what to do in hamburg

What To Do Hamburg (Complete Guide for First Time Visitors)

December 7, 2021

hey there, I'm Amy!

Categories

Hi! I'm a travel blogger from Vancouver, recently moved to Germany for grad school . I've previously studied abroad in Beijing and Seoul, and I'm SO excited to share my journey in Europe with you!! 

Travel in Europe

Travel in Asia

Studying in Germany

popular posts

8 TRADITIONAL GERMAN BREAKFAST YOU SHOULD TRY

self care & mindset

food x Travel

Study in Germany

Blogging

uncategorized

5 TIPS ON MAKING MONEY WHILE STUDYING ABROAD IN GERMANY

7 BEST TRIP PLANNING WEBSITES FOR FEMALE TRAVELER

what to do in hamburg

If you are visiting Hamburg for the first time and are wondering what to do in Hamburg, this post is all you need to read. In this post, I write about different districts in Hamburg, an ultimate list of must-visit spots, and where you can go for some of the best seafood (affordable on our student budget 😊).

things to do in hamburg germany

At this point, you've probably heard so many things about amazing Berlin and Munich are, but nothing much about Hamburg. In that case, your visit to Hamburg will blow your mind. Since the city is literally surrounded by beaches, exploring the city will leave you wanting to live in this beautiful city. There are so many things to explore in the realm of sightseeing, restaurant/bar hopping, shopping, and many more. Get ready!!

top thing to do in hamburg germany

Area #1 Hamburg City Centre

Jungfernstieg & Alster Lake

Jungfernstieg & Alster Lake
Jungfernstieg is a promenade that runs along the Inner Alster Lake, and it's named after how families came to this place on Sunday to walk and introduce their unmarried daughters (jungfern) in the past. Now, it's considered the center of Hamburg where you can find the world's famous brands such as Cartier, Wempe, Dior, and many more.

Even if you are not into shopping, you should drop by this beautiful location and spend some time walking along the Alster Lake.

Alsterarkaden

Alsterarkaden is 2 min walk from Jungfernstieg, and it features a beautiful round-arched arcade in the Italian style. You can find small boutique shops here. Grab some ice cream and walk along!

Rathaus (Town Hall)

Hamburg city hall is a remarkable historic building, surrounded by a lively square with street food stalls and small shops. This is one of Hamburg's most popular tourist spots, and you can get a guided tour of this grand building (for 5 euros).

Upon entering, I was impressed by the beautiful marble staircase that shows human life's course. This grand building has nearly 600 rooms. If you are curious about how it looks inside, watch the YouTube Video below.

Chilehaus

Chilehaus is a ten-story office building which is famous for its 1920s Brick Expressionism style of architecture. Although it's used for offices nowadays, it stands out from other buildings nearby because of its unique structure.
Moreover, Deichstrasse is the oldest remaining street in the Altstadt of Hamburg, worth visiting for the beautiful old buildings.

St. Michael's Church

St. Michael's Church, colloquially called Michel, is the largest church in Hamburg, immediately recognizable in the skyline with its tall copper dome and bell tower. Its viewing platform has one of the best views of Hamburg.
The sculpture "St. Michael's victory over the devil" is many photographers' favorite photo spot.

top thing to do in hamburg germany

Area #2: Portugieseviertel & St. Pauli 

Alter Elbtunnel

The tunnel, which opened in 1911, was built to provide a more direct route from the southern banks of the Elbe river to the Landungbruecken piers in St. Pauli. Now pedestrians and bicyclists use this tunnel to cross below the river, not just tourists. This is 427 meters long and 24 meters below the river's surface.

Stinfang

Once you exit the tunnel, you'll reach the observation point with a wide plaza. Make sure to visit here after crossing the Alter Elbtunnel to see the views of the dock area, southern bank, and the city.

Red Light District (Reeperbahn)

This area is not my thing, but when I passed by the district looking for a restaurant below (mentioned below), I immediately knew this was the infamous red light district. You won't miss it because it's so bright and messy!! I thought the district is worth mentioning for how famous it is.

St. Pauli Piers (Landungsbruecken)

As you can imagine, from Hamburg being a port city, there are so many ferries you can take in the city. St. Pauli is one of the main places you can book and hop on these. When I bought the ticket, it was for one ride any time of the day, not for a specific time, which I found really flexible. They are multiple routes, so check them out!!

what to do in hamburg ships
top thing to do in hamburg germany

Area #3: Speicherstadt

Speicherstadt (Warehouse District) 

You've probably seen this on Instagram. This is the largest warehouse district in the world, awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015. Construction of the warehouses began in 1884, but the western part of Speicherstadt was destroyed by World War 2. Then, reconstructions were finalized in 1967, and the buildings are still used as warehouses.

Together with canals and bridges, these beautiful red bricks are the perfect spot for a photo. The Speicherstadt is especially beautiful right after the sunset when the lights in the windows are turned on. The golden hues and the blue water contrast each other, reflecting the colors on the water.

Miniatur Wunderland

Miniatur Wunderland is the most extensive model railway system globally, perfect for people of all ages. They not only have miniature versions of Hamburg but also of France, Italy, North America and many more!

top thing to do in hamburg germany

Area #4: Hafencity

International Maritimes Museum Hamburg

Let me start by saying this museum has so much to see. I spent the entire afternoon here before catching the train back to Koeln, and I wish I had more time there. Renting an audio guide is a great idea to learn about the history of sailing and shipping.

Their collection covers everything from explorers' history, shipbuilding, engineering, navies of the world, maritime art, ship models, to many more. I recommend setting a few hours aside for a visit. Besides, there are thousands of miniature ships, pirates others that are not only from Hamburg but collected internationally.

hamburg international maritime museum

Elbphilharmonie

Elbphilharmonie is one of the most famous landmarks in Hamburg. The impressive building is made from glass and brick, designed to resemble an ocean-linear docked in the harbor. The original construction cost was projected to be 200 million euros but ended up being 870 million euros. I mean, it is unique and beautiful… Not only this, the project was delayed for 13 years.

Even if you are not here for a concert, you can go up to the building's plaza and enjoy the city's 360-degree panoramic view (for free!) The long (really long) escalator ride to the top is an incredible experience; it is the longest in Europe. The arched escalator is an amazing photo spot too, so take a nice photo here!

 

shopping in hamburg

Top Places to eat in Hamburg

Next, let's talk about food. Hamburg is a big city with lots and lots of food options, but I find that the restaurants and cafes in Karolinviertel are so yummy (and affordable). It's a hip place where you can discover unique cafes, bars, vintage fashion, and many more.
I highly recommend these two restaurants in the trendy Karolinviertel (I would honestly go back to Hamburg just to visit them.)

 

where to eat in hamburg germany

Underdocks

I went to Underdocks three times during my 4 days trip to Hamburg so this says something. There's always a line, but you don't have to wait too long since it's not the kind of restaurant you spend 2 hours at. My favorites on their menu are sardine roll/taco, crayfish roll/taco, and black tiger roll/taco. If you are not sure what to get, go for the 3er pack tacos where you can choose any 3 tacos you want. 

hamburg where to eat underdocks

La Sepia

La Sepia also specializes in seafood dishes; they have a selection of fresh fish on ice in front of the kitchen. We ordered their amazing seafood platter! They are usually swamped, so you have to make a reservation.

where to eat in hamburg la sepia

Food option near Hauptbahnhof

Restaurant Vasco Da Gama
This restaurant is located within walking distance to Hauptbahnhof (central train station), so if you are staying near the central station, you should check this place out! Their paella and deep-fried sardines were so good!!

what to eat in hamburg seafood

Food option in St. Pauli

Cuneo
I found this restaurant from a German travel book where a girl from Hamburg shows her favorite spots in Hamburg. It's one of the oldest Italian restaurants in Hamburg (since 1905), still run by the same family. If you are craving for some good Italian food during your trip in Hamburg, drop by this restaurant, you won't be disappointed.

hamburg st pauli where to eat
best restaurants in hamburg
what to do in hamburg sunday

Places to take a walk/bike ride in Hamburg

Lastly, if you want to get away from all the touristy places or want to have a quiet time with your partner/friends, walk or bike along the water, these are the places you can check out.

Treppenviertel Blankenese

Take a bus or bike to this hilly riverside area with beautiful mansions and parks. When you get there, you can walk into cute small allies. The quarter has approximately 5000 steps, including the "strandtreppe," translated as the beach staircase. This is the perfect place for people who want to get away from the busy Hamburg city scene.

Elbstrand

Elbstrand is a romantic beach closer to the city than Blankenese. Strandperle, a pub nearby, is one of the most popular pubs in Hamburg, so make sure to check it out! You can sit at the patio and grab a couple of beers.

Falensteiner Ufer

Further west is Falensteiner Ufer (hiking trail), where you can go for a short hiking trip. It's just under 7 kilometers, and you'll get fantastic views of the Elbe banks.

 

hamburg hiking

Amy's Tip: In my opinion, Hamburg is one of the best cities to ride an e-scooter in Germany (maybe all of Europe even). The city has big smooth modern streets (as opposed to cobblestones), and the views literally are the best along the streets. If you are not familiar with scooters, exploring the city with a bike is a great option too!!

You can get a Hamburg Card to save money on entrance tickets and public transit if you're into sightseeing like me.

Conclusion

I hope you found my travel guide to Hamburg, Germany, exciting and helpful for your next trip! I have lived in Germany for the past few months and am still amazed by how rich German cities are in terms of history and culture. Although not as well known, the food in Hamburg is amazing, and it's so different from other German cities like Berlin and Cologne.

 

FAQ

Q: What is Hamburg known for?
A: Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany, known for its port city. It was the gateway to the world in the past, and the city remains worldly, diverse and cosmopolitan. Visit St. Pauli for vintage fashion, hip eateries, and the red light district!

 

Q: Is Hamburg worth visiting?
A: The city is definitely worth a visit!! I've lived in Germany for the past few months, traveled extensively within Germany, and I'm 100% sure that Hamburg has a special flair that you can't find in other German cities. Hamburg has terrific views wherever you go thanks to the sea nearby, and there are so much history and culture of this city to learn about. I'd describe Hamburg as clean, hip, and modern!

 

Q: How is shopping in Hamburg Germany?
A: AMAZING!! Hamburg is a shopper's paradise. It is one of the wealthiest cities in Germany, offering everything from small boutiques, flea markets to high-end luxury. As mentioned in the post, head to Jungfernstieg for world's sought-after brands.

 

Q: How do I get to Hamburg?
A: The city is well connected by train from other major cities in Germany. You can take ICE (Intercity Express Train) or Flixtrain. Flixtrain is most likely a cheaper option, but it depends on when you travel.
If you are traveling internationally, you can fly into Hamburg Airport (HAM) and easily transfer to S-Bahn S1 to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (Central Train Station).

Explore more categories:  Food x Travel, Travelling in Europe, Uncategorized

share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

hey there, I'm Amy!

Categories

Hi! I'm a travel blogger from Vancouver, recently moved to Germany for grad school . I've previously studied abroad in Beijing and Seoul, and I'm SO excited to share my journey in Europe with you!! 

Travel in Europe

Travel in Asia

Studying in Germany

popular posts

8 TRADITIONAL GERMAN BREAKFAST YOU SHOULD TRY

self care & mindset

food x Travel

Study in Germany

Blogging

uncategorized

5 TIPS ON MAKING MONEY WHILE STUDYING ABROAD IN GERMANY

7 BEST TRIP PLANNING WEBSITES FOR FEMALE TRAVELER

error: Content is protected.