There are so many places you need to visit in Hamburg, depending on how much time you will bring with you. Now it is time to visit. This beautiful city is changing as we speak. New buildings keep growing. The new HafenCity revitalises its waterfront and adds on new architectural masterpieces like Elbphilharmonie concert hall.

If you are coming to Germany for the first time, check our German Travel Tips, which comprises lots of helpful tips about Germany.

We spend a weekend getaway in Hamburg. It seems like a fair amount of time for the first time visiting this city.

We want to show you TOP 10 HIGLIGHTS of places you need to visit in Hamburg. Enjoy your trip to its fullest.

Places you need to visit in Hamburg

Let’s talk more about Hamburg

Hamburg is a major port city in northern Germany, it connects to the North Sea by the Elbe River. If you live in Germany like us, then this is probably what you think of Hamburg: Cold and rainy weather. Eating fish, especially the famous Fischbrötchen (fish sandwich). Many bridges. Great cafes and restaurant. And of course, the fascinating Speicherstadt.

Did you know there are almost 2,500 bridges in Hamburg? It is more bridges than Venice, Amsterdam, and London combined. Honestly, we couldn’t imagine so many bridges. Once you walk in Hamburg, you will understand. We have never crossed so many bridges in such a short time, like in Hamburg.

Hamburg is an absolutely stunning city, with a very easy going vibe, which we love! 

There are five reasons to visit Hamburg: 

1. Few places reminded us of Sydney, Australia. Maybe because of the harbour, but these two cities have something in common.

2. The beautiful area of Inner Alster lake is Hamburg’s city centre and offers countless architectural gems, an excellent shopping district and many cafes or restaurants.

3. The proximity to the sea and rivers offers you fresh fish and seafood. 

4. It’s one of the biggest musical cities in the world. 

5. It is SO easy to get around. 

Our tip: Hamburg has always been a diverse, international city filled with people who are authentic. You gotta love Hamburg. Hamburg is called “Venice of the North”. So don’t wait any longer and book the trip to Hamburg. 

Places you need to visit in Hamburg

#1 Speicherstadt

Starting this guide with A-MUST attraction in Hamburg. The famous Speicherstadt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And honestly, if you miss this place when you are in Hamburg, it is like you have never been there.

Facts about Speicherstadt: It is in the port of Hamburg and world’s largest warehouse complex. They built it into the Elbe river between 1883 to 1927 on thousands of oak poles. It was a free zone to transfer goods without paying for customs. During World War II, the western part of Speicherstadt was destroyed. But they completed reconstructions in 1967.

According to the Committee, Speicherstadt – with its unique buildings and winding network of streets, canals and bridges – is an “extraordinary example of representing one or more eras of human history”.

It is fascinating to walk around, watch the boats and see goods being brought to these storages.

Must see: Strolling through Speicherstadt and admiring how Speicherstadt works is pure fun. This place writes a history and you can witness that. The most instagrammable place is Wasserschloss, which is a historic, industrial venue on the water serving traditional fish rolls & coffee, with a tea shop. You will get the best view from the bridge across.

Our tip: There is a great coffee shop, called Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei. Locals says, that this place is for tourist, maybe it is, BUT their coffee is a piece of heaven! Very delicious.

#2 HafenCity

This is the place where modern architectural meets the UNESCO historical buildings. On each side of a road, you will find these two architectural contrasts. The modern HafenCity is constantly growing and you can find there many beautiful apartments, stores and cafes.

When you walk around the HafenCity, you will feel like walking in any big cities like New York or Sydney.

The highlight of this area is the beautiful landmark Elbphilharmonie Hamburg concert hall, with its striking facade and innovative shape.

Our tip: Before visiting Hamburg, check their event calendar online. HafenCity is a great location for big and well-known water events. Take a stroll around, feel the pulsing city and maybe dream a little about your future apartment in this area.

#3 Elbphilharmonie

The Elbphilharmonie, popularly nicknamed Elphi, is an impressive concert hall. The new glassy construction resembles a hoisted sail, water wave, iceberg or quartz crystal resting on top of an old brick warehouse near the historical Speicherstadt. The original 1966 brick facade of the Kaispeicher A, formerly a warehouse, was retained at the base of the building.

The building itself is really an architecture masterpiece. There is a concert hall, a viewing platform, hotel and private apartments.

There is a lot of controversy about this project. They criticized because of its cost and schedule overruns; they estimated to cost about €200 million, while the final cost was €870 million.

Our tip: The view platform is a-must when you around. The best time to visit when the weather is sunny, which is quite hard to have in Hamburg. It was windy up on the platform. You can walk completely around and it is also okay for people scared of heights (like me). There is enough space to keep a safe distance from the edge.

Places you need to visit in Hamburg

#4 Portugiesenviertel

The Portuguese district aka “Portugiesenviertel” is a district close to the Harbour, offering mostly Portuguese food and drinks.

In summer, you can enjoy outdoor dining with music and plenty of fun. It looks like this is the place where you can also party and have a great dining experience.

When you look for the Mediterranean vibes in Hamburg! This place has you covered.

Our tip: We went to Olá Lisboa for dinner and delicious food and wine. We can recommend but make sure you have a reservation. The other place we visited was Italian restaurant Luigi’s which was recommended to us. And their kitchen is a dream to watch and food is just so tasty! You need to have their homemade tiramisu.

#5 Harbour boat tour

Is it really something you should do? The answer is simply yes, but on a nice day. When we were in Hamburg, we were not sure if we will do it. But then it got sunny. The weather was lovely and just perfect for a boat tour.

There are many providers you can do a boat tour with. We bought the tickets directly with the provider at the harbour.

There are also many routes you can do. We did the Speicherstadt and Harbour tour for two hours. If you decide to do the Speicherstadt tour, you should know that when it is a high tide, the tours don’t go there. The boats wouldn’t go under the bridges. But the provider will tell you if it is still possible.

Our tip: The boat tour was really more relaxed and interesting than we have expected. The tour took us around Speicherstadt, where we learnt a bit of history, and then they took us to the side of the harbour, where the big ships are tucked. That part was so impressive.

#6 Jungfernstieg

The Jungfernstieg is an urban promenade and is within walking distance of the harbour side. A Binnenalster underlines the place’s beauty, which is a lake with a beautiful water fountain in the middle. Take a stroll around this area and enjoy the views.

In the past, families came here on Sunday to walk and introduce their unmarried daughters (Jungfern). This is where the name comes from.

Many locals and visitors consider this area as the heart of the city. Jungfernstieg offers great shopping possibilities, restaurants and cafes. Water beautifully surrounds the area, and it gives the place extra sparks.

Our tip: If you want beautiful pictures without crowds, you need to come early in the morning when the city slowly wakes up. When you walk through Alsterarkaden, it is full of people sitting down at cafes and enjoy the view over the beautiful city hall.

Places you need to visit in Hamburg

#7 Hamburg Town Hall

One of the most beautiful buildings in Hamburg. It is right next to Jungfernstieg, really easy to reach and admire.

Hamburg Town Hall was built from 1886 to 1897 and it really dominates the centre of the city. 

They built it in renaissance architecture style and it is really one of the few completely preserved buildings in Hamburg. They beautifully decorated it and it has a stunning balcony. It is really a highlight of Hamburg.

Our tip: Walk around and admire it for a while. You can take pictures across from Alsterarkaden to have it nicely framed.

#8 Elbe Tunnel

Have you ever walked beneath a river? There is your chance! On our visit to Hamburg, I actually didn’t know about this epic place. But truth to be told, it is A-MUST when in Hamburg.

The old Elbe Tunnel opened in 1911, and it was a technical sensation. And it is still a sensation to walk through. Why? 

YOU WALK BENEATH THE ELBE RIVER. For us, the architecture lovers, it is just pure fascination, and it is amazing!

The tunnel is 426 m (1,398 ft) long and 24 m (80 ft) beneath the surface. It was first river tunnel on the continent. Many film teams have shot at this location. And it is open 24/7.

The entry is between Landungsbrücken 6 and 7 and you can visit by foot or by bicycle. There are massive elevators which bring you down or take the stairs if you prefer.

When you are already around the harbour, don’t miss on the fresh fish sandwiches which are delicious.

Our tip: Take a stroll through the tunnel and enjoy the beautiful panorama from the southern bank of the Elbe. It gets really busy.

#9 St Michael’s Church

Also called Michel is one of Hamburg’s five Lutheran main churches and one of the most famous churches in the city. St. Michael is a famous landmark in the city and it has to be one of the finest baroque churches.

Interesting to know is that this church has an eventful history – built three times between 1647 and 1912 and completely destroyed twice.

The Hamburger Michel has something fabulous to offer: a fantastic panorama view of the city when climbing a tower. In the high of 106 meters you will find view platform which you should pay attention to it.

The views are amazing. Especially if you have nice a sunny day. You can either walk up the 453 steps or take a lift to enjoy these views. You can see the Germany’s largest seaport and the historic Speicherstadt and the future-oriented HafenCity. 

Our tip: There is a special feature offering at this church. It is a so-called Nachtmichel (The Night Michel). You can enjoy the magnificent view of the city illuminated at night, accompanied by a non-alcoholic drink and classical music. It sounds so romantic to us.

#10 Deichstraße Hamburg

Deichstraße in Hamburg is the old merchant’s street, but today it is a home of many restaurants and pubs.

It is right next to the iconic Speicherstadt, so really a great location for a glass of wine or something nice to eat.

In 1842, the Great Fire hit Hamburg and destroyed large parts of the city. The Deichstraße is one of the last remnants of historic Hamburg, along with a few other alleys. It is quite special. The street is not long, but very cute.

Our tip: You can also take a side street between the houses and sit close to the water and enjoy your coffee. This area is here for your relaxing time and some delicious food and drinks.

Places you need to visit in Hamburg

Hamburg is a beautiful city in the northern part of Germany. If you have been to some other parts of Germany, you might notice the difference. It is usually bit colder, more rain than other parts of Germany.

But it has this beautiful easy going vibe, which you can feel on every corner of the city. It sometimes feels like people are rude or distance but it is far away from the truth.

We have got the feeling, like everything is more real in Hamburg and people enjoy the city so much. They are proud to live there.

What we really like about Hamburg is the walking distance from every major attraction. You don’t need any public transport and you can easily walk. Of course, depending where you stay.

If there is one thing we would tell you to take with you, then it would be an umbrella. Especially from autumn to early spring. And bring an extra jacket or pullover to keep warm.

Get in touch with us

We hope our Travel guide: These places you need to visit in Hamburg inspire you and you will fall in love with this city as much as we did.

Are you planning a trip to Germany and you are not sure what to see or where to go? Get in touch with us, we will gladly help you.

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You can contact us also via email if you have any stories to share or you just need some advice from us. Or you just want to chat.

We are looking forward to hear from you.

With love, Teri and Felix

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