Free Walking Tour of Hamburg, Germany: The Best Way to See the Beautiful Old Town!

April 15, 2019 4 Comments

I saw a lot of Denmark when I was studying in Aarhus, and I also took a quick trip to Germany when my class ended! I spent three days exploring Hamburg, and it was such a great city to see for my first time in Germany. I think tours are the best way to see a new city and learn about snippets of history you won’t see on Wikipedia, so I did a free walking tour of Hamburg and we saw tons of amazing historic sights in Old Town! 🙂

Free Walking Tour of Hamburg, Germany: The Best Way to See the Beautiful Old Town!

Free walking tour of Hamburg

I’ve done free walking tours before (New Orleans has some awesome ones!), and for Hamburg, I booked a tour with Robin and the Tour Guides and they were great! (And this post isn’t sponsored, I just loved the tour). We started at the Hamburg Rauthaus, or town hall, which I think is the prettiest building in Hamburg! We got to see inside the building and learned that the current building was built in the 1880s after a massive fire in 1842 destroyed a lot of the town.

There used to be many homes in the area around the town hall, but since it took a long time for Hamburg to rebuild after the fire, people had already moved to other areas of the city. So shops and office buildings were built in that area instead, which is how it still is today. Our tour guide said that if you walk around at night, that area is basically a ghost town after the shops close.

Hamburg city hall

Hamburg city hall

Hamburg city hall

Hamburg city hall

Hamburg city hall

Hamburg city hall

Hamburg city hall

Lake in Hamburg, Germany

Binnenalster, an artificial lake in Hamburg

Lake in Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg town hall

St. Peter's Church in Hamburg

St. Peter’s Church was built around 1310, but there were other churches built on that site previously. The church has lion-head door handles made of bronze, and they’re actually the oldest piece of art of Hamburg! You can go to the top of the tower, but our tour guide recommended not going on windy days because you actually feel the tower swaying in the wind.

St. Peter's Church in Hamburg

St. Peter's Church in Hamburg

Walking tour of Hamburg

Canals in Hamburg

Did you know that Hamburg has more canals and bridges than Venice, Amsterdam, and London combined? I didn’t! Hamburg sits along the Elbe River and has over 2,500 bridges, which is more bridges than any other city in the world. We got to cross lots of little bridges, and it was interesting to see the historic and modern bridges together. I didn’t get to do a boat tour while I was in Hamburg, but I’ve heard great things about the canal tours if you have the time!

Walking tour of Hamburg

Historic statues in Hamburg

St. Nikolai Memorial in Hamburg

WWII memorial

St. Nikolai Church was built in 1874, and at that time, it was the tallest building in the world. It’s still the 5th tallest church in the world today.

Hamburg has a lot of historic buildings, but not all of them survived WWII. St. Nikolai Church was bombed pretty heavily, but instead of tearing it down or rebuilding, Hamburg turned it into a WWII memorial. It was pretty haunting to walk along the ruins, and there’s a small museum where you can learn more about it. You can also take an elevator to the top of the spire to get some views of the city. The church has a bell carillon that was installed to be part of the memorial, and we were lucky enough to get to see the daily performance at noon.

St. Nikolai Memorial in Hamburg

WWII church ruins in Hamburg

St. Nikolai Memorial in Hamburg

Hamburg walking tour

Hamburg walking tour

Hamburg walking tour

Summer flowers in Hamburg

Canal tour in Hamburg

Historic church in Hamburg

Hamburg walking tour

Hamburg walking tour

Hamburg walking tour

Canals in Hamburg

Historic architecture in Hamburg

Warehouse District in Hamburg

Hamburg Warehouse District

Hamburg has the largest warehouse district in the world! The district, Speicherstadt, sits across the river from the Old Town, and I wish I had more time to explore it during my trip because I had heard of some great spots there. It’s also where the Miniatur Wunderland is located, which I also wish I had time for. 

Warehouse District in Hamburg

Historic architecture in Hamburg

Warehouse District in Hamburg

Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg

The Elbphilharmonie is one of the largest concert halls in the world! It’s built on top of an old warehouse and the glass part on top was made to resemble a hoisted sail or iceberg, and it actually houses apartments and hotel rooms. It just opened in 2017, so it’s still pretty new to Hamburg!

St. Michael's Church in Hamburg

St. Michael's Church in Hamburg

St. Michael’s Church is the largest and most famous church in Hamburg, and the clock is the largest one on a church in Germany. It’s one of the few churches that was built to be a Protestant church rather than being converted during the Reformation. The current building was completed in 1786 and has been repaired from fires and WWII bombings. It’s known for being the church where Brahms was baptized and confirmed!

St. James Church in Hamburg, Germany

I loved the free walking tour of Hamburg, and as you can see, I learned a TON about the city! So if you’re planning a visit, I highly recommend doing a canal tour (which aren’t free) or a free walking tour of Hamburg so you can see amazing sights and learn about the city’s interesting history 🙂 

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4 Comments

  1. Reply

    Alina

    April 20, 2019

    Heading there next week, thanks for all the tips! I think I’ll visit the Warehouse district and will try to find the time for the Miniatur Wunderland! 🙂

    • Reply

      Julia

      April 20, 2019

      I hope you have a great time! 🙂 Let me know if you need any other recommendations since you’ll be there before I get my other posts published!

  2. Reply

    Sarah

    April 20, 2019

    Great post and beautiful photos. I love Hamburg, it’s one of my favourite cities in Germany. I’ve never done a walking tour. But it sure well seems worth it.
    If you get the chance next time, you should really go inside the Elbphilharmonie. It is as stunning from the inside as it is from the outside.

    • Reply

      Julia

      April 20, 2019

      Thank you! 🙂 I definitely want to go inside Elbphilharmonie the next time I’m there!

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