This post is also available in: German
If you happen to visit Hamburg a lot of people will tell you that it is one of the most expensive cities in Germany. This is right if you take a look at the rental rates and the cost of living for residents and compare it with the rest of the country, but for visitors there are a lot of opportunities to enjoy the city even with a small budget. With this list of free things to do in Hamburg you are busy for 2 full days and you have only to pay for the public transportation system!
Let’s start with the only thing you have to spend money for in this List: the public transportation system. If you come to visit a big city, you usually arrive at the airport or the central station – i guess the first thing you do to come to the place where you’ll sleep is to buy a ticket for the public transportation system. Also in Hamburg this is the cheapest way to get from one point to the other – but it’s also great to discover the city:[divider_padding]
1) A roundtrip with the U3[note title="The HVV:" align="right" width="315"]…is the name of the transport Association in Hamburg. On the website you have the chance to download the network plans, you can checkout the prices and you have a tool to create your personal schedule.
More info at HVV.de.
First you need to get an overview – with your day ticket (i’d recommand the 9 a.m. Day Ticket for 5,50€, it’s valid until 6 a.m. the following day) you have the opportunity to use the Metro(“U-Bahn”), S-Bahn, Busses and even the harbour ferries unlimited. The Subway in Hamburg is not like in other cities, because most of the time it drives above the ground and you can see a lot of the town just by leaning back and look out of the window. One more advantage: you drive like the locals and get in contact with them or just watch them on their daily hustle and bustle.
So: enter the yellow subway with the number 3 (U3) and make a roundtrip! This line is the only circle line in Hamburg and crosses all interesting sights in the innercity e.g. the central park, the alster, the harbour, st. pauli…[divider_top]
2) Free Harbour Roundtrip
Enjoyd the roundtrip with the subway? Ok, now it’s time to get out of the train and see the harbour! Luckily the U3 has a station directly at the touristic spot in the harbour: the Landungsbrücken. As mentioned above you can also use the harbour ferries with your day ticket, so keep away from the expensive touristic boat trips and got to the waterside where the ferries have their stops.
Just watch out for the “HVV” signs and take the boat with the number “62″ and the destination “Finkenwerder”, after entering the ship you’ll drive through the harbour area of Hamburg and you come to see big docks, refurbished warehouses, the fishmarket, the historical harbour “övelgönne” and of course the big container terminals. After your arrival at Finkenwerder don’t leave the ship, because mostly it’ll drive directly back to the Landungsbrücken after a short break.
3) A Walk Through Speicherstadt & Hafencity
You like to see where goods were stored in former times and you’re interested in modern architecture? Then this walk is a must do. It starts not far away from our last stop, the Landungsbrücken. Move on to the old Warehouses located not far away from the station “Baumwall” and make a walk through the quarter. Directly next to it you enter the area of the “Hafencity”, a complete new quarter of Hamburg builded up from scratch with very modern architecture
At the moment it is the biggest european urban construction project. I come to this area nearly every 3 months to see how the work is going on and i come to see new buildings every time i’m there ;)
Use also the chance to visit the free museums, here you get more information about the project and you can see models of the building that are under construction: the Kesselhaus, the Überseequartier Info Pavillon and the Elbphilharmonie Information Pavillon.
4) Old Elbe Tunnel
This tunnel was the technical sensation of the year 1911: the first time people in Hamburg were able to cross the Elbe underwater through a tunnel. Today there is a even bigger one located a few kilometres away from this place but the old one is still in service. Nowadays it is popular by tourists and is used for special events like the Elbtunnel-Marathon or art exhibitions.
The entrance is not far away from the Landungsbrücken station: go there and cross the elbe underwater! On the other side of the tunnel there is a nice viewpoint where you have a beautiful view to the skyline of hamburg with the touristic harbour in front of it.
5) Relaxing at Stadtpark and Planetarium
Fed up with water and ships? Ok, my next recommendation is to see the green area of hamburg! For this you need to take the U3 again, this time to the station “Borgweg” – directly next to it you can access the central park, called “Stadtpark”. Big grass areas, nice designed gardens and a little lake are a perfect surrounding for a recreation break.
But don’t miss out to visit also the Planetarium located in an old watertower on the western edge of the park. You can access the plattform on the top of the building for free – from there you have a fantastic overview of hamburg!
6) Walk around the Alster
Mohan P J via Compfight
If we speak about water in Hamburg we also have to speak about the Alster lake, located in the center of the town. It is surrounded by beautiful parks and restaurants – take your time for a walk around the outer alster and watch sailing ships passing by. You can start your walk from the station “Jungfernstieg”, not far away from the town hall.[divider_top]
7) The Michel
As mentioned in this article hamburg has a lot of nice churches to visit. The most popular is the St. Michaeliskirche a.k.a. the “Michel”. You can enter it for free and admire the opulent interior. For a fee of 4€ you can enter the plattform at the top of the tower where you have a stunning view over the harbour and the innercity.
Anything to add to 7 free things to do in Hamburg? More suggestions?
I love to hear them! Just share it below in the comment section – I will add the additional tips from time to time.
About the Photographer
All the stunning pictures of this post are taken and edited by Jan, a friend of mine. If you like to see more of his work checkout the post “In Pictures: the Cook Islands” and visit his Flickrstream!