Hamburg view

Why traveling to Hamburg Gets the Green Light from Sports Travelers

The German city of Hamburg is known for its stunning architecture, vibrant local cuisine and neighbourhoods, historic bridges and canals, and, of course, its infamous red-light district. If you’re planning a trip to the city, you’ll find all the information you need to make the most of your visit in the Hamburg travel guide below. From the city’s lively fish markets to the exciting sports at Hamburg set to take place throughout the year, let us help you plan your perfect itinerary.

Hamburg’s 2024 Highlights

Hamburg DOM, Heiligengeistfeld

The largest folk festival in Northern Germany, the Hamburg DON, is held three times a year and attracts huge crowds of visitors who come to enjoy all the fun of the fair! In 2024, the event will be held on the following dates:

  • March 22nd to April 21st
  • July 26th to August 25th
  • November 8th to December 8th

The fair has popped up in Heiligengeistfeld since 1892 and offers fun and entertainment for young and old alike. Ride the huge Ferris Wheel, savour candied fruits, bratwurst, and potato pancakes, enjoy a range of dance performances, and try driving a bumper car – and that’s just for starters!

Hamburg Tattoo, Barclays Arena

Fans of international marching or military music (and who knows, you might be one without even realizing it) won’t want to miss this event taking place in the city’s Barclays Arena on April 27th, 2024. The Hamburg Tattoo will see five hundred musicians, including soloists, bagpipers, drummers, and dancers, from ten countries perform in a show featuring breathtaking choreography.

Lasting around three hours, this a spectacle not to miss, even if you’ve never watched a military music performance before. The exciting atmosphere and sight of massed marching bands and choirs is an unforgettable sight.

Hamburger Schlagermove (Festival of Love), between Heiligengeistfeld and St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken

If you’ll be in the city in May 2024, a visit to the Hamburg Festival of Love, which takes place from May 24th to 25th, is an absolute must-visit. Widely regarded as the biggest and best festival of its kind in Europe, enjoy the visual and aural spectacular as a host of brightly decorated music trucks bop along the streets with spectators from all over the continent dancing and singing along to the tunes. Expect vibrant costumes, an inclusive and diverse atmosphere, and a party atmosphere that lasts well into the evening.

Party trucks will also form part of the automotive parade, and tickets will be available via the festival’s official website. Last year, these proved exceptionally popular, so it’s a good idea to bag your ticket as early as possible.

Enjoy the Unforgettable Atmosphere of the Euro 2024 Festival, Heiligengeistfeld

Euro fever is set to hit Germany this summer, with the UEFA 2024 tournament taking place in stadia around the country in June and July. Sports fans from all over the world will travel to Hamburg for sports and to soak up the unique atmosphere of the event. 

hamburg euro 2024 special

Hamburg will be host to an official Euro 2024 Fan Zone at Heiligengeistfeld, where supporters are invited to gather to watch the Euro football matches together on a multitude of big screens and enjoy the range of entertainment on offer. There will be live musical performances at the fun “beach club,” plenty of delicious food and drink to sample, and a roster of cultural and artistic events to take in. The Fan Zone will be open on every match day from June 14th, 2024, and entry is free.

If you want to see more cities that have sporting events, check our cities page.

World Triathlon Championships, Jungfernstieg

The Euro 2024 tournament isn’t the only major sporting event taking place in Hamburg this year. The World Triathlon Championships are scheduled to take place in the heart of the city on July 13th and 14th and are expected to attract around 300,00 spectators – not to mention the 20,000 competitors. Take a look at this video to get an idea of what you can expect.

Billed as “The World’s Biggest Tri” the event draws both amateur and professional athletes, who will battle their way through a 1.5-kilometer swim, a forty-kilometre cycle, and a ten-kilometre run in a bid for glory. Don’t miss the famous “party mile” of the route, located along the Reeperbahn, to get the full event experience. 

World Heritage Day, Speicherstadt

In 2015, the Speicherstadt in Hamburg was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, and every year, World Heritage Day is held on the first Sunday in June (in 2024, this will be June 2nd) to celebrate this very special site. As part of this event, you can enjoy guided tours of the district and be fascinated by historic insights as you explore and marvel at the awe-inspiring architecture.

The Speicherstadt is the largest warehouse district in the world and is an exceptional example of modernist and neo-Gothic architecture. Taking in the buildings through a harbour tour is one of the most popular tourist activities in Hamburg, so be sure not to miss it if you’ll be taking a trip to the city this year.

Open Mouth Food Festival, Locations Throughout Hamburg

Following the huge success of the inaugural event last year, the Open Mouth Food Festival is set to make a triumphant return to the streets of Hamburg in September 2024, with organisers inviting attendees to “eat, drink, and be amazed!”

Local and regional cuisine will be the stars of the show, with the focus firmly on sustainable, ethical practices and the creation of a laid-back atmosphere where folk can sample the delicious food on offer as they take in some of the city’s best-known sights.

Top Ten Tips for Your Visit to Hamburg

1. Make the most of Hamburg’s amazing public transport

As in the rest of Germany, Hamburg boasts an amazing public transport system, meaning you can get around the city affordably and with ease. As well as the S-Bahn and U-Bahn networks, you can hop on a bus or even a ferry to explore the city. The latter is a fun way to enjoy a different view of Hamburg. To save even more money, consider buying a Hamburg travel card, which will give you access to discounts on public transport and money off tickets to many of the city’s most popular attractions.

2. Don’t miss the Elbphilharmonie

Opened in 2017, this spectacular building has already become one of the city’s major tourist attractions. Located on the waterfront of HafenCity, the lower half of the Elbphilharmonie retains a restored warehouse vibe, while the upper half is a spectacular, iceberg-like piece of architecture that suggests waves.

If you fancy taking in the view from inside, the venue offers free tickets that’ll give you access to the plaza level, where you can stroll along the observation deck. Check out this video to view just what makes the Elbphilharmonie such an awesome building.

3. Always carry some cash

In Germany, cash remains king, and this is as true in Hamburg as everywhere else. It’s not unusual to find bars, cafes, and restaurants throughout the city that don’t accept cards at all. Therefore, it’s sensible to always carry some cash on you to save any embarrassment. Although all is not lost if this slips your mind; Hamburg is well served with ATMs.

4. Pack Waterproofs 

Hamburg is well known for its cloudy, wet climate, so if you’re heading to the city, be sure to pack some waterproofs – you’ll undoubtedly need them, even in summer. On the plus side? There are plenty of indoor attractions and activities throughout Hamburg to stay cosy and dry.

5. Sample the local cuisine

Being a waterfront city, it’s no surprise that the seafood on offer in Hamburg is a must-try. Head to the Fischmarkt, near the Reeperbahn, to sample some fishy fayre or savour some sushi in one of the city’s many elegant restaurants. 

Take the opportunity, too, to try the local Grünkohl, a dish of stewed kale served with smoked pork, sausages, and potatoes. And to finish with something sweet? Enjoy a bowl of Rote Grütze —red summer berries served with vanilla sauce, milk, or ice cream—a staple of North German cuisine.

6. Take advantage of free attractions

You’ll be delighted at the many things to do and attractions to see that are free to enjoy, if you’re traveling to Hamburg on a budget. For example, head to St Michaeliskirche to enjoy a free organ recital every day at noon, explore the Planten un Blomen botanical gardens, and check out the 427-metre-long Alter Elbtunnel that opened in 1911 and reaches a depth of twenty-four meters. The tunnel connects the southern banks of the Elbe River with St Pauli. Whether you’re traveling with a young family, friends, or solo, you’ll find plenty of free stuff to enjoy in Hamburg.

7. When to visit Hamburg

As we’ve mentioned, it’s always best to prepare for rain in Hamburg. But if you’re wondering when is the best time of year to visit the city, it’s helpful to be aware that February is typically the coldest month here, while July is the hottest. If you’re keen to avoid the crowds, the best times to head to Hamburg are April, May, and September.

8. Explore the local beer scene

Visitors to Hamburg love the city’s vibrant beer and brewery scene, made up of cosy taverns, open-air beer gardens, and breweries where visitors can enjoy a tour and even sample the local taps. Überquell, with its sprawling rooftop garden, is a must-visit. As well as providing a range of exceptional craft beer, this is one of the friendliest and liveliest spots in the city.

9. Get with the greetings

In Hamburg, the standard greeting is “Moin! Moin!” – knowing this in advance of your trip can save some confusion. Deriving from the word “good”, it can be used at any time of day and in all greeting situations. There is some ongoing debate over whether “Moin” should be said once or twice – but don’t worry, either way, it works fine and is sure to be appreciated by locals.

10. Be aware of the Red Light District

Prostitution is legal in Germany, and the Reeperbahn is the second-largest red light district in Europe. If you’re interested, there are plenty of guided tours of the area on offer. Women, be aware: the Herbertstraße is for men only; it’s the only place on the Reeperbahn where, as in Amsterdam, you’ll see female prostitutes in the windows.

Northern Germany? It’s all about Hamburg in 2024

We hope the tips about Hamburg above will help you make the most of your trip to this city of many faces. Whether you’re here for the Euro 2024 tournament, to take in the vibrant arts scenes, explore its rich culture and history, or all of these things, there is so much to enjoy here. Hamburg may be known for its red-light district, but the city gets the green light from us.