A Guide to Exploring Hamburg on a Budget

Hamburg is a charming city nestled around one of the most important ports in Europe. Though its mercantile history is rich, you don’t have to be. There are many ways to enjoy this beautiful city without breaking the bank. Here are some great tips for getting the most out of your time in Hamburg on a budget.

1. Buy the Hamburg Card for Some Site-Seeing

Photo by Sarah Fabian via Trover.com

The Hamburg Card allows you to take any local public transportation for free and offers great discounts on museums, tours, restaurants, and souvenirs. That means shuttles, ferries, buses, local trains, and metros are all included. The card is a bit expensive as a transport-only card, but if you combine it with a day of site-seeing or museum-hopping, it will more than pay for itself. If you’re traveling with a partner, it’s slightly cheaper to buy the group ticket and share the benefits than to each buy your own. Also note that if you’re landing at the Hamburg Airport, you can purchase the Hamburg Card at a kiosk there and ride the train to the city center for free.

2. Take Advantage of the Free Walking Tours

Photo by The Migrant Expats via Trover.com

Hamburg, like other major European cities, has hopped aboard the free walking tour train and it’s a beautiful thing. Walking tours are a great way to start out your trip because you learn the layout of the city and get a peek at all of the major sites. Then you can decide which ones you’d like to return to and spend time visiting more thoroughly. You also usually get a history lesson thrown in there, which can be a great foundation for perusing local historical sites. 

There are a few companies that offer walking tours in Hamburg, and since they’re all free, it’s up to you to decide which one best fits your needs. Each tour usually has a theme, like Historic City Center or a Reeperbahn Tour (the Red Light District of Hamburg) so choose one and enjoy! While these are notably free, it’s usually expected to tip at least a dollar at the end (though it’s not mandatory). If your tour guide was amazing, show them some love!

3. Ride the Ferry Line 62 for a Harbor Tour

Photo by Chasing Amber via Trover.com

While there are guided tours of the harbor geared towards tourists, you can see all of the same enchanting sights without emptying your pockets. The Line 62 ferry is a fraction of the cost of tourist boats and can be used for free with the Hamburg Card. Start at the Harbor Piers (known as Landungsbrücken in German) and take the ferry to Finkenwerder and back. You’ll enjoy an hour of unbeatable water-front views and can stop off wherever you like.  

4. Peruse the Sunday Morning Market

Photo by The Migrant via Trover.com

If you’re an early riser or enjoy shopping local markets, get to the foot of the Fish Auction Hall early on a Sunday morning (also known locally as the Fischmarkt). From around 5 AM to 9:30 AM, you can enjoy local vendors, a deliciously cheap hot breakfast, and fantastic live music. People watching is top-notch at the Sunday market, and you can hop onto the Line 62 ferry from the pier next door.

Photo by Robert Reiz via Trover.com

Hamburg is a city full of priceless treasures, you just have to know where to find them. Stay at one of the cheap hotels in Hamburg and try out these tips for your next jaunt to Hamburg, and you just might find some new gems on your own.

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