Free Sightseeing Spots in Hamburg

As you know from my last post, I only spent two nights in Hamburg so I definitely have more sightseeing to do next time I go. Despite a short visit, we managed to tick off quite a lot of things on the list of sightseeing I wanted to see. The best bit, they’re all free!

Elbphilharmonie Opera House

Elbphilharmonie

On the afternoon we arrived, we first made our way down to the harbour and the Opera House – Elbphilharmonie. I can’t say I particularly like the architecture of this building, I think it’s the shape that bothers me. The contrast between different materials and styles in buildings have always fascinated me but somehow this doesn’t do it for me. I know they do a light show at night time, which I imagine is pretty cool to watch live.

Canal view from ElbphilharmonieHarbour view from ElbphilharmonieShip view from Elbphilharmonie

The best bit about the Opera house isn’t how it looks from the outside but the fact that you can go up the escalators to the Plaza level, which gives you outdoor access and a 360 degree view over Hamburg’s harbour and close by areas. The view from up here is stunning!

You need a ticket to get to the Plaza level. They’re free to collect from the ticket office at the main entrance. 

St. Michaelis Church

The same evening, we walked up to St. Michael is, one of five Lutheran churches in Hamburg. I’m not religious but I love walking in to churches and cathedrals for architectural reasons. They are so majestic and powerful. When I visit them I always wonder how people once managed to build impressive churches like these.

St Michaelis Organ St Michaelis Altar

St. Michaelis is the most famous church in Hamburg (so many of them) I don’t know why it’s so famous but it looks really nice. I seem to have forgotten to take a picture from the outside, sorry, but I guess it means you have to go see for yourselves, or look at someone else’s pictures 😉 What fascinated me the most is the massive organ inside, above the main entrance. It’s huge and stunningly decorated with gold details. Sadly on our visit very “black cloud hanging over us” psalms were played but still worth a visit.

It’s free to enter but paid tours are also available.

Hamburg Rathaus (Town Hall)

On the second day, we walked up to the Altstadt area of Hamburg, where the Town Hall is (Rathaus in German). The Town Hall is, like so many buildings in Hamburg, very impressive. It’s so big I couldn’t fit it all in in one photo, ha. The Town Hall acts like one of Germany’s 16 state parliaments.

Hamburg Rathaus

The building has so many details on the outside like different statues, state arms etc. which makes it look extra special and stand out in the architectural crowd. Leeds Town Hall is also impressive but it hasn’t got all the detailing like Hamburg’s has or the spacious area outside which makes it look extra important.

Hamburg Town Hall Tower Hamburg Town Hall

The Rathausmarkt Square outside is a very popular for tourists, city guided tours and street artists. There are often seasonal events taking place here like outdoor cinema, Christmas markets etc.

We never went inside but there are guided tours on offer should you want to. I was happy just admiring the building from the outside, and luckily that’s for free.

Binnenalster Lake

Not far from the Town Hall is the Binnenalster lake. It looks a lot bigger on a map of the city than it is in real life. You can easily walk around it in half an hour or so I’d guess.

Binnenalster LakeBinnenalsterView from Binnenalster

It’s beautifully situated at the top of city centre, connected to a bigger lake called Außenalster. They’re both artificial lakes which you can take boat tours on should walking around them be too tiresome. Some boats are glass encrusted so you don’t get wet going under the massive fountain in the middle of the lake. Or why not settle for a nice spot in the sun at one of all bars admiring the view. This is what we did.

Walking around the lake is free but boat tours you have to pay for. 

During my next Hamburg visit, I’d like to go and see the Fishmarket, Messeplatz, Planten Un Blumen and the Spierstadt area. The hotel we stayed in isn’t far away from Spierstadt area actually so I might stay in the same place next time.

Have you been to Hamburg and have you got any other sightseeing recommendations to visit here?

Jennie xx

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