Attractions in Hamburg
There are a number of attractions in Hamburg. We have selected a selection where we believe everyone should find something of interest. In Hamburg you will find everything from zoos to the best museums, large parks and beautiful churches and buildings.
- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Hamburg, Germany. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
Zoo – Carl Hagenbeck’s Zoo
Germany’s best and most beautiful zoo goes to be Carl Hagenbeck’s Tierpark, which is home to over 2,500 animals of 360 different species. The animals live in open areas in as natural conditions as possible, and there is also a tropical aquarium with sharks and crocodiles.
Hagenbecks is located a short mile north of the Old Town of Hamburg. The subway takes you to the zoo easily. The entrances are located at Gazellenkamp and Hagenbeckallee. Open daily from 9am to sunset all year round.
The horror cabinet the Dungeons
Hamburg’s horror cabinet is called The Dungeons, like its more famous big brother in London. It recreates the most gruesome episodes in the city’s history, such as the Viking attack, the Black Sea, the city fire and the execution of the pirate Stortebeker. The Dungeons is located on Kehrwieder 2 and is open from 11am to 7pm.
Erotic Art Museum
Hamburg’s erotic art museum is of course located on the Reeperbahn, with address Bernhard Nocht Straße 69. Here you will find the world’s largest collection of erotic art of the last six centuries and many countries. Open 365 days a year from 1100 to 2200, and to midnight on weekends. Reasonable Entrance Tickets.
Hamburger Kunsthalle is the city’s foremost and most important art gallery and is located in the Glockengiesserwall street. Here you can see works by artists from Rubens and Rembrandt to Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm, entrance approx. 150 kroner.
The Arts and Crafts Museum
Right at the Hauptbahnhof is the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, which, after the National Museum in Munich, has Germany’s largest collection of arts and crafts. Here is everything from northern European artwork to ancient works from Egypt, China and Greece. Open from 1000 to 1800 Tuesday to Sunday, to 2100 on Thursdays. Entry about 120 kroner. Address Steintorplatz.
St Michaeli Church
The city’s foremost landmark is St Michaeli Church from 1786, and from the tower you have a glorious view of the city, 82 meters above the ground, if you can walk the 450 steps up to the top.
In total, the church spire rises 132 meters high, no wonder the church spire has been a maneuvering point for ships on the Elbe for centuries. The church is also Hamburg’s largest, with around 2,500 seats, and is located at Englische Planke 1. Open 0900 to 1800 daily. NB! A few bucks must be paid for entrance to the sprout.
500 meters west of the church of St Michaels you will find the park Alter Elbpark where the large statue Bismarck Monument is the patch. There are more than 250 Bismarck monuments around the world and this is the largest of them all. The statue is a full 35 meters high and was completed as early as 1904 (see picture first in the article).
It is definitely worth the trip down to St. Pauli and take the elevator or stairs down the St Pauli Elbow Tunnel. Here you can experience the wonderful German engineering in practice and do something that fascinates the whole family. The old Elbtunnel has an entrance at St Pauli Landungsbrücken and goes under the Elbe river to Steinwerder.
Speicherstadt or Lagerbyen
Speicherstadt, or Lagerbyen in Norwegian, is a huge brick building from 1885. When Hamburg became a free port, 20000 people had to be thrown to the door to make room for merchandise from arriving ships.
Today, in addition to coffee, spices and tea, Lagerbyen also houses ten museums such as Miniature Wunderland (the world’s largest model railway), the Spice Museum, the German Customs Museum and the Afghan Museum. Open every day from 0930 to 1800. The address is Kehrwieder 2.
In the middle of Hamburg, just east of City Hall, lies the large lake Alster. Alster has become a natural gathering point for sailing, renting a rowing boat or canoe, feeding the swans and the ends, or simply just taking a walk around. It is a wonderful gathering point on hot summer days in Hamburg.
In the small town of Ahrensburg, just over two miles northeast of Hamburg city center, Ahrensburg Castle is situated in idyllic surroundings. This magnificent building from the 1570s is now a museum, also with activities for the children. Open daily from March to October from 1100 to 1700, but closed Mondays and Fridays. In winter only open Wed / Sat / Sundays.
Tourist in Hamburg
Hamburg is located in northwestern Germany, by the rivers Elbe, Bille and Alster, and in the center of the city there are two lakes.
Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city after Berlin with its 1.8 million inhabitants, and Hamburg is actually the EU’s largest city when you ignore capitals. Hamburg also has Europe’s second largest and busiest port, which has greatly contributed to making Hamburg one of the richest cities in Europe.
The full name of the city is Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, or the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Hamburg’s history can be traced back to the 7th century, when the first settlements settled in the area where Alster flows into the Elbe. The name derives from Ham- (Old Saxon for river banks) and -burg (castle).
In the Middle Ages, this became the most important port to the North Sea for the new Hanseatic trade union, and Hamburg became a trading town where goods such as wood, metals, grain, spices, fur and, not least, the city’s famous beer were traded on a large scale.
Hamburg and the 19th century
Throughout the centuries, Hamburg became an increasingly important port city. During the period 1806-1814, the city was occupied by Napoleon’s troops. In 1842, the big city fire that destroyed about a third of the city, but which caused Hamburg to be rebuilt in a more structured and modern way.
The port areas and storage capacity were greatly expanded in the late 1800s, including the construction of Speicherstadt, or Lagerbyen. The city’s population passed the million around 1900.
20th century destruction of Hamburg
Also in the 1900s Hamburg was subject to great destruction. As the closest German metropolis to the United Kingdom, Hamburg was the natural target of British bombers during World War II. Hamburg was totally destroyed as revenge for the Luftwaffe’s Blitzkrieg over England, and more than 40000 of its inhabitants lost their lives. In 1962, it was Mother Nature who was the enemy, with a severe flood that put a fifth of Hamburg underwater and resulted in over 300 deaths.
Among the most famous hamburgers are Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.
Get to know Hamburg
The most important district for tourists is in the middle of Hamburg and is called descriptive enough for Mitte. Here you will find the quarters (Stadtteil) Altstadt, St. Georg, Hammerbrook, Hafen City, Steinwerden, Kleiner Grasbrook, Veddel, Wilhelmsburg and St. Pauli.
In addition to the district of Mitte, Hamburg consists of the districts Altona, Eims-Büttel Wandsbek, Holstein, Bergedorf and Harburg. Each district has about 200,000 inhabitants.
The area around the Hauptbahnhof
Most visitors get their first meeting with the center of Hamburg via the city’s train station, the Hauptbahnhof, which is a hub for further bus and subway traffic. Although Hamburg city center is not large and most of the sights and tourist attractions can be reached on foot for a fairly pedestrian, it is good to know that Hamburg’s efficient public transport runs around the clock.
With a day pass you can use everything from buses, boats and the many different lanes. The subway is called the U-train, the local trains S-bahn and the regional trains R-bahn. More information about trains and railways in Hamburg.
More about Hamburg city center and the Old Town
In the center of Hamburg you should take in sights such as the city landmark of St Michaeli Church from 1786, where you have a great view of the city from the tower. You are 82 meters above the ground if you can walk up the 450 steps, (see picture first in the article).
In Altstadt (or Old Town in Hamburg if you like) lies Hamburg’s impressive town hall with a nice courtyard with fountains and cafes. And don’t miss a stroll in the medieval-looking streets of Deichstrasse and Kramer-Witwen housing.
Art lovers can easily spend days at Kunst Meile, where you will find several galleries, including Hamburger Kunsthalle, Deichtorhalle and Galerie der Gegenwart.
The new town and the Old Town (Neustadt and Altstadt) are linked, with Neustadt to the west. The northern part of Neustadt evolved to become the home of the wealthy, while the southern part was the opposite. In modern times, the northern part of Neustadt has evolved to become Hamburg’s opera district and, of course, also an exclusive shopping district.
In Neustadt you will find the church of St Michaelis and the park Planten un Blomen. The park is known for its water-light concerts. Free entry, the address is St. Petersburger Straße 28.
The area east of the station is called St.Georg, and here are many of the cheaper hotels. St Georg is located southeast of the artificial lake Außenalster, all of which visit a hot summer day in Hamburg.
St Georg is also known for its many bars and bars, cafes and shops. It’s also the quarter where gays meet, so that’s where the city’s pride parades start. The quarter’s landmark is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Marien.
Hammerbrook is a district east of Hamburg that was totally destroyed during World War II. Almost half of those who lived here were killed and buildings were level with the earth.
Most tourists go down to Banksstraße and visit Mehr! Theater am Großmarkt is a cultural meeting place with exhibitions, live music and much more. The Großmarkt itself offers 24-hour food and drink sales.
Hafen City is located on the Elbe River itself and the island of Grasbrook. Here was the original port of Hamburg. The area includes the Speicherstadt area which ended up on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2015.
The most beautiful landmark in Hafen City is probably the amazing Elbphilarmonie Concert Hall and Opera House, see photo above.
Steinwerder, or the stone island, is actually a peninsula on the southern part of the Elbe River, which is primarily the home of the shipping industry and huge cargo cranes. The area has some sights such as the Pilot House (a brick house with a round tower) and the twin theater at the north end. Furthermore, you can walk the beautiful St Pauli Elbtunnel (Alter Elbtunnel) from St Pauli Landungsbrücken to just Steinwerder.
Near Steinwerden you will find three more islands that merge into a large harbor area. These are Kleiner Grasbrook, Veddel and Wilhelsburg. Interestingly, Wilhelmsburg is the venue for a major annual music and arts festival called Dockville.
Hamburg is also known as the place where the Beatles lived and played every night early in their career. It was in the district of St. Pauli by the harbor, which to this day is Hamburg’s working quarter.
You can still visit the Beatles’ old sites such as. Kaiserkeller. The more famous Star Club burned down in the 80s. (Hamburg’s own musical sons include composers Brahms and Mendelssohn and metal band Helloween.) It is in St. Pauli the infamous Reeperbahn Street is best known for its many bars and its Red Light District. However, there is nothing to be afraid of. Most people are nice, although the drink is often well above zero day and night.
A cozy district northwest of Hamburg city center is Altona. Altona is like a small village in the city with a variety of shops, affordable hotels, restaurants and night spots.
Five kilometers northwest of Altona Station (which is also located in Altona North) you will find great Altonaer Volkspark. It is a large green area that is probably best known for being the haunt of the Hamburger SV football club. Here is also the team’s football museum.
The huge Volkspark Stadium (formerly AOL Arena) is worth the trip alone. For those who are not so keen on football, know that Altonaer Volkspark has a trot track, mini golf, picnic area with barbecue, jogging trails and beer halls and outdoor seating.