This is your guide to the cool things to do in Hamburg.
We cannot wait to share with you our 17 secret things to do in Hamburg you won’t find in any travel guide – make sure you make the most out of them.
Those secret tips are written by friends for friends. This is NOT your full guide to show you around the touristic part of the city.
But if you fancy local secrets, then this guide is for you!
Overview of all Fun Things to do in Hamburg, Germany
- Evening Illumination Cruise through Harbor
- Guided Tour Elbphilharmonie
- Sex and Crime in St. Pauli
- For the Family: Miniatur Wunderland
- A hip Bar: have a drink at Möwe Sturzflug
- Yummy: Küchenfreunde with 10 tables
- The perfect breakfast place: Cafe Johanna
- Local Picnic at Park Fiction
- Listen to Hamburgs Music
- Red Light District
- Party on a boat – Frau Hedi
- World Famous St Pauli
- The Beatles
- Have a Fischbrötchen
- Hang out at the Harbour
- Chill at the Beach
- Herbertstraße and its Prostitutes
- Pyjama Park Schanzenviertel
- Instant Sleep Backpacker Hostel
- Generator Hamburg
- (Extra: Superbude Hamburg)
Let’s kick start this trip and start with a cruise:
1. Evening Illumination Cruise through Harbor
Have you ever heard about Speicherstadt?
It must be the most photogenic spot in Hamburg. Very beautiful!
Experience a beautiful evening cruise from the historical and romantically-illuminated Speicherstadt through the sea of light that is the Hamburg harbor.
Enjoy a great boat tour through the canals of the historic Speicherstadt and discover the highlights of Hamburg from the water.
2. Guided Tour Elbphilharmonie
Visit Hamburg’s new concert hall on this informative tour.
During the one-hour tour you will get a complete overview of this fascinating building and enjoy great views of the city from the Elbphilharmonie Plaza.
3. Sex and Crime in St. Pauli (Tour for ages 18+)
Sex and Hamburg, that goes in one sentence!
Hamburg is basically the Amsterdam of Germany.
Explore the red light district of Hamburg on this exciting 2-hour sex and crime tour in the St. Pauli district.
Hear anecdotes and details about the lives and loves in this district, and visit the boxing club in the basement of the “Zur Ritze” bar.
4. For the Family: Miniatur Wunderland
This is the worlds largest model railway; perfect for families!
The Miniatur Wunderland has been constantly growing since the year 2001.
Having started with two layout areas, Harz and Southern Germany, the Wunderland has opened the seventh area, Switzerland, in November 2007. More layout areas were opened in 2014.
The Miniatur Wunderland is without doubt a wonder, not only because of its landscape and surface area, but also due to the technology that underpins the exhibit.
5. A hip Bar: have a drink at Möwe Sturzflug
This must be one of the best bars in Hamburg.
If you want to get a seat on one of their comfy sofas, you should be there before 8pm.
Every day around that time, this secret bar fills all of a sudden with locals coming in for a beer or one of Möwe’s very distinct drinks (some of which contain apple-pie or pumpernickel).
Fun Fact: If you can pronounce the bars name, you might be a hero!
6. Yummy: Küchenfreunde with 10 tables
This tiny restaurant is the perfect place for a relaxed dinner with a friend.
Since they only have about ten tables, you will feel more like you’re sitting in someone’s kitchen than in a restaurant.
Küchenfreunde change their menu every week, depending on the season and availability of the produce they are looking for (and it all tastes great!).
Check their website kuechenfreunde.net for the weekly menu.
7. The perfect breakfast place: Cafe Johanna
Raw concrete walls combined with vintage furniture.
Imagine that with one of the best breakfasts or coffees you ever had and you’re at Café Johanna in St. Pauli. On a warm day you can also sit outside!
Also, sometimes they organize a kind of flea market here – pretty cool for vintage shopping!
Check out their website here.
8. Local Picnic at Park Fiction
You want to watch the cruise ships go by but don’t care for the crowds around the harbour?
Then buy your drink at a kiosk, bring a picnic blanket and find your place at Park Fiction.
There is always someone playing music, you will be surrounded by locals and there is no better view over the harbour.
This is a very local thing to do!
9. Listen to Hamburgs Music
Hamburg is an absolute music-town!
Here are a few songs to put on your Smartphone, Mp3 player, and whatever the cool kids are using nowadays.
I would recommend you to join a concert if you get the chance.
Famous bands from Hamburg are:
- Jan Delay
- Fettes Brot
- Samy Deluxe
- Fünf Sterne Deluxe
- Les Humphries Singers
- Jennifer Rostock
10. Another sexy Tour: Red Light District Tour
Go on a sexy tour of the neighborhood and see everything that the Reeperbahn has to offer – from 5-star hotels to drag queen bars.
Explore the private ‘St. Pauli Erotic Catacombs’ and hear riveting stories about the neighborhood.
11. Party on a boat – Frau Hedi
This is the best boat tour through the harbour you can get: A vintage launch with a DJ, cruising through the old and new parts of the harbour.
You can get off once an hour or stay on as long as you like.
Find more information about this boat tour at the official website frauhedi.de
12. Visit the world-famous FC Sankt Pauli
Whether you like football or not, this FC Sankt Pauli is one of the most unique football clubs in the world. It is not just any football all club.
While the footballers have enjoyed only modest success on the field, the club is widely recognized for its distinctive culture and has a large popular following as one of the country’s “Kult” clubs.
FC St. Pauli supporters are highly identified with far-left politics.
For sure you have seen their famous skull, the symbol of the club.
If you have the chance, visit their stadium and even a match.
Here’s a documentary about FC St Pauli. Click it, it is quite interesting and helps you understanding Hamburg and its culture a bit better.
13. The Beatles
You may already know that, but the Beatles became famous in Hamburg, Germany.
The original lineup of the Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best regularly performed at different clubs in Hamburg, Germany, during the period from August 1960 to December 1962; a chapter in the group’s history which honed their performance skills, widened their reputation, and led to their first recording, which brought them to the attention of Brian Epstein.
There is a famous “The Beatles Square” right at Red Light District.
There is even different tours in Hamburg dedicated to the music band.
At night, you should walk by the famous Beatles Square. It’s illuminated.
Here is a video of The Beatles live at the Star Club in 1962.
14. Have a Fischbrötchen
Eat like a local.
Eat a famous fish sandwich at the Harbor, near Landungsbrücke.
There is different types of fish sandwiches. Just have a look which one you like and get it.
Oh, and look out for the seagulls when eating. They like to scare people so they throw away their food. Just pay attention.
15. Hang out at the Harbour
Talking about Landungsbrücke, it is one of our favorite areas in Hamburg.
You can see the full harbour, hop on a cruise and even see the now-finished Elbphilharmonie.
See the tour above; scroll up.
16. Chill at the Beach
Hamburg has its own beach. Seriously, that is true.
It is a small beach slightly outside the city center. You can get here by walking, by bike or take the river boat.
Here is the address of the Elbstrand.
17. Walk the famous streets of prostitutes
The famous Herbertstraße is a well-known street in the St. Pauli district of Hamburg, located near the main red light district Reeperbahn.
It is the only street in the city where it is still possible to find prostitutes in “windows” as in the famous De Wallen district of Amsterdam.
It is said, women are not allowed in here.
I would not recommend any women walk through this street. There is stories of prostitutes throwing things at women walking through here.
As a guy, it is really an experience.
Just walk once through, have a look and then move in. At least, that is our recommendation.
Extra 18. Pub Crawl in Hamburg
Hamburg is renowned for its energetic nightlife, and no stay in the city would be complete without a trip to the infamous Reeperbahn.
From rock and roll to luxury lounges, from thumping clubs to the home of The Beatles and the Red Light District, the New Hamburg Pub Crawl takes you to see it all.
More tours and activities in Hamburg
By no means is this list complete. There is so much more to it!
Here you can find all tours and activities in Hamburg you can imagine.
Who wrote this guide?
Blogger Sarah presents you the best local recommendations for her hometown of Hamburg – authentic and free to download!
She lives in Hamburg and knows the city inside-out.
This is why we are sharing with you, our fellow travelers, those handy tips you won’t find anywhere else.
We added more of the best activities and things to do in Hamburg
More Guides to Hamburg
You can find more fabulous guides all over the web.
Here is a list of links we think you should take advantage of:
- 48 Hours in Hamburg – got only 2 days? The independent gives you a short intro to the cities best things to do
- A pinterest board with unique locations and hidden gems in Hamburg – easy to scroll and browse through
Enjoy the secret things to do in Hamburg, it is indeed a beautiful pearl to discover!
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Hostel Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries