Hamburg is Germany's second-largest city and its most important port (even though it's about 60 miles from the sea). The city's fishy maritime atmosphere gives Hamburg an almost Scandinavian feel that's worlds away from the sun-drenched, Baroque joviality of Bavaria. It's popular with German tourists who come here to eat fish, watch soccer games, marvel at its mighty port, and experience the fabled nightlife of the Reeperbahn, the German answer to the Vegas Strip. But foreign visitors are in the minority, and American tourists are rare. Like many port towns, Hamburg still has its rough edges, and a short stay can be memorable.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Harbor and Port Guided Boat Tour Excellent chance to marvel at the city's mighty container port and burgeoning HafenCity.
▲▲ Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour Convenient way to see the city's main sights.
▲▲ Reeperbahn Walk A stroll through Hamburg's famous Red-Light District, sizzling with nightclubs and lots of street life.
▲▲ St. Pauli Landungsbrücken Harborfront Atmospheric people zone with boardwalk ambience, ferry docks, and views of the port.
▲▲ St. Nikolai Memorial Bombed-out church memorializing the destruction of World War II, with excellent museum and view from its tower.
▲▲ Hamburg History Museum Sprawling exhibit of the city's history since its founding in AD 800.
▲▲ International Maritime Museum Huge former warehouse filled with exhibits on nautical history, both military and civilian.
▲▲ HafenCity and Speicherstadt Exciting new urban development featuring the architecturally striking Elbphilharmonie concert hall and repurposed warehouses with attractions.
▲ Miniatur Wunderland Tiny world with German families thrilling to model trains.
▲ BallinStadt Emigration Museum Germany's version of Ellis Island, housing history exhibits.
▲ Hamburger Kunsthalle Expansive art gallery with works by Old, New, and Modern Masters.
▲ Arts and Crafts Museum Three floors filled with decorative arts.
▲ Harbor Tour by Public Ferry Low-cost, do-it-yourself tour of the harbor with views of port action.
Binnenalster and Aussenalster Hamburg's two lakes, with inviting waterside promenades, chic shops, and a thriving boating/biking scene.
City Hall Hamburg's architecturally eclectic, century-old Rathaus.
St. Michael's Church Historic church with panoramic view tower.
Schulterblatt ("Shoulderblade") Neighborhood Colorful, artsy, and edgy district with fun eateries.
Planten un Blomen Relaxing garden filled with flowers, ponds, cafés, and Hamburgers at rest.
St. Pauli Elbtunnel Old industrial tunnel leading beneath the Elbe River to panoramic Hamburg views from the opposite bank.
SS Rickmer Rickmers Century-old sailing ship expertly restored by a corps of volunteers.