Flights from 16. May until 3. October, 2017.
Along and across the river
The northern and southern branches of the Elbe, along with numerous outflowing channels and canals, are what shape the character of the city. Where would Hamburg be without its river and the sprawling port area that opens the door to the rest of the world?
Boat trips of the harbour are particularly popular, with most departing from the jetties at Landungsbrücken. Visitors can travel across to the opposite shore on HVV-ferries.
Thanks to the Old Elbe Tunnel, visitors can also walk or cycle under the river to Steinwerder. The tunnel is closed to traffic at the weekends, making it a quieter time to pass through. On the other side, you can continue on to Wilhelmsburg, or take in the view of the cityscape framed by the river.
Cycling enthusiasts can also enjoy the 23 kilometre long Elbewanderweg path, which leads from Wedel, past the Wittenberger Heide nature reserve to Blankenese, then onwards through the beautiful Övelgönne and all the way to Landungsbrücken. There are plenty of shortcuts, and return ferries depart from many points along the way.
S-Bahn and U-Bahn Trains
The key element to Hamburg’s public transport system is the network of rapid transit and regional rail services focused on the city centre. There are four U-Bahn underground lines, six S-Bahn suburban lines and nine regional rail services to ensure rapid and direct links within the Hamburg region, which are independent of the traffic on the roads. At the weekend and on public holidays, the most important U-Bahn and S-Bahn rapid transit services run all night.
The rail network is complemented by an extensive range of bus services with metro buses (direct and very frequent services), express buses (more comfortable), sprinter buses, and town or regional buses (connecting to stations and surrounding towns).
There are six ferry lines serving the harbour and the River Elbe. These routes have two-digit numbers starting at 61. You can therefore use your HVV ticket to “put out to sea” and even go on a little trip around the harbour.
In the summer, the Elbe bank (Elbestrände) around Blankenese is thick with people. Thanks to an increase in water quality in recent years, swimming in the Elbe is pleasant once again. However, it is important to be aware of the changes in tides and currents.
The rural municipality of Övelgönne is part of the Othmarschen district. The most bustling part of the Elbe bank is popular among locals, particularly in the summer. The 'Strandperle' (beach pearl) is considered the mother of all urban beach clubs. Beach clubs in Hamburg provide a relaxed summer atmosphere with a view over the Elbe. Aside from Strandperle, there is the Hamburg City Beach Club, Lago Baz, Hamburg del Mar and Strand Pauli.
Also of note is the 'Alter Schwede' – a 217 ton stone pulled out of the Elbe River. This colossal rock was found during dredging work in the river in October 1999. Elbe beach is very popular among locals and tourists alike. Here one can sunbathe, barbeque or simply enjoy the view of the Elbe and the container harbour on the other side of the river. A small path leads along the beach past several cafés and restaurants.
This landmark zoo houses over 210 different animal species. The intrepid visitor can also explore a four-level tropical aquarium as well as various dining and entertainment spaces.
Visitors wanting to go on a trip to the zoo will find it in the north of Hamburg, in the district of Stellingen.
A visit to the zoo
Hagenbeck Zoo is open to visitors all year round. The opening times vary depending on the season. For groups such as school classes or companies there is the possibility to book tours and also take a visit to the zoo school, by appointment. The zoo is well-equipped for people with disabilities – all paths are wheelchair friendly and there are disabled toilets and benches with backrests. A special service of free wheelchair rental is also offered.
Old and new by the river Elbe
Whether it is the historical warehouse complex in Speicherstadt, the currently under-construction Elbe Philharmonic Hall or even the large passenger cruise ships in the docks, there is a lot to explore in the HafenCity quarter, located right on the river Elbe.
Speicherstadt and HafenCity: for several years these two areas grew up together, until 2008 when they were united and became an official district of Hamburg. While the historical warehouse area of Speicherstadt has long shaped Hamburg's cityscape with its brick, neo-Gothic architecture, the new development area of HafenCity sits directly on the banks of the Elbe with an array of more modern designs.
Port of Hamburg
Due to the Elbe river, Hamburg is a very important economic power.
Currently HafenCity is the largest development project in Europe, and its figurehead is the Elbe Philharmonic Hall (Elbphilharmonie). Hamburg's new 'transparent' concert call, built on the foundations of the old Kaispecher A, is billed as a 'beacon' and should be inaugurated in the near future.
Hamburg downtown is due to expand by about 40%. All this is taking place in front of the Hamburg's most beautiful scenery - the harbour.
With the construction of a new underground line, Hafen City will also be directly connected to the centre of Hamburg. At the new Cruise Centre, the terminal adjacent to the Unilever-Haus, the giant cruise ships already dock with their crowds of tourists.
Many eye-catching architectural buildings are already completed in HafenCity, particularly the Unilever building with its futuristic facade looking out directly onto the harbour, as well as the high-reaching Marco Polo Tower with its terraces at the front providing an excellent place to relax in the sun.
Other places to explore include “Magellan-Terrassen” and “Vasco da Gama Platz”. Many places in HafenCity were given international names due to Hamburg's cosmopolitan nature. Another example you can find is Shanghaibridge, which is a good point at which to admire the canals.
A large variety of cultural events already take place in the new spaces of HafenCity. In addition to literary events, theatre and other performances, permanent works of art have been incorporated into the area. One example is the “Steinerne Orientteppich” (Oriental carpet made of stone) at the Wilhelminenbridge.
'Am Kaiserkai' boulevard and the old boat harbour with around 20 historical ships attract many visitors, particularly at the weekends. A short stroll through the district is the best way to take everything in.