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Hamburg Holidays

Waterfront charm in Germany

Famed as Germany’s largest port and with a bustling economy, you might think that Hamburg is all about business. However, you’d be wrong. On Hamburg holidays, visitors will discover a destination packed with culture, culinary surprises and waterfront views. Vestiges of pre-war Hamburg dot every district, from its 17th-century bridges to its 19th-century Town Hall. The reconstructed St Nikolai church tower offers sweeping views of the city, while the Speicherstadt district has seen centuries-old warehouses transformed into funky apartments, which attract a cool, arty crowd. Hamburg’s a real city in motion, where contemporary media and technology industries thrive, yet it reveres its historic past.

Numerous museums are dedicated to topics as diverse as maritime history and immigration, while the Hamburg Museum details the city’s rapid growth over the years. While days can be spent getting a cultural fix, nightlife options on holidays to Hamburg are plentiful, too. Evenings are electric, with a range of live gigs (everything from classical to electro-pop) and plenty of bars for weekend partying if you want to let loose. Food is another highlight, and local specialties include fried fish and kale and sausage, not to mention the sweet treat ‘Franzbrötchen’ (a buttery cinnamon roll). For a break that brings together the best of historic and modern Germany, Hamburg makes for a memorable trip.

Explore our map of Hamburg

Your Hamburg questions, answered

Berlin has Berliners, so Hamburg has, yes, Hamburgers. Pronounce it correctly (and avoid any confusion with the meaty dish) by stressing the ‘a’ when you say it.
It doesn’t have to be – like any big city, prices vary hugely, so visitors should find a range of dining and cultural offerings at price points to suit every wallet.
Hamburg can be visited any time of year and there’s always something going on in this lively city. The summer months are the most popular and, while it can be crowded, the weather isn’t usually too hot and it’s nice to be able to sit on the waterfront terraces or take a boat tour. It’s also the season when there’s a lot of music and cultural festivals. Spring and autumn are mild and the attractions are less busy, or you could visit over the festive season for the Christmas markets.
Not at all. In fact, the name dates back to the 9th century and a castle built under the Emperor Charlemagne, but eventually it lent itself to the popular sandwich.
Hamburg is perhaps best known for its harbour, which has made it an important transport hub. It’s Germany’s gateway to the world. As Germany’s second-largest city, it also hosts a lot of the country’s cultural landmarks like museums and theatres, as well as offering an impressive array of shopping. Music fans may know Hamburg as a city with a lot of festivals, and many of them are held in the St. Pauli area, which is famous for its live music venues. And, of course, the Beatles started out here.
You can explore the major attractions of Hamburg in around three days. A long weekend will give you enough time to visit museums and art galleries, enjoy some shopping, and take in some cultural activities and lively nightlife. However, if you can extend your holiday in Hamburg for longer, you can spend more time exploring, take a boat trip, and take day trips such as visiting Lubeck to see its famous gothic architecture.
Kids will love the Miniatur Wunderland, one of the world’s largest model railways that has lots of little details to spot. The Alter Elbtunnel is also an interesting walk, and kids won't be able to resist exploring this long tunnel under the city and learning about its history. Tierpark Hagenbeck is a zoo and aquarium where they can see lots of exotic animals, while the Planten un Blomen park in the inner city gives them a place to run around and enjoy some fresh air.
Alstadt is one of the most popular places for visitors. This old town area has plenty of charm, with a mixture of traditional and modern architecture, and it’s central and well-connected. St. Pauli is popular with backpackers and younger travellers, as it’s close to the best nightlife and is a colourful, arty neighbourhood. Neustadt is also central and has pretty riverfront walks, great shopping and international restaurants.
There are many fast and inexpensive ways to get around Hamburg, and public transport is very efficient and reliable. You can take an underground U-Bahn to get around the city, and this connects with the S-Bahn which is mostly overground and can take you to the airport and the outskirts. You can even get around the harbour using the cheap commuter boats, which are a fun way to see the city.

All resorts in Hamburg