is famous for its luxurious shopping streets, elegant hotels, and fine dining restaurants, but the city also has plenty of options for the budget-wise traveler. Here are the best attractions and sights that no Hamburg traveler should miss – all for free.
1. Hamburg Harbor
Hamburg is a harbor city – its port is the third largest in the world, after London and New York, and it's a great spot to start exploring the city. Stroll along the waterfront called "St. Pauli Landungsbruecken" and snack on a budget-friendly fish sandwich, which is sold down here at various stands. Close to the pier you’ll find the historical warehouse district of Hamburg, the world's largest warehouse complex (subway station "Baumwall"). The 100-year old warehouses with their signature red brick stones and steeped gables store coco, spices, and silk. If you come here in the the early evening you can see colorful light projections that create a magical atmosphere on buildings, bridges and canals.
Fresh seafood, exotic fruits and nuts, and teas from all over the world – Hamburg's Fischmarkt
is a must for every foodie. The open-air market, right next to the historic fish auction hall, is open on Sundays between 5 and 9 a.m., so get up early to get the best buys just off the boat. The bustling atmosphere of the 300-year old market is unique.
Take a walk through Hamburg's 100-year old underground Elb-Tunnel, situated at the western end of the pier. Opened in 1911, this historic landmark is 0.3 miles long; it brings you to a small island where you can enjoy the spectacular view of Hamburg's cityscape.
The baroque church of St. Michaelis is the signature landmark of Hamburg. "Michel", as locals like to call the church, was built between 1648-1661 and is one of the most famous churches in the North of Germany; its white and golden interior seats 3000 people. Climb the spiraled top to enjoy sweeping views of the Hamburg cityscape and harbor.
5. Alster ArcadesHamburg is famous for exclusive shopping, and the elegant Alster Arkaden is one of the most picturesque places for your retail therapy or some wishful window-shopping. The historic arcades, inspired by Venetian architecture and lit by wrought iron lamps at night, lead you along the canals to Hamburg’s central square and its richly decorated city hall.
Visit Hamburg's future in "Hafencity", the largest urban building project in Europe of the 21st century. At 155 hectares, this harbor city within a city is expected to double the population of downtown Hamburg with thousands of new waterfront apartments, gleaming high-rises, stores, restaurants and a new symphony. The ambitious project will be finished in 2025, but you can already get a glimpse of some of Europe’s most visionary architecture here.
Hamburg’s most famous street is the Reeperbahn
, the notorious thoroughfare of the city’s legendary entertainment and red light district. The eclectic mix of bars and restaurants along with strip clubs and erotic museums draws visitors from all walks of life, from night owls and students, to theatergoers and tourists. It even brought the Beatles here in the 1960s, who started their international career in a club off of Reeperbahn. There is even a newly designed Beatles Square at the street corner of Reeperbahn/ Große Freiheit.
Take a deep breath in Hamburg's green scene, the park "Planten un Blomen". It features a Botanical Garden and the largest Japanese garden in Europe. Throughout the summer months, you can enjoy free water-light concerts, theater performances, and festivals in the park.
Since the 14th century, Hamburg hosts the DOM, one of the largest open-air fun fairs in the north of Germany. Celebrated three times a year (spring, summer and winter) for a whole month, you can bring the whole family for ferries wheels, roller coaster, concerts, and fireworks.