Hamburg Germany

Taking Cruise out of Hamburg Germany May 1st 2013. Will only be there for 3 full days before leave on cruise. If you were in Hamburg for 3 days, where would you go, what would you see, where would you stay??? Can we(husband and myself) do all these things without renting a car? Where's the best place to find a good map just of Hamburg? I have never left the USA and hope this is the first of many trips.
Excited and scared.

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2511 posts

Janet, first of all Hamburg is the single most beautiful city of Germany. So congratulations for having the chance to stay there for three days. Well, as with every city in the world the first place to find a map is Google Maps (click here). Then of course every hotel will provide you with a free map - and you get a free city map from the shelves at the baggage reclaim at the airport. Send me a private message withy your budget for a hotel and I'll suggest a few in excellent location. In Hamburg you can do everything by walking or using public transport. One full day you'll be busy discovering the main sights of the city. One full day you should reserve for a day-trip to Lübeck. It's an easy, one-hour's train ride and you get to discover one of Europe's richest cities and actually the capital of all Northern Europe in the 13th and 14th century (!). And yes, there are still buildings from that area around. Also Hamburg is a great shopping and of course night-life city.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9134 posts

If there's a kid hiding inside either of you or your husband, go to Miniatur Wunderland. And if not... go there anyway. It's amazing. The nearby maritime museum is also worth a visit. The main municipal art museum is also one of the stronger of its kind in Germany. And of course, there's this street called the Reeperbahn, that you may have heard of... There's no reason to rent a car in Hamburg. Not sure of your budget, but I've lodged at Hotel Baseler Hof, right around the corner from the Binnenalster. There's a Four Seasons hotel that has a Binnenalster view, but it's very expensive.

Posted by Janet
Colorado, USA
509 posts

We have, to date, only had part of a day to spend in Hamburg, but we took the hop-on, hop-off bus tour and really enjoyed seeing the city. You might do that first and perhaps see some places to which you'd like to return. I also strongly second the day trip to Lubeck. We spent a couple of nights there and really enjoyed it. Since it's your first trip, you will have a wonderful time no matter what you decide to do. Enjoy it!

Posted by Jon
Cincinnati, OH, USA
241 posts

Glad to hear others are visiting Hamburg; it is a marvelous city that doesn't get much discussion on the Rick Steve's site. You can get a very good map free at the Hamburg Tourist Board when you arrive or you can visit the Hamburg web site ( We visited there in April 2011 and stayed at the NH Hamburg Norge. It is not a Rick Steve's genre boutique hotel; as it is a very contemporary design and rather large, but very comfortable, super close to a rail station (about a 2 minute walk) and a dynamite breakfast buffet. We hope to return to Hamburg next spring and will stay at the NH Hamburg Norge again. You won't need a car unless you will be going well outside the city; the rail system is good and inexpensive. A Hamburg Card available and allows you to use all public transportation as many times as you want, the cost in 2011 was €8.90 for a single one day pass and better still a Group pass (2 is a group) for the day for €13.90.. The Hamburg Card plus Region is €29.90 (in 2011) and will allow you to ride all public transit within the greater Hamburg region. You and your husband could see a lot of the area for € 29.90. In the city center you might want to visit the St. Nicholas Church; it is quite a poignant reminder of the devastation in Hamburg during WWII. Even though you are going on a cruise, take a few hours and ride the various river taxis from stop to stop, you'll get a great view of various parts of the riverfront. While on the riverfront visit the Old Elbe Tunnel sometimes called St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

Hi Janet - I really liked Hamburg and wished I had been there for more than 3 days. I second the visit to St. Nicholas's Church, which was bombed during the war. It's a beautifully preserved war memorial. HafenCity (Harbor City) is a cool place to see too - it's a new development of residential and commercial buildings and is full of contemporary architecture. Hamburg's symphony is located there and the building was designed to look like ocean waves. Take a walk and/or a cruise by/on the Alsters (Aussenalster is the bigger one and Binnenalster is the smaller one). If you like museums, Hamburg has lots. Read about what looks interesting to you.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7213 posts

I like Hamburg's Rathaus (city hall) more than any other city in Germany. Hamburg is a major (and historically significant) port and trade center; there is a tour of the harbor by boat as well as shipping/history museums that you might enjoy. If you're interested in history related to the reformation, you can visit a church where Martin Luther preached. St. Pauli (think St. Pauli Girl brand beer) used to be a red-light district but I think it's gone trendy and upscale these days. I'm not sure I consider Hamburg the most beautiful city in Germany, but it is bustling with plenty to do and see.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9134 posts

"St. Pauli (think St. Pauli Girl brand beer) used to be a red-light district but I think it's gone trendy and upscale these days." Maybe parts of it, but based on my stroll along the Reeperbahn one night, at least on that road and the immediate side streets leading off of it, it still has plenty of the vice that made it infamous. Bars, clubs, brothels, strip joints, sex shops and Spielotheken galore.