This post is also available in: German
Hamburg is a really cool city. It’s a city with a lot to offer without being too touristic and its easy to spend a few days exploring Hamburg at a nice pace taking in the canals, the architecture and the good food.
What to do in Hamburg
That being said there is still plenty to do and see so if you’re visiting Hamburg soon or you’re already there and wondering where to start, here are 10 things I recommend you do in Hamburg:
1 – Visit the Elbphilharmonie
The Elbphilharmonie is a very impressive modern building sitting in the Hafen City area of Hamburg. I’d say its now Hamburg’s most iconic building and one of the iconic buildings of Europe so it’s worth visiting. It’s free to enter which is a bonus but you do need to book a spot online and pay a small booking fee.
You enter via the ‘Tube’ which is a cool escalator and once you’re at the top you can walk all the way around the balcony of the building.
It’s not just a viewing platform though, its a hotel, a restaurant, a bar, an opera house, plus a lot more! A fun fact is that it was estimated to cost €75 million to build and ended up costing €789 million.
2 – Go on a Boat Tour
Hamburg is a city of water thanks to its many canals and rivers. Due to this it’s also home to many bridges, Hamburg has over 2,500 bridge which is more than Amsterdam, Venice and London combined and more than any other city in Europe!
Therefore a trip out on the water is a great idea and a good way to see the city from another perspective. The average trip is an hour long, costs about €18.00 and the boats can be found a long the Promenade. Try to get a tour that speaks your language or has an audio guide so you can listen to an explanation about what you are seeing as its very interesting to hear about the harbour and containers out on the water.
3 – Get the Iconic Instagram Shot
Talking of bridges and canals, Hamburg is featuring more and more in my social media and the one picture that I see most of Hamburg is the photo of a canal with red brick buildings either side. This can be found in Hafen City whilst walking towards the Elbphilharmonie and its a great photo, especially if you get a blue sky!
4 – Get up early for the Sunday Fischmarkt
One of the most popular things to do in Hamburg on the weekend is to visit the Sunday morning fish market! It’s a market for the locals but it is very popular with tourists too.
It starts at 5:30am and finishes at 9:30am so you need to get up early! Either that or you continue your Saturday night out into Sunday morning as some people definitely do!
I’d recommend getting there for 8:30am at the very latest, get there earlier if possible. Pick up a fish roll and a coffee (or a beer!) on your way through the outdoor markets and head towards the inside market to listen to the live band playing and if you fancy it you can get up and dance too! All of that before 9:30, what a way to start a Sunday!
5 – Enjoy the International Cuisine
I found it quite hard to find, what I think of, as German Food in Hamburg. Instead I came across lots of Italian, Portuguese, Brazilian Spanish and Vietnamese restaurants. Therefore I suggest embracing the international culture and cuisine of Hamburg instead of fighting it.
Two places I suggest going are Ban Canteen for great Vietnamese and Luigi’s for Italian and a very unique experience – you’ll see what I mean when you get there!
6 – Take a Free Walking Tour
I love doing free walking tours in cities and Hamburg is a great city to do one in. There are lots on offer and the usual meeting spot seems to be the Town Hall / Rathausmarkt which is a very impressive German building that you can’t miss!
7 – Learn something at the International Maritime Museum
As Hamburg is such a water based city its interesting to visit the International Maritime Museum to learn a bit more about Hamburg and the part that boats played in history of the city, and of the world. It’s located in Hafen City in a nice red brick building and is located over many floors so its a great way to pass time, especially if the weather is bad!
8 – Go up a Church Spire
If you want to see a view of the city from another angle to that of the Elbphilharmonie building it’s possible to go up the spires of both St Michael’s and St. Nicholas Church to their viewing platforms.
9 – See the Sunset from StrandPauli Bar
StrandPauli is a beach bar open all year round. In the winter months its a bit quieter and offers blankets to keep people warm when sitting outside on the beach chairs and furniture. Come Summer its a lot busier and I would definitely suggest going no matter what time of year it is. Thanks to its west facing location it hosts a gorgeous sunset on a clear day which can be viewed from the beach area outside so try and time the sunset into your visit.
10 – Explore St Pauli
The area of St Pauli is probably most well known to tourists for the Reeperbahn, a strip of clubs and bars and also known as the sinful mile. This area can be a bit intimidating especially if you aren’t on a night out however it’s worth seeing, and after you have seen it head off the Reeperbahn further into the streets of St Pauli.
These streets have a very different feel to the rest of the city, there are some cool restaurants, cafes and shops along here so its good to have a walk around during the day and evening.
There you have it, 10 things to do in Hamburg. All of these things are accessible via foot from MEININGER Hotel Hamburg City Centre too!