Hamburg is a cosmopolite city in northern Germany. This beauty has been my home for many years and I love the mixture of cultural institutions, water locations and cute little cafés. However, I’m sure this diversity can overwhelm first time tourists, too. So I’ll let you in on the inside scoop with these 10 Must Sees in Hamburg!
My favorite 10 Must Sees in Hamburg
Enjoy the scenery at Landungsbrücken
Hamburg has the biggest harbor in Europe after Rotterdam, so the 10 Must Sees in Hamburg definitely has to include a visit to the waterside. Tourist boats and ferries are constantly going up and down the Elbe. Little fast food stalls sell bread rolls with different sorts of fish at the Landungsbrücken.
Try out the Kräutermatjes (one type of fish) at Brücke 10. Buy one to go and start walking along the waterside. For a beautiful view and a nice photo spot walk up the outside stairway of the metro station Landungsbrücken. There you can also see a tiny vineyard. Take a seat, breath in the salty air and enjoy the scenery.
Go for a stroll at the Außenalster
If you love water and sailing boats, head to the Außenalster. It is a huge lake within the city and the destination of many strollers, joggers and bikers. Especially on the weekends the paths along the lake are always packed with people.
It is a great way to relax and get away from the busy shopping streets like Mönckeberg- and Spitaler Straße in the center. During summer you can barbecue at the Alsterwiese Schwanewik, watch those sailing boats go by or have a drink at the Alsterperle. Both are amazing spots to see the sunset und therefore get crowded very fast.
Marvel over the panoramic view of the harbor at 20up Bar
A full day of sightseeing can be exhausting. So why not end the day over cocktails in the 20up Bar? This place is located within the Empire Riversite Hotel Hamburg and got its name of its location on the 20th floor.
The drinks are rather pricey, but the view over the harbor through the panoramic windows totally makes up for it. You should get there before it gets dark, to make sure you will have a good seat. This bar is by far no inside tip anymore. Stay until it is dark out so you can also experience the city with all its lights. P.S. It is rather chic, so dress appropriately.
Check out the creative graffitis around Sternschanze
Sternschanze is one of the rather alternative quarters of Hamburg. What I love about Schanze, as we locals call it, are the atmosphere and graffitis. They’re all over the place and you’ll always find something that amazes you. Also a ton of food places can be found here: from German, Italian and Turkish to Portugues, Greek and Japanese.
If you are craving some sweet treats: Take a break in the former dairy Herr Max. On Saturday mornings there’s a also well-known weekly flea market named Schanzen-Flohmarkt right outside of the U3 metro station Feldstraße.
Go from Jungfernstieg to the city hall
The Jungfernstieg is one of Hamburgs hotspots. Here you’re at the pulse of the city. It is always crowded with locals and tourists alike. The street’s name goes back to a time when patrician fathers walked this street up and down with their single daughters. They were hoping to find them a suitable husband.
Nowadays the Jungfernstieg is a boulevard with high-class shops. From here you can walk around the Binnenalster, the “little sister” of the Außenalster, or the shopping street named Mönckebergstraße.
In the neo-renaissance city hall you can go on a guided tour through some of its romms. It only costs a few euros and is so amazing. Do not forget to bring your camera: The Great Hall is one amazing photo spot.
Watch the sunset from the Michel
The church of St. Michael, short Michel, is well-known in and around Hamburg. Why you ask? Let me tell you: It is one of the most important baroque churches of northern Germany. The entrance to the inner church is free.
But if you wanna go down to the crypt or up to the viewpoint, you have to pay an entrance fee. It is five euros for going up to the platform. Definitely money worth spent.
From there you can see down the Elbe, the Speicherstadt and other parts of Hamburg. Try getting there while the sun sets and bring a warm jacket. It can get very windy and freezing up there.
Explore Hamburg’s UNESCO world heritage site: The Speicherstadt
In July 2015 the Speicherstadt was newly added as a World Cultural Heritage. Built at the end of the 19th century, its characterized red brick houses were mostly used to storage shipping goods as coffee and tea. You can learn more about its exciting history in the Speicherstadtmuseum nearby.
If you are into photography you should check out the Wasserschloss. The best place to capture it is from the Poggemühle-Brücke. Not many other attractions in Hamburg have been more photographed than this castle.
My advice: Plan a coffee break at Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei. They have coffee from all over the world and it is remarkably good. A built-in roast machine and a shop, where you can buy coffee beans and ground coffee, add to the charme of the place. From here you can also head to the HafenCity, a rather young quarter for young families and with stylish office buildings.
Travel back in time in the Deichstraße
On May 5th, 1842 one of the greatest fires in Hamburg history broke out in the city center. It raged for three and half days. Legend says a maid started the fire due to differences with her boss. But what actually proven is the fact that the flames started in the attic of a tobacco shop in the Deichstraße.
It became so out of hand that even people at the North Sea could see the red sky over Hamburg and also the British press wrote about it. After the massive fire was finally under control, a big part of the historic center was destroyed.
Luckily the houses in the Deichstraße were rebuilt and now are a relic of how houses in the hanseatic city used to look like. Nowadays the street hosts restaurants and cafés with names refering to the fire.
Walk through the sand at Elbstrand
Hamburg truly has it all: Even its own beach. Not many tourists know about it though.
It’s only a short ferry ride away from Landungsbrücken. The best part: If you’ve already bought a day pass, you can take the ferry without buying another public transportation ticket. Jump on the boat numer 62 in the direction of Finkenwerder and get out at Oevelgönne. From there it’s only a few minutes by foot to the beach, simply follow the masses.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s sunny or not: The Elbstrand is always a good idea and definitely owns its place on my personal 10 Must Sees in Hamburg.
Walk down to the Strandperle, a beach café that serves not only warm and cold drinks but also little snacks. You can either relax on one of their outside chairs or keep walking down the beach.
Ride on the U3
If you are in town for only a short amount of time, take a ride on the metro U3. It is the line with most of Hamburgs attractions along the way. Like the harbor, the historic center, the town hall, Sternschanze, the city park, Reeperbahn, Mönckebergstraße and the central station.
You can also see a variety of houses of the period of promoterism. They are very typical for Hamburg and beautiful to look at, too. The best part of the U3? Throughout the day it runs every five minutes and for the most part it goes in a circle and you can jump off, jump on as often as you wish.
Have you been to Hamburg? Did you celebrate the Hamburg Port Birthday or go for a walk along the Außenalster? What were your experiences in the city? Tell me about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear it!