Hamburg is Germany's second largest city, Europe's third-busiest port and an increasingly popular destination for tourists. Situated on the banks of the Elbe River, Hamburg has drawn casual comparisons as the Venice of Germany, a reputation enhanced by a network of canals and two large lakes near the city centre. The city was strategically important as a port and is still imbued with a strong maritime tradition. Hamburg is also a delight for music buffs, being the birthplace of famous 19th century composers Brahms and Mendelssohn. The city was also home to the Beatles in their formative years, building their reputation and earning their first recording.
Hamburg is today a distinctive mix of old brick buildings, modern glass facades and baroque churches. Nowhere is this more evident than the astonishing new Elbphilharmonie concert hall, its glass edifice perched atop an old brick warehouse. Visitors can take a free trip to the viewing deck of the building for views out over the harbour and Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse district in the world where the buildings are built on foundations of timber. Every Sunday morning since 1703, trade has sprung up at Hamburg's traditional fish market along the harbour, where tourists can sample the sights, sounds and tastes of local produce.
The main street running through the party district of St Pauli is called Grosse Freiheit (Great Freedom), and this is exactly what awaits the intrepid explorer. The city also hosts numerous music festivals throughout the year, spanning rock to jazz. For those whose tastes are more culturally refined, Hamburg has a number of museums dedicated to history, art, communications, ethnology and even spices. Lastly, Hamburg is the gateway to the seaside and spa resorts of the Baltic and North Sea coastline.
Hamburg is a diverse and entertaining city with plenty to see and do, ranging from world-class museums, wonderful art galleries and an upbeat nightlife to excellent restaurants and first class shopping. Also popular with tourists is the notorious Reeperbahn red-light district.
Many of the things to see and do in Hamburg revolve around its famous harbour. Every Sunday morning, the banks of the river Elbe are swamped with tourists at the Hamburg Fish Market, soaking up the lively atmosphere and bartering for the freshest produce. Speicherstadt, Hamburg's warehouse complex, is the largest in the world built on wooden foundations and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can admire the Gothic Revival architecture and visit Miniature Wonderland, the world's largest model train system.
There are many beautiful gardens and parks in the city too. Perhaps the best of these is Planten un Blomen. Visitors looking for a break from museums and activities can stroll through the tropical greenhouse and Japanese garden, or catch a concert on the lawns in the summer months. Travellers can delve into Hamburg's past at the Museum of Hamburg History, or enjoy the extensive collection and themed exhibitions of the Hamburg Kunsthalle.
Hamburg is also conveniently located for excursions to nearby attractions. Some of the best day-trip destinations are the quaint towns of Blankenese, Lubeck and Hameln, all 0f which offer great sightseeing opportunities. The island of Sylt, Germany's most northern point, is also extremely popular and a great spot for coastal weekend getaways.
A Hamburg holiday offers something for everyone, from children who will revel in attractions such as the world's largest model railway, to raucous groups of young travellers heading for the risque streets of the Reeperbahn.
Hamburg is Germany’s richest city. It’s also a cultural powerhouse. Hamburg is packed with theatres and music venues. It also has one of Europe’s best red-light districts. You’ll find the ideal combination of cultural dynamism and buzzing nightlife in Hamburg. The city is very welcoming to gay travellers.
You’ll find various gay bars and gay clubs in the Sankt Georg district and also the Reeperbahn. Hamburg is a port city and there are various beaches to explore. It’s a great city to explore.
Hamburg has an oceanic climate. It is a fairly wet and windy city, with prevailing westerly winds blowing in moist air from the North Sea. Summers are warm but rainy, with occasional dry, sunny spells. Winters are cold, sometimes chilling to 28ºF (-2ºC) in January, the coldest month, when the Elbe and lakes in the city centre have been known to freeze enough for ice-skating. Snowfall is usually light and Hamburg generally only experiences one or two heavy snowfalls a year, starting in early December, with icy sleet being the more common form of winter precipitation. Spring is very pleasant in Hamburg, when the city's thousands of trees come into bloom with a new cloak of green and the days start to warm up. In fact, despite summer being the most popular period for tourism, spring is the best time to visit Hamburg, not least of all because it is the season which shows off the city's numerous parks and gardens to their best advantage. Summer can be delightful, and there are many events to be enjoyed in the hottest months, but attractions can also get very crowded and everything is more expensive.
Germany is one of the most forward-thinking LGBT+ friendly countries in Europe, seeking to be seen as a beacon of equality. That said, attitudes in Berlin can vary in our experience vastly from East Berlin to West Berlin.
Details of vaccination recommendations and requirements are provided below.
Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK. These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine.
Country specific diphtheria recommendations are not provided here. Diphtheria tetanus and polio are combined in a single vaccine in the UK. Therefore, when a tetanus booster is recommended for travellers, diphtheria vaccine is also given. Should there be an outbreak of diphtheria in a country, diphtheria vaccination guidance will be provided.
Those who may be at increased risk of an infectious disease due to their work, lifestyle choice, or certain underlying health problems should be up to date with additional recommended vaccines. See the individual chapters of the ‘Green Book’ Immunisation against infectious disease for further details.
There are no certificate requirements under International Health Regulations.
The vaccines in this section are recommended for most travellers visiting this country. Information on these vaccines can be found by clicking on the blue arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.
The vaccines in this section are recommended for some travellers visiting this country. Information on when these vaccines should be considered can be found by clicking on the arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.