With its unique glass architecture resembling a sail or water wave, the Elbphilharmonie of Hamburg (or Elphi as it is commonly known), is one of the biggest and acoustically advanced concert halls in the world. At a height of 108 meters, it is also the tallest inhabited building in Hamburg.
The Elbphilharmonie’s highlight is its public observation deck that offers 360° panoramic views of Hamburg, the Speicherdstadt, the harbour and the Elbe River. The place attracts up to 17,000 people daily.
Some helpful tips about visiting the Elbphilharmonie of Hamburg:
- The Elbphilharmonie is open to everyone, not just hotel guests and concert goers.
- Open hours are 9am to midnight everyday.
- Since the Elbphilharmonie Plaza has restricted capacity, only a limited number of tickets are issued to visitors.
- Same-day visits are free of charge and the tickets (limited) can be picked from the ticket machines at the Visitor Center or at the main entrance.
- If you wish to book your tickets in advance, you will be charged €2.00 per ticket. Groups bookings are not provided.
Located in HafenCity, the Speicherstadt is the most iconic symbol of Hamburg. Built in 1883, the seven-storey reddish colored warehouses are constructed in the Wilhelmine Brick Gothic architectural style. Together, they form the world’s largest continuous warehouse district. As a result, Speicherstadt is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A great way to enjoy the historic atmosphere of the Speicherstadt is to walk through the district in the evening when the entire place is illuminated by spotlights. On the other hand, you could take a canal tour on flat boats known as Barkasse. There are a number of attractions including the Hamburg Dungeon and Miniatur Wunderland. Note though that while exploring the Speicherstadt is completely free, checking out its individual activities is not.
In the 1800s, St. Nikolai was considered the tallest building in the world and an architectural wonder in Hamburg. It is somewhat tragic to see the remains of what must have been a structure of outstanding beauty.
Like many historic monuments around Germany, St. Nikolai suffered during World War II. However, the bombings left damages so severe that the original foundation could not be salvaged. All that remains today of the original building is the main tower that has been transformed into a holocaust memorial in Hamburg.
St. Michael’s Church
One of Northern Germany’s most beautiful baroque churches, St. Michael is a treasure on the Hamburg landscape. It is distinguished by its copper roof and 132 meter tall bell tower. In addition, the clock bell is the largest among all churches in Germany.
The church is dedicated to the archangel Michael, whose statue depicts him conquering the devil.
But St. Michael’s Church has been through difficult times. The building was first struck by lightning, then destroyed by fire, and finally sustained damages during World War II. Today, St. Michael’s Church is the largest church in Hamburg and can seat up to 2,500 people.
St. Catherine’s Church
Originally constructed for the fishermen on the Elbe river in the 13th century, St. Catherine’s Church is one of five major churches in Hamburg. The base of this church spire dates back to the 13th century, making St. Catherine’s Church the second oldest building in Hamburg after the lighthouse on Neuwerk island.
St. Catherine’s Church is famous for its 117 meter tall bell tower and organ concerts. The organ was partly destroyed during World War II, but has been successfully restored. In addition, the Gothic basilica in Hamburg is home to two unique gems from the 15th century: a crucifix and a wood carving of Saint Catherine.
The spectacular Rathaus (Town Hall) is one of the top things to see in Hamburg. It is a popular venue for markets, fairs, concerts, and performances. Constructed between 1886 to 1897, the Rathaus today houses the Hamburg Senate and Parliament. The Neo-Renaissance beauty is the sixth town hall in Hamburg’s history, having experienced many relocations, fires and other historical events.
The Rathaus is connected to the Chamber of Commerce and the Hamburg Stock Exchange. The main courtyard between these buildings is decorated with a Hygieia Fountain, named after the Greek goddess of health. It is also a memorial to the cholera epidemic of 1892.
The Rathaus is open everyday from 8am to 6pm, but visitors are only allowed inside through guided tours.
Port of Hamburg
The Port of Hamburg is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since the Middle Ages, Hamburg has been part of the Hanseatic League. With the advent of the 19th century, Hamburg consolidated its role as the center for international trade. Today, Hamburg is the third largest container port in Europe, and ranks 17th in the world. This has made it one of Germany’s wealthiest cities.
The Port of Hamburg is one of the world’s highest performing ports with around 9,000 ship calls per year, four state-of-the-art container terminals, three cruise terminals and nearly 43 kilometers of quay for seafaring vessels. It is no wonder that Hamburg was often called ‘The gateway to the world’.
Also known as the Old Elbe Tunnel or St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel, the Alter ElbTunnel was built in 1911 to provide a new direct route for dock workers from St. Pauli Piers to the Southern banks of the Elbe river. Soon the pedestrian and vehicle tunnel became a huge sensation in one of the busiest harbors in the world, the Port of Hamburg.
The Alter Elbtunnel is one of a kind. From the beautiful murals on the tile walls to the arches fitted with unique lighting, walking through this tunnel is a unique experience. The green dome of the St. Pauli Piers (Landungsbrücken) marks the 426 meter long underpass.
Popular Day Trips from Hamburg
• Lubeck, Germany