The city centre of Hamburg is formed by the districts of Altstadt and Neustadt, as well as the new district of Hafencity immediately south of Altstadt. Within the three, you will find most of Hamburg's iconic sights, including the artificial pond of Binnenalster in front of the city hall and the rows of densely packed warehouses hovering over narrow canals, called Speicherstadt. HafenCity has completely transformed the old port of Hamburg, now filled not only with striking modern architecture, but also providing brilliant views over the river Elbe.

The area is both a tourist centre and a large shopping area. It also includes the offices of major companies based in Hamburg, as well as high-end restaurants and other extablishments catering for well-off locals and tourists alike. The nightlife, however, is limited and incomparable with that of St.Pauli. You will also find more air and greenery there and in the neighbouring Altona (which features a long and varied riverbank), as well as in the city's North, which includes the large lake Aussenalster and the Stadtpark, the largest park in the city.

Get in

By public transport

Most visitors to Hamburg will probably enter the city via Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, the city's main train station, situated on the northeastern edge of the district. This is where all the long-distance and regional trains stop, and the city's S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines converge, connecting it to the other parts of the city. If you arrive at Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel airport, S-Bahn line S1 connects the airport directly to the Hauptbahnhof.

By car

Should you decide to drive into central Hamburg, there are parking lots on and around Deichtorplatz a few blocks south of Hauptbahnhof and the shopping district.


St. Petri and St. Jakobi seen from above in an aerial view of central Hamburg

The five main churches of Hamburg

Central Hamburg has five Lutheran churches bearing the title of Hauptkirche, or "main church". They stem from various ages and are some of the most recognizable landmarks and orientation points, scattered across the centre with their tall steeples, easily visible from afar.

There is also another Hauptkirche St. Nikolai in the north of Hamburg, built as a functional replacement of the destroyed one. Altona, which was a separate city until the 20th century, has its own Hauptkirche as well.

Around Mönckebergstraße

Rathaus (town hall) at night

Around city hall

Following the canal to the right and crossing the traditional shopping road, Jungfernstieg, you quickly get to the artificial lake   Binnenalster. Boat tours take you to the even bigger artificial lake,   Außenalster, directly behind he Binnenalster with lots of sailing boats in summer.

Around St. Nikolai

Chilehaus in the Kontorhausviertel



At the southern end of the Alte Deichstraße, you see where the harbour moved afterwards. There is a canal called Zollkanal. Looking to the left, you see the   Speicherstadt, a large district of warehouses from 1888. Some are still in use, but others have been converted to apartments. In 2015 the Speicherstadt was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall), 2013
Sandtorhafen at night in the HafenCity


Traditionsschiffhafen in the HafenCity

Behind the warehouse district Speicherstadt a totally new quarter, the HafenCity, is being shaped and erected on unused industrial ground, nerved by channel, docks and basins. It is Europe's largest project of city development, creating a whole new quarter from scratch in a former harbour region.

Old harbour


The Kunsthalle's neo-renaissance main building
Inside the Hamburg Museum
International Maritime Museum in the HafenCity
German Customs Museum


The Alsterhaus, one of the best-known upscale department stores in Germany

Performance art

Spa and fitness


Full shopping tour starts at central station, down to town hall, then Poststraße towards Gänsemarkt square and back on Jungfernstieg at the Alter lake side.




  Kurze Mühren 20
  Hohe Bleichen 10




The accommodation options in the city centre are mostly mid-range to upscale hotels. For more variety of accommodation options, see other districts.


On the floor

There is a Church mission on the West side of the main train station, mainly for homeless people and people with problems. But it's very clean, people are friendly, and if one is humble and polite, there is a good chance you can enter to chat (even in English) and sleep there on the floor in your sleeping bag. The night shift opens the place at midnight and everyone has to leave before seven in the morning.

Nevertheless, as a traveller, you should contribute some money to run the volunteer's service or at the very least offer some help. Remember: This is not a place for the unprepared traveller and definitely not a hotel!




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