Coming in as Germany’s second-largest city after Berlin, it is no wonder that Hamburg International Airport is one of Germany’s busiest airports. The airport is equipped with a host of services and facilities ranging from hotel reservation to car rentals. Hamburg International has four terminals, with Terminal 1 and 2 servicing international airlines like Air New Zealand.
How to get around
Located just 8km north of the city centre, there are several ways to get to the city and the journey there takes around 20-30 minutes. Bus services that stop outside the airport terminals include the Airport Express and Line 110 Airport Express with the former taking you to the city centre and the latter bringing you to Ohlsdorf Underground Station.
S-Bahn train line also links the airport to the Hauptbahnhof (Hamburg’s Central Railway Station) and costs around NZD5. Taxis cost NZD39 to the city centre. Alternatively, you may request for car rental services at the airport.
To get around the city, you may wish to purchase the Hamburg CARD. This card offers you free bus and train services around the city, as well as discounts in museums and attractions. One, three and five day tickets are available, starting from NZD15. Night buses also operate between 12-5am.
Alternatively, rent a bicycle at Hauptbahnhof. Hamburg is a bicycle friendly city paved with extensive cycling routes. Taxis are another option to consider to travel in Hamburg. As main places of attractions are located a distance from one another, walking is not recommended to explore Hamburg.
What to see and do
Hamburg’s reference as a “city state” in Germany is a testament to its charm and influence over the centuries. From its humble beginnings as a settlement along the Alster River, Hamburg has since become one of the most important ports in Europe.
Most sights are located in the city centre. With the airport located just 30 minutes away, this vibrant and cosmopolitan city has many places of attraction to offer, even for those in transit. Hamburg is divided into Altstadt (old city) and Neustadt (new city).
Main attractions in Altstadt include the St. Katharinen Church, the second oldest building preserved in Hamburg. Be inspired by the gothic architecture. Head down to Hohe Brücke for a good view of the Nikolaifleet Canal. For a unique experience, try Dialog Im Dunkeln (Dialogue in the Dark). Blind guides bring you through this dark and unusual museum and let you experience what it is like to be without your sight.
Jungfernstieg, located at Neustadt, is another place to explore. Alsterpavillon café-restaurant boasts one of the most scenic views over the Alster River at the waterfront. Neslted in the heart of Hamburg is the Rathaus (city hall). The town hall was built in 1842, modelling after neo-Renaissance style.
Explore St Pauli District as well. Beneath the veneer of this ordinary shopping area in the day lies Hamburg’s red light district that teems with nightlife and brims with bars, restaurants and cafes. At the height of its profile, the Beatles used to play at Star Club, located at St Pauli District. Enjoy a scenic stroll along River Elbe.
For some, Hamburg is associated with vices, especially its prostitution and strip joints in the red light district. Yet for many, Hamburg promises a variety of interesting places of attractions and scenic landscapes in Europe, even if you are in transit for a few hours.