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Hamburg

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Travel Guide Europe Germany Hamburg

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Introduction

Rathaus- Hamburg

Rathaus- Hamburg

© All Rights Reserved Martinka

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, or just Hamburg, is the second most populous city in Germany, with almost 1.8 million residents. The metropolitan area has about 4.3 million inhabitants. It is a city state, with Niedersachsen just south of it, and Schleswig-Holstein to the north. It is one of the largest port cities in all of Europe, and the largest city in the European Union that is not a capital.

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Neighbourhoods

  • St. Pauli or the "Kiez" of Reeperbahn fame grew out of a certain underside of the Hafen culture. Ships coming into port brought many lonely men who were happy to spend their allowances on the "pleasures" of this neighbourhood. Today the tradition continues, St. Pauli being one of the few areas of the city with legal prostitution. Not to scare you off, the neighbourhood also boasts a number of fantastic bars and clubs, with some excellent music venues a la the early days of the Beatles. On Sunday mornings (before about 8:00am), head to the famous Fish Market on Landunsbrücken for an after party!
  • Lange Reihe is the heart of Hamburg's gay scene, with themed boutiques, cafés and murals to prove it. Heterosexuals can also enjoy the neighbourhood known for wonderful Asian cuisine and markets.
  • Jungfernstieg is the trendy area around the Innen Alster, the smaller of two lakes (really a dammed river). The Alsterpavilion is a fashionable place to enjoy an ice cream on sunny (and on rainy) days!
  • Altona has a chic flair all its own, with shops & cafés to enjoy during the day and hip clubs for the nighttime. Altona is also the proud centre of Hamburg's lesbian scene.
  • For an overpriced dinner in a floating restaurant or an even costlier (and suburban) place to live, head to Blankenese on the banks of the Elbe.
  • Sternschanze or "The Schanze" is the beautiful home of Hamburg's artsy and alternative crowd as well as Portuguese pastries to die for. Come here any time of day for delicious food and scene.
  • Hafencity - This is the biggest construction site in Europe. However, if you cannot wait for 2012 for your visit to Hamburg, this modern neighbourhood is already worth a visit.
  • Speicherstadt: The city’s warehouse district located in Hamburg’s port is a good place to take in some typical and historic architecture. Huge, impressive redbrick warehouses with ornaments, bridges and canals invite to long strolls. Some of the warehouses are still in use, storing tea, coffee, spices, carpets etc. You will sometimes notice exotic aromas not coming from one of the many restaurants and cafés but actually from one of the storage buildings. But of course the district is also home to many fancy loftstyle apartments, offices, restaurants and museums like the toy museum, the spice museum, the Afghan Museum and the German customs museum.

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Sights and Activities

  • A Virtual City Tour features over 20 great sights throughout Hamburg.
  • Hamburg Dungeon - If you fancy a glimpse of Hamburg’s history but you are not very fond of museums a visit to the Hamburg Dungeon might be ideal for you (the weather in Hamburg is quite changeable, therefore definitely do plan some indoor activities). This exciting but rather scary attraction is located in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, the warehouse district of the city’s port. The Hamburg Dungeon offers ten shows led by actors, which bring the dark chapters of Hamburg’s history to life. You can witness torture and execution, the big flood of 1717, the great fire of Hamburg and other scary stuff. All seems chillingly real, plus there are also two indoor rides, for those who need that extra bit of adrenaline. Maybe not suitable for really young children but otherwise definitely a great day out.
  • Alter Elbtunnel (old Elbe Tunnel) - This historic tunnel opened in 1911 and connects central Hamburg with the shipyards. Despite its name suggesting something more like a museum both its tubes are still in use and open seven days a week. Vehicles and pedestrians have to take one of the four lifts to get to the actual tunnel. Since this is not the most efficient way of transport other tunnels and transfer systems have developed as well. But the tunnel is worth a visit for its interesting architecture, especially on a Sunday, when only pedestrians and bicycles are allowed in the tunnel.
  • Vintage shopping - If you are out and about early on a Saturday visit the famous flea market next to Alte Rinderschlachthalle (old slaughterhouse) in the Schanzenviertel. It is open between 9:00am and 4:00pm and offers everything vintage and second hand from clothes, accessories to records and furniture: 1950s sofas and lampshades, 1960s records and 1970s leather jackets or just last season's handbags. The choice is massive and you need to be prepared to bargain for the best price but you can definitely find some rare treasures here. And afterwards you can have a relaxing sit down in one of the area’s many cafes and bars.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Miniatur Wunderland - the world biggest model railway exhibition. A world-famous model train and miniature exhibition

Around Hamburg

  • A day trip to Sylt - Technically speaking not exactly in Hamburg, this lovely island in the North Sea near the Danish border is famous for being the most northern spot in Germany and the preferred holiday place of Germany’s (nouveau) rich and famous. This might not sound too inviting to you but the island is absolutely stunning and more than worth the two and a half hours train ride from Hamburg’s Central Station. Yes, there is a direct train connection, to Sylt’s main town Westerland. (Trains run regularly every hour until late and since prices for accommodation on the island are extortionate a day trip is the best option). From Westerland station you can either walk directly to the town’s beach front or take a bus to the slightly more rustic places like Rantum or Hörnum, where you will find massive sand dunes covered in heather and lovely quiet beaches. Restaurants and beach cafés offer fresh, tasty (yet slightly pricy) seafood. Being a North Sea island the water is rather chilly but people do go swimming here in the summer in normal beach gear. With plenty of wind and waves it is also a popular destination for windsurfing.

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Events and Festivals

  • Port Festival (hafengeburtstag) happens every year on the second weekend of May in Hamburg. This festival features all different sorts of great events on the water, on land and in the air (parades of ships, a fair at the harbour promenade, fireworks over the harbour).
  • If you love German "Schlager" (german hit songs mostly from the Sixties and Seventies), take on your favorit flower power costume and be part of the Schlagermove. The 2010 Schlagermove will take place on July, 16.
  • Dockville is a festival for art and music, held since 2007 in August on Elbe Island Wilhelmsburg, the biggest river island in Europe. It is a relatively small three-day music and art festival with national and international acts playing in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Long Night of Museums (Lange Nacht der Museen) happens every year (this year on the 24th of April 2010). You get free entrance to several museums and can travel between them for free for the whole evening.

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Weather

Hamburg has a temperate maritime climate. Summers last from June to August when average daytime temperatures are around 20 °C and nights around 12 °C. Winters are from December to February and are around 2-4 °C during the day and slightly below zero at night. Precipitation is evenly distributed througout the year, with spring being somewhat drier and summers slightly wetter. Total annual amount is about 750 mm.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max3.5 °C4.4 °C8 °C12.3 °C17.5 °C19.9 °C22.1 °C22.2 °C17.9 °C13 °C7.5 °C4.6 °C
Avg Min-1.4 °C-1.2 °C1.1 °C3.3 °C7.4 °C10.5 °C12.7 °C12.5 °C9.6 °C6 °C2.4 °C0 °C
Rainfall64.4 mm42.4 mm62.9 mm45.6 mm53.7 mm76.9 mm74.7 mm73 mm68.4 mm63.6 mm69.4 mm77.7 mm
Rain Days12.19.211.38.99.611.311.410.210.810.511.712.4

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Getting There

By Plane

Hamburg Airport (HAM) (Flughafen Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel) is about 8 kilometres north of the city centre and mainly serves cities throughout Europe. Air Berlin has most flights, with destinations including Barcelona, Helsinki, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca, Rome, Venice and several German cities. Condor has a decent amount of flights as well. Several dozens of other airlines serve places like Moscow, Toronto, Istanbul, Malta, Paris, Dublin, London, Prague, Dubai, Amsterdam, Tehran, Budapest, Oslo, Vienna, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Luxembourg, Zürich and Lisbon. Easyjet serves routes between Hamburg and London or Basel-Freiburg.

To/from the airport

  • Rail: From the airport you can get easily to the city centre (Hauptbahnhof or Jungfernstieg) by the newly constructed S-Bahn line S1. Be aware: When taking the S-Bahn to the airport from the city centre you need to get in one of the first 3 wagons as the train is split in Ohlsdorf station.
  • Bus: The airport is also linked by some local bus routes to nearby areas as well as regular coach services to the cities of Kiel, Neumünster and Lübeck.
  • Car: Taxi stands are located on the arrival level in front of each terminal. Car rental companies offer a wide range of choice.

The nearest Ryanair airport with several destinations all over Europe is Hamburg-Lübeck. Although this airport contains "Hamburg" in its name, it is quite far from the city (about 60 kilometres). However, there are buses leaving from the Central Busstation (ZOB), Adenauerallee 74, meeting every scheduled flight. Traveltime is about 55 minutes, and the price for a one way ticket is 10€.

By Train

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has connections to other German cities. There are international trains as well, for example to Scandinavian cities.
There are several trains hourly to Lübeck (45 minutes), Kiel (1¼ hours), Hannover (1¼ hours) and Bremen (one hour). A direct service to Westerland on Sylt Island leaves every two hours (three hours).

There are direct IC connections to Berlin-Hauptbahnhof (1½ hours) and Cologne (four hours). Frankfurt is served hourly by the ICE train (3.5 hours), as well as Munich (six to nine hours). There’s a direct service to Copenhagen several times a day, but the only direct train to Paris is the night train.

By Car

The autobahns of the A1 (BremenLübeck) and A7 (HannoverKiel) connect Hamburg with other places in Germany and further beyond.

By Bus

Eurolines connects to several German cities, including Hamburg. The stop is at the Central Busstation (ZOB), Adenauerallee 74 (phone: 040-2804538). This is where you can also make reservations. You can also make reservations by internet.

By Boat

The Icelandic cargo ship Eimskip has two vessels, the Dettifoss and Goðafoss which travel the route Rotterdam-Hamburg-Göteborg-Århus-Fredrikstad-Tórshavn-Reykjavík. It takes 8 days in total and the return trip goes via eastern Iceland and Tórshavn only. The vessel can take a maximum of 3 passengers but only between mid-April and mid-October.

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Getting Around

By Car

As in most big cities free parking spaces might be difficult to find. There are several multi-story car parks in the city centre. Available lots can be easily found by following the car park guidance system. However, parking in a car park is rather expensive. If you come to Hamburg by car for a one day visit, try to park in one of the noumerous Park&Ride (P&R) car parks around the city and take the public transport (S-Bahn) to get inside the city. Parking in these car parks is free of charge. However, they are strictly reserved for those that intend to take the public transport. The P&R S-Bahn stations are marked on the S-Bahn map and any good city map.

By Public Transport

Hamburg has a good working and reliable public transport system. During the week and on saturdays most U-Bahn (metro) trains leave every 5 minutes. On sundays there are in generel less trains (1 every 10 minutes). Most S-Bahns (suburban trains) have a 10-minute frequency. All U- and S-Bahn trains stop at the Hauptbahnhof (central station).

If you are alone the best is to take a Tageskarte (one-day-ticket). Nearly all public transport stations in Hamburg lay in the so called "Großbereich Hamburg" (see public transport map). A one-day ticket ("Ganztagesticket") that allows you to go everywhere inside the Großbereich by public transport costst €6.30. If you start your visit after 9:00am, you only need to buy the "9-Uhr-Tageskarte" (€5.30). And if in addition you are a group of 2 to 5 people and you intend to stay together all day long, take the "9-Uhr-Gruppenkarte" that only costs you €8.95 for the whole group. All one day tickets are valid only the day you buy them until 6h the following day. They are NOT 24-hour tickets! If you come to Hamburg for 3 days, an alternative is the "3-Tage-Karte" that is valid the day you buy it as well as the two following days. It costs €15.60. For groups of 2 to 5 people it is however cheaper to buy a "9-Uhr-Gruppenkarte" for each single day (if you not intend to take the public transport before between 6:00am and 9:00am).
Special tickets that in addition give you discount at numerous Tourist attractions might be an alternative. See here for details.

By Foot

It is recommended to visit Hamburg by foot. Of course, if you have not enough time and you only want to visit some particular attractions it might be easier to get around by public transport. But if you have one or better two or three days and the weather is fine, walk!

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Eat

  • There are a lot of small bistro like restaurants and coffee shops around the university (U/S-Bahn stations Damtor, Messehallen, Schlump). For the richest, most exquisite Indian-esque cuisine in a breathtakingly romantic setting, head to Baluchistan on Grindelallee. (Make sure it's the original one, on the corner of Grindelallee & Martin-Luther-King-Platz.) Try the creative cocktails, perfectly flaky paranthas, and don't miss their creamy curries with nuts & dried fruit! At lunchtime, Baluchistan offers great deals out of their corner café.
  • Another (mostly) cheap option are the restaurants around the Sternschanze. Thai Cowboys is a great place for lunch, with filling, flavorful, cheap Thai standards in a nifty atmosphere.

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Drink

  • Hans-Albers-Platz: At the first glance the famous Reeperbahn might not seem like everybody’s cup of tea with stag dos and hen parties running around alongside other drunk tourists and locals. However, it should not put you off as you can find many cool bars and live music venues in the side streets. Hans-Albers-Platz (named after a famous German singer) is a popular nightlife spot. If you are not scared of tattoos, kitschy decoration and live music, check out Cobra Bar (Friedrichstraße 29) for example.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
A&O Hamburg Hammer KircheHammer Landstrasse 170Hostel82
A&O Hamburg HauptbahnhofAmsinckstra'e 2Hostel73
A&O Hamburg ReeperbahnReeperbahn 154Hostel73
Altan HotelBeim Grünen Jäger 23hotel80
Apartment-Hotel Hamburg HammBorstelmannsweg 133Hotel81
Appartementhotel HamburgWendenstr. 282Apartment-
Arcade-HostelKieler Straße 385 HamburgHostel82
Backpackers St. PauliBernstorffstrasse 98Hostel84
Hostel FangdieckFangdieckstrasse 55 HamburgHostel-
Hotel BeefangKirchenallee 26Hotel74
Hotel Budapester HofBudapesterstrasse 43 Paulinenstrasse 18Hotel78
Hotel FigaroNeuer Kamp 21hotel76
Hotel Helgoland HamburgKieler Strasse 173 - 177 22525Hotel-
Hotel LilienhofErnst - Merck - Straße 4hotel-
Hotel Lumen am Hbf.Steindamm 19Hotel-
Hotel MercedesSteindamm 51Hotel84
Hotel NordBremer Reihe 22hotel74
Hotel Residence am Hbf.Steindamm 24Hotel-
Hotel StephanSchmarjestrasse 31Hotel-
Hotel Terminus am Hbf.Steindamm 5Hotel-
Hotel Wikinger HofSteindamm 53Hotel79
Instant Sleep Backpacker HostelMax-Brauer-Allee 277Hostel79
Luebecker HofBremer Reihe 17Guesthouse-
MEININGER Hamburg City CenterGoetheallee 3-11Hostel84
Motel HamburgHoheluftchaussee 117-119Hotel81
Pension Kieler HofBremer Reihe 15 20099 HamburgGuesthouse79
WIRA GuesthouseLübecker Str. 25a 22087 HamburgGuesthouse-
Wira HostelKoenigstrasse 16aHostel-
YES! Youth, Education and Sport!Ahrenshooper Str. 5hostel-
Jugendherberge Hamburg-Horner RennbahnRennbahnstrasse 100Hostel80
Jugendherberge Hamburg-Auf dem StintfangAlfred-Wegener Weg 5Hostel82
Zwei Eichen Bed & BreakfastEichenweg 1 Holm-Seppensen, BuchholzGUESTHOUSE-
Kastanien HostelKastanienallee 27Hostel85
Hotel Marco PoloBörnestraße 14 S/U Bahn Wandsbecker ChausseeHotel-
Thaden 88Thadenstrasse 88 + 94 Schanzenviertel / St. PauliHostel-
Night LodgeBundesstrasse 8HOSTEL80
Generator Hostel HamburgSteinorplatz 3,HOSTEL84
KiezBude HostelLincolnstrasse 2HOSTEL81
A&O Hamburg CitySpaldingstrasse 160HOSTEL77
Arena Hostel HamburgFangdieckstrasse 20Hostel83
Boulevard Hostel HamburgHofweg 73 22085HOSTEL81
Superbude Hotel Hostel St. GeorgSpaldingstrasse 152Hotel87
Superbude Hotel Hostel St. PauliJuliusstrasse 1-7Hotel92
Letzter Heller Fair Price HostelLetzter Heller 11HOSTEL76
Living ApartmentsErichstrasse 53Apartment-
Pyjama Park Hotel & HostelReeperbahn 36 HamburgHOSTEL83
St. Pauli Lodge TownhouseDetlef Bremer Strasse 8 22767 HamburgHOTEL-
Schanzenstern Altona GmbHKleine Rainstraße 24-26HOSTEL-
Bedpark AltonaStresemannstrasse 117Hotel-
Mini Hotel an der MesseBundesstrasse 8HOTEL-
Bridge InnBillwerder Neuer Deich 2-4HOTEL80

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes (rates €1.50 to €5 per hour) are starting to become less common due to widespread offers of free wifi by shops, restaurants or cafes. Sometimes it requires minimum consumption but usually it's free within the premises. Phone shops will often offer internet access, too. In general hotels offer internet access. In several cities, projects exist to provide free "community" hotspots for wireless networking. Passenger lounges at some airports and central railway stations also provide internet access to their customers.

Several pre-paid SIMs allow Internet access for a monthly flat fee, for example those available at Tchibo coffee stores (o2 network, €10/month limited to 500 MB, €20/month for 5 GB) or Aldi (E-Plus network). A regular O2 sim card, which can be used for calls and text messages, is €15 and another €15 buys 1GB of data valid for 1 month. Vodafone offers a prepaid sim card for €25 which includes €22.5 of credit, out of which you can get 300 MB of data for 2 days for €15 and be left with €7.5 of credit.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international call prefix in Germany is 00. To dial out of Germany, dial 00, followed by country code, area code, and the telephone number (for example 00 44 1234 567890). If you're using a mobile phone, simply add the plus sign "+" before the country code to call out of Germany (for example +44 1234 567890). The general emergency number is 112 and the additional number for less emergent issues for police is 110.

Mobile phone coverage on the four networks (T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and o2) is excellent across the whole country. UMTS (3G data and HSDPA) and EDGE is also available. UMTS is still somewhat limited to urban areas. All mobile providers use GSM technology on the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges. If you stay for a longer period of time, consider buying a prepaid phone card from one of the mobile phone companies; you won't have trouble finding a T-Mobile (in a "T-Punkt"), Vodafone, E-Plus or O2 store in any major shopping area. In most supermarket chains (for example ALDI), there are prepaid SIM cards from their own virtual providers available. These are normally quite cheap to buy, but expensive for international calls (around €1–2/min), but incoming calls are always free and SMS cost around €0.09–0.19. They are available at: Aldi, Lidl, Penny, Netto, Tchibo, Rewe, toom. A registration via Internet or (expensive) phone call is necessary after buying to activate the SIM card.

The cheapest way to call abroad from Germany is to use the internet cafés run by immigrants. They sell special calling cards that give the best rate to certain countries as well as offer cheap international calls from phone booths. It is also the cheapest way to call landlines in Germany.

Post

Germany's postal system is very efficient, their logistics branch DHL is one of the best companies in this field world-wide, with domestic post or within a radius of 400 kilometres, send within a day. The website of Deutsche Post has an online calculator for postage fees as well as a post office finder. Stamps are available at post offices and sometimes at newsagents or shops selling postcards. Also stamp vending machines can be found at a lot of places around the cities. You can purchase every stamp you need from this machines. They are unique as they accept every coin from 1 cent to 2 euro but change is only given in stamps. It costs about €40 to send a small package to Australia and €1.70 to send an old-fashioned letter to any place in the world outside of Europe. Within Germany, sending postcards costs €0.45 and standard letters €0.55, within Europe it is €0.65 for a postcard, standard letters to places in Europe cost €0.75. Outside Europe, the prices for sending a postcard or standard letter are €1 and €1.70 respectively. Although you will find the old post offices (mainly in the city centre), most of the smaller neighbourhood post offices are part of a small tobacco shop or grocery store. For larger package, you might consider competitive private companies like UPS, DHL or TNT.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 53.553407
  • Longitude: 9.992196

Contributors

as well as MlleKosuch (14%), Unterwegs in HH (13%), Hien (7%), Lavafalls (3%), Herr Bert (3%), Sam I Am (1%), steff (1%), Sander (1%)

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This is version 91. Last edited at 9:25 on Jul 14, 14 by Utrecht. 62 articles link to this page.

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