This is the second post in my new Travel Tips series where I provide travel tips for specific destinations, whether they be cities, regions or countries. My Travel Tips guides aim to give you some of my best tips for exploring a new place and hopefully help you to save a bit of money, maximize your sightseeing time and find the most convenient ways to get around. You can find posts in this series under Destinations – Travel Tips in the menu bar. Today I’m featuring beautiful Hamburg, Germany!
Travel Tips: Hamburg
Food & Drink
- Hamburg has a great variety of cuisine due to its history as an international harbour city. Since it’s situated right on the river Elbe, fish and seafood are abundant. A local specialty is Pannfisch, a fish dish featuring fried potatoes and a mustard sauce.
- A must-try baked good is the Franzbrötchen, a small, sweet butter and cinnamon pastry found in every Hamburg bakery. Makes a great to-go breakfast or coffee break snack.
- I only had a chance to visit a few restaurants in Hamburg, but I list my top recommendations in my Hamburg restaurant guide.
- The Hamburg Public Transport Network (HVV) is very easy to navigate and includes S-Bahn trains, U-Bahn trains, some longer distance trains, buses, and ferries.
- Rather than buying single tickets, consider buying the 9am day ticket even if you’re only planning to travel twice in one day since it’s more economical. Up to five people can travel on a 9am group ticket for a favourable flat rate, making it a great deal for pairs or small groups of travellers.
- If you have a smartphone, the free HVV app is very handy for looking up transit schedules, travel routes, and ticket info.
- If you plan to do a lot of travelling and sightseeing within Hamburg, you may want to consider buying the Hamburg Card. The card can be purchased for a single person or group of up to five people for anywhere from 1 to 5 days. It offers several discounts to museums, restaurants, theaters, harbour cruises, city tours, musicals and more. We didn’t end up buying the Hamburg Group Card during our visit, but after looking back on the activities and amount of travel we did, it might have been slighter cheaper for us to get one rather than buying daily group transit tickets and admissions to certain sights.
- Hamburg is actually the third largest musical city in the world after New York City and London. Musicals alone attract upwards of 2 million visitors to the city annually. There are several shows to choose from, such as the ever popular The Lion King (Der König der Löwen), Rocky, Aladdin or Das Wunder von Bern. Note that the musicals are performed in German (so Be Prepared or Seid Bereit!)
- If you plan to visit Hamburg mainly to see a musical, you might want to check out some of the musical package deals available that combine musical tickets with a hotel stay.
- Musicals that take place at the Stage Theater im Hafen and the Stage Theater an der Elbe require you to board a small ferry at Landungsbrücken that will take you across the river to the theater. Ferries run regularly leading up to performance time and take you back to the mainland after the show. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get to the theater!
My Top Activity Recommendations
- Check out my top sightseeing spots in Hamburg for ideas of what to see in the harbour city.
- Try a walking tour to see the key city sights in a short period of time. I really enjoyed our 2 hour free tour with Sandemans New Europe. The tour covered the Rathaus, St. Petri, HafenCity, Speicherstadt, St Nikolai Church, and much more.
- If the weather is good, go for a stroll through one of Hamburg’s many parks or take a ferry boat ride. The number 62 ferry included in the HVV transportation network visits many spots that more expensive sightseeing ferry boats visit, so you can save some money and see the best of Hamburg from the water.
For more great tips about Hamburg (info on museums, culture & entertainment, markets, etc.), visit the Official Hamburg website by Hamburg.de.
What are your top Hamburg travel tips? Let me know in the comments below!