Germany has many wonderful places to visit, and Hamburg is certainly one of them. The perfect blend of nature and city, it offers a range of activities and opportunities to embrace. Although a wealthy city, there are many free moments to be embraced. The greatest appeal is its stunning waterside and impressive history. For such a large urban area, it is rare to find such a local atmosphere. But Hamburg is a large city, and some guidance to navigate the highlights can be useful. So read ahead to find out the things to do in Hamburg.

The Harbor is one of the top things to do in Hamburg

The Harbor is the hub of Hamburg. Proudly showing off its naval routes, the city encourages visitors to the waterfront through a combination of alluring markets, shops, stalls, cafes, and restaurants. Locals and tourists gather here to embrace the dynamic buzz of the place. There is an energy rooted in its strong history, which created and developed the city around it. The market stalls that settle here are well worth a visit. Exploring them to sense a genuine atmosphere and find authentic gifts and souvenirs.

Harbor Hamburg

However, the things available at the harbor are more than those to buy. Wander around or sit down and watch the scene. Take a walk around the bridges and canals that lie between the red-bricked buildings- this is classic Hamburg scenery. Just viewing it is the perfect way to get a feel for the city.

The energy of the waterside is addictive and will keep you there for hours. So take it slow and walk past the old ships that line the walkways. You can go onto some and watch the river from onboard. Embrace both the history and the humming moment of the harbor – it is possibly one of the most worthwhile things to do in Hamburg.

Take a Ferry Ride

The Elbe is the river that flows through Hamburg. In the harbor, you can easily find somewhere to take a tour on it. There is hop on, hop off tours or shorter ones that journey up and down the river. Some are more luxurious than others, bigger and old-fashioned. However, smaller ones can journey down the Speicherstadt – the narrow waterways that are a typical symbol of Hamburg.

hamburg ferry

In the marine style of Hamburg, some ferries act like buses. You buy tickets in a similar way, and their purpose is to take you directly from A to B. These might not have the tourist, sightseeing function, but they go onto river like any boat tour. It doesn’t matter where you go, just be sure to get out on the water. Grab a beer from a local shop and stand out on the deck. Go in the evening – watch the harbor-side settle down into night time activity. Or look ahead and look at the sunset light dimming over the water. It is a definitive moment of Hamburg to be held and appreciated – almost free, simple, slow and individualistic.

Explore the Neighborhoods

If you’re looking for the classic hipster scene –Schanzenviertel is the place to go. This area is the perfect place to explore all things bohemian and folksy. The streets are filled with graffiti, adding raw and vivid features. It contributes to the general artsy atmosphere, merging naturally with the record stores and laidback cafes. In general, prices are lower, and the character of the place feels more local and original. Visit the flea market in the area. Rifle through the overflowing tables and find hidden gems in the second-hand stores. Embrace the friendly feel – talk to local owners and get the inside Hamburg advice.

As in any city, Chinatown is always worth a visit. With Shanghai as a twin city, Hamburg has strong ties to China and embraces its culture. Energetic, dynamic and colorful, it is an exciting area of Hamburg. Find out for yourself – explore the numerous neighborhoods of Hamburg. Take local, spontaneous advice and ride the public transport system to find your favorite spot.

schanzenviertel hamburg

All these neighborhoods can be explored using Hamburg’s metro system. The S-Bahn runs all day, from 5 am in the morning to 1 am at night. Best of all, it runs all night on weekends. Want to explore the nightlife of a neighborhood? No problem – Hamburg offers you the flexibility to just jump a train. If in doubt, there are a range of buses, always running, during the daytime and the night.

Free Walking Tour

Like many cities in Europe, Hamburg offers a free walking tour. Two hours long, it takes you around the city landmarks, explaining the extensive history of the place. Led by local guides, they offer unique descriptions and explanations of the past and consequent present of the city. Join one to learn more about the main sights from experienced perspectives. It is an excellent way to find out for yourself the things to do in Hamburg. Get a general idea of the main landmarks and identify the places you want to return to independently. Taking you from the town hall to the harbor, it’s a central route. You could easily do it alone. However, why not use this opportunity? A cheap way to embrace Hamburg – although it’s technically free, be sure to leave a tip!

landmarks Hamburg Germany

Go out!

Hamburg is a great place to go out. Embrace the renowned nightlife and visit the famous Reeperbahn. It is known as “the most sinful mile,” this is home to Hamburg’s red light district. It once established the place to go for sailors arriving in the harbor and looking for entertainment during their stay. Aside from its dynamic history, the clubs of Hamburg line these streets. Be sure to be involved in this central energy, mingle with the crowds and explore the unlimited bars, pubs, and clubs drawing you in. Jump between them and find your favorite place. Regardless of what music you’re into, you’ll find somewhere you like in Hamburg – accommodating big parties or more chilled venues.

hamburg nightlife

5 am Fish Market

After a night out, it is traditional for people to flock towards the fish market. The perfect excuse to stay up all night, grabbing a fish sandwich in the early hours is one of the most typical things to do in Hamburg. Watch the sunrise in the harbor or join the gatherings of people in the auction hall to watch live bands and listen to music. For early morning, chilled fun, it’s the place to go and listen to covers of old German pop songs.

fish market hamburg

Hamburg is a beautiful and energetic city of Germany. There are traditional avenues to be explored, as well as small and unknown paths to be taken. With its endless possibilities, you can easily form your route through Hamburg. It is refreshing to experience an urban area that denies the claustrophobia of many cities. The waterside and natural beauty of Hamburg balances the activity and life of the center. The result is a perfect combination – city and nature, peace and vibrancy – creating an endless list of things to do in Hamburg.


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