take a boat tour or public water transportation. You can take boat number 62 departing from Bridge 3 with a local transportation ticket for a short tour. During the winter, stay inside the cabin to have a chat with your fellow travelers and enjoy the beautiful view of Hamburg harbor. This is an ideal must-do to put on your bucket list.
3. Old Elbe tunnel
As soon as you complete the boat tour, walk few minutes to visit the Alter Elbtunnel Gate. The elevator will take you down to the 426 meters (1398 feet) long and 24 meters (80 feet) deep vehicle tunnel. Four lifts on both sides of the tunnels carry both motor vehicles and visitors to the bottom. Many locals like to cycle through this tunnel, which connects the two parts of the Norerelbe River. The temperature in the tunnels is lower than above the ground, so make sure you dress warm, especially during winter.
4. The Warehouse District and Binnenhafen
One of the most beautiful districts of Hamburg is Binnenhafen. Here you will be overwhelmed by the splendid view of so many colorful boats floating on the water, bridges full of love locks, and typical Hamburg waterways. Cross one of the bridges, walk along the river banks and through the historic district of warehouses, Speicherstadt. This is the biggest warehouse district in the world with buildings standing on timber-pile foundations.
5. The hippie area Sternschanze
Known as the rare hippie area of Hamburg, Sternschanze is a cool neighborhood with many vintage shops, outdoor clothing stores, mini markets, barbershops, alternative cafes & bars, and places to eat for cheap. If you love modern street art and especially graffiti, you will love Sternschanze. Take a metro to Sternschanze Station, get off, and walk through Susannenstraße.
How to get around Hamburg
Hamburg is an industrial and modern city with a good public transportation system. The easiest way to get around is by metro with a daily ticket that costs around 6 EUR or 7 USD. A single ticket costs 1.50 EUR (roughly 2 USD) for a short journey and 2.20 EUR (roughly 2.50 USD) for a long journey. Tickets can be purchased at any ticket machines in the port and many metro stations.