Travelling to Hamburg

Fri, 26 Jul
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With a population of 1.8 million, Hamburg is the second biggest city of Germany and 8th in the EU. Hamburg was first mentioned in the 8th century and was also a member of the Hanseatic league until the 17th century, which was a trading alliance between the dominant cities along the north coast of Europe. The harbour, the biggest in Germany and 2nd biggest in Europe, has always been of great importance and remains a significant trading spot even today.

How to Get to Hamburg

Flying into Hamburg Airport (HAM)

HAM is the oldest and 5th largest airport in Germany, with roughly 15 million passengers handled annually. Hamburg airport offers domestic and international travel, most notably to destinations in north and south America, Asia, Africa and Australia

Getting from Hamburg Airport to the City Centre

Hamburg Airport is located just 8 km from the city centre and is therefore extremely easily accessible by a variety of public transport options and taxis. Line 1 of the S-Bahn (overground train) leaves the airport every 10 minutes and will take no longer than 25 minutes to access the centre. There are also a number of buses connecting the airport to the centre, the service costs €3 and takes 30 minutes. A great selection of taxi companies offers their services from outside the entrance. All of the taxis have been quality controlled due to the special licence plate that each taxi requires in order to service this journey. The fare for this journey varies in accordance with the time of day, but usually falls around the €30 mark and takes roughly 20 minutes without traffic. There is no motorway connecting the airport with the city centre, but there are two main roads leading directly into the city centre.

Trains to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof

Hamburg Hauptbahnhof is the biggest of 5 major train stations in the city. The station opened in 1906 and can accommodate up to 450,000 travellers, 720 local and long distance trains and 1000 S-Bahn trains every day! The station, together with Munich and Frankfurt, is one of the busiest train stations in Germany. Along with having excellent links with Denmark, the station is also a main hub for journeys going from the north to the south of Germany, as well as western and eastern lines.

Getting from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof to the City Centre

Hamburg Hauptbahnhof is located directly in the city centre. It is therefore an integral part of the inner city connections in Hamburg. From the Station, 4 S-Bahn (overground) and 4 U-Bahn (underground) lines operate and these lines can take you to every corner of the city. Given that the station is located in the centre of the city, most attractions can be reached on foot. However, there are two taxi stands outside the entrance of the Hauptbahnhof for those wishing to travel to other parts of the city.

Trains to Hamburg-Altona

Altona is located in the western borough of the same name and is the second biggest train station in Hamburg, used primarily as a terminus for long distance trains, especially southbound. The station serves around 100,000 passengers each day, which also include S-Bahn services within the city. The building is split into 2 sections, one for regional and long distance trains and 2 underground platforms for S-Bahn trains. Starting in 2023, there are plans to change the stations location to make way for new inner city apartments.

Getting from Hamburg-Altona to the City Centre

Altona is located 5.3 km from the city centre and the centre can be accessed by the S-Bahn lines S3 and S31 which leave the station every 7 minutes and take 14 minutes to get to the city centre. Other S-Bahn lines you can access from the station include the S1, S2 and S11, which connect the station with other areas of Hamburg outside the centre. The closest main road to the station is the E45 which takes you directly to the city centre in only 11 minutes without traffic. Outside the station, there is a 24/7 car park which can hold up to 476 cars.

Trains to Dammtort - Bahnhof

Dammtor is the third biggest station in Hamburg and handles the long-distance, regional and inter-city S-Bahn services, with a daily output of almost 800 trains. Despite the size of the station, Dammtor is referred to as a Halt Point - this is because no trains start, end or change directions here.

Getting from Dammtort - Bahnhof to the City Centre

Located just 1.3 km from the city centre, the S11, S21 and S31 connect Dammtor with all corners of the city. Dammtor is located one station north of the Hauptbahnhof and just a 17 minute walk to the centre. Driving to the centre will take about 8 minutes.

Buses to Hamburg Bus Port

Located directly next to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, Hamburg bus port is a main stop in the north of Germany for long distance bus travel, and services roughly 3 million passengers annually. This number is set to increase however, due to new routes being introduced into the market. The station was completely renovated in 2003 and consequently has won awards for its outstanding architecture. The main providers that service the area include German providers such as BerlinLinienBus, MeinFernbus, Flixbus and ADAC/Postbus that travel to almost all German cities. If you wish to travel further afield, Eurolines will connect you to other destinations on the continent. The most popular route is to Berlin and across all providers there are 30 journeys a day between the 2 cities.

Getting from Hamburg Bus Port to the City Centre

Located in city centre, most attractions can be reached by foot from the Bus Port. For connections to other parts of the city, the station is directly connected to U-Bahn station Hauptbahnhof Süd, which is served by U1 and U3. To reach regional and long distance travel via the nearby Hauptbahnhof, it is around a 10 minute walk. ZOB is serviced by the 3, 4, 5, 6, 109, 112, 120, 124 buses and the express buses (meaning extra costs) 31, 34, 35, 36 and 37.

Driving to Hamburg

The roads and motorways in Germany are some of the most efficient and well kept in the world and Hamburg is no exception. The A1, A7, A23 are the most important long distance routes into the city. The A1 is the connection to western Germany, the A7 connects Scandinavia with the South of Germany and the A24 is the connection to Berlin. Also, there is the A20 which goes past the sea line. There are a number of short Autobahnen (A21, 23,25) which are mainly used to get around the city centre and neighbouring cities. All Autobahnen have numerous exits to get into the city centre and the different boroughs.

How to Get Around in Hamburg

Public Transport in Hamburg

HVV (Hamburger Verkehrsverbund) is the provider of public transport within Hamburg and six neighbouring regions. Founded in 1965, it is the oldest public transport system in the world and is used by 1 billion passengers annually. There are 689 lines, 10,575 stations, 12,654 km in track length and over 3763 vehicles which encompasses the 5 zones (A-E). Central Hamburg is in Ring A+B; all U-Bahn stations lie within these rings and only some S-Bahn stations go further.

  • Public Transport Provider: HVV
  • Cost of a Ticket: Single ticket €3.10. A ticket for three rings is €5, for four €6.90, and for all five rings it’s €8.40. Day tickets start at €7.50 and go up to €18.70. There are also weekly and monthly tickets available.
  • Discounted Ticket Types: Students and the elderly qualify for discounted monthly tickets, and further discounts are available when purchasing a yearly ticket.
  • Availability of Public Transport at Night: During weekends and the night before public holidays, U & S-Bahn lines run all night. Only some regional trains offer night services as well. During the week, night buses are available.

Cycling in Hamburg

Hamburg is an extremely cycle friendly city, to the extent that there are 12 routes in the city especially designated just for cycling that connect the city centre with the surrounding boroughs. Within the city, the municipal service has made cycling all the more accessible with 123 rental stations littered around the city and offering 1650 bikes available to rent. The stations are usually located next to U or S Bahn lines, or major attractions in the city.

  • Official Municipal Bike Provider: StadtRAD
  • Rental Costs: Registration fee of €5, free for the first 30 minutes and then a cost of 4 cents per minute thereafter. it is approximately €1.20 per hour or €12 a day

Taxis in Hamburg

Taxis in Germany tend to be quite expensive and Hamburg follows suit. Having said that, it is still a popular way to get around the city.

  • Base Minimum Fare: €3.20
  • Cost: €2 per km. if your journey exceeds 10 km, it will be €1.50 per km

Driving in Hamburg

Driving is possible everywhere in Hamburg and is very safe and organised. As with most large cities, the traffic can be very congested around rush hours, which are usually during the morning and evening commute. Finding parking spaces within the city can also cause problems, and because of this a number of park and ride options have become available in recent years.

Walking Around Hamburg

Hamburg is an extremely pedestrian friendly city, and exploring it on foot is one of the only ways to discover areas of the historical harbour otherwise inaccessible by other modes of transport. On foot, the city centre can be crossed in just over 2 hours.

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About Hamburg

With a population of 1.8 million, Hamburg is the second biggest city of Germany and 8th in the EU. Hamburg was first mentioned in the 8th century and was also a member of the Hanseatic league until the 17th century, which was a trading alliance between the dominant cities along the north coast of Europe. The harbour, the biggest in Germany and 2nd biggest in Europe, has always been of great importance and remains a significant trading spot even today.

Quick Guide to Hamburg

  • Must Know: The city of Hamburg has an extensive transport system and so it is easy to get around, although it is most pleasant to explore the city by foot.
  • Must See: Take a stroll to see the famous port of Hamburg, grab some ice cream on a sunny day and take an hours boat tour with an English speaking guide.
  • Must Do: Climb the stairs of St. Michael’s Church to get a stunning view of the whole city.
  • Did You Know: Hamburg has more than 2,300 bridges - more than both Venice and Amsterdam combined.

Public Transport in Hamburg

The public transport system in Hamburg is extensive and efficient. Travel like a local and use one of the many public transport options in Hamburg, including the subway, ferry, bus, and bikes. To travel on the public transport system in Hamburg visitors will need to purchase an HVV card or ticket. The tickets are available to purchase online or at a vending machine at any of the subway, ferry or bus stations. There are a number of ticket options available from a one day pass that includes discounts at major tourist attractions, to a three-month pass. A unique public transport option in Hamburg are the red Stadtrad bikes that can be picked up and dropped off at a multitude of stations all around the city center. The bikes are free for the first thirty minutes and after that, they incur a fee for every hour of use. There are six ferry routes in Hamburg and these are a wonderful way to see the sites of the city from the water. Those wanting to get to their destination quickly will find the four routes of the U-Bahn, or subway, to be very efficient and easy to navigate within the city center. 

Walking Around in Hamburg

As Germany's second-largest city, Hamburg offers excellent opportunities for tourists to explore the city's historical attractions on foot. Especially during the warmer summer months, this is the best way to explore the Hamburg city center. With its history, culture, and size, Hamburg is hard to explore in a day. Thankfully, there are plenty of footpaths and meandering walkways to take you throughout the city. The Elbe Promenade route gives you a maritime tour of Hamburg, taking you to museum ships and across some of the city's most famous attractions. The Alster to Elbe route passes by stylish shopping outlets on Jungfernstieg and up to the majestic River Elbe. Along the route are monuments with a rich historical significance, including Alsterarkaden and the Alster swans. Other routes include the New Town route, which takes travellers through popular Hamburg cultural spots, and the Old Town Route that transports you to a historic age and even offers a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Outer Alster Route also makes for a scenic walk around Hamburg as it traverses the city's canals and passes by cozy cafes along the city's second-biggest river.

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