Top Hostels in Hamburg

Hamburg Essentials:

How big is Hamburg?
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany. It covers an area of 755 square kilometres.
How many people live in Hamburg?
Approximately 1.7 million people live in Hamburg.
What are the language and the currency?
The currency used here is the Euro. German is the official language but English is also widely spoken.
  • The Rathaus and lakes from the St. Nikolai Memorial
The Rathaus and lakes from the St. Nikolai Memorial Boating on the Outer Alster Lake Feeding the elephants at Tierpark Hagenbeck Colourful roses in Planten un Blomen An impressive chandelier inside the Rathaus A busy day at the Landungsbrucken A street fair in the Schanzenviertel area of Hamburg At the harbour in Hamburg Inside the Kunsthalle The impressive interior of St. Michaelis Church Boats on the Binnenalster or Inner Alster Lake A couple of the handy Hamburg city bikes Canoeing on the Outer Alster Lake Ducks in Planten un Blomen Inside the Alter Elbtunnel Enjoying the view beside the Outer Alster Lake

Things to see in Hamburg

A boat on the Alster Lake
What is one of the top attractions in Hamburg?
Without a doubt, one of the most popular attractions in Hamburg is the Fischmarkt on Grosse Elbstrasse in Altona. This spectacle takes place every Sunday and attracts big crowds. At lots of the stalls you’ll find people loudly selling their wares, which is always entertaining even if you don’t understand the language as they put on quite a show. In the main hall, bands provide entertainment, while back outside you’ll be able to wander from stall to stall, sampling tasty treats of just checking out the merchandise.
What else should I do while I'm here?

You won’t be stuck for things to do in Hamburg as the city is filled with great attractions. Hauptkirche St. Michaelis in Altstadt is definitely worth a visit. Take the elevator up to the top of the cathedral’s 132-metre high tower and you’ll be faced with incredible views out across the city and of the River Elbe. When you’re doing checking out the scenery, head back down and have a wander around inside the church itself, including the creepy crypt.

If you’re looking for a bit of culture, make your way to the Hamburger Kunsthalle, an impressive gallery filled with a multitude of artworks. Many pieces by famous artists including Munch, Van Gogh, Monet and more are all featured as part of the collection.

One of Hamburg’s quirkier and most enjoyable attractions is the Miniatur Wunderland in the Hafen City area. This wonderland is home to the world’s largest model railway, which is divided into a number of different display areas showing Hamburg, America, Scandinavia and plenty more. All of these displays are even more impressive when they turn down the lights and you can marvel at the 300,000 lights illuminating the models.

Hagenback Zoo & Tropical Aquarium in Stellingen was one of the first zoos in the world to start using open-air enclosures without bars and has been on the go for more than 100 years. On a visit to this zoo you can handfeed the elephants and gaze at lots of different creatures including giant otters, orang-utans, giraffes and large cats. At the Aquarium, you’ll see lots of colourful fish, along with exotic snakes, creepy crawlies and more.

Hamburg’s town hall or Rathaus Hamburg is one of the most impressive buildings in the city. Located in the Altstadt, this building is filled with one stunning room after another including the aptly-named Emperor’s Hall, which you’ll get to see if you take one of the regular tours.

Is there anywhere I can visit for free?

Sure! For starters, why not check out one of the most beautiful spots in Hamburg. It’s free to visit the gorgeous Planten un Blomen, which houses the city’s botanical gardens. This big park is also home to the biggest Japanese Garden in Europe, lots of funky fountains and plenty of places where you can sprawl out and enjoy your surroundings.

Hamburg really is a very beautiful city; it even has its own lake which is the perfect spot for a stroll. The Alster Lake is visited by large number of both locals and tourists who come to take part in a selection of aquatic activities including kayaking or simply wander around the banks of the lake, enjoying the views out across the water.

Say I want to hit the shops. Where should I go?

Mönckebergerstrasse is the city’s main shopping street and is home to a large variety of stores, including plenty of internationally renowned brands. These include Adidas, Fossil, H&M, Esprit and Zara. Lots of local brands are also available along this popular stretch.

If you’re looking for more upmarket fashion, check out Neuer Wall in Neustadt. This street is lined by designer stores and upscale boutiques. Plenty of the top names in fashion are well-represented, including Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

For more alternative gear, check out Marktstrasse in Karolinenviertel which is home to a number of funky boutiques, vintage stores, record shops and more.

Going out in Hamburg

Along the infamous Reeperbahn
Where are most of the bars found?
Much of Hamburg’s nightlife can be experienced along the city’s infamous Reeperbahn with its strip joints and sex shops. This area is where you’ll also find a lot of Hamburg’s top bars and clubs. If you want something different than the neon-lit Reeperbahn, make your way out to Schanzenviertel, as this neighbourhood is home a more laid-back selection of cool bars where you can hang out with the locals.
Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
It’s a good idea to carry some form of ID with you when going out in Hamburg, even though you may not be asked for it.
Where would you recommend?

If you’re looking for cheap cocktails and somewhere to party into the wee hours of the morning, check out Shooters on Große Freiheit off the Reeperbahn. This bar and club attracts a mixed crowd thanks to its affordable drinks specials; these are offered during Happy Hour, which last from 7pm to midnight. Live DJs provide the music.

For something a bit more chilled out, check out Presse Café on Susannenstrasse in Schanzenviertel. This café bar attracts plenty of locals who come to chat over reasonably priced cocktails, wine, beers and more. There are plenty of places to sit inside, but you’ll also find some great outdoor tables, perfect for people-watching on a warm summer evening.

Another cool spot in Schanzenviertel is Bedford Café on Schulterblatt. A lively bar, it draws in a talkative mix of locals and visitors. There’s plenty of live entertainment to enjoy here, including live bands on Mondays and a live DJ from Tuesday to Saturday.

Lehmitz on the Reeperbahn is another great spot to hear live music. This rock bar is pretty big inside, so there are plenty of places where you can sit with a beer and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere while listening to great music. If you’re feeling a little more active, there’s a foosball table for you to check out. Live rock and metal bands take to the stage here on a regular basis.

Anything else I need to know?
Well, did you know that Hamburg is one of the best places in the world to see world-class musicals and theatrical shows? A huge selection of performances take place at venues throughout the city and visitors can enjoy popular shows like The Lion King, Sister Act, Tarzan and many more.

Eating Out in Hamburg

Currywurst, a local speciality
Is it expensive to eat out in Hamburg?
It doesn’t need to be. You’ll find plenty of places in Hamburg offering cheap deals on daily specials, along with lots of other great offers that will help you keep your costs down.
Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
Visitors to Hamburg are in luck as there is a great selection of restaurants to be found all over the city. Check out neighbourhoods including Altstadt, Schanzenviertel and St. Pauli for a fantastic array of eateries serving tasty and affordable food.
Any places you’d recommend?

Sure! Make your way to Schanzenviertel and you’ll come across Moraba, one of the coolest spots along Susannenstrasse. The daily dinner specials are brilliant as you get huge portions of food including pasta, curry and more for really affordable prices. This spot is also a good place for breakfasts and lunch, serving up a selection of soups, sandwiches and more.

Another favourite in the Schanzenviertal neighbourhood is Chakra, also located on Susannenstrasse. Boasting a fantastic atmosphere and a tempting menu, this spot provides plenty of places for you to sit and enjoy your meal, including comfy window seats with a great view of what’s happening out on the street. The outdoor benches tend to be packed with diners on sunny days. If you’re a brunch fan, you’ll love this spot, and it should be noted that the pancakes here are particularly good. Other popular dishes include burgers, pastas and salads.

For breakfast, lunch or even just a quick snack, check out Café Estrella on Neuer Kamp in the St. Pauli neighbourhood. Step inside and you’ll see tapas dishes lining the counter, while sandwiches, quiche and a fantastic selection of sweet treats are also on the menu. One of the coolest things about this spot is that you can sit at the tables outside while you eat and watch the world go by.

Anything else I need to know?
If you’re looking to try a local speciality during your stay in Hamburg, why not sample some currywurst which is served up by eateries all over the city and is a cheap and tasty dish. This fast food dish consists of a cooked pork sausage that’s sliced and covered with curry powder and sauce. It’s usually served with some bread.

Transport in Hamburg

Bikes in Hamburg
What kinds of public transport will I find in Hamburg?
The main forms of public transport you’ll find yourself using on a trip to Hamburg are the U-Bahn, referring to the city's network of subway trains, and the S-Bahn, which is the city’s light rail system. Six S-Bahn lines operate across the city and there are three different underground lines. These are a great option if you’re looking to experience what Hamburg has to offer outside of the city centre.
Will I need to use public transport at all?
If you want to explore cool Hamburg neighbourhoods like Schanzenviertel or visit attractions like the Hagenback Zoo, you will have to use public transport. However, if you prefer to stick around the city centre, you will be able to walk to plenty of the city’s top attractions.
Anything else I need to know?
There are plenty of bike lanes all over Hamburg, so cycling is a great way to get around.
City Guides and Information

Video guides, travel podcasts, city maps & free city guides. What to eat, where to stay and things to do and see - our travel guides have it all.

Find a guide »
Latest Blog Post

4 Southern Hemisphere Trips to do Before you Die

Read more »
Great Value and Choice

We offer the most comprehensive selection of hostels on the internet with over 35,000 great places to stay in 180 countries. The ultimate online resource for hostels everywhere.

Find great value hostels »