Hamburg is a port city in the northern part of Germany. The Elbe River cuts through the city, connecting it to the North Sea. During the Christmas Vacations of 2019, before the pandemic started, we were lucky to have a small holiday in this city. The trip to Hamburg was a part of our 10 days holiday in which we visited Nuremberg, Ingolstadt, Berlin, and Hamburg. Hamburg was the last leg of our journey. We reached here by train from Berlin. It took us close to 2 hours.
The city is unique and reminded us of our trip to Venice in Italy a few years back. Because streams of the Elbe river crisis cross through the city, buildings have come up along the river banks, creating a beautiful harmony between land and water. Hamburg is not a tourist hotspot like Venice but offers a similar experience. There are many interesting places to see and things to do, especially with kids.
We had a great time in Hamburg and welcomed the new year, 2020, in this lovely city. This trip is also close to my heart as this was the last long holiday we had before the Corona Pandemic began. By February 2020, the pandemic had hit Germany and then began a period of long lockdowns, which meant no traveling! Anyway, that time is over now, and we are lucky to have survived.
Let’s continue with the holiday plan.
Here is the itinerary that we followed in Hamburg:
- Day 1: Reach Hamburg; Explore the surroundings
- Day 2: Hamburg Hafenrundfahrt ; Visit Elbphilharmonie ; St. Nikolai Memorial
- Day 3: Chocolate museum, Miniature Wonderland
- Day 4: Return to Darmstadt
Before I get into the details of the places that we visited, let me take you through stay, accommodation, travel within the city, etc
How we reached Hamburg:
Hamburg was the 3rd leg of our ten days trip to see the highlights of Germany. As a part of that trip, we visited Nuremberg, Berlin, and Hamburg. We reached Hamburg using the Deutsche Bahn (Train) from Berlin. It took approximately 2 hours. So we left by afternoon from Berlin and reached Hamburg around the early evening.
The tickets for Deutsche Bahn trains can be bought on their official website:
Where we stayed:
Since we are a family with kids, having enough space for each of us is essential. Hotel rooms are not spacious and restrict everyone to a small room. So, off late, we have started booking through Airbnb. We usually reserve a flat or house, preferably with an equipped kitchen and a minimum of two bedrooms, so that each of us has our own space and there is always an option of cooking something.
We, as a family, like having a good breakfast and starting our day, and Airbnb allows us to make simple meals at home. Also, we like exploring the local supermarkets, finding what’s new, and trying out foods and drinks that are locally available. Airbnb is an excellent option for all the people who want to add this to their holiday experience.
For this trip, too, we booked an Airbnb, and as usual, the experience was great.
Airbnbs can be booked using this link:
How we traveled around the city
In Hamburg, we used public transport to travel around places.
We purchased the Hamburg card for 3 days from the main railway station on the day we reached. This card allowed us to use any public transport in Hamburg for 3 days. The official website is:
Now, let’s get on with the itinerary:
Since our accommodation was a bit on the outskirts of Hamburg, it took us some time to reach there, check in, and get freshened. We explored the place a bit, explored some local shops, and then called it a day.
Day 2 :
Our first destination for the day was the harbor, and the plan was to walk along the harbor and go on a ship tour.
About Hamburg Hafenrundfahrt:
From the harbor, many tourism companies organize ship tours ( called hefenrundfahrt in German), in which they explain and show (using an audio guide) important city landmarks, the various cargo and container ships, and interesting information about them.
The tour lasts for about 2 hours and is quite interesting. It is best to take a window seat on the ship or move to the deck if the weather is favorable. Food and drinks are also available on the ship, which makes the overall experience quite enjoyable. Their official website is given below. Here, you will find multiple options for ship tours that you can choose from.
We alighted right in front of Elbphilharmonie. This was the next place we visited.
Elbphilharmonie is a concert hall on the banks of the river Elbe. Its unique design stands out, and you cannot miss this massive structure if you are anywhere near the area. The glass building resting on a concrete structure resembles a huge wave and harmonizes well with the backdrop of the harbor and the river.
Every day, shows and concerts are organized here, which can be booked on their official website:
Even if you don’t watch a show, climb the terrace to get a top view of the city below. Climbing to the terrace is free of cost and is a must-do activity if you are close by. The views of the port city from the terrace of Elbphilharmonie are fantastic and offer great photo ops.
After visiting Elbphilharmonie, we made a short lunch stop and explored the city on foot. The next destination we saw was the Saint Nikolai memorial. It wasn’t planned, but we were glad we chanced upon this place while walking in the city and exploring it.
About St. Nikolai Memorial:
This was the site of a Gothic cathedral built completely in wood in the early 12th century. Later, in the 14th century, its reconstruction was done in brick. But all was lost when it got completely destroyed in the great fire of 1842. It was rebuilt, but again the allied bombings during the second world war destroyed major parts of the cathedral, leaving it in ruins just like many other parts of the city. Due to its height, its visibility was high, and hence was a major target during the air bombings. Many years after its complete destruction, it was revived. Today, it is a memorial. It houses an information center, and one can also use the elevator inside the tower to reach the viewing platform to enjoy panoramic views of Hamburg. Anyone interested in history will find this place very interesting.
We were glad that we visited this place. It gave us a glimpse into the dark past of Germany and also appreciate how the city literally raised itself from the rubble and revived itself.
Their official website:
This was the last place we visited on this day. After that, we headed back to our Airbnb.
Today was a fun-filled day for the kids. We started with a visit to the Chocolateversum.
Chocoversum is an interactive museum showcasing the entire process of chocolate making, from cultivating cocoa beans to making delicious chocolate bars.
Here, we attended a chocolate-making session in which, under a guide, the entire chocolate-making process was explained and showcased. After that, we all got to make chocolate on our own. We tried different flavors, and it was super fun for the kids. At the end of the tour, we were given the chocolates we had made.
The museum also houses a shop in which varieties of chocolates are sold. They are great for carrying as souvenirs from Hamburg.
Their official website is:
After an enjoyable experience at the Chocolate museum, it was time for lunch.
After lunch, we headed to another fun destination – Miniature Wonderland.
About Miniature Wonderland:
Miniature Wonderland is a model railway attraction. It has many interactive models based on different countries and important landmarks of the world. It also has a mini airport that showcases a flight launch. More than 1000 mini trains with train tracks, carriages, lights, trees, and miniature human figurines have been used to make wonderful displays. Miniature wonderland is a major attraction in Hamburg and is the largest of its kind in the world. So, if you are in Hamburg, do visit it.
I have posted many more pictures of Miniature wonderland on my gallery page. Do check them out.
The official website of Miniature Wonderland is:
With this visit, we ended our Hamburg holiday.
On the night of 31st December, we witnessed the fireworks in the city. It was a fantastic end to our 10 days family holiday- our first after we moved to Germany.
The next day, we took a train back home, i.e., to Darmstadt.
To read about our other family holidays, click here.
Also, don’t forget to check out my gallery page. There, you will find wonderful pictures of various places I have visited.
2 responses to “Our 3 Days Family Holiday in Hamburg, Germany”
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