11 Hamburg Facts: Things To Know Before Visiting Hamburg Germany

Hamburg Germany has been a port city of international status since medieval times. It is also home to historical landmarks, stunning scenery, and vibrant festivities. Keep reading to learn the other many sides of Hamburg. 

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Hamburg 101: Important Thing To Know About Hamburg Germany 

Hamburg is a Free and Hanseatic City and the third busiest harbor in Europe, after Rotterdam and Antwerp. The population of Hamburg is approximately 1.85 million, and it covers an area of 291.59 square miles.

Hamburg was founded as a mission settlement in the ninth century to convert the Saxons. It became an important trading center in the Middle Ages and was the Holy Roman Empire’s free imperial city and a member of the Hanseatic League. It was a sovereign city-state before the unification of Germany in 1871.  

Today, the city is among Europe’s most important commercial and cultural centers. It is well-known for its harbor, Hamburg Port, and as a major tourist destination. 

Hamburg’s weather is maritime, with cold winters and warm, wet summers. Though temperatures are not extreme, summers can be cold and rainy. Visitors should prepare for all weather, especially rain.

Where Is Hamburg Located? 

Outside of Hamburg City Hall

Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city after Berlin. It is located in north central Germany, in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, and lies on two tributaries of River Eble: River Bille and River Alster. Lower Saxony surrounds the city to the south and Schleswig-Holstein to the north.   

The flying distance between Hamburg and Berlin is 159 miles, while the driving distance is 178 miles. A flight from Frankfurt to Hamburg will cover 244 miles, while the road distance is 306 miles. The flying distance from Munich is 382 miles, and the driving distance is 493 miles.

How To Get To Hamburg  

Along the Elbe River in Hamburg Germany

There are no direct flights to Hamburg, Germany, from the United States. However, one or two-stop flights are available from Newark, San Francisco, Boston, and New York. Popular airlines flying these routes include KLM, Delta, Lufthansa, and Scandinavian.   

Traveling to Hamburg from European cities is simple because multiple airlines are flying to different cities. The most popular cities with direct flights to Hamburg Airport include London Heathrow, Paris, and Amsterdam. Several airlines fly to these cities, such as Eurowings, Condor, Wizz Air, Ryanair, and Turkish Airlines.

If you are already in Germany, trains offer a perfect mode of transport from all major German cities to Hamburg. Four companies offer train services: IC (Intercity), ICE (Intercity-Express), Deutsche Bahn, and Flix Train. They offer space for luggage and comfortable seating, and most have free WiFi.

There usually are 36 trains daily from Berlin to Hamburg. The train takes an average of three hours but can take as little as an hour and 45 minutes on the fastest service.

Most train services release their tickets three to six months earlier. The earlier you book, the cheaper they are. 

The average travel time from Frankfurt to Hamburg by train is four hours and thirty-five minutes. However, the fastest train can take three hours and twenty-nine minutes. A total of 29 trains serve these routes daily. 

A train from Munich to Hamburg takes an average of six hours and 33 minutes, but the fastest service can take five hours and fifty-eight minutes. Around 30 trains travel between these two cities daily.  

  • We flew to Hamburg from Brussels on Brussels Airlines. We were able to earn United Airlines miles on the flight because both airlines are members of Star Alliance.
  • If you are traveling to Hamburg by train, you can save time and money by booking your tickets in advance.

If you do go to Brussels, check out our Brussels Food Guide to learn about 17 of the must-eat dishes in Brussels.

What Currency Is Used In Hamburg?

The Euro is the official currency in Hamburg. Numerous money exchangers are available at Hamburg Airport and the city to help convert to the local currency.

Credit cards are accepted in most establishments, with Mastercard and Visa being more common than American Express. However, avoid cash advances on credit cards via ATMs because fees can be high. 

Is Hamburg expensive? This is a common question for people visiting the city. Hamburg has a high density of millionaires, making it among Europe’s most expensive cities. Compared to most Western European cities, it has a 69 percent higher cost of living. 

Learn more about packing for Europe and other travel tips about accessing money when traveling to Hamburg.

What Is Language Is Spoken In Hamburg

The local language spoken in Hamburg is standard German. However, the dialect is Plattdeutsch, also called flat German, low German, or low Saxon.

It is a German variety primarily spoken in the northeastern Netherlands and Northern Germany. Low Germany was used more frequently in the 19th Century. Though it is not standardized, many street names reflect their vocabulary and spelling.

English is widely spoken in Hamburg. Other languages, such as Kurdish, Turkish, Portuguese, Polish, and Russian, are also common in the city due to the 1960s immigration wave. 

Types Of Hamburg Accommodations

Drinking beer riverside in Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg has numerous accommodation options to cater to the needs of any tourist. All these options differ in size, cost, facilities, location, and amenities. 

Airbnb Hamburg allows visitors to satisfy their needs when finding suitable accommodation. You can also find accommodation options tailored to your unique travel needs, such as family-friendly, business travel-ready, and pet friendly. These options include rental apartments, villas, and fully furnished homes.

You will also find some of the best hotels in Hamburg Germany. These hotels have different ratings, suites, and amenities. Some of the international hotels in the city include Hamburg Marriott Hotel, Lindner Park Hotel, and Leonardo Hotel. 

How To Find Accommodations In Hamburg

  • We often use Booking.com to book all sorts of hotels and apartments when traveling. Go to this link to get all the hotel options in Hamburg. On the left-hand side, you can search for hotels, apartments, and other accommodations.
  • During our week in Hamburg, we stayed at the Renaissance Hamburg Hotel. Part of Marriott, the hotel is in the heart of Hamburg with easy access to most tourist sites. It’s also near S and U-Bahn train stations, making it easy to reach from Hamburg Airport.

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Is Hamburg Safe To Visit 

Hamburg city is generally safe. However, just like any other destination, you should monitor your luggage and check your pockets in crowded areas.

The city has numerous public transport means, including boats, buses, taxis, and trains. All these transport options are also low risk. 

Though pickpocketing is rare, crowded areas and tourist places can be risky. You should also look out for beggars and other people trying to distract you. Mugging and robberies are rare, and police respond swiftly to such cases.  

Regardless of where you are traveling, avoid carrying a lot of cash or valuables. If you are, we recommend using an anti theft bag.

These provide an extra sense of security for cameras, phones, and cash. And of course, don’t walk around at night, especially when intoxicated.

Things To Do In Hamburg

The narrow, curving street of Deichstrasse is a popular tourist attraction and should be on your to-do list when you visit Hamburg. It has survived centuries of wars and fires and thus plays a crucial role in providing a glimpse of the city’s past.  

The port city offers lovely pedestrian trails for visitors to enjoy and tour the city. One such trail is in Speicherstadt, the 19th-century Warehouse District. Built between 1883 and 1927, it is the world’s largest warehouse district and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

If you want to explore the food in Hamburg every Sunday morning, the fish market in Hamburg attracts thousands of visitors.

The institution has been running since 1703 and offers almost everything from fish, fruits, and flowers to souvenirs and clothing. The traders out-shout each other to attract customers. 

If you love art, you will enjoy touring various art museums, galleries, and exhibitions. The Hamburger Kunsthalle, or Hamburg Art Hall, is among the top art galleries in Germany, with highlights dating from the 14th century.

Deichtorhallen hosts another notable art collection. The Museum of Art and Design has probably the most comprehensive displays of European, German, and Asian art.

The mighty Elber River, the stunning canals, and the Alster lakes make Hamburg Germany, a water-lovers city. 

Miniatur Wunderland 

Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany
Me and my #AvGeek husband

If I ever lose Eric in Hamburg, I know exactly where to look for him first. Miniatur Wunderland is hailed as the largest model railway in the world. It also has an operating airport called Knuffingen Airport.

Being an #AvGeek, Eric has been dreaming of visiting Miniatur Wunderland for years. I had to drag him out and was surprised he didn’t return on his own during our trip to Hamburg.

Miniatur Wunderland was built on a massive scale of 1:87 and spans over 1,500 square meters. It boasts over 15,400 meters of train tracks with 1,040 trains and 10,000 carriages. Therefore, expect to spend a lot of time if you are traveling with children.  

The highlights include models of the United States, Italy, Switzerland, Hamburg, and the aforementioned Knuffingen airport. It also has close to half a million unique tiny human figures, 100,000 cars, and over 500,000 lights. 

  • We can’t stress enough about visiting Miniatur Wunderland early in the day. This is one of Hamburg’s most popular tourist attractions and gets busy very quickly.
  • Also, make sure to buy your Miniatur Wunderland tickets in advance of traveling to Hamburg.

Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall 

Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany

Elbphilharmonie, locally called “Elphi,” is the crown jewel of Hamburg. It was unveiled in 2017 and is the port city’s tallest inhabited building. Elphi is a significant landmark and is regarded as the world’s most acoustically pleasing concert hall.

Its base is a 1960s-era, six-story warehouse that was used to store tea, cocoa, and tobacco. Today, the building stands over 100 meters tall with an additional 20 floors of curved, shining glass.

Elphi has three concert halls. The largest is the most fascinating, with 10,000 plates uniquely designed for tuning sound waves. It has 2,150 seats.  

  • The Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall is easily reached by foot or water taxi. It’s also included in many guided tours of Hamburg.

Cruise the Elbe River 

Hamburg skyline from the Elbe River.

Hamburg river cruises on the Elbe River allow you to ditch the typical ways of touring the port city. You can feed your eyes to fascinating sceneries on a boat cruise from various ports in Germany.  

Boat cruises in Hamburg allow you to paddle through gorgeous canals or take a trip to Alster Lakes. You can also take one of the ferries at Landungsbruecken pier, which are part of the public transport and Hamburg CARD. A trip towards Finkenwerder Island offers one of the most breathtaking waterfront sights. 

A harbor boat trip on Barkasse, a former dockworkers ferry, provides a classic water experience. It takes you through modern architectural highlights, industrial docks, and historic warehouses.  

  • We took a one-hour Elbe River tour with Barkassen-Meyer. The tour was lovely except it was conducted completely in German.
  • One way to avoid our mistake is to book a Port of Hamburg Private Tour. Here you can organize a guide in English or whatever your native language might be.

International Maritime Museum 

International Maritime Museum in Hamburg
Maritime Models Galore At The International Maritime Museum

The International Maritime Museum in Hamburg is the perfect place to learn more about the city’s rich maritime history. A huge red-brick heritage building in the HafenCity area, which is the oldest warehouse in the city, hosts the museum. 

Exhibits at the museum illustrate humanity’s connection to water over 3,000 years ago. The oldest artifact on display is a dugout boat carved from a tree trunk.

Models from Phoenician galleys and Viking ships to vessels of the Golden Age of Discovery show how shipping has evolved. 

The museum also dedicates an entire floor to the latest marine developments and another to maritime art. 

St. Michael’s Church 

Hauptkirche Sankt Michaelis, or simply St. Michael’s Church, is the most popular of the city’s numerous churches. It is an important landmark, built in the Baroque style in the 1750s. 

One bucket list item when you visit the church is to climb the 132-meter-high tower. The viewing platform will let you enjoy panoramic views of the port city, which is a spectacular treat in the evenings. It is accessible via an elevator or stairs.  

The bronze statue of Archangel Michael slaying the devil is also a must-see.  

Hamburg Germany is a fascinating city with rich maritime history, medieval architecture, and waterfront sights. This article will help you plan for one of the best port cities in the world.  

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