Hamburg Introduction Walking Tour II (Self Guided), Hamburg

Hamburg is the second-largest city of Germany with a population of 1.8 million people, located where the river Elbe meets with the rivers Alster and Bille. With more than 120 000 enterprises such as factories, radio and television broadcasters and publishers it became the major media and industrial center in northern Germany. The city is also a major tourist destination both for domestic and overseas visitors. Here is the list of the top attractions in Hamburg
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Hamburg Introduction Walking Tour II Map

Guide Name: Hamburg Introduction Walking Tour II
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: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Author: anne
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The Old Elb Tunnel
  • St. Pauli Landing Bridges
  • Museum ship Rickmer Rickmers
  • Überseebrücke
  • Cap San Diego Ship Museum
  • Landungsbrücken Observation Deck
  • The Bismarck Memorial
  • St. Michaelis Church
  • Museum for Hamburg History
  • Hamburger Dom
The Old Elb Tunnel

1) The Old Elb Tunnel (must see)

The Old Elbe Tunnel is an underground transportation route for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. It runs from the Landungsbrucken to the docklands area of Hamburg, underneath the river Elbe. Built from 1907-1911, the Alter Elbtunnel, as it’s known in Germany, was a remarkable feat of engineering for the time. Two huge lifts at each entrance carried pedestrians, carriages and motor vehicles from street level down into the 500m long tunnels. When the tunnel opened, it provided a vital link for workers from the main city to the docklands and harbours of Hamburg’s southern districts.

The Old Elbe Tunnel was built with the same high pressure technique used on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. Workers excavated the tunnel path under pressurised conditions, to prevent ground water flooding the chamber. An effective but highly dangerous method, it lead to several deaths and injuries amongst the work force. The pedestrian tunnel is 20 feet in diameter, and is lined with terracotta ornaments, depicting items found in the Elbe from crabs and sturgeons to rats and old boots. Eventually superceded by the longer, directly accessible New Elbe Tunnel, which opened in 1975, the original tunnel still carries over a million cars, bicycles and pedestrians under the river each year.
St. Pauli Landing Bridges

2) St. Pauli Landing Bridges (must see)

The Landungsbrücken, or Landing Bridges, are found on the northern banks of the River Elbe in St. Pauli, one of Hamburg’s 109 ‘quarters’. St. Pauli is an inner city area lying north west of Hamburg city centre. In addition to the Landungsbrücken, which are one of the city’s great landmarks, this bohemian district is known for the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s gritty red light district, as well as St. Pauli FC, the famously left leaning football club. The Landing Bridges are a transport hub for the area, linking S-Bahn (trams) and U-Bahn (subway) services with river boats to the city centre and docklands.

The Landungsbrücken are a docking complex comprising several floating piers, connected by movable bridges. They were constructed to allow large steam ships to dock as close to the city centre as possible. The first pier was built in 1839, with the current layout, including the historic terminal building, completed by 1909. Bombing during World War II destroyed many of the original pontoons, which were replaced after the war. At the eastern end of the complex, the Pegelturm, or water level tower, has a tide indicator built into its wall. This distinctive feature was used to help guide steam ships into port along the River Elbe.
Museum ship Rickmer Rickmers

3) Museum ship Rickmer Rickmers

The Rickmer Rickmers is a three masted sailing ship, moored in Hamburg’s Landungsbrücken docks, which now houses a museum. It lies close to another ‘museum ship’, the Cap San Diego. The ship got her unusual name from Rickmer Clasen Rickmers, a shipbuilder from Bremerhaven whose shipyard built her in 1896. She travelled to Hong Kong and Chile on trade routes, bringing back rice and bamboo, amongst other exotic products. Captured by Portugal in World War I, the ship has sailed under the flags of Portugal and the United Kingdom, and even won the Tall Ships’ Race in 1958, when it was known as the Sagres.

Returned to Germany in 1983, it took four years and several thousand Deutschmarks in charitable donations before the ship was restored to its former glory. It opened as a museum and restaurant in 1987. The museum is housed on the lower deck, which traces the history of the ship, and provides visitors with exhibits on merchant sailing at the turn of the 20th century. The restaurant fills the entire upper deck, offering views across the River Elbe towards the docklands area. The Rickmer Rickmers museum ship is open each day from 10am until 6pm. Entrance is 3 Euros for adults, 2.50 concessions.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm

4) Überseebrücke

Überseebrücke is literally translated as the Ocean Bridge; it is located at the St. Pauli's jetties. This covered bridge was built in 1930 and rebuilt after World War II. It serves as the main access to the port, where the museum ship Cap San Diego is stationed.
Cap San Diego Ship Museum

5) Cap San Diego Ship Museum

The Cap San Diego museum ship is moored on the north bank of the River Elbe, close to the Landungsbrücken, and just yards from another 'museumsschiff’, the Rickmer Rickmers. The Cap San Diego is an elegant former cargo ship, painted in the red and white colours of local shipping firm Hamburg Süd. Built in 1961, it sailed between Germany and South America for twenty years, the last of six ships collectively nicknamed the ‘white swans of the Atlantic’. Set for the scrap yard in 1986, it was bought by the city of Hamburg as part of the ongoing regeneration of the city’s docklands.

Restored by local enthusiasts and former dock workers, the Cap San Diego is now a fully operational museum ship. Visitors can access almost all areas of the ship, from the bridge to the engine room. Temporary exhibitions are held in the cargo hold. The most impressive feature of this particular museum ship is that is still sails several times a year, along the river Elbe or to nearby Cuxhaven. The Cap San Diego is open from 10am until 6pm daily, and offers late opening as part of Hamburg’s ‘Long Night of Museums’ scheme. Fully restored cabins can also be booked for overnight stays – whether the ship leaves port or not.
Landungsbrücken Observation Deck

6) Landungsbrücken Observation Deck (must see)

The Landungsbrücken area, north west of the city centre in the bohemian district of St. Pauli, is a popular spot for tourists and local residents (or Hamburgers) alike. It may be because the area is a major transport hub, linking U-Bahn and S-Bahn light rail services with river boat services. Alternatively, it could be the historic ‘landing bridges’ which give the area its name, or the distinctive clock tower at their eastern end. For some, it’s the nearby Reeperbahn and Sewer Museum. Perhaps the highlight of the area, and one that many tourists miss, is the Observation Deck, hidden behind the Landungsbrücken complex.

From the station, head out of the west exit and turn right. After climbing a few flights of steps, you will find the observation deck close to the youth hostel. It offers a view over the landing bridges and the tower to the wide River Elbe, and the dockland area beyond. Probably the finest view over this scattered city, it can be enhanced by picking up herring rolls and bottled beer down at the harbour, and having a picnic as the sun sets. This is certainly the way Hamburgers take in the view from the Landungsbrücken observation deck.
The Bismarck Memorial

7) The Bismarck Memorial (must see)

The Bismarck-Denkmal, or Bismarck Monument, is located in Hamburg’s historic St. Pauli quarter. It is the largest and best known of over 250 worldwide memorials to Otto von Bismarck. Von Bismarck was a 19th century German statesman, credited with unifying many independent states into a unified Germany in the 1870s. Germany is a federal nation, composed of several semi-autonomous states, and frequently divided throughout the 20th century. Von Bismarck is credited as the first leader to truly create a German nation.

The Bismarck Monument stands on the Elbhöhe, a public park close to the Landungsbrücken in northern Hamburg. It was designed by Johann Emil Schaudt, and first unveiled in June 1906, eight years after the death of von Bismarck. Like most memorials of the esteemed leader, the Bismarck Monument takes the form of a tower, topped with a statue. These towers, built between the death of von Bismarck and the ascension to power of the Nazi party, can be found across Europe, in parts of Austria and Poland that once belonged to Germany, as well as in distant outposts of the German Empire, such as Cameroon, Chile and Papua New Guinea. The Hamburg tower is taller than any other, rising to 115 feet in height.
St. Michaelis Church

8) St. Michaelis Church (must see)

St Michaelis Church is located in the Neustadt quarter, on the banks of the River Elbe. Its distinctive 132m high Baroque copper spire is a landfall marker for ships approaching the Port of Hamburg, and is one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. The church, known locally as Michel, is arguably the most famous of Hamburg’s five Protestant churches. Its name derives from the archangel Michael; a large bronze statue in the church portal shows the archangel defeating the devil in battle. The church has its own cemetery, which houses the final resting places of composers Johann Mattheson and Carl Philipp Bach.

A central part of Hamburg life for nearly four centuries, St Michaelis Church has led a troubled existence. The first church on this site was built between 1647 and 1669. It was opened as the church for the new town area (known as Neustadt), which was built in 1625. The original church was struck by lightning in 1750, and completely destroyed. The current building was constructed in its place in 1786, designed by Johann Leonhard Prey and Ernst Sonnin. It was reconstructed twice in the 20th century, following a fire in 1906 and bomb damage during the Second World War. Now Hamburg’s largest church, it can hold 2500 worshippers. The spire has a lift fitted inside it, allowing access for all to one of the best views over Hamburg.
Museum for Hamburg History

9) Museum for Hamburg History (must see)

The Museum for Hamburg History, rebranded as hamburgmuseum in 2006, is an attraction celebrating the rich history of this great European metropolis. Present in Hamburg since 1839, it was established at its current home, close to the Planten un Blomen park in Hamburg’s city centre, in 1922. The museum building was designed by Fritz Schumacher, the city’s former planning director. It stands on the site of the Bastion Henricus, a 17th century fortress built to safeguard the growing city. The courtyard area, damaged by fire in 1842, was fully restored as part of museum improvement works and now features a 17th century portal from the nearby St. Petri Church.

The museum hosts several temporary exhibitions on different aspects of life in the city. Recent exhibitions include a look at fashions in Hamburg from 1550 to 1920, and a tribute to the wealth of music and art produced throughout history by its residents. There are also a number of permanent installations, including walk through guides to life in medieval and pre-war Hamburg. Admission is 7.50 Euros for adults, with concessions available, including free entry for under 18s.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 10 am – 5 pm; Saturday- Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm; closed on Tuesdays.
Hamburger Dom

10) Hamburger Dom (must see)

The Hamburger Dom is a funfair staged at Heiligengeistfeld, a public space in the St. Pauli quarter. It holds three seasonal fairs in spring, summer and winter each year. With approximately ten million visitors each year, it is one of Germany’s biggest and longest running Volksfests, or people’s fairs. The fair’s name translates as ‘Hamburg Cathedral’, a reference to the fair’s medieval origins. It is believed to have begun in the 12th century as a seasonal market held outside the city’s now demolished cathedral. The funfair has been held at its current location – Heiligengeistfeld, or field of the Holy Spirit, since 1892.

The three seasonal fairs are as follows: Winterdom, the winter fair, is the oldest of the three, and usually takes place for 30 days in November. Sommerdom began in 1947 and lasts throughout August. Fruhlingsdom, the spring fair, takes place each April. The fair, whose entrance can be found opposite St. Pauli U-Bahn station, is a highlight for locals and tourists alike. This could be on account of its many rollercoasters and fairground attractions, or the varied home made food stalls – or it could be that, with dinner available for 10 Euros, it is one of the best value nights out in the city.

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