After the capital of Berlin, Hamburg is Germany’s 2nd largest city, and also one of its most important since it’s a massive link to the country’s waterways. It’s also the link to popular islands like Neuwerk and Scharhörn at Elbe estuary’s mouth. It’s watery importance is why the Port of Hamburg (the Gateway to Germany) is the city’s most iconic sight, covering an area of roughly 100 square kilometers between the Norder and the Süderelbe rivers. Aside from its transport importance, Hamburg is becoming a boom spot for world-class attractions.
Top Attractions in Hamburg
If you’re keen on checking out the world’s largest model railway, the Miniatur Wunderland has a day-trip to-do for you. Covering a whopping 1,150 square meter of land, this model train ‘exhibit’ has unique demarcated areas for the USA, Scandinavia, and Germany to name but a few “stops”. The airport with its operating miniature planes is well worth seeing, but make sure you reserve your tickets well in advance, it’s loaded with tourists.
The Port of Hamburg
The Hamburger Hafen is most widely recognized as the Gateway to Germany, and as such is the city’s top attraction. This tidal harbor covers 100 square kilometers, all of which can be explored in the water with a boat tour that departs from Landungsbrücken. The Köhlbrandbrücke, bridge that spans along the harbor is well worth seeing, but as is the Warehouse District where you can stroll down the quaint pedestrian trail.
You’ll find Hamburg’s City Hall located in the center of old town, you literally won’t miss the Renaissance building next to the Stock Exchange. You can join a guided tour of the 647 room building. Also worth visiting is the cosmopolitan Mönckebergstrasse, the city’s prime shopping and business district. Here you’ll get the opportunity to see St. Peter’s Church, which dates back to the 14th century, its 133-meter high tower competing for your attention in the skyline.
Don’t think this destination will be anything like a ghost tour, but it will be an experience you’ll never forget. The Ohlsdorf Cemetery is the world’s largest, covering 966 acres of land. The cemetery grounds are home to 12 chapels, the Hamburg Commonwealth War Grave Commission Cemetery among the tangible history in the air. The cemetery sees roughly 2 million visitors a year, not only for the monuments and museums, but also for the pleasant garden routes that cover over 17 kilometers of roads.
The Great Lakes
The Inner Alster and Outer Alster, Hamburg’s two big focal points that connect to the rivers Alster and Elbe, is where you’ll find the city’s prettiest city square. The passagens Pedestrian Area is equally as lovely. While you’re in the vicinity make sure you see Jungfernstieg for its cafés, the Ballingdamn with its massive shopping center, Pöseldorf for its canals that link to the river Elbe. The lakes themselves are sailing havens in summer and skating paradises in the winter months, but they’re surrounded by picturesque parks and gardens, so there’s a lot to explore besides just the water.
If you’re looking to experience a day out in spots like the Old Botanical Garden and the Kleine and Grosse Wallanlagen, Wallringpark is where they can be found. Planten un Blommen has to be the highlight of the area though, covering 116 acres of land and dating back to 1821. During the day you won’t find a more tranquil place, and come sundown it plays host to the most beautiful water-light concerts and musical performances, so check to see if something’s happening while you’re in town.
Königsplatz is one of Munich’s most popular squares and dates back to 1862. This is where you’ll find loads of great things to see like the Kunstareal district with its great museums. Some of the highlights here include the Old Picture Gallery, the New Picture Galley and the State Gallery of Modern Art. Some of the most beautiful churches can also be found here and include Baroque Theatine Church of St. Cajetan and the Ludwigskirche with its high twin towers.
The Tierpark Hagenberg is the city’s zoo, located in the suburb of Stellingen. The zoo dates back to 1907 when it was founded by Carl Hagenbeck, his descendants still running it today. As a first in the world, the Tierpark Hagenbeck gave animals more free-range area with their innovative ditches dug around enclosures instead of traditional cages. Make sure you get around to the Planetarium Hamburg that can be found in the old water tower.
The English Garden
As the largest city park in Germany, the English Garden of Munich covers an area of 910 acres, basting more than 100 bridges and beautiful scenery, which is why it’s also one of Germany’s prettiest parks. You really experience a mature natural landscape here with the quaint streams and artificial lake that complete the picture. The park is home to 36-kilometers of pathways and 13-kilometers of bridle paths, which is why it’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. The park is home to a collection of great attractions like the Bavarian National Museum and the Bavarian State Archeological Collection.
The town of Ahrensburg lies roughly 23km northeast of Hamburg, and it makes for a great day-tip destination. Schloss Ahrensburg, the town’s famous old castle, would be the main reason you’re traveling here, as it’s the best spot to get a taste of life back in 1595. Most of the furnishings are in their original form, which makes this modern day museum a must see!
The Regions of Vierlande and Marschlande
Located about 10km southeast of Hamburg you’ll find the Vierlande and Marschlande regions, known for their beautiful landscapes and small villages. Billwerder, in Marschlande, has to be one of the most popular and it’s also near the Boberg Dunes and the Achtermoor Bird Sanctuary. Make sure you see the 36th century Schloss Bergedorf with its Museum of Bergedorf while you’re in Vierlade.