Hamburg, most of us know it but how many of us have actually been? When thinking of European city breaks we tend to think of the usual suspects – London, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin etc. To be honest when Hamburg was first mentioned we thought of a heavy industrial port city, but how wrong were we!
With plenty of connections from the UK and a flight time of only 90-minutes from London, Hamburg is a very easy city to get to. Getting from the airport to the city centre is also very quick and cheap as there is a dedicated S-Bahn train service from the airport terminal to the central station, Hamburg Hauptbahnhof.
Unlike many UK cities, we found the trains clean and efficient and a perfect way of getting around.
Day One – Getting Our Bearings And Harbour Cruise
Often when we arrive in a new city, despite looking at all the guides we still haven’t got much of a clue where everything is, how far apart the sights are and how easy is it to actually get around. So on arrival in Hamburg, we headed straight for the city centre and the Rathaus (Town Hall), we still love that name.
We took the U-Bahn to get there and surprisingly most of it is above ground. The U3 Line gave us the first great views of the waterfront, Elbphilharmonie concert hall and the Port of Hamburg.
As mentioned, when we were on the U-Bahn we had already passed the waterfront and the Landungsbrücken area, this is where most of the harbour cruises are based. The sun was out, so we headed there to try one of the harbour tours and have good look around the port, one of Europe’s busiest port.
You can read how we got on here Hamburg Harbour – Hafenrundfahrten in Hamburg.
That night we ended up having a drink in Clouds – Heaven’s Bar & Kitchen, it sits on the top of a new building at the start of the infamous Reeperbahn. We had fantastic views over Hamburg as the sun went down (the top picture was taken from the rooftop bar).
Day Two – Chocolate, Ships and Minature Railways
The second day was slightly more overcast and colder so it was perfect weather to visit the indoor attractions and museums. There’s nothing better than starting your day off with a visit a chocolate museum – mmmm chocolate for breakfast.
The Chocoversum is a guided tour in which they take you through the whole process of making chocolate and ‘YES‘, you get to make your own chocolate bar!
Next, it was the Maritime Museum – The Internationales Maritimes Museum. The museum is in the oldest preserved warehouse of the Hafencity quarter of Hamburg, Kaispeicher B. The museum is split into ‘9 decks‘ which show the maritime history from over 3000 years ago up until the present day including an interesting section on ocean research and a disturbing display on whale hunting complete with some vicious looking harpoons.
Finally, it was our last couple of hours and what could be better to round off any sophisticated city break than a visit to a model railway. But this was no ordinary model railway, it was the famous Miniatur Wunderland – the largest model railway in the world with over 20,000 metres of track.
We stayed at the Heikotel Am Stadtpark near the green and peaceful Stadtpark area. A comfortable, contemporary hotel with fitness centre and parking. It was very reasonably priced (including breakfast) and less than 5 minutes from the nearest train station. Although the hotel was in a quiet neighbourhood there were quite a few very good restaurants within a 10-minute walk.
Our 48 hours in Hamburg turned out to be a great couple of days. We had no idea Hamburg was going to be so dynamic, interesting and above all, fun. We were really glad we visited.