To really see and explore Hamburg, count on spending at least three days prowling its neighbourhoods, waterfront, museums, shops and more. Hamburg has some outstanding museums, with most of these in the city centre or not far away – Altstadt, Neustadt, Speicherstadt and HafenCity are home to most of them, but by no means all.
The city's elegant churches are another highlight, with a number of them also offering sweeping panoramic views of the city from their summits. Architectural showpieces, too, are an integral part of the city's visual appeal.
Sightseeing like a Real Hamburger
This maritime city offers a bewildering array of boat trips, but locals will tell you that you don’t have to book a cruise to see the port – the city’s harbour ferries will take you up the river on a regular public transport ticket, and you can avoid hokey narration!
One recommended route is to catch ferry route 62 from Landungsbrücken to Finkenwerder, then change for the 64 to Teufelsbrücke. From Teufelsbrücke, you can wander along the Elbe eastwards to Neumühlen, from where you can catch bus 112 back to the Altona S-Bahn station or ferry 62 back to Landungsbrücken.
On land, the U3 U-Bahn line is particularly scenic, especially the elevated track between the St Pauli and Rathaus U-Bahn stations.
Worth a Trip: Blankenese
Once a former fishing village and haven for cutthroat pirates, Blankenese, 8km west of Altona, now boasts some of the finest and most expensive houses in Germany. For visitors, the area’s attractiveness lies in its hillside labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets, with a network of 58 stairways (4864 steps in total) connecting them. Begin along the waterfront by admiring the uber-luxurious villas, then take any of the lanes that lead inland.
To get here, take line S1 of the S-Bahn to Blankenese station. Blankenese lies within the inner-city ticket system and a single trip from the centre will cost €3.30 (although you're better off buying a day ticket for €6.40).