Move over, Berlin, Germany's got new capital of cool. Book a flight from the UK to Hamburg to discover this hip harbour city for yourself.
Hamburg has a few claims to fame. It’s the birthplace of Karl Lagerfeld and is also where the Beatles kick started their career: in the infamous Reeperbahn red light district. Surprisingly beautiful with an easygoing, confident vibe, Hamburg is a dream destination for a long weekend.
Airports in Hamburg
Hamburg Airport (HAM) is the fifth busiest airport in Germany. It has two terminals: confusingly, Terminal 1 is the newest and was completed in 2005. In typical German fashion, it's very environmentally friendly. Rainwater is collected for use in the toilets, while the ThermoLabyrinth uses ground temperature to reduce the use of air conditioning.
Airlines that fly to Hamburg
BMI Regional, British Airways, Sun Air of Scandinavia, easyJet and Eurowings offer flights from the UK to Hamburg.
Getting into Hamburg
The S-bahn (overground train) line S1 connects the airport to the Hauptbanhof train station. Single tickets cost €3* (about £2.20), and the journey takes 25 minutes. When you're going back to the airport, make sure you sit in one of the first three carriages. Trains divide at Ohlsdorf, so if you're sitting in the last carriage you might find yourself in the suburb of Poppenbuettel.
There are taxi ranks outside the airport. You can expect to pay around €20-30* (about £14-£22) depending on where in the city you're going. Public transport in Germany is excellent, but if you really want to cut loose on the autobahn you can rent a car at Hamburg Airport. There are seven car hire companies to choose from, and you can compare prices on car hire at Hamburg Airport the easy way with Skyscanner.
*Prices subject to change
When to visit Hamburg
Summer (May-September) is definitely the best time of year to visit Hamburg. The temperatures soar and everyone heads outside to enjoy the leafy parks and dine al fresco. This is the peak time to visit Hamburg, so make sure you book your flights and accommodation well in advance to get the best prices. Although it's literally freezing in December, with temperatures apt to drop below 0°C, this is also a great time to visit the city. The Christmas markets are in full swing, so you can sip glühwein, munch on gingerbread and sausages, and browse the cute craft stalls until your heart's content. Hotel prices tend to remain steady all year round, as plenty of people visit the city during spring and autumn. There are still some good deals to be found, especially if you compare hotels in Hamburg with Skyscanner.
What to see and do
There's never a dull moment during a city break to Hamburg. You'll find plenty to keep yourself occupied, whatever you're into.
Water, water, everywhere
Hamburg's importance throughout history grew out of its port, which has been an important trading hub since the Middle Ages. Hamburg owes a lot to the sea, and a love of water is apparent everywhere you look in the city. There are small river beaches to enjoy during the summer months, where you might spot a few Germans celebrating their 'free body culture'. Leafy river banks and pretty lakes provide lots of places for a relaxing stroll. Boats chug along the canals while charming waterside cafes and restaurants serve up tasty food, and Germany's most famous export: beer! You can explore the city by steam boat on an organised tour, or hire your own paddle boat for an afternoon on the Elbe.
Buzzing bar scene
The nightlife in Hamburg is fantastic and varied, with something to suit every breed of party animal. The St Pauli district is home to the Reeperbahn, surely the first stop on any stag or hen party. As well as hosting a few seedy establishments, Hamburg's infamous red light district is also home to trendy bars, bawdy cabaret shows, and some fantastic spots to catch a bit of live music. You never know, you might discover the next Beatles. For a more low key night out, head to the hip Schanzenvierte neighbourhood. There are also some great bars near the harbour, where you can sit outside and enjoy views across the river as the sun sets.
Festivals & Culture
Hamburg has a fantastic cultural scene, with plenty of live music bars to visit of an evening as well as a wide range of annual festivals. Visit the Hamburger Kunsthalle to see paintings by the likes of Rembrandt and Munch, or take in the underground art scene at Rote Flora: an old theatre that has been squatted by left-wing artists since the 80's.
Where to stay
Hamburg is a massive city, and each district has its own character and charm. Your experience of the city will differ based on where you decide to base yourself, so choose wisely! We've put together a quick guide to some of the city's most popular neighbourhoods.
Hotels in Hamburg's Altstadt (old town) and Neustadt (new town) are great if you like to be in the heart of the action. This part of town is home to the shopping street Mönckebergstraße as well as the imposing rathaus (town hall) which hosts a range of events during the summer months.
Arguably Hamburg's trendiest neighbourhood, hotels in Schanzenviertel are perfect for hipsters. Ethnic restaurants, excellent bars, and loads of alternative art galleries make this part of town a must visit if you want to get a taste for Hamburg's edgy side.
Party animals will love hotels in this vibrant neighbourhood, as the Reeperbahn will be just a short stroll from your door. Vaudeville sgiws, interesting shops, and Beatles history make this part of town a must visit even if you do decide to stay somewhere a little quieter.
Harbour City is a new development on the banks of the Elbe, where futuristic skyscrapers meet historic warehouses. Hotels here are a good choice if you're looking for a bit of peace, quiet, and luxurious surroundings.
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Airports near Hamburg International
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