Free Things to do in Hamburg, Germany

Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

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      Hamburg is a beautiful city in northern Germany with tons of free things to do! I lived there for a year when I was a teenager and often sought out cheap or free activities in Germany’s second largest city.

      Here are 10 of my favourite free sites and things to do in Hamburg, Germany.

      10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN HAMBURG, GERMANY

      Admire the Rathaus  

      If you’ve seen any photos of Hamburg, odds are that you’ve seen the Rathaus. And nope, it’s not a royal palace – it’s city hall! Constructed in the late 19th century, it’s one of the few completely preserved historic buildings in Hamburg.

      After admiring its beauty from the outside, be sure to pop into the lobby for a look inside the building, which is open daily from 8:00 am-6:00 pm. If you’re lucky, you might find a market or other event in the town square right in front of the Rathaus.

      How to get there: take the bus or metro to the Rathaus or Jungfernstieg stations or walk from the main train station.

      Admire the Rathaus  - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      Take a Ride on the U3 Metro

      Hop on the U3 (yellow line) at the Rathaus (city hall) and ride towards Kellinghusenstrasse for a scenic view of the city (and take advantage of a great opportunity to rest your feet a bit).

      If you have a transit day pass, your ride is essentially free (day passes are cheap and I highly recommend getting one so you can explore beyond the walkable city centre).

      Take a Ride on the U3 Metro - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      Explore a Neighbourhood

      You’ll never get bored exploring Hamburg’s many neighbourhoods. Here are a few: Speicherstadt (a UNESCO World Heritage site), St. Pauli, Hafen City (a newer neighbourhood), Sternschanze, Eppendorf, and Blankenese.  

      READ: Free Things to do in London

      Explore a Neighbourhood - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      Take a Stroll Along the Outer Alster Lake

      Right in the middle of Hamburg is a huge man-made lake! It’s gorgeous and offers a bit of serenity in the middle of the bustling city. While the smaller Inner Alster is easier to access from downtown (you can see it from the Rathaus), I recommend heading to the bigger Outer Alster. There are many paths to explore by foot or bike and benches for watching boats and swans.

      If you have a couple hours, you can even walk around the entire lake. And if you’re in Hamburg in the winter you might even get to walk on the Alster. When the lake freezes over, Hamburg throws a party on it!

      Outer Alster Lake - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      See the Harbor with Ferry 62

      The Hamburg Harbor – the second largest in Europe – is an impressive site but harbour tours can be expensive. A free alternative (provided you have a transit day pass) is to take ferry 62 to Finkenwerder and back.

      Riding alongside tourist and commuters alike, you’ll see huge container ships, the famous Fischmarkt, the popular Strandperle beach, and more.

      How to get here: take the U3 (yellow line), S1 (green line) or S3 (purple line) to Landungsbrücken and walk across the bridge to Pier 3.

      Harbor with Ferry 62 - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      Explore the Massive Ohlsdorf Cemetery

      Head a bit north of city centre and you’ll find the largest rural cemetery in the world with 12 chapels, 25 city bus stops, and 1.5 million burials. Over two million people (both tourists and locals) from all over the world visit Ohlsdorf every year!

      Ohlsdorf Cemetery - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      Wander the “District of Stairs” in Blankenese

      Ride the S1 (green line) 25 minutes out of the city centre and you enter what feels like a different world. Blankense is an old fishing village turned wealthy neighbourhood.

      The most scenic part of Blankense is a 10-minute walk from the metro station. The Treppenviertel (District of Stairs) is a neighbourhood on a hill overlooking the Elbe river. Explore its narrow winding footpaths and admire the thatched-roof houses and amazing views of the Elbe river.

      How to get there: take the S1 (green line) to Blankenese and follow the signs to the Treppenviertel.

      Wander the “District of Stairs” in Blankenese - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      Spend Sunday Morning at the Fischmarkt

      If you’re in Hamburg on a Sunday morning, join both tourists and locals at the popular Fischmarkt. This open-air market has been in Hamburg since 1703 and offers all kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and fish. The Fischauktionshalle (Fish Auction Hall) offers food stands (I had the best shrimp sandwich there), beer, and live music from 5:00am-9:30 am (7:00am-9:30 am in the winter).

      Even if you don’t want to buy anything, get up early (or head over after staying out late) and check out this popular Sunday morning market.

      To reach the Fischmarkt take the U3 (yellow line) to Landungsbrücken or the S1 (green line) or S3 (purple line) to the Reeperbahn and walk the short distance to the market.

      Sunday Morning at the Fischmarkt -  Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      Tour the Elbphilharmonie

      You don’t have to buy a ticket to a performance in order to visit the new Elbphilharmonie. Grab your free ticket on the street level and then ride the escalator to the observation deck for breathtaking views of the city and harbour.

      To reach the Elbphilharmonie, take the U3 (yellow line) to Baumwall or ferry 72 from Landungsbrücken.

      Elbphilharmonie - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      After, Explore Speicherstadt

      After visiting the Elbphilharmonie, walk a couple blocks over to the distinctive Speicherstadt warehouse district. This picturesque section of Hamburg is full of canals, bridges, and 100-year-old brick warehouses. Perfect for a leisurely stroll and at least one selfie!

      Speicherstadt - Free things to do in Hamburg Germany

      WANT MORE FREE STUFF? See all my articles on: Free Things To Do in Awesome Cities Around the World

      CATE BRUBAKER

      Cate is a former “expat” with a global heart and a huge sweet tooth. She shares travel tips and delicious recipes on the International Desserts Blog.

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      10 Picture-Perfect Free Things to do in Hamburg, Germany | Want to see the best of Hamburg but also need to do it on a budget? This is the perfect post for you! | See beautiful architecture, take a ride on the U3 Metro or explore the harbour | #Free #ThingsToDo #Hamburg #Germany #Photography #City #CwC #Trips #Hamburgo
      10 Picture-Perfect Free Things to do in Hamburg, Germany | Want to see the best of Hamburg but also need to do it on a budget? This is the perfect post for you! | See beautiful architecture, take a ride on the U3 Metro or explore the harbour | #Free #ThingsToDo #Hamburg #Germany #Photography #City #CwC #Trips #Hamburgo

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      Crystal Egan

      Passionate baby goat cuddler and part-time adventurer, Crystal can often be found doing headstands on the edges of cliffs, taking photos of abandoned buildings or sleeping on deserted islands with dangerous criminals. She has too many awesome stories and helpful tips to keep them all to herself so follow along and in return she will bring you inspiring pictures, travel videos and a whole load of fun!

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