Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany after the capital of Berlin and lies at the head of the long funnel-shaped estuary of the River Elbe. With an intoxicating mix of blustery North Sea winds, bustling nightlife, rich history, and radical politics, Hamburg has become one of the most important commercial, and cultural centers in Germany, and among the best places to visit in Europe. Besides, the city is renowned for having the highest number of bridges in the world. Be it its maritime charm or the mesmerizing lifestyle, the city of Hamburg offers something for everyone. Here’s a list of some of the best places to visit in Hamburg that’ll compel you to plan a trip to Germany.
Hamburg Rathaus, or Hamburg’s Town Hall is one of the top places to visit in Hamburg and is home to the parliament of the city. Situated in the heart of the city, it has been the centerpiece of Altstadt since 1897. The impressive neo-renaissance architecture with the beautiful facade with 20 statues of the emperor of this edifice attracts a lot of tourists as part of Germany tour packages. The main entrance door of the hall has 16 sandstone pillars and 68 portraits of Hamburg citizens that are worth seeing. One of the most interesting parts of the town hall is the staircase which is made of Sardinian marble known to depict the course of human life. The grand ballroom is another must-see place here which has five massive paintings depicting the history of the city, and three beautiful chandeliers with 278 lights and weighs 1500 kg. Also, the courtyard of the hall has a fountain crowned with a statue of the goddess Hygeia, and the lobby which is open to the public is used for concerts and exhibitions.
Speicherstadt meaning warehouse city is the world’s largest complex of warehouses, spanning over an area of 26 hectares in a grid of canals, bridges, and multi-story buildings providing both land and water access. It was built into the Elbe River between 1883 to 1927 to store tobacco, coffee, dried fruit, and spices. Along with Kontorhausviertel and Chilehaus, the building was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2015 and is one of the 40th UNESCO sites in the city. Speicherstadt’s beautiful neo-gothic brick architecture makes for an exciting contrast to the modern steel-and-glass constructions of neighboring Hafen City. The warehouse today has many activities and is home to many top attractions in the city such as the International Maritime Museum and the Wunderland Miniature. Also, the warehouse is home to an amazing coffee store where you can enjoy coffee tastings with freshly-roasted beans from all over the world as a part of Hamburg tour packages.
Locally known as “Elphi,” the imposing Elbphilharmonie is a concert hall located at the point of the Grasbrook peninsula. Opened in 2017, this 26-floor building has a base consisting of a 1960s-era, six-story-tall former cocoa, tea, and tobacco warehouse built of red brick, and above this rises an additional 20 stories of curved, shining glass. This new building is the crown jewel of the revitalized Port of Hamburg and is considered one of the largest concert halls in the world. The main concert hall has 2100 seats, and the music hall can accommodate over 550 people. The building also offers 244 rooms which are located from the 9th to the 20th floor. The main highlight of the building is the glass facade that keeps changing based on the reflection of the sky. Also, don’t forget to take the curved escalator that is located at the main entrance to reach the observation deck on the 8th floor from where one can get a panoramic view of the city, and the Elbe River.
Boasting more than 15,400 meters of track and 1,040 trains, Miniature Wunderland is the largest model of railway display in the world with beautiful intricate detailing crafted by professionals. It is located in the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district. Here, one can see over 1040 model trains that travel through the stunning landscapes of Norway and other European countries. There are over 263,000 figures, over 10 themes such as Hamburg, USA, Paris, and more. In addition, there are nearly 400,000 tiny human figures and 100,000 vehicles that actually move, all of them illuminated by more than 500,000 lights. And not just this, but you also actually see planes here that take off for real. Visitors can also head to the workshop area to learn more about how miniature models are created by professional modelers.
The International Maritime Museum
Opened in 2008, the International Maritime Museum is a massive red-brick heritage building in the Hafen City area of Hamburg, among the top places to visit in Germany. Situated in the city’s oldest warehouse, the museum had the largest marine collection spread over nine levels which have 1 million pictures, 100,000 books, and 38,000 miniature ships along with many paintings and artifacts such as telescopes, and nautical instruments. The main highlight museum is the ship simulator that lets you navigate a 300-meter-long container ship through the world’s largest ports. The museum also has the largest bone ship collection in the world which is located on the 8th floor of the museum. Besides, visitors can also avail of a guided tour to know more about the artifacts and paintings as part of Europe tour packages.
Hamburger Kunsthalle is a top-notch art gallery located in Hamburg, Germany. Dedicated to paintings from the Middle Ages to the present era, it is one of the best places to visit in Hamburg. The museum is divided into four sections – the Gallery of Old Masters, the Gallery of 19th-century Art, the Gallery of Classical Modernism, and the Gallery of Contemporary Art. The main highlight includes numerous altarpieces, works from 16th-century artists, 17th-century Dutch artists, and 19th-century French in the permanent collection. Some of the most famous works here are the medieval altars of Master Bertram and Master Francke, and masterpieces of German Romanticism such as P.O Runge, and C.D. Friedrich. Also, the museum has 20 themed exhibitions that take place throughout the year. Visitors are also provided with guided tours to learn more about the history of the paintings.
The Reeperbahn is the city’s popular street surrounded by nightclubs, bars, and restaurants that offer bustling nightlife. It is one of the best places to visit in Hamburg for people of all age groups at night when the street actually comes to life. Some of the top venues for partying and experiencing amazing nightlife are Mojo Club and Grosse Freiheit 36 which are very popular. The place has a few wonderful art galleries that showcase the work of new and budding artists which include the Panoptikum Wax Figure Museum, and the Beatles Monument where you can enjoy many shows. There are also many markets and fairs where you can indulge in shopping. The street also plays host to several exhibitions and concerts, as well as the yearly Reeperbahn Festival that attracts more than 25000 visitors.
Planten un Blomen
Planten un Blomen is a lush green urban park in Hamburg that is well-known for its water-light concerts. Spread across 116 acres, the park houses well-maintained lawns, ponds, greenhouses, and botanical plantations which makes it one of Europe’s best urban parks, and among the best Hamburg tourist places where one can spend some quality time with your family and friends. One can also watch the theatre performances and a few music concerts that take place here. Opened throughout the year, the entry to the park is free.
Jungfernstein is a grand urban promenade in Hamburg and is the city’s foremost boulevard. The place got its name from a historic tradition of wealthy Hanseaten families who were taken their unmarried daughters (Jungfern) here for a stro on Sundays. Today, this grand and gracious promenade on the shores of the Binnenalster is one of the most elegant shopping areas in Hamburg’s city center. The street is dotted with several historical buildings and modern buildings, several cafes, restaurants, and luxury stores selling traditional jewelry, shoe, exclusive clothes, and beauty products.
Built in 1911, the Elbe Tunnel is an underground tunnel located in Hamburg. The tunnel has been renovated several times in the last century and is also one of the protected monuments since 2003. With 426-meter long and 24 meters below the river, the tunnel was used by the people of the city to explore several parts of the port area or to reach Wilhelmsburg or Altes Land. There are two parallel tunnels – one for cars and other for pedestrians/cyclists. If you go on foot, one can enjoy the vintage signage, maritime motifs, and glazed tiles throughout the tunnel. Also, the pedestrian side of the tunnel has beautiful art-deco-inspired artwork that serves as an amazing place to take pictures.
St. Michael’s Church
A visit to St. Michael’s Church is one of the top things to do in Hamburg. The church was built in the Baroque style between 1750 and 1762 and is one of the city’s most important landmarks which receives thousands of visitors every year. Later, the structure fell into ruins which is now has been completely restored in 1912. The Baroque facade is dotted with red bricks, the entrance is crowned with a huge statue of the Archangel Michael, the bell tower has Germany’s largest clock and an observation platform. The church is known for its large marble altar, biblical paintings, and bas-reliefs. One of the top things to do when visiting this church is to ascend its 132-meter-high tower from where one can witness the top attractions of the city such as the historic Speicherstadt, HafenCity, and a lovely view of the cruises and container ships sailing in the harbor. However, the best time to visit the church is during the evening when you can get to see the panoramic view of the city illuminated with lights.