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Hamburg Visit: Must-See Hamburg Sights and Hamburg Nightlife

Despite being the second-largest city in Germany, Hamburg often flies under the radar, even though there are many excellent Hamburg nightlife spots and things to see. Most German tourists travel to the capital of Berlin or the mountainous regions in the country’s southern area. But Hamburg is a fascinating city well worth a visit. If you’re planning a Hamburg visit, this guide covers must-see sights, Hamburg nightlife spots, and recommendations for the best Hamburg neighborhoods.

As someone born and raised in the metropolitan region of Hamburg, I have many tips and tricks for things to do while visiting Hamburg, and I will answer all your questions about “Is Hamburg safe?”

Hamburg is known as the “Gateway to the World” in Germany due to its history as a trade city with one of the largest ports in the world. Locals also consider it “the most beautiful city in the world” or their “pearl.” While some might debate its reputation, it’s undeniable Hamburg deserves more attention from international tourists visiting Europe than it currently receives.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Things to Do During a Hamburg Visit


One of the best things to do when you travel to Hamburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Speicherstadt (“warehouse city”). Hamburg gained economic prosperity by trading spices, tea, coffee, and carpets. Of course, these had to be stored somewhere, so the city eventually built the Speicherstadt. The red-brick buildings are pretty impressive, and there are many fantastic photo opportunities if the weather is good.

The Solo Guide to Hamburg | Visiting Hamburg Solo

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Hamburg ToursClick here to check out the top Hamburg tours
Best Hamburg Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Hamburg
Best Hamburg Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Hamburg

Five Main Churches

From the Speicherstadt, you can walk through the city center to see Hamburg’s five main churches.

St. Catharine’s Church is famous for being the second oldest building in Hamburg and home to an organ played by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Hamburg’s main churches, except for , were destroyed and rebuilt during World War II. The remains are now an impressive war memorial, and you can take the elevator to the top for a fascinating view of Hamburg.

Hamburg’s prominent landmark is (St.-Michaelis-Kirche, lovingly nicknamed “Michel”). You can climb up the 450 stairs to the top of this baroque church or take the elevator—if you can, I recommend taking the stairs to see some of the tower’s details.

The Solo Guide to Hamburg | Visiting Hamburg Solo

The last two of Hamburg’s five main churches are St. Peter’s and St. Jacob’s. You can see all the principal churches on a walk through the city center.


Any decent guide to planning a Hamburg visit has to highlight the city’s canals. Hamburg is proud to have more canals than Amsterdam and Venice combined, and exploring the city from its waterways provides an excellent overview of the local history and culture.

There are various routes—the most traditional one, the Alsterrundfahrt, provides marvelous panoramic city views. All the cruises start from Jungfernstieg, where you can also visit the gorgeous City Hall.


You can’t visit Hamburg without walking through the city’s port, which gives Hamburg its unique character. You can walk around the port area or visit one of the boats and ships now serving as museums. There’s even an old Soviet submarine you can see if you’re not claustrophobic. For one of the less common things to do in Hamburg, walk through the Old Elbe Tunnel to the other side of the river for magnificent city views.

My top tip is to use the public transport ticket to get on one of the ferries—there’s no need to pay for a cruise ship here. Take one of the public ferries and enjoy the marvelous river views. Lines 62 and 64 are great for seeing the old part of the city, while line 72 takes you to the impressive Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg’s newest landmark.

The Solo Guide to Hamburg | Visiting Hamburg Solo


Hamburg is a very green city with many parks to walk through or enjoy a picnic if the weather is nice.

Planten un Blomen is a popular park with different gardens and greenhouses. In the summer, you can attend one of the free water light shows or concerts every night.

Hamburg’s Stadtpark is home to the city’s planetarium and a summertime concert venue. Many locals come here for picnics and barbecues when the weather is good.

There’s also the . You may find it strange to stroll through a graveyard, but Germans love the quiet atmosphere here. Ohlsdorf Cemetery is the second-largest cemetery in the world and even has two bus lines.


Blankenese is one of the most quaint Hamburg neighborhoods—it used to be a fishing village but eventually became one of the city’s most affluent areas. Its location in the hills by the Elbe River and the tiny alleyways give it a somewhat Mediterranean atmosphere. It may not be a top destination for most people visiting Hamburg, but it’s worth a trip if you have extra time and the weather is good. You can even take a walk along the beach.

best area to stay in hamburg where to stay in hamburg

Quick Tip: View my full Europe packing guide here.

Hamburg Nightlife: Is Hamburg Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Hamburg is famous for its red-light district, one of the largest in the world, but it isn’t the only Hamburg nightlife option. On the contrary, Hamburg has one of the best party scenes in Europe. There’s something for everybody, and the metro runs all night on Fridays and Saturdays, so it’s much easier to get home safely.

Best Bars for Hamburg Nightlife

Hamburg nightlife is excellent, and if you want to go for drinks, there are many bars in the popular Schanzenviertel. It may be gentrified now, but it is still, at heart, the center of the leftist movement in Hamburg. If you’re in the city on a warm summer night, Schanzenviertel is one of the best places to meet people, as many come here with drinks to chat on the main street, Schulterblatt.

One of the best Hamburg neighborhoods for drinks is the LGBTQI-friendly area of St. Georg. It’s in the heart of Hamburg’s gay scene, but everybody is welcome.

There’s also picturesque Ottensen, where you can find great cocktails for €5 during happy hour. If you have several days to visit Hamburg, get drinks in all of the best Hamburg neighborhoods.

Musical Performances

Hamburg is famous for its musicals—everything from small productions to elaborate performances of The Lion King. Be aware that all of the shows are in German. The city is also excellent for concertgoers, especially if you travel to Hamburg alone.

Guide to Hamburg,Hamburg nightlife,Hamburg visit,Hamburg neighborhoods

As the home of The Beatles (not their hometown, but where they first started playing professionally), Hamburg is famous for live shows. You can see performances in every musical genre, but I suggest checking the dates when you book your flight to purchase tickets.


St. Pauli is a tourist magnet that you should check out at least once. In the Reeperbahn’s side streets, you can find quirky little bars that play all kinds of music. However, female solo travelers may want to avoid this area.

The best clubs in Hamburg are a bit further from the red-light district. Under the Sternbrücke bridge, you will find underground clubs such as Waagenbau—near the Schanzenvierte; you can dance the night away at one of my favorite Hamburg nightlife spots, BernsteinBar.

Since people usually hit the clubs around midnight in Hamburg, they tend to stay out from 5:00 to 8:00 a.m. Many people go clubbing in Hamburg alone, which can be an excellent opportunity to meet other travelers.

How to Get From the Airport to Hamburg Centre

The metro system connects to the airport, so you can reach Hamburg’s Central Station within 30 minutes. Depending on where you’re staying, you may have to change lines, but Hamburg’s metro system is easy to navigate. You can also book a Hamburg airport transfer if you don’t want to deal with public transportation.

On the way back to the airport, get on the first half of the metro. The train is split at Ohlsdorf, from where the two parts go in different directions. Don’t worry—there are announcements in both parts of the train in German and English, so you will still have time to change if you’re in the wrong part of the train.

Using Hamburg Public Transport

You will probably walk a lot during your Hamburg visit, as many of the city center’s sights are best explored on foot. Given the size of the city, you’ll probably also use the metro or bus to get around. You can buy single tickets, day passes, or weekly tickets—there’s also a Hamburg Card, which includes entry to some museums. You can take one of the various night buses or a taxi at night. And on the weekend, the metros run all night.

Hamburg Accommodations

You should book accommodations in Hamburg as soon as possible because prices are high and places get booked quickly. This is especially important if you want to find a comfortable, budget-friendly place to stay. Airbnb is also a popular option in Hamburg, and many lovely rentals are available for a reasonable price.

Best Hamburg Neighborhoods

In terms of neighborhoods, you have many options, so it depends on personal preference—there’s no best place to stay in Hamburg. If you’re staying further from the center, ensure a nearby metro stop will take you downtown.

One of my favorite Hamburg neighborhoods to stay in is Eimsbüttel. It’s quick and easy to get to the city center from this area, but it’s still a quiet residential neighborhood. Accommodations here are cheaper and give you an authentic taste of daily life in Hamburg.

Where to Stay in Hamburg:

Hotel Boritzka
YoHo – The Young Hotel

Is Hamburg Safe? Safety Tips for Travel to Hamburg

Hamburg is generally considered a safe city, though pickpocketing is common in tourist areas, especially Reeperbahn. Try to avoid protests in the city—the evening of May 1st isn’t the time to explore the Schanzenviertel!

With its many bars, strip clubs, and busy entertainment scene, the Reeperbahn area can be pretty rough around the edges. Physical fights are common on weekend nights, so it’s best to know where you’re going and avoid arguments.

Women are prohibited from entering Herbertstraße, the street at the heart of Hamburg’s red-light district. While it’s illegal to enter, a big sign states that women and teenagers younger than 18 are prohibited. So even though you can legally enter the street, you might get yelled at or threatened—I recommend avoiding this area altogether.

Hamburg Travel Guide Planning

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m traveling?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Final Thoughts on Hamburg Nightlife and Must-See Sights

While not many people plan a Hamburg visit during their European vacation, it’s a great place to explore. From unique architecture to an extensive network of waterways, there’s something for everyone in this charming German city. Solo travelers visiting Hamburg will appreciate how easy it is to navigate and the 24-hour metro service during the weekends.

The Solo Guide to Hamburg

Guide to Hamburg,Hamburg nightlife,Hamburg visit,Hamburg neighborhoods

About the Author

Nina is a cosmopolitan vegan traveler raised in Germany but has lived in Athens for almost six years. She is the voice behind Lemons and Luggage, a travel blog dedicated to illustrating the diversity in travel and offering an alternative perspective to male-dominated travel content creators.

As a progressive Muslim feminist traveler, Nina writes without exotification or cultural appropriation.

You can follow her social media accounts on InstagramFacebook | Pinterest | Twitter  | YouTube