Most backpackers go to Berlin when visiting Germany, but Hamburg is now a significant rival to the capital. Home to one of the largest seaports in Europe, Hamburg is the ‘gateway to the world’ in Germany. It’s also the second largest city in the country too – and definitely one of the most stylish.
From the stunning new Elbphilharmonie opera house to browsing nudes at Erotic Art Museum, there are plenty of things to see and do. Getting to the city and staying there can be done cheaply too.
Hamburg is a cheap bus ride away from Berlin (tickets are as low as €9) or train ride from Copenhagen (from €29 euros). Once you arrive, you’ll be surrounded by something spectacular everywhere you look.
Finding culture in Hamburg
Hamburg is a historic seaport full of gorgeous architecture, especially in the Aldstadt area (Old town), and the St Pauli’s Schanzenviertel district. St Georg is Hamburg’s ‘Soho’ and is bustling with bars, clubs and edgy nightspots that once attracted the Beatles in the early 60s.
The Elbphilharmonie concert hall is one of the Europe’s greatest new buildings. Surreally designed with a wave-like rooftop, the €789m super-project has been magnificently constructed on top of a coffee bean warehouse. Between the old factory and the glass structure is the Plaza, there’s a public viewing area that extends around the whole building.
If you love art, then Hamburger Kunsthalle is one of the biggest galleries in Germany. But if you prefer something a little more spicy, then why not going to to Spicy’s? It’s the only museum in Europe dedicated to spice!
Sex positive travellers may want to get steamy in Hamburg…so why not check out the Erotic Art Museum in the Reeperbahn? It’s currently home to the world’s biggest collection of sexual art.
Explore the red light district
No holiday to Hamburg can pass without a visit to the Reeperbahn, the city’s infamous red-light district. It’s been gentrified in recent years and is considerably more chilled than before. Instead of brothels, there are now restaurants, bars and hipster nightclubs in their place. But if you look hard enough, then you’ll find the old seedy Reeperbahn if you want to say you’ve been 🙂
Go on a Hamburg bus tour
Hamburg’s bus service is the quickest way to get to know the city. You can easily jump on one of the city’s busses to see the city’s best attractions. For budget travellers, it’s a fantastic way to find out where you want to go next.
Bus tickets cost around €18 for a full city tour (2 hours exactly) and you can also upgrade your ticket to get a one-hour harbour cruise as well.
Or take a bike instead
If you register for StadtRAD, Hamburg’s bike rental network, then you explore the city on wheels. It’s a cheap and healthy way to explore the city and once you’re finished, you can return the bike at the nearest rental point. Cyclists can either pay by the minute or day. More importantly, you get the first 30 minutes free!
Where to eat out and drink on a budget
Erikas Eck in Sternstraße is perfect for backpackers. Famous for their huge portions, Erikas has daily weekday lunch specials at budget prices. If you want to hold out, then wait until midnight when every sandwich is around €1 – making it perfect before a night out and after.
Lades is close to the city’s train station and serves some of the finest Döner Kebaps (under €4) and chicken wings (under €6) in Hamburg.
Finding cheap accommodation in Hamburg
Budget hostels in Hamburg are exceptionally good quality. You can stay in the city centre for under €15 per night if you book in advance. From no thrills properties to boutique poshtels, we have some amazing options available. Staying overnight in Germany’s second largest city has never been cheaper if you book with HostelsClub.
*Header image by Julian Schüngel (Flickr/Creative Commons)