As Germany's 2nd largest city, Hamburg is the ultimate music and lifestyle destination. It has one of the most vibrant music scenes in all of Europe and features a youthful and bold lifestyle. The wine and restaurant scene is thriving and Hamburg features many Michelin-starred restaurants. Hamburg has been deemed one of the most exciting destinations in the world by publications such as Lonely Planet and The LA Times. You can also go to the official page of the Hamburg Tourism Board for more details!
We collaborated with some of the top bloggers online to share with you our top 11 recommended cool things to do in Hamburg!
1. International Maritime Museum
One of the defining features of Hamburg is its port – the second largest in Europe – and understanding its history is a great way to get to know the city better. The best way to do this is at the International Maritime Museum.
This impressive collection has more than 40,000 items on display and is spread over ten floors. The exhibitions trace maritime history from the early days of prehistoric man, through the European colonial years, the naval stories of war, and even up to the luxury cruise liners of today.
I think it’s really well put together and suitable for all ages. I loved it as an adult but I also saw families enjoying the experience. There’s a focus on Germany history, which gives it a sense of place, but there are interesting items from across the whole world.
It would be easy to spend a few hours at the museum and it’s also a perfect attraction on a rainy day!
2. Climb St. Michaelis Church
One thing that you should absolutely do while in Hamburg is climb the tower of St. Michaelis Church - lovingly called “Michel” by the locals. After climbing the 453 steps to the top (or taking the elevator if you can’t or don’t want to walk), you’ll be rewarded with a stunning, panoramic view of the entire city. With the harbor on one side and the old town on the other, there will be no shortage of photo opportunities - so be sure to bring your camera or charge your phone! Entry to the tower is for a small fee and entry to the main church, which you should also check out, is free of charge. In our opinion, exploring both the church and the tower are well worth your time!
3. Visit The St. Pauli Landungsbrücken
The St. Pauli Landungsbrücken are a transport hub and a popular destination with numerous tourist attractions nearby. Many harbour ferries depart at the Landungsbrücken and also the popular harbour round trips start right here. The building complex consists of an elongated building and several floating pontoons, which are connected to the mainland and where the ships can dock. Not to miss a photo spot “Stintfang, which is definitely one of the most popular observation platforms to photograph the jetties. The clock tower, which displays the time and water level, is one of Hamburg's most frequent photo opportunities. The lookout point is located directly at a youth hostel and all you have to do is follow the stairs up to the platform.
4. The Miniatur Wunderland
As far as I am concerned, if ever visiting Hamburg there is one attraction that always takes priority over anything else to see and do and that is the Miniatur Wunderland. Located in an old warehouse in the heart of the city's stand-out redbrick Speicherstadt district is the world's largest model railway.
A perfect day out for visitors of all ages, it truly is astounding to see so many perfectly re-created versions of real world locations such as the Grand Canyon, the waterways of Venice and of course the city of Hamburg itself.
All methods of transport are operating here be it trains, cars, ships and perhaps most notable of all has to be the presence of its own fully functioning airport. Model planes taxing along the runway and taking off just like the real thing.
The brainchild of twins Gerrit and Fredrik Braun first got started in 2001 and continues to grow from strength to strength. A true testament of turning a hobby and a passion into reality, and we can only wonder what the next part of the world to get the miniature treatment will be. Nobody is ever too old to outgrow their toy trains!
5. Take a Day Trip to Breman
Without a question, Hamburg is one of the best places to visit in Germany.
But if you are in Hamburg definitely add a day trip to Bremen to your list and you will find out that Bremen is as beautiful, though in a different way, as Hamburg.
Stroll around the old town of Bremen, see the old mill of Bremen, go to the market square and see the impressive Rathaus (two hall) and more beautiful and historic buildings, shop in the city center, dine at The Schlachte (a very lovely water promenade, which especially comes to live on a sunny day with many outdoor cafes and restaurants), and take a rest at the Weser River.
There is so much to do and see that you would miss out if you did not plan in at least a day in Bremen
How to get to Bremen from Hamburg:
Bremen is about 120 km from Hamburg and easily reachable by train. Just take one of the trains from the main train station in Hamburg and get to the main train station in Bremen, takes about 55-75 minutes and there are several trains leaving each hour.
6. The Beatles Tour
Singer-songwriter Stefanie Hempel guides Beatles-themed walking tours in Hamburg’s St Pauli district.
Prior to their first hit charting, early in 1963, The Beatles spent several months living in Hamburg between 1960 and 1962. Over the course of three separate residencies in the city’s clubs, the band clocked more peformamces in Hamburg than any other city.
Intermittently, Stefanie performs songs as she guides visitors between the places where the band performed and lived. She recounts anecdotes from their early career and explains how the long hours on stage helped the band hone its stage presence.
During that period the line up of The Beatles changed. Stuart Sutcliffe, who was the band’s bassist, left to become an artist and is sometimes known as ‘the fifth Beatle’.
A memorial to the band stands at the place today known as Beatlesplatz, where the fun, informative tour ends.
I enjoyed the tour because it provides a comprehensive overview of The Beatles’ early years and left me in the mood for a couple of drinks in the bars of St Pauli.
7. Elbphilharmonie - The Opera House
Hamburg's new opera house Elbphilharmonie has quickly become the new symbol of the city! While the construction has taken almost 10 years to finish, the opera house is now one of Hamburg's most visited sights and has already attracted a little under 5 million visitors since its opening. Apart from the stunning architecture that you get to admire on the outside, a visit to Elbphilharmonie should also include heading up to Elbphilharmonie Plaza - the viewing platform at a height of 37 metres where you get to enjoy 360° views of Hamburg and the harbour. Hamburg is, no doubt, one of the prettiest cities in Germany – even more so as seen from above! And the best thing? The entrance to the opera house and viewing platform is completely free of charge! What are you waiting for?
Vanessa Brune | SnowInTromso.com
As a photographer it was to me that I want to take the best images possible during my stay in Hamburg. When researching the best photography spots, I stumbled upon the Speicherstadt, which
looked fantastic. The decision was made and soon I stood in this lovely area of Hamburg. While italready looks beautiful there during the day, I suggest going there during sunset to witness the true
highlight of the Speicherstadt. Once the sun completely set the lights of the historical buildings will start to shine and turn this place into Hamburg’s treasure of gold. No matter if you are a photographer or not – in my opinion the Speicherstadt is a place you must visit during your trip to
Michael Gerber | MSCGerber.com
9. Explore Hamburg's Coffee Scene!
One of the coolest things to do in Hamburg, Germany is to thoroughly explore the city's specialty coffee scene and give it the credit it deserves! As someone who is based in Frankfurt, Germany, nothing has made me appreciate Hamburg's coffee scene as much as the lack of a decent one in Frankfurt. Hamburg is a haven for coffee lovers and no place is better to start your coffee tour of the northern German city than at Elbgold. Elbgold is a Hamburg staple that roasts their own coffee and serves it up to customers in-house or to take home. From Elbgold, you can also easily get to Törnqvist, which offers a very 'Nordic' approach to coffee and design. There are cafes scattered all throughout Hamburg serving delicious coffee- don't go home without trying a few!
Megan Starr | MeganStarr.com
Jungfernstieg is one of those urban promenades in Hamburg that really shows a sense of place. Located in the Hamburg quarter of Neustadt, Jungfernstieg faces Lake Binnanalster and is the most popular and scenic boulevard. Built as an elegant promenade with beautiful Neoclassic and Revival styled buildings lining the promenade area and filled with fancy restaurants, bars and international brands and galleries including the city's first shopping called Sillem's bazaar. It definitely is the place to hang out and see and be seen in the city with gorgeous views out to the lake and main square. Check out the Jungfernstieg, images and details to other places to visit in Hamburg here for more inspiration.
Noel Morata | TravelPhotoDiscovery.com
11. Boat tour around Hamburg's harbor
I ended up in Hamburg because of a canceled flight. Unfortunately, I had only 24 hours in Hamburg, but for that time, I managed to explore a bit of the city and had a lot of fun.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most was the boat tour around Hamburg's harbor. There are many companies offering boat tour for a fee, but you can also do it for free - you just need to have a day card for the public transport and you need to catch the public ferry #62.
The ''boat tour'' will last about one hour and is surely one of the coolest things to do in Hamburg, and it's free!
Bilyana Petrova | OwlOvertheWorld.com