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Rent a car in Hamburg and find out why the city is so revered across Germany. From its port, which forms its beating heart, to its vibrant, edgy neighbourhoods and awe-inspiring landmarks, Hamburg is best seen by car. From the moment you arrive, you'll be amazed at what this exciting city has to offer.

It's your choice: Where to go in Hamburg

Flights to Hamburg arrive at Hamburg Airport (HAM), which is around 25 minutes' drive from the city centre. The airport is one of Germany's biggest and a hub for many of the country’s major airlines. To see the best of Hamburg, rent a car and explore the city as you like. Hamburg's neighbourhoods vary, each having distinct characteristics. Drive to Altstadt for a sense of traditional Hamburg and check out the Rathaus's neo-Renaissance architecture. Head to Speicherstadt, the city’s famous UNESCO-designated warehouse district, and wander among its distinctive red-brick buildings. When you see skull-and-crossbones painted on street lamps, road signs, and houses, you'll know you’re in St Pauli, Hamburg’s hippest neighbourhood.

Things to do in Hamburg

Hamburg is a bustling mix of iconic landmarks, cultural hotspots, and gastronomic feasts. Explore the Port of Hamburg, a sprawling 100-square-kilometre tidal harbour that handles thousands of vessels every day. The latest addition to the area is the spectacular Elbphilharmonie concert hall. In Hamburg’s Altstadt (Old Town) is the Rathaus (city hall), which has sat at the heart of the city since 1897, and the adjacent stock exchange, which hosts the annual Long Night of Museums. Nearby is beautiful, baroque-style St Michael’s Church, among Hamburg's most famous structures since it was completed in 1762. For a contrast, check out the HafenCity district's modern architecture. No visit to Hamburg is complete without experiencing the Reeperbahn. The hotels in Hamburg are constantly filled as people come to experience this 'most sinful mile', a sea of neon lights, strip bars, and nightclubs. The district is also where the Beatles kickstarted their international career, an event commemorated at the newly built Beatles-Platz.

Important info about Hamburg

Hamburg, in northern Germany, is considered one of the country’s most important cities for business, commerce, and culture. Often regarded as Germany’s ‘Gateway to the World’, it's home to the second-busiest port in Europe. Welcoming visitors from all over the globe, Hamburg is an international city and its residents are proud of its status as the 'Free and Hanseatic City'. It's a central hub for Germany, with the stock exchange and many of the country’s newspapers and major companies being based there. When it comes to food, the city takes inspiration from its maritime history – locals enjoy feasting on seafood accompanied by a couple of glasses of beer (naturally). You wouldn't be in Germany if you couldn't find excellent beer, and Hamburg does not disappoint in this realm. Among the many beers brewed in the city, Holsten and Astra are the preferred choices, complimenting many a meal for Hamburgers. Regardless of when you visit Hamburg, don’t forget to bring a coat – even in the springtime, there may be a chilly wind from the North Sea.

Weather in Hamburg
Facts
Country Germany
Language German
Currency Euro
Time-Zones Central European Time
Country Code +49

Good to know

Hamburg authorities are introducing low-emission zones across the city, meaning diesel vehicles that fail to meet the latest emission standards are banned from certain sections. The restriction zones may change, so make sure to check the latest advice before you arrive in Hamburg. If you rent a car in Hamburg that violates the emission rules, you could incur a fine. Keep in mind that vehicles are subject to random police checks. Germans drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left. The speed limit is 50 km/h in built-up areas for all vehicles, and 130 km/h on highways. If you're arriving by ferry, be aware that vehicles in Germany are required by law to carry reflective jackets, a warning triangle, headlamp beam deflectors, and a first aid kit.

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What to taste in Hamburg

When you think of German cuisine, bratwurst, sauerkraut, and schnitzel may come to mind. However, they do things differently in Hamburg. Over the generations, the harbour city's cuisine has been inspired by the fresh seafood brought ashore. After a heavy night on the Reeperbahn, locals swear that a freshly made fischbrötchen, combined with a walk in the brisk North Sea wind, will cure what ails you. This simple fish roll traditionally contains pickled or soused herring topped with onion, pickles, and remoulade sauce. If you’re in the mood for something a little more refined, order Finkenwerder Scholle, a dish of delicious pan-fried plaice with bacon, onions, and shrimp. And you can eat like a real Hamburger with a bowl of aalsuppe, a traditional eel soup believed to have originated in 1788. It's an absolute must for any visitor to the city.

What to bring to your friends from Hamburg

Germany is renowned for its chocolate-making, and if you're looking for the best, head to Oschätzen. Here, you can choose from a range of delicious chocolate gifts made by some of the city’s best chocolatiers. Hamburg natives – from sailors and fishermen to office workers and musicians – have snacked on Kemm’sche Kuchen for generations. Created by Johann Georg Kemm in 1782, this tasty gingerbread has been packed into the lunchboxes of city workers and is still sold in shops today. Among the most recognisable symbols now associated with Hamburg is the FC St Pauli Jolly Roger. Visit the club’s home, Millerntor-Stadion, and choose from its huge range of scarves, shirts, hoodies, and accessories, all proudly sporting the famous skull-and-crossbones. They make the perfect souvenir or gift for football fans at home.