As Germany’s second largest city and biggest and busiest port, there are plenty of things to do in Hamburg. Although not the nation’s capital, Hamburg is the richest city in Germany and it is bedecked in plenty of finery to show it off, with plenty of historical, cultural and social attractions. As a major port that has been conducting major maritime business since the Middle Ages, it is also an extremely diverse place, further adding to its interest as a great city break destination. Take a look at the top things to do in Hamburg and decide for yourself.
1 Take a Cruise on the Elbe River
A cruise along the famous Elbe River, which runs directly through Hamburg, is a great way to get to know the city and one of the most breathtaking things to do in Hamburg. A plethora of different options are available for you to choose from, most of which depart Landungsbrücken in St Pauli, with everything from small privately owned vessels to huge paddle steamers on offer. Regardless of which vessel or tour you choose, however, you’ll be treated to all the riverside sights of Hamburg, including the world-famous Harbour Theatre and the U boat museum, as well as being able to explore the city’s charming canals.
2 Check out the Reeperbahn
The Reeperbahn is one of the most infamous attractions of Hamburg, owing to the fact that it is known for being the largest red light district in Europe. The sex shops and erotic cinemas that line the street, in addition to the well-known (no women allowed) Herbertstraße (a street dedicated to brothels and prostitutes), still attest to the Reeperbahn’s history, although the region is now better known as Hamburg’s party centre. If you’re looking for a great restaurant, pub or club whilst in Hamburg, then the Reeperbahn is definitely the place to go.
3 Head to the Hamburg Fish Market
A visit to the Hamburg Fish Market is one of the most interesting things to do in Hamburg on a Sunday, although you really need to be an early bird to make it to the markets on time, as all the action is over by 9am (the markets begin at roughly 5am). Watching the fish being unloaded from the boats and listening to the melodious calls of the fish salesmen, however, is something that every visitor to Hamburg should experience at least once.
4 Take a Stroll through the Tierpark Hagenbeck
Tierpark Hagenbeck (the Hamburg Zoo) is definitely one of the must-see attractions of Hamburg. The zoo boasts a plethora of animals including elephants, flamingos, penguins, bats, snakes and many more, in addition to offering a zoo school and holiday programs for children. The Tropical Aquarium, which is also a part of the part of the zoo, even provides underwater glass walkways, from which you can observe the 300 different marine species on show.
5 Go up in the HighFlyer Hot Air Balloon
The HighFlyer Hot Air Balloon, located directly in the centre of Hamburg within walking distance of both the central train and bus stations, is unquestionably one of the most exciting things to do in the city. Tethered to the ground by a 150 meter cable, the HighFlyer affords you an unmatched view of downtown Hamburg, including many of the famous sites. In peak tourist season, however, it is a great idea to book in advance as the balloon is extremely popular with holiday makers, whilst flights in winter can be sporadic thanks to the unpredictable northern German weather.
6 See the St. Nikolai Kirche
The St. Nikolai Kirche, which is situated just south of the main city centre in Hamburg, is (the ruin of) a stunning 12th century gothic revival church, which was extensively bombed during the Second World War. The church contemporarily serves as a World War II memorial, although it is possible to go into the structure and visit the 75 meter viewing platform, which offers great views of the city.
7 Enjoy the Planten Und Blomen Park
If you’re looking for things to do in Hamburg that will put you back in touch with Mother Nature, you certainly can’t go past Planten und Blomen Park (literally translated Plants and Flowers Park), which is located just west of downtown Hamburg. This 47 hectare botanical garden, boasts a stunning Japanese garden and teahouse, a rose garden, an amazing tropical greenhouse and much more. Once at the park, you’ll find that it’s easy to spend a whole day wandering through the numerous different biomes on display.
No one could fail to have a good time with all the things to do in Hamburg. It’s a really happening city with an excellent atmosphere. You can pack it all in over a weekend or spend longer enjoying the sights of Hamburg and maybe get out beyond the confines of the city into the north Germany countryside too. Have you ever been to Hamburg?