HAMBURG

Hamburg and fries.

hamburg travel guide

Hamburg boasts the most bridges of any city in the world.

Hamburg is located in the Central European time zone (CET) which is GMT+1. This means that Hamburg is 6 hours ahead of New York and 1 hour ahead of London (not calculating for Daylight Savings).

If you are a citizen of a country in the EU, you don’t need a visa to travel to Germany. All you need is a valid passport or an ID card.

For non-EU travelers, you will need:

A passport or travel document. Issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least three months beyond the date you plan to leave Germany.

Valid visa. If required.

Proof of adequate funds for the entire stay in Germany. Travelers must be in possession of at least €45 for each day they plan spending in German territory.

A round-trip ticket to Germany and back.

You will present these documents to German border police upon arrival.

In 1985, the government of Germany signed the Schengen Agreement, meaning that it became part of the European border-free area.

You must apply for a Schengen Visa if you are:

A citizen of a third-world country that has not reached a visa liberalization agreement with the EU.

A citizen of a third-world country that has reached a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states, but you were rejected from entering a Schengen country visa-free.

For more information, check out Schengen Visa Info.

Hamburg Airport (HAM) is located 7 miles from the city center. 

There is a train station underneath the airport that travels to the main train station downtown, Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, in about 25 minutes. 

There are several bus services available from the airport with routes to various areas in the city.

Taxis are widely available outside the airport as well.

The Hamburg S-Bahn is a train system that services the entirety of Hamburg. There are 6 lines across 68 stations. Tickets can be purchased at the stations themselves, and most trains leave about every 5 minutes.

Hamburg is considered fairly safe for solo travelers, but you should keep an eye out for pickpockets in areas like Reeperbahn. It’s also important to note that there’s a large sign on Herbertstraße, in the red-light district, that states that women are not allowed to enter. Although it’s not illegal, you could be threatened, so it’s probably safest not to walk along this street as a woman, unfortunately.

The best time to visit Hamburg is May through September, when the weather is nice and there are many festivals and citywide activities going on. The average temperature around this time is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

While the official language of Hamburg is German, English is also widely spoken in the city.

Here are some German words and phrases to know before you go:

Yes: Ja (yah)

No: Nein (nine)

Hello/Good day: Guten Tag (GOOT-en tahk)

Excuse me: Entschuldigen Sie (ent-SHOOL-degen see)

Thank you: Danke (DAHN-kuh)

I’m sorry: Es Tut mir leid (ehs toot meer lite)

I don’t understand: Ich verstehen nicht (Ish VARE-stahe nisht)

How much does that cost?: Wieviel kostet das? (Vee-veal cost-it Das?)

Where is the restroom?: Wo ist die Toilette (vo ist dee toy-LET-uh)

Do: say please and thank you, use a fork and knife when eating, shake hands when greeting people.

Do not: compare people to Nazis, request tap water at restaurants, stare at naked people (Germans are generally quite free with their bodies, so try to be respectful of this).

Tipping is expected in Germany but at a much lower rate than the U.S.

Restaurants: 5% to 10% is appreciated, while 15% is considered generous.

Taxis: anywhere between 50 cents to €2 depending on the fare.

Hotels: tipping the porter €1-2 per bag is average. Tip the maid/housekeeper around €4 for every night you’re staying.

Spas: you don’t need to tip, but 5% is appreciated.

Tour Guides: 10% is the general rule especially if the tour is free.

In Hamburg, the power plugs and sockets are type C and F (two-prong), which work with plug E as well. You also have to bring a voltage converter, because the standard voltage is 230 V — higher than the US standard of 120 V.

Your converter should look like this:

Tap water is very safe to drink in Hamburg, as it’s Germany’s most controlled beverage product. If you ask for water at a restaurant, however, they will bring you bottled water.

Pocket WI-FI is considered one of the best Wi-Fi hotspots for travelers in Hamburg, especially if you want to avoid data roaming. This portable Wi-Fi solution makes it cheap and easy to access Wi-fi anywhere in the city. You can even connect up to 10 devices to the same pocket Wi-Fi Egg.

A SIM card costs €9.95 ($11.81) and will give you 2.5GB of data.

Uber operates in Hamburg. There is also a German rideshare app called Hansa-taxi. 

The gay scene in Hamburg is located in the St. Georg district, which is home to many gay bars and clubs. The city’s pride parade is also hosted here, on Lange Reihe street.

Hamburg is incredibly eco-friendly, having launched multiple initiates on biodiversity, renewable energy, climate change, and resource efficiency. Germany hopes to raise their share of renewables to at least 80% in 2050 and the country plans to completely terminate all nuclear power plant use by 2022.

Germans also recycle about 66% of their trash, meaning you should too while you’re there. In fact, you can even get paid for recycling! When you’re done drinking from a plastic bottle, you can bring it to a supermarket and get a few cents back for depositing it in the bottle recycling machine.

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FOR THE PLANNERS

Stay in Altstadt, which is the historic Old Town where you'll be close to landmarks, restaurants and shops.