Things to do in

Hamburg

From the UNESCO-listed warehouse district to the Reeperbahn, there’s something for everyone in this maritime city.

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Our most recommended things to do in Hamburg

  • Sex and Crime in St. Pauli - tour for ages 18+

    1. Sex and Crime in St. Pauli - tour for ages 18+

    Discover Hamburg’s wild side on this sex and crime tour in the St. Pauli district. Hear interesting anecdotes and details about the lives and loves of the red light district as you visit its legendary spots.

    On your tour visit the “Zur Ritze” bar and learn how it got its name. Head down to the boxing club in the basement, where Mike Tyson and the Klitschko brothers trained. Find out where the famous local boxer disappeared to and why so many celebrities come to this rustic bar.

    Head to the “Olivias Wilde Jungs Stripclub,” a different type of strip club, since men are only allowed in if they dance. See how women can walk down Herbertstrasse, and learn about the Nutella gang and its rivals, the GMBH gang.

    Discover who controls St. Pauli, who was the godfather in the neighborhood, and how the legal system works here. Find out if Jack the Rippe...

    It was an excellent tour, very exciting and lots of interesting stories and information. Linda is an excellent guide and very friendly!

  • St. Pauli: Reeperbahn Walking Tour by Drag Queen or Local Celebrity with Drink

    2. St. Pauli: Reeperbahn Walking Tour by Drag Queen or Local Celebrity with Drink

    Discover Hamburg's iconic district of St. Pauli with a local drag queen guide. Your insightful guide will share their own unique experiences and stories about the St. Pauli district as they take you on a journey across the Reeperbahn. Find out what life was like in Hamburg’s most famous district, how it has changed, and how fascinating it is today. Hear how Germany’s most famous and colorful drag queen Olivia Jones speaks up for respect, diversity, and tolerance. Enjoy the witty remarks, quirky anecdotes, as well as a cheeky drink. This tour combines the perfect mix of information, entertainment, stops, and sights. You’ll no doubt be ready for a night out in St. Pauli once your tour ends.

  • St. Pauli: Reeperbahn Bars & Red Light District Walking Tour with Drink

    3. St. Pauli: Reeperbahn Bars & Red Light District Walking Tour with Drink

    Explore Hamburg's St. Pauli neighborhood and experience the famous Reeperbahn street and entertainment district. Listen to adult tales of sex and crime as you visit numerous pubs, theaters, and sex shops. Walk past the famous boxing and erotic bar “Zur Ritze” where Mike Tyson and the Klitschko brothers trained. You’ll also pass by the most famous side street of the Reeperbahn: the Große Freiheit. Listen to stories about the nightlife scene in the city and the famous strip clubs including the "Dollhouse" play. Learn about life in this special Kiez and its rules. Your guide will tell you both dark and funny anecdotes as you walk around, providing you with additional context and background information that you wouldn’t otherwise know. To make the tour even more special, take the opportunity to enjoy a drink with your group and guide.

  • Hamburg Harbor: Light Tour

    4. Hamburg Harbor: Light Tour

    Experience Hamburg's harbor by the evening light. Take a romantic voyage through the Hamburg harbor and enjoy an exceptional atmosphere and the illuminated silhouette of the city. Travel through the historic Speicherstadt (depending on the tide) and along the impressive illuminated container terminals. Hear interesting stories of the harbor's history with live moderation from the captain, while relaxing with a drink. Alternatively, pick one of the special tours that take place only occasionally. Choose the special Queen Mary II cruise to accompany Queen Mary II at the Cruise Terminal and then follow her along the River Elbe. During the boat ride, learn a lot about her from the professional guide. Or, celebrate the Anniversary of Hamburg Harbor onboard a traditional barge. Watch the opening parade to the festival unveil, as the weekend of celebrations will then follow.

    Fun and nice way to explore the city by night. Funny jokes and interesting facts about the harbor. Big boat (with toilet) which felt also safe during pandemic times (open roof and good ventilation).

  • Elbphilharmonie Plaza: Guided Tour

    5. Elbphilharmonie Plaza: Guided Tour

    Visit the Elbphilharmonie Plaza with your guide, with some exciting background about this spectacular building to accompany you along the way. Hear about the building’s original plans, plus its construction, completion challenges, and special features. Tour the outside of the building while learning about its façade and other external features. Then, travel on up the Tube — the longest escalator in the world. Glimpse its large panoramic window before arriving at the Plaza: an activity hub connecting the historical docks to the modern glass architecture. Take a moment to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Hamburg over the harbor and HafenCity from the Plaza. Hear about the music that is played inside as your guide gifts you with more tidbits about this striking modern structure.

  • Hamburg: Guided Tour Elbphilharmonie excluding Concert Halls

    6. Hamburg: Guided Tour Elbphilharmonie excluding Concert Halls

    Visit the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and get some exciting background information about the spectacular concert hall–from the original idea and implementation, to its completion difficulties and special features. Tour outside the building and learn about the façade and its other exterior features. Then enter the Elbphilharmonie on the Tube, the longest escalator in the world. Pass the large panoramic window then reach the Plaza: the hub of all activity and the link between the historical quayside and the modern glass structure. At the Elbphilharmonie Plaza hear everything you need to know about the concert halls and the venues and facilities within the building. Take the outside gangway of the Plaza and circle the entire building, discovering views of Hamburg's sights from all directions.

    It was a very nice guide, who had a good loud voice and had many stories to tell about the creation and construction of the Elbphilharmonie. Although our location was next to a stand with a very loud music, the man had a very good voice.it was very exciting and entertaining and was fun.thank you very much

  • Hamburg: 1.5-Hour Harbor and Speicherstadt Day Cruise

    7. Hamburg: 1.5-Hour Harbor and Speicherstadt Day Cruise

    See Hamburg’s harbor-side attractions from a unique perspective, float past impressive container ships, and discover the historic Speicherstadt District aboard a 1.5-hour cruise featuring live commentary from a German-speaking guide and an exclusive stop at the iconic Elbphilharmonie. Start your harbor adventure on land as you cross the famous "Überseebrücke" bridge to reach the pier where you will board a traditional Hamburger boat referred to as a Barkasse. Listen as your captain decides on which route the boat will take based on weather conditions, the water tides, or, if for example, a really exciting and interesting container ship or a special boat is visiting the harbor. Set off and glide into the narrow waterways of the largest warehouse district in the world known as Speicherstadt. Take in the stunning architecture of buildings standing on timber-pile foundations and oak lo...

    The Captain was too nice. He drove extra 20 min to show us more then it is planned. Best boat experience untill now. I do not remember his name but I think hes family comes from Turkey. He explained all the things that we saw and much more. Thank you. 5*

  • Hamburg: Line A Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

    8. Hamburg: Line A Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

    The Line A sightseeing tour leads you through Hamburg's highlights: along the Speicherstadt (warehouse city) and harbor city to the shopping areas of the town! Experience the wonderful villas in Harvestehude, the Outer Alster lake, the city hall, several museums, the famous Reeperbahn and the harbor. Your day ticket enables you to hop on and hop off at 20 bus stops. All Red Double Decker bus tours are fully escorted. A GPS steered audio system offers narration in 11 languages via headsets: English, French, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Portuguese. Lean back and enjoy the all-round view. In nice weather the bus goes open top!

    Good easy to find, Fr. Schmidt and her employees where absolutely friendly and helpful. Aa the 20 stops or the final get on-get-off time wasn't available on get your guide and not via telephone service, the best idea was to ask Frau Schmidt directly. Recommended sightseeing tour!

  • Hamburg: Evening Illumination Cruise through Harbor

    9. Hamburg: Evening Illumination Cruise through Harbor

    Experience a beautiful evening cruise from the historical and romantically-illuminated Speicherstadt through the sea of light that is the Hamburg harbor. Enjoy a great boat tour through the canals of the historic Speicherstadt and discover the highlights of Hamburg from the water. Listen to your expert live German commentator to hear the history behind this intriguing city. See the Zollkanal, Wasserschloss and the International Maritime Museum and cruise along the modern HafenCity, the newest district in the beautiful Hanseatic city. Take a look at the HafenCity University, the Marco Polo Tower, the Elbe Philharmonic Hall and the panorama of the district. Also have a breathtaking view of the St. Pauli Piers all the way to Überseebrücke with the museum ships Rickmer Rickmers and Cap San Diego.   Sail through the port's sea of light again and be amazed by the activty around the container...

    Only in German. No english. Still a lovely experience. Would recommend. No Spierchetstadt cruise however. Do not think it can ever take place in the evening with such a big ship.

  • Hamburg: Evening Lights Cruise

    10. Hamburg: Evening Lights Cruise

    Hop aboard a city cruise to see Hamburg’s Speicherstadt and harbor twinkle in the evening light. Enjoy the city silhouette as you navigate the city’s canals and the Elbe. Your onboard guide will be on-hand to point out all its hidden nooks and crannies. Get to know Hamburg’s historical warehouse district located within the old port. Find out how Hamburg became such a powerful harbor city in times gone by as you cruise. Contrast the old city with the new port and container terminals as they’re all lit up at night. Even glimpse the Elbphilharmonie as an added bonus for your evening jaunt around Hamburg’s waters.

Frequently asked questions about Hamburg

What top attractions are a must-see in Hamburg?

Planning Your Visit

  • Save Money on Transport

    If you plan on discovering the many sides of Hamburg, it's really worth getting bundle transport tickets. Different deals are available depending on the length of your stay and you're sure to save a lot of money rather than buying singles each time. Also, these tickets give you access to the ferries, which are the cheapest way of admiring the city from the water.

  • Wait for the Spring

    Hamburg is infamous for its grey, cold winters. If you can, it's best to plan your visit between April and September. Once the weather improves, the city truly transforms – moods soar, streetside cafés fill up, and the parks and lakes once again become bustling hang-out spots.

  • Eat Like a Local Without Breaking the Bank

    Known for its gigantic portions and very reasonable prices, the restaurant Erika's Eck near the Schlachthof has been a favorite for locals and tourists alike for over 30 years now. This is the perfect spot to feast on some original German grub and if you're out on the town, come here after midnight for its famous €1 sandwiches – available until 9am!

Good to know

  • Language
    German
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +49
  • Best time to visit
    Spring, Summer

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Hamburg

Thomas Dowson is the founder of Archaeology Travel, a website for those seeking adventures in archaeology and history. As a professional archaeologist Thomas enjoys visiting archaeological and historical sites around the world. And sharing these experiences so that others can explore the world’s pasts more deeply. On his blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Hamburg.

What should I do on my first trip to Hamburg?

Hamburg, more specifically the harbour of Hamburg, is the main attraction here. For anyone planning their first visit to Hamburg my recommendation for an essential, first experience is a harbour cruise. There is no better way to get a feel for this city and its history. From the UNESCO listed historic Speicherstadt (‘city of warehouses’), to the very striking 20th century Elbphilharmonie (concert hall). Whether you are interested in a general cruise about the port and its history or something more specific, such as the Hanseatic history of Hamburg, the choice of river cruises is broad.

What are some hidden gems to see in Hamburg?

Not exactly hidden in Hamburg’s harbour, but certainly half submerged is a Soviet submarine. Built in the 1970s, the U-434 submarine is still in very good condition and provides a near as real-life as possible experience of what conditions in a submarine are like. Visitors enter at one end, and then walk and even crawl through compartments to the exit at the other end. Of course there is a sense of claustrophobia. But this is nothing when you are told that this vessel would hold up to 78 men.

How much time should I spend in Hamburg?

Apparently the average visitor spends two nights in Hamburg. Like most big cities with a long history, you could easily spend a week in Hamburg and still come back for more. But two nights does seem rushed, that is only one full day. Two or three full days would be a better amount of time to explore the city: to take a harbour cruise, see the impressive town hall, visit St. Michaelis church and walk though the old warehouse district.

What food is Hamburg known for? 

For anyone with a sweet tooth, when in Hamburg you have to try at least one Franzbrötchen. Pastry is rolled in lots of butter and cinnamon sugar before being baked. History, or urban legend, has it that these pastries were introduced to Hamburg by Napoleon's troops. For a more substantial dish try ‘labskaus’, a stew made up of different ingredients including beetroot, which then gives it a pink colour. Local cuisine has not only been influenced by seafaring visitors from around the world, but also the culinary traditions typical of northern Germany.

What is the best way to get around Hamburg?

Hamburg is a big city, and the various points of interest are scattered about. Fortunately Hamburg has a very good public transport system, making getting about easy on the feet. Specifically for visitors, there are also the usual hop-on-hop-off buses, which follow routes around the city stopping at most of the main attractions. 

What are the best months to visit Hamburg?

Hamburg is a great city to visit during the Summer. It never gets uncomfortably hot, and it is a lot drier and less windy than it is during winter months and early spring. As the sun starts shining and spring flowers start blooming, so too Hamburg comes alive with street festivals, live music and art performances all over the city. Over four days in September and at many venues in the Reeperbahn, visitors can enjoy Europe’s largest club festival - the Reeperbahn Festival.

What is neighborhood Reeperbahn known for?

For a vibrant night scene head to the Reeperbahn in St Pauli. The entertainment heart of Hamburg. The street is lined with theatres and nightclubs, bars and restaurants. And it is not known as ‘the most sinful mile’ for nothing. You will also find sex shops, strip clubs and brothels. Look out for the Beatles monument, a reminder that the group built their reputation here as well as in Liverpool.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping? 

Hamburg is not only Germany’s second largest city, it is the most wealthy city. Not surprising then it is a shoppers paradise. You can find everything from flea markets to luxury boutiques and brands. Along the kilometre long Neuer Wall you will find a collection of the most exclusive shops in Hamburg. These shops sell everything from high end fashion and jewellery to designer furniture. Colonnaden not only has exclusive boutiques in historic architecture, the pedestrianised street hosts a monthly flea market. Good buys and antiques can be found at the many weekly and regular flea markets in Hamburg.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Hamburg?

Hamburg is home to the incredible Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s largest model railway. This is no ordinary miniature railway exhibit. Fifty computers direct over 1000 trains over nearly 16,000 metres of track length that are set in reconstructions of nine geographic regions, including central Germany and Switzerland, USA and South America. There are over 269,000, over 9,000 cars and 130,000 trees. And a lot more. Besides visiting this vast model railway set, the organisers also stage special events. The most popular and booked out being the ‘culinary trip around the world’.

What are the best annual events in Hamburg? 

Hamburg has over 30 individual Christmas markets, which run from the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent until Christmas Eve. Many of the Hamburg neighbourhoods have their own markets, and there are several in the city centre as well. St Pauli has one of the most popular markets, and another one not to miss is the market in the vast square in front of the City Hall. There is even a Dogs Christmas market.

Other Sightseeing Options in Hamburg

Want to discover all there is to do in Hamburg? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Hamburg

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 63,228 reviews

We were too punctual, so we almost joined the wrong tour. After a bit of waiting, the tour guides came and we were split up. Our guide Flo was a young guy with a very cheeky snout, which he told us directly. We found his rough manner but extremely entertaining and he was able to interact so well with all participants and also take counterattacks. So, we had a great tour, which unfortunately took place completely in the rain, but where he made the best of it. Unfortunately, due to the corona ordinance, there was no bar visit with a drink, but there was an extra schnapps if required. Conclusion: Great tour with a great guide, highly recommended if you want to experience the typical Kiez flair.

The Captain was too nice. He drove extra 20 min to show us more then it is planned. Best boat experience untill now. I do not remember his name but I think hes family comes from Turkey. He explained all the things that we saw and much more. Thank you. 5*

It was a very nice tour with interesting topics. I would like to do it again and can only recommend this guided tour.

Hat sehr viel Spaß gemacht & hat sich auf jeden Fall gelohnt! War lustig und interessant gestaltet :)

Competent and humorous leadership. ANJA is a very dedicated city guide