The bucket list for Hamburg Germany!!
Before we reveal the ultimate bucket list for Hamburg Germany, let’s learn a little more about the city itself. Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and is better known as the, “Gate to the World.” This city is home to one of the largest ports in the world: a port of exit for millions of Europeans who immigrated into various countries throughout North America.
As a port city, Hamburg has a rich history in industrial sea trade with docks all across the globe (all this water makes me want to visit Germany’s highest waterfall in Triberg). One former resident of Hamburg, Nina Ahmedow, grew up in this picturesque city and gives you her ultimate bucket list for all the sites that you absolutely must see while visiting this scenic, northern city.
1. The Speicherstadt
Since 2015, the Speicherstadt, or Hamburg’s old warehouse district, has been designated a UNESCO, World Heritage site. It is the world’s largest historical warehouse district and was built between 1883 and 1927. This district was first commercially used in 1888 when, the first building was completed.
What makes this area unique is the fact that it was built along a canal, to facilitate the loading and unloading of any small boats, that brought cargo to the larger ships stored in the warehouses.
Some of the neo-gothic buildings found here, are now home to museums, such as the Afghan museum, the spice museum, and the customs museum. All of these areas of cultural interest are indigenous to Hamburg, since this city was not only where rugs from Iran and Afghanistan were stored, but also where spices arrived from all over the world, and where officials tracked down and punished any potential smugglers. And if you think a customs museum sounds boring, it’s not!! Learning about all the different ways that Hamburg residents tried to avoid paying hefty customs fees is actually pretty exciting and something you do NOT want to miss.
2. Explore the Rivers and Lakes
A really nice way of getting close up view of the gorgeous buildings in the Speicherstadt, is to meander through the local waterways, on a tourist boat. Hamburg offers several sightseeing tours, but don’t spend a lot of money on these when it’s just not necessary. Yes, there are many harbor boat tours that are specialized for tourists, but why spend extra money when you can simply take the local ferry, that is included in the public transport system. If you take public ferry line 62, you will be engulfed by a multitude of beautiful views that capture the nautical mystique of this historic port city.
If you are interested in an Alster boat trip, you will have to pay for that. The only way around that would be to rent a boat and make the trip yourself, but you could easily get lost. Therefore, just choose one or two of the scenic boat tours that sail around the lake and through the canals. From these boat tours, you will get an up close and personal view of the enormous mansions and picturesque gardens that give Hamburg both distinction and charm.
3. Old Elbe Tunnel
A completely different historical site is the Old Elbe Tunnel which connects the neighborhood of St. Pauli with a small island in the river Elbe. This tunnel can be crossed by car, bike, and even on foot (if you explore the tunnel by foot or bike, then it’s free). For tourists, the best to appreciate this monument of architectural beauty is by slowly walking through this tunnel. Take your time and admire all the intricate details that are testament to the beauty within this structure’s construction. As you ascend and descend through the tunnel, try not to use the elevators. Instead, take the old spiral staircase and witness all the finer details that went into this tunnel’s construction.
4. St. Nicholas’ Church
Another impressive site in Hamburg is St. Nicholas’ Church. At one point, this church was actually the tallest building in the world. However, this neogothic building was damaged heavily during Allied air raids on Hamburg in WWII and now, only the ruins remain. Today, these ruins stand as a tribute to all the innocent people who were victimized by the tyranny and violence of the Nazi regime. Take time to explore the entire complex and don’t forget to take the glass elevator to the top of the church, where you will find a magnificent view of the entire city.
5. Explore Nature
Hamburg is a very green city and has many parks. Planten un Blomen (low German for “plants and flowers”) is in the very center of the city. It features a lake and several gardens and hosts several events in the summer. Entrance to the park is always free, and you will absolutely love it here when the weather is good.
The Alster is actually a small river, but when people in Hamburg use the term, they are generally referring to the local, man made lake. Walking around the Alster lake is a nice alternative to sightseeing, since you can see the beauty of nature, right along side some stunning examples of local architecture, like several city consulates. Walking around the Alster will also allow you to appreciate the beauty of Hamburg in a whole new way, from several different vantage points around the lake.
6. St. Pauli Neighborhood – Red Light District
As a port city, Hamburg is world famous for its red light district. Ports and prostitution go hand in hand, so it’s no wonder that the St. Pauli neighborhood, near the port, is the center of Hamburg’s sex industry. While I don’t recommend that you partake in any of the services offered, this area does have some cool clubs that are located just outsid
e the red light district (the red light district itself is crowded with tourists who flock here every weekend to party and get drunk). Simply stroll along the main street of Reeperbahn and go directly to any of the clubs that interest you.
By day, this area has several museum ships and an old Soviet submarine that you can wander through on a pleasant afternoon.
More About the Author
A big thanks to Nina Ahmedow for all her hard work!! Currently, Nina Ahmedow is an expat living in Athens, Greece. Half Bulgarian Turk, half German, it’s always been difficult for her to fit in so she developed a passion for seeing the world. Nina is interested in living conscientiously and cares deeply about ethical fashion, veganism, minimalism, feminism, and environmentalism. To learn more about Nina and her various passions, click here for a look at her personal website.