Named Germany's gateway to the world, and boasting a rich maritime and trading history, the vibrant, bustling city of Hamburg is famous for its fine dining, exclusive shopping and elegant hotels. With an abundance of architecture, exciting music and cultural scene, there's seemingly a million and one reasons to visit this cool, cosmopolitan city.

Top Sees for a Fee

Even if you're not a train enthusiast, there's still tonnes of fun to be found at Miniatur Wunderland, the largest interactive model railway in the world. Filled with a variety of miniature model scenes depicting different cities, villages and eras, there's everything from interactive airports to skyscrapers, all crafted with an incredible level of detail.

Kehrwieder 2-4, Block D, 20457 Hamburg. Tickets: Children under 16: 7.50; Seniors Seniors (ages 65+) 13; Adults 15.

Miniature Wonderland, Hamburg

Capture Instagram-worthy snaps around the charming Speicherstadt complex - one of the largest port warehouse districts in the world. Home to carpet, coffee and tea traders, this historic UNESCO World Heritage Site is stacked with striking red brick buildings alongside the Elbe river. Take a stroll along the network of narrow cobblestone streets, canals and bridges, stop off at one of the many coffee shops and restaurants or pay a visit to the chocolate, spice or coffee museums.

Chocolate Museum, Meßberg 1, 20095 Hamburg. Tickets: Adult 12-17, child 6-17 10-12.

Wasserschloss in the Speicherstadt, Hamburg

One of Germany's biggest zoos, growing from a collection of seals in 1848 to over 210 different animal species today, Tierpark Hagenbeck is home to everything from elephants to orangutans and toucans to tigers. Famous for being the first zoo 'without bars', get up close and personal and see alligators and sharks in a tropical aquarium, feed elephants by hand and journey into an arctic-themed polar world.

Lokstedter Grenzstraße 2, 22527 Hamburg. Tickets: Adults: 20,00 €; Aquarium: 14; Combined ticket: 30. Children aged 4-16: 15; Aquarium: 10; Combined ticket: 21.

Hamburg Zoo is home to walrus, polar bears and king penguins


Top Sees for Free

Escape to a leafy oasis in the centre of the city: Planten and Blomen, 47 hectares of lush urban park. Home to one of the largest Japanese landscaped gardens in Europe, explore a variety of themed gardens, including a tropical house and rose garden with over 300 different types of rose.

Tea house in the Japanese garden,with a view from the pond, Planten and Blomen, Hamburg

Pack a picnic and head to one of the free classical concerts hosted daily in the park during the summer, or in wintertime take to the ice on one of the largest ice-skating rinks in Europe. From puppet shows to pony rides and musical fountains to theatre shows, there's plenty for a fun-packed day out.

Water feature in Planten un Blomen

Explore the historic port area of St. Pauli's Landungsbrücken and discover how Hamburg earned its title as one of the leading maritime capitals in the world. As the third largest port in Europe, this major transport hub handles 138 million tonnes of cargo each year.

Watch the hustle and bustle of the shipyards at work, admire beautiful waterfront buildings and see huge cruise liners, ferries and tankers sail along the River Elbe.

Container Terminal, Port of Hamburg-Waltershof

Fill yourself with festive cheer with 30 different Christmas markets to choose from during the festive season. Head to the largest, the traditional 'Weihnachtsmarkt' set against a backdrop of the magnificent city hall.

Try traditional spiced Aachener Printen cookies and Nuremberg gingerbread and shop for hand-crafted decorations. See old-fashioned carousels, catch a colourful Christmas parade and look out for Santa's sleigh zipping over the market stall rooftops.

Hamburg Christmas market

Getting Around

Hamburg boasts an ultra-slick public transportation system - known as the HVV - which provides a wealth of different transport options.

The city's extensive bus network will take you where you need to go, or you can even take a harbour cruise or ferry from Landungsbrücken. Get from A to B quickly and conveniently using the U-Bahn – the underground – which runs a 24-hour service at the weekends.

Hamburg airport can be easily reached using the S-Bahn - suburban train - in around 25 minutes from Hamburg's central station.

The city also has a well-developed cycling infrastructure and you can pick up a bike from StadtRAD Hamburg, the local city bike programme, which has over 120 service points around the city.

U-Bahn station, Elbbrucken

Going Out

Perfect for party people, Hamburg's eclectic nightlife spans the whole spectrum, with a colourful range of venues and a lively, diverse music scene.

Head to the entertainment district of Reeperbahn for its legendary neon-mile of nightlife, including everything from uber-cool basement night clubs and cocktail bars to cabarets, galleries and musical theatres.

Take a trip to Hamburg's famous fish market on a Sunday morning – a must-see when visiting the city - to experience the buzzing atmosphere of the old fish auction hall, live bands and beer.

Hamburg fish market

Summer brings a scorching line-up of free events to the city with a lively mix of music and street festivals.

Art, culture and gastronomy combine in the ten-day Duckstein Festival in July when you can find street performers and aerial acrobatics alongside fine dining and barrels of Duckstein beer.

Duckstein Festival, HafenCity


Budget: Conveniently located in the vibrant district of Sternschanze, Pyjama Park Hotel and Hostel boasts shops, restaurants and bars on its doorstep. The bright, zesty rooms feature a TV and shared or private bathroom while highlights include a bar with nightly DJ sets and rooftop terrace.

Reeperbahn 36, 20359 Hamburg, Germany; Phone: +49 40 314838; From £36.


Nestled in a quiet corner of the city while still near to the lively area of St. Pauli, contemporary three-star Hotel St. Annen ticks all the boxes for a relaxing break. Highlights include a trendy wine bar, landscaped terrace and local transport links.

Annenstr. 5, 20359 Hamburg; 00 49 40 3177130; From £85.


The epitome of luxury and elegance, the historic five-star Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten is set in the heart of Hamburg. Rooms feature Blu-ray players and Nespresso machines while facilities include an art-deco bar and grill, Asian-fusion eatery and lake-view terrace.

Neuer Jungfernstieg 9 - 14, 20354 Hamburg; Phone: 00 49 40 34940; From £207.

The Japanese-Peruvian design restaurant NIKKEI NINE at the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg


Fact File:

Currency: Euro - £1 = €1.17.

The Flight: Manchester International to Hamburg International (HAM) – Flights from £36. 1hr 45mins with EasyJet.

Time Zone: GMT+1.

Best Time to Visit: Hamburg tends to get cold winters and warm summers, visit between April and September when the weather is milder.

Visas/Injections/Precautions: None required.