Hamburg is the classic harbour city, full of life, entertainment and music. It is dominated by its port and the sea, and it has some of the most striking architecture in the world. Its nightlife is exceptional with something for all tastes. Germany’s second largest city, and largest port, it is a city that has repeatedly risen from its ashes after disasters including destruction by the Vikings in 845 A.D., the Great Fire of Hamburg in 1842 and the World War II bombing raids: on every occasion, the city has been reborn to new vigour.
Hamburg is the second-largest port in Europe (behind Rotterdam), and a powerhouse of popular culture. Its unique cityscape is characteristic for the fact that it has no skyscrapers, and has 2,500 bridges – more than those of Venice, London and Amsterdam put together – crossing its dense network of waterways. Its warehouse district HafenCity is currently being converted to residential and office use, and it is the largest urban development project under way in Europe.
Boggi Milano in Hamburg
Boggi Milano is proud to be present in Hamburg. The store is centrally located, a short walk from the Rathaus that symbolizes the city’s historic centre. View the store on the Boggi Milano website.
20354 Hamburg – Germany
Tel. +49 (0)40 34 06 89 90
Open Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm
The best way to experience this lovely building, popularly known as Elphi, is to get tickets for a concert. The acoustics of the Great Concert Hall are exceptional. Otherwise you can visit the Plaza, for which visitor numbers are limited: we recommend purchasing tickets online in advance. You can also purchase Plaza tickets from the Elbphilharmonie Visitor Centre or from ticket machines in the main entrance area. The plaza comprises cafés, restaurant and shops. The building was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, incorporating the brick façade of a 1966 warehouse, and it was inaugurated in 2017. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron say, “The Elbphilharmonie takes inspiration from three structures: the ancient theatre at Delphi, sport stadiums and tents.” The glass façade comprises 1,000 curved glass panels, designed to reflect sunlight and transform the building into a giant crystal.
This impressive building dates back to 1897, and it is in a neo-Renaissance style. It is open from 8am to 6 pm every day, with guided tours available, in German every hour from 11am to 4pm, and with a few tours (not every day) in English or French, price €5 for the tour, duration about 45 minutes. You will see only a few of the total of 647 rooms but in any case it is an interesting visit, with paintings, and various styles of decoration including a room clad in leather, and the Phoenix Hall, named after a phoenix above the fireplace that symbolizes Hamburg’s renaissance after the great fire of 1842. The Senate Chamber has a glass roof, symbolizing the old German custom according to which government meets in the open air. The Grand Ballroom is 46 metres long, with five gigantic paintings depicting the history of Hamburg from 800 to 1900, and 62 coats of arms on the walls. There is a great restaurant “Parlament” and bar on the basement floor. The Rathaus is just a short walk from the Boggi Milano boutique. For guided tour info, phone +49 (0)40 428 31 20 64.
Tel. +49 (0)40 428 31 20 64
This is a relatively small museum, with some very interesting automotive exhibits, perfect for people who like cars. It is located in a refurbished factory building in the HafenCity district. The cars can be inspected from close up, because there are no barriers. Exhibit descriptions are in English. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-6pm, admission €10. Guided tours are available with a week’s prior booking, price €85. There is a café, a gift shop, a small cinema, an audio box, a simulator, and a wind tunnel in which you can experiment with aerodynamics using a series of model cars.
Tel. +49 (0)40 39 99 69 70
If you are interested in architecture you will enjoy this sight. Chilehaus is an enormous building that was built from 1922 to 1924 to a design by Fritz Höger, using 4.8 million bricks. Its shape resembles a ship, with curved walls and balconies that look like a ship’s bridges. Its name comes from the country where its commissioner, Henry B. Sloman, did a lot of business, importing saltpetre. It has 2,800 windows, and it is now principally an office building. Inside there is a small courtyard with shops (including Manufaktum-Store for hand-crafted eco-friendly products) and a café, and there is another pleasant coffee shop on the ground floor at the ‘bows.’ Another building by the same architect, Sprinkenhof, is right opposite.
Fischertwiete 2A, 20095 Hamburg
International Maritime Museum
In a harbour city such as Hamburg, you would expect a maritime museum, and this is one of the largest in the world, with 9 floors (‘decks,’ as they call them here) of models, paintings and other exhibits. There are 45,000 models of ships in 1:1250 scale on Deck 9 alone! Open every day, 10am-6pm, €13.
International Maritime Museum
Kaispeicher B, Koreastrasse 1
Tel. +49 (0)40 30 09 23 00
Speicherstadt translates as City of Warehouses, and it is precisely that, a picturesque collection of brick warehouses on canals, a modern version of Venice, a neo-Gothic fantasy. A tour of this district on a boat or barge – most leave from the Landungsbrücken landing stages at St. Pauli – is an unforgettable experience, particularly at night, when artful lighting transforms the scene. Tickets cost about €24.
Once a fishing village, this is now an affluent residential district, a vertically-arranged sequence of homes with beautifully-curated gardens. It has a slightly Mediterranean character, and it feels like being in an Escher woodcut. There are many shops, restaurants and ice-cream shops. You can get here using the S1 train from Hamburg’s Hauptbahnhof to Blankenese, a 25-minute journey.
Hamburg’s Planetarium is located in a former water tower in Hamburg Stadtpark, dating back to 1915. The structure is in Art Deco style. The Planetarium itself is technically advanced, the first immersive 3D Sound & Vision theatre in the world. Many of its shows can be experienced in English, French or Spanish by means of wireless devices. For programme details and box office opening times, see the website planetarium-hamburg.de
Linnering 1 (Stadtpark)
Tel. +49 (0)40 428 86 52 10
Flak Tower Flakturm IV – Feldstrasse Bunker
Flak towers were built from 1940 to defend German cities against Allied air raids. They had gun positions, and they also constituted air-raid shelters. Hamburg’s Feldstrasse Bunker or G-Tower now comprises a night club, a music store and school. It was one of the large flak towers built during the war, 75 metres by 75 metres, 35 metres high, with walls 3.5 metres thick. It could provide protection for 18,000 people during air raids. The concerts at the Uebel & Gefährlich club feature electronic music. The bunker is right outside the underground railway station U3 Feldstrasse.
Uebel & Gefährlich
U-434 served in the Russian Navy from 1974 until 2002 when it was decommissioned. The tragedy of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk on 12 August 2000 led to the idea of a submarine as testimony to the Cold War. U-434 is now an evocative visit, cramped and packed with equipment on all surfaces. Guided tours are in German, and so you will probably explore the sub on your own, a visit that takes about half an hour. To see the conning tower, you have to take the tour (extra €4). Well worth it if you like the film Das Boot. Admission €9. Open Mon-Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 11am-8pm.
St. Pauli Fischmarkt 10
Tel. +49 (0)40 32 00 49 34
The Rickmer Rickmers was launched in 1896 as a sailing ship, with a steam engine and a diesel engine so that it could sail powered by wind, or by steam, or fuel. It sailed up until 1962, and was purchased by a Hamburg association in 1983. After extensive restoration, it has been open for visits. You can explore the ship, with captioning in German with some English. On Saturdays, from 11am to 5pm, and at the same times on Wednesdays in July and August, you can climb the masts and rigging to a height of 35 metres to get the feel of what being in the crew of a windjammer was like. Your safety is assured by harness, helmet and expert trainers. Prior booking essential, price €30. On the ship there is also a restaurant and an escape room game.
Museumsschiff Rickmer Rickmers
Bei den St. Pauli Landungsbrücken 1
Tel. +49 (0)40 319 59 59
For a climb up the masts: schnurstracks-kletterparks.de
Cap San Diego in Hamburg is both an interesting museum and an unusual form of accommodation. It is a large cargo ship dating back to 1961, before the age of containers, and it sailed regularly to South America up until 1981. You can now explore it from top to bottom, every day from 10am to 6 pm (closed on 24 December). The visit costs €7, plus €3 for the audio guide in German or English. You can sleep on board by prior booking, at prices from €98-€109 for a double cabin, €78-€89 for a single cabin. Prior booking is essential.
Cap San Diego
Tel. +49 (0)40 36 42 09
The Fish Market is an unusual experience, a market that operates every Sunday morning from 5am to about 9.30am. So it attracts both early risers looking for fleamarket bargains, and the people who have partied all night on the nearby Reeperbahn. You can breakfast or snack on fish sandwiches and coffee, or simply carry on with beer, to the sounds of live music performed by jazz, skiffle or country & western bands. As the locals say, beer is simply liquid bread, and so it is a perfectly legitimate food for breakfast…
Grosse Elbstrasse 137
Tel. +49 (0)40 38 01 20
Hauptkirche St. Jacobi
This is not the most beautiful church in the world, nor the largest, but it is interesting for its organ that comprises 60 registers and about 4,000 pipes. It is the largest Baroque organ in northern Europe. Organ concerts are frequently held here. There are guided tours at midday every Thursday.
Ev.-luth. Hauptkirche St. Jacobi
Tel. +49 (0)40 303 73 70
Hamburg Harbour Tour
A harbour tour is a good way of getting a seaboard view of the city. The Stattreisen barge tour lasts about two hours, and takes you to the Port of Hamburg, the Speicherstadt, and HafenCity, the largest urban renovation project in Europe. The tour includes views of the architecture in the harbour, with buildings such as the Dockland Office Building by BRT Architekten, with its 140 steps leading upwards to the public viewing platform on the rooftop. Prices from €24.
Hamburg has a thriving cultural scene, with the Hamburg State Opera, and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn were born in Hamburg, and the Beatles performed there at the start of their career, from 1960 to 1962. The city’s culinary resources comprise many local specialities, and the city’s name can be seen on the streets the world over in the form of the hamburger, which possibly originates from the local recipe Frikadeller, a pan-fried mixture of ground beef and seasoning that became known as a Hamburger steak in the early 19th century. The recipe subsequently reached America and later attained worldwide familiarity.