Hamburg Introduction Walking Tour, Hamburg

Hamburg Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Hamburg

Hamburg is one of Germany's largest cities, second only to Berlin. It is also Europe's third-largest port. The city has a population of over 1.8 million, and the metropolitan area is home to over five million people. Its official name is the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. This name reflects its historical membership in the medieval Hanseatic League and one of the Holy Roman Empire's free imperial cities.

Hamburg acted as a sovereign city-state until Germany's unification in 1871. The city has faced many hardships, such as the Great Fire of 1842, intense bombing during World War II, and the North Sea flood of 1962. After each disaster, Hamburg has bounced back and regained its vibrancy.

Hamburg boasts the world's oldest merchant bank and Germany's first stock exchange. In addition, many German, European, and multinational companies are based in Hamburg.

Hamburg features World Heritage sites. The river and canal system is impressive, and the city has a beautiful architectural heritage. The city also is known for launching The Beatle's musical career.

Hamburg City Hall features an impressive exterior and elaborately decorated interior. St. Peter's Church was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1842. The church features many important artworks that were salvaged after the fire. Visitors will admire St. Catherine's Church's ancient spire, which can be seen from all over the city. The Church of St. Nicholas was heavily damaged during World War II, but visitors can still view the tower or take an elevator to an elevated viewing platform.

Don't miss the Waterhouse District, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can admire the fabulous architecture and dedication to port infrastructure.

Miniature Wonderland is Germany's top tourist attraction. The technology and detail will enthrall visitors as trains, planes, and gondolas meander through recreated miniature cities and countries.

Take this self-guided walking tour and enjoy Hamburg's history and culture.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Hamburg Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Hamburg Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Hamburg (See other walking tours in Hamburg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Hamburger Rathaus (Hamburg City Hall)
  • Rathausmarkt (City Hall Marketplace)
  • St. Peter's Church
  • St. Catherine's Church
  • Speicherstadt (Warehouse District)
  • Miniature Wonderland
  • Church of St. Nicholas
  • Neuer Wall (New Wall Street)
  • Alsterarkaden (Alster Arcade)
  • Jungfernstieg (Alster Lake Promenade)
Hamburger Rathaus (Hamburg City Hall)

1) Hamburger Rathaus (Hamburg City Hall) (must see)

The old city hall was destroyed in 1842, and it took until 1897 for the new city hall to be inaugurated. Hamburg City Hall's exterior has a Neo-Renaissance style. This massive building has an interior area of 17,000 square meters (182,986 square feet). The tower is 112 meters (367 feet) tall.

The new city hall was built to show Hamburg's immense wealth and prosperity. It is the seat of Hamburg's parliament, mayor, and senate. Heads of State such as Emperor Haile Salassie I, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and Queen Elizabeth II have been received in this impressive building.

The building's elaborate facade features 20 statues of emperors. The main entrance features a wrought iron gate. Don't miss the entrance hall's 16 sandstone pillars. Portraits adorning the pillars represent 68 Hamburg citizens. The imposing Sardinian marble staircase depicts the journey of life.

The Imperial Hall has a painted ceiling that depicts German merchant shipping, while pressed leather wall coverings decorate the walls. A phoenix representing Hamburg's recovery after the 1842 fire stands above the fireplace in Phoenix Hall.

The Senate chamber features a glass roof that fills the chamber with light and represents ancient open-air council meetings.

In the Grand Ballroom, visitors will find enormous paintings showing Hamburg's history from 800 to 1900. The impressive chandeliers have 278 lights each.

Hamburg City Hall's lobby is open to the public and is used for exhibitions and concerts. The balcony features a mosaic featuring the city's coat of arms and motto and depicts Hamburg's patron goddess Hammonia.

The courtyard features a fountain representing Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health and hygiene.
Rathausmarkt (City Hall Marketplace)

2) Rathausmarkt (City Hall Marketplace)

This area was heavily damaged during the Great Fire of Hamburg in 1842. Venice's Piazza San Marco inspired the new square's design. The impressive City Hall dominates the square.

City Hall Marketplace was known as Adolf Hitler square from 1933-1945. The square acted as the transport hub for the Hamburg tram network until the 1970s. After the trams ceased operating, the square was renovated.

City Hall Marketplace hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. In the summer, visitors can enjoy the wine village featuring select wines and delicious treats. An open-air cinema is another popular draw during the summer months.

A festive Christmas market is a popular experience during the holiday season. Holiday visitors can enjoy beautiful lights, hot chocolate, hot rum, mulled wine, bratwurst, and currywurst as they shop at the delightful Christmas market.

Visitors can also see the monument to Heinrich Heine, an influential German poet.
St. Peter's Church

3) St. Peter's Church

A cathedral has existed on this site for centuries. Records indicate that St. Peter's was built in the late 12th century before being rebuilt in the Gothic style during the 1300s. The most important St. Peter's artifacts are the bronze lion-head door handles, which date to 1342.

St. Peter's Church was heavily damaged in the Great Fire of 1842. However, many of the artworks, including the lion-head door handles, were saved.

After the fire, the church was rebuilt. The 132-meter-tall (433 foot) tower was completed in 1878.

Inside the church, visitors will find many important artworks. A 1460 Gothic mural shows the church's first bishop, Ansgar of Bremen. A statue created in the late 1400s also depicts Ansgar of Bremen. Two 17th century Gottfried Libalt paintings, Jacob's Dream and Christ's Birth are on display in the cathedral.

Another important painting is Christams 1813 in St. Peter's. This painting depicts the Hamburg citizens locked in the church for refusing to feed Napolean's occupying troops.

Visitors are welcome to climb the 544 steps to the church's viewing platform. This is the highest viewing platform in the city, and guests can look out over the city center, Alster Lake, and the port.
St. Catherine's Church

4) St. Catherine's Church

St. Catherine's Church features an ancient spire and extensive history. St. Catherine's is one of Hamburg's five historic Lutheran churches. The church's spire dates to 1256. The church was rebuilt in the German Brick Gothic style in the mid-15th century. An elaborate Baroque rooftop was added to the spire in 1657. This increased the spire's height to 115 meters (377 feet).

World War II bombs heavily damaged the church. Only the base of the spire and outer walls were left intact. St. Catherine's Church was rebuilt in the 1950s, and the steeple was restored with steel and copper. Catherine's crown sits on top of the impressive steeple.

During the 1700s, St. Catherine's Church was home to one of the largest organs in the world. Famed musician and composer Johann Sebastian Bach once played the beautiful organ. Along with the church, the organ was heavily damaged by WWII bombs but has been restored.

The church hosts a weekly market on Tuesdays in the church square.
Speicherstadt (Warehouse District)

5) Speicherstadt (Warehouse District) (must see)

Hamburg's Warehouse District is one of the most impressive warehouse districts in the world where the buildings stand on timber-pile foundations. The warehouses were built between 1883 and 1927 as a customs-free zone. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The warehouses were built directly into the Elbe waterway, allowing for waterside access and easy ship unloading and loading. Waterways between the buildings act as canals.

The warehouse's facades are Neo-Gothic and feature red brick with towers, alcoves, and ornaments. The warehouses are each seven or eight stories tall and have landside and waterside entrances. Today, the warehouses are used as warehouses, museums, and home to the Minature Wonderland.

Visitors should check out the water castle on Dutch Bridge for a popular photo spot. Café Fleetschlösschen offers another scenic vista and cafe. The Warehouse District is beautiful at dusk as the lights come on and reflect in the canals.
Miniature Wonderland

6) Miniature Wonderland (must see)

Miniature Wonderland features the world's largest model railway. The railway has over 15,715 meters (51,558 feet) of track. There are over 1,000 trains, 100,000 vehicles, 385,000 lights, 260,000 figurines, and 130,000 trees.

Visitors will be awed by the different beautiful scenes. The fictitious city of Knuffingen joins the Alps, Austria, America, South America, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Italy, Hamburg, and Hamburg airport. Monaco & the Provence are currently under construction. Visitors are welcome to watch technicians put together the new attraction, piece by piece.

Visitors can walk between different rooms by following the corridor. Visitors will see the beautiful Harz region, along with central and southern Germany. Additional features included the ICE high-speed road and a new Fun Fair with 150 attractions.

Knuffingen, the fictional town, features a road system with moving cars. Austria features the Aplas and a multi-level helix. Visitors can watch trains switch above their heads. Hamburg is the biggest city in Wonderland. One thousand five hundred trains arrive in Wonderland's Hamburg every day, and all the famous sites are on display.

The USA display features Las Vegas, which is lit by 33,000 lights. In addition, visitors can travel to Cape Canaveral, the famed Florida Keys, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and Yosemite National Park.

The Scandinavian section features ships navigating real waterways. The ships are steered manually across the North and Baltic Sea. To recreate the dramatic seascape, the tides switch every 25 minutes.

The Swiss Alps reach up to six meters tall. Visitors can reach the second level via stairs and watch trains negotiate the steep switchbacks.

Knuffingen Airport is a sight to behold with impressive technology controlling different aircraft and vehicle movements.

The Italy section features Rome and Tuscany. Visitors can watch Vesuvius spew lava. Venice is one of Wonderland's most elaborate sections. One hundred fifty gondolas travel under 26 bridges, while Venice's gorgeous architecture is beautifully recreated.

Why You Should Visit:
Miniature Wonderland is consistently rated as Germany's top tourist attraction. The attention to detail is incredible, and visitors of all ages will be enthralled by these miniature cities with thousands of moving trains, vehicles, and figurines.

Backstage Tours offer insight into how technology works to keep the trains and attractions moving. Weekdays are the best time to visit to avoid crowds.
Church of St. Nicholas

7) Church of St. Nicholas

The Church of St. Nicolas was originally built in 1195. A brick building replaced the wooden structure during the 14th century.

The Church of St. Nicholas was the center of many theological debates during the Reformation. Conservative council members were concerned about the new wave of Lutheran ministers; however, the Reformation in Hamburg was peaceful. Johannes Bugenhagen, a Lutheran minister, became St. Nicholas's preacher in 1528.

The Church of St. Nicolas was one of the first public buildings to burn in Hamburg's catastrophic 1842 Great Fire. After the fire, the church was rebuilt in Neo-Gothic style. From 1874 to 1876, the rebuilt church with its 147-meter-high (483-foot) tower was the tallest building in the world.

Unfortunately, World War II bombs weakened the church's structure. Hamburg decided to demolish most of the church instead of attempting reconstruction. Today, the crypt and spired tower remain. An elevator was installed in 2005 and takes visitors to a 75-meter-tall (247-foot) viewing platform. The platform overlooks Hamburg's city center, the Alster lakes, and the port.

Guests can visit the WWII museum in the church's crypt. The museum offers different interactive displays that show the war's destruction and reconstruction.
Neuer Wall (New Wall Street)

8) Neuer Wall (New Wall Street)

New Wall Street is an upmarket shopping street and known as one of the finest in Europe. Visitors will find international luxury brands featuring jewelry, fashion, shoes, and furniture.

New Wall Street was totally renovated in 2006 and features wide paved footpaths.
Brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Escada, Jil Sander offer up-to-the-minute fashion designs.

If you seek custom fashion, check out Liz Malraux or Akris. Find a one-of-a-kind luxury pen from Montblanc. For a variety of fashion brands in one place, check out the massive Unger store. Finally, stop by Café Engelchen for a coffee break.

Visitors can walk through the beautiful Mellin passage. During the holidays, New Wall Street is decorated with gorgeous festive lights.
Alsterarkaden (Alster Arcade)

9) Alsterarkaden (Alster Arcade)

Alster Arcade is an attractive shopping area overlooking Hamburg's waterways. The bright white arches reflecting in the waterway create an area reminiscent of Venice.

Alster Arcade was designed by architect Alexis de Chateauneuf and built in 1846. Its construction after the Great Fire of 1842 was part of Hamburg's architectural revival. Walk along the canal while window shopping, or stop at one of the many attractive cafes.

The covered walkway provides shade during the summer and protection from the rain. Even during the winter, guests enjoy sitting outside and enjoying the beautiful views.

Alster Arcade is especially attractive at dusk as the city lights are reflected in the waterways.
Jungfernstieg (Alster Lake Promenade)

10) Jungfernstieg (Alster Lake Promenade)

The Alster Lake promenade is known as Hamburg's most stylish. Visitors can take part in luxury shopping or enjoy a pleasant walk. Walk along the promenade and enjoy views of Alster Lake and the lake's beautiful fountain. Watch sailboats and rowboats cross the lake, or join a lake or canal boat cruise.

Shop for a new pair of stylish shoes at Lloyd or Geox. Find high fashion at Rene Lexard, Burberry, or Beutin.

For beauty products, don't miss NIVEA's flagship store and their Oasis of relaxation.

Alsterhause is one of Hamburg's most popular shopping destinations. This impressive department store was founded in 1912 and features fashion, beauty, and an exclusive grocery selection.

Visitors can enjoy a view of Alster Lake from the renowned Cafe Alex.

Walking Tours in Hamburg, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Hamburg

Create Your Own Walk in Hamburg

Creating your own self-guided walk in Hamburg is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
St. Pauli and Red-light District Walking Tour

St. Pauli and Red-light District Walking Tour

St. Pauli is a vibrant quarter in Hamburg. It is home to museums, churches, waterfront buildings, and the famous Red Light District. During the 19th century, many sailors would arrive in Hamburg's busy port and immediately look for ways to spend their wages. St. Pauli obliged with entertainment, bars, and strip clubs. Today, the entertainment tradition continues.

The Old Elbe Tunnel is a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Hamburg Historical Buildings

Hamburg Historical Buildings

Hamburg, a city steeped in history and culture, boasts a wealth of remarkable historical buildings that tell the tale of its past. Harmonized with the recent extravagant urban development, these old structures make for unforgettable sights.

One iconic structure is the Chile House, renowned for its distinctive expressionist architecture, resembling a ship's prow. Another noteworthy site is...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Famous Brewpubs in Hamburg

Famous Brewpubs in Hamburg

Hamburg, true to the German tradition, is famous for its beer. So much so, in fact, that several local beer brands are considered among the best in the country. These renowned brewpubs are the ideal place where you can taste genuine local beer and have fun while in Hamburg.

One such establishment is the Hofbräu on Alster Restaurant, located near the picturesque Alster Lake. Here, patrons can...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles