I don’t know why more people aren’t aware of the amazing attractions in Hamburg, Germany. Within two days, it quickly became my favorite German city. Here are 5 reasons why you should put Hamburg on your itinerary right away.
Do you love chocolate as much as I do? If so, Hamburg’s chocolate museum is the place for you! At Chocoversum, you get to experience every step of chocolate production from harvesting all the way through to final production. By experience, I mean you get to sample the chocolate at each stage (most of which tastes nothing like chocolate). They have original devices and scales used to measure the chocolate at customs, original manufacturing equipment (straight from the Lindt chocolate factory) and even a packaging machine (also from Lindt).
Perhaps the best part of the German chocolate museum is when you get to make your own chocolate bar. You can choose between milk and dark chocolate, and there are a couple dozen toppings to use. This is one of the first steps of the tour so your bar will be hard and ready to take with you by the end of the tour.
Tickets are about $21.50 with a 20% discount if you have the Hamburg Card.
This attraction in Hamburg is literally a whole new world. Miniatur Wunderland contains the largest model in the world. A model of what? Just about everything! The model train system alone covers a staggering 10 miles of track winding through 16,000 square feet of model cities containing over 50,000 figures. There’s a model airport where over 200 planes take off and land each day, a replica of the Matterhorn, 8,000 gallons of water in the Scandinavia region… All told, there are currently 9 regions with many more in the works.
This is not a short attraction to zip through; plan to spend the entire day there marveling at the attention to detail. Tickets are $16.50 for adults, but there are 12 other categories of tickets from children to handicapped.
Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall
In 2017, Hamburg unveiled the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, locally known as the Elphi. This magnificent structure is one of the largest and most acoustically advanced concert venues in the world. Built on top of an old warehouse on the Elbe River, it hosts performances every night of the week. You can take a tour of the plaza (the open expanse above the garage but beneath the hall) for free or with an advance ticket for $2.20, or you can book a night at a concert if it’s not sold out (which is likely).
Elbe River Harbor Tour
As Hamburg is the second-largest port in Europe (after Rotterdam), I’d highly recommend taking a tour of the harbor. Every day, there are several cruises leaving from the Hamburg Landing Bridges. Make sure to choose one in English. Most of them last about an hour and will take you up and down the river, including past the Elphi. Tickets are about $22 but vary per company.
When you finish your tour (or beforehand if you can’t wait), make sure to pick up a fish sandwich from Brücke 10 on the waterfront. Fish sandwiches are the primary meal in Hamburg, and Brücke 10 makes the best.
Hamburg Christmas Markets
If you happen to be visiting Hamburg in December, you’re in luck. While Dresden is the city that invented Christmas markets, Hamburg’s are no less impressive. The main market is located in front of City Hall. You can get your Bratwurst or Mettwurst (German sausages), kartoffelpuffer (German potato pancakes) and, of course, lots and lots of beer. There are plenty of souvenirs to choose from (nearly all of which are handmade. Throughout the city are many other smaller markets to wander through. I didn’t actually get to see as many as I would have liked, as my two days were packed with the above four attractions.
The above five attractions in Hamburg hardly complete the list. My two days there weren’t nearly enough time, and I can’t wait to go back (maybe in the summer when there are even more attractions available). I still need to watch a concert at the Elphi, ride up the St. Nikolai Memorial (an old church bombed in World War II but with the tower still standing), eat a lot more hamburgers and fish burgers, and get on a harbor tour which isn’t in German (as I failed to find an English tour guide).