Germany for Visitors logo
Hamburg Index Germany Index

Europe > Germany > Hamburg > Museums & attractions

Hamburg Museums and Attractions

From: Hamburg City Guide

Ballinstadt emigrant halls

ABOVE: Between 1901 and 1939, millions of Eastern Europeans passed through Ballinstadt, the "port of dreams" for emigrants to the New World.


As you might expect of a prosperous city with nearly 2 million people, Hamburg has museums for every taste. Here are just a few:

Hamburger KunsthalleHamburger Kunsthalle is the city's leading art museum, with three buildings that house paintings, scultpure, and other works from medieval through modern times. It's conveniently located in the city center, next to the main railroad station.

Just across from the station is the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (informally known as the MKG), which focuses on art, applied art, and design from ancient times to the present day.

International Maritime Museum HamburgThe International Maritime Museum, which opened in 2008, has "ten decks, ten thousand exhibits" in a renovated brick warehouse surrounded by water in the Speicherstadt. Its boat models and other exhibits portray "the infinite expanse of the maritime world."

Ballinstadt boatBallinStadt (see photo at top of page) is the settlement where emigrants bound for the New World waited to board HAPAG passenger ships from 1901 until the 1930s. You can visit the restored dormitories and learn about the estimated 5 million German and Eastern European emigrants who used Hamburg as their gateway to a better life.

St Pauli FischmarktSubmarine: U-434 was a Russian "sub hunter" until 2002. The retired boat is now  a museum with a permanent berth at the St. Pauli Fishmarkt (inset photo).

Miniatur Wunderland is the world's largest model railway, with 64 computers overseeing trains on 12 km (7 miles) of track. It's built inside a former warehouse in the Speicherstadt. Guided "Behind the Scenes Tours" are available, but book ahead--each tour is limited to 6 participants. (See an amazing YouTube video of Miniatur Wunderland.)

Rickmer Rickmers bowRickmer Rickmers is Hamburg's oldest (and arguably most famous) museum ship. The 19th Century windjammer began life on the trade route between Germany and Hong Kong, and it later served as a Portuguese naval training ship after being seized in the Azores in 1916.

Another museum ship, the Cap San Diego, is open daily except for Christmas Eve. The retired freighter was built in the 1960s and was in service until 1981. The ship (which doubles as a floating B&B) is moored at the Überseebrücke, and you can reach it directly by boats of the Maritime Circle Line.

Back on land, Prototyp is an automotive museum in HafenCity (see below) that displays some 40 classic sports cars, with an emphasis on Porsche. If you're a car enthusiast, you'll enjoy the "Timeline" and other interactive features on Prototyp's handsome Web site.

Other attractions

ElbtunnelThe Elbtunnel, or Old River Elbe Tunnel, is a car, bicycle, and pedestrian tunnel that was built in 1907 to connect the St. Pauli district with the Steinwerder docks. (See tunnel profile diagram.) Before the tunnel was built, small ferries carried up to 80,000 workers a day across the river: 60,000 to the docks, and another 20,000 to shipyards on the south side of the Elbe.

HafenCity HamburgHafenCity, which we mentioned on our Sightseeing page, is Europe's largest inner-city redevelopment project, occupying 157 hectares or 388 acres of former industrial land next to the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district.

Projects at the HafenCity include apartment houses, office buildings, a new philharmonic concert hall, and public parks, squares, and promenades.

HafenCity ViewPointWhen HafenCity is complete in 2020-2030 (or possibly even later), it will have increased Hamburg's inner-city area by 40 percent. You can visit the Kesselhaus InfoCenter, take a guided tour on foot or by bicycle, and enjoy a 360-degree panorama of HafenCity from the free ViewPoint observation tower.

Next page: Hamburg culture and entertainment

In this Hamburg city guide:
Hamburg City Guide - Introduction
Museums, attractions
Culture, entertainment
Hotels, restaurants
Transportation, tourist information

Related articles:
Sightseeing Boats and Harbor Tours
BallinStadt Emigration Museum
Hempel's Beatles Tour
Franzbrötchen (Hamburg sweet rolls)
Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg
Dr. Tomas H. Kaiser (private tourist guide)

Also see:
HAPAG Halle Cuxhaven (Steubenhöft)

1st, 4th, 5th, 8th inset photos copyright © Marc Fishcher.
2nd inset photo copyright © International Maritime Museum.
4th inset photo copyright © Andreas Weber.
6th, 7th inset photos copyright © Nikada.