Europe,  Experiences,  Germany

Christmas in Hamburg: Is it Worth Visiting & What to Do

Are you wondering if Hamburg is worth visiting during Christmas times? Then I got the answer for you!

Hamburg Christmas markets are among the most magical Christmas Markets in Germany. Romantic Christmas lights, small chalets, offering everything from traditional food to arts and crafts, and the beautiful Hamburg town hall in the background.

If you are in search of the perfect romantic getaway before Christmas – say no more. The big merchant’s city Hamburg is the ideal place for a romantic Christmas getaway.

Besides the Christmas markets, there are still a few more reasons why Hamburg is worth the trip all year round. Keep on reading and find out if you should plan a trip there this year.

Let’s get to it!

picture of the alster alke in hamburg with a christmas tree in front

Table of Contents

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hamburg christmas market town hall square
Hamburg Quick Facts
💡 Voltage: 220 V
💶 Currency: Euro
⏰ Time Zone: GMT +2
🚢 Cruise Port: yes
✈️ Airport: HAM

14 Reasons Why Hamburg is Worth Visiting

If you just came here to get a quick overview of why Hamburg is worth visiting, no need to look any further. Hamburg is spectacular year-round, and a great place to visit.

Without further ado, I can confirm that Hamburg is definitely worth visiting. And here are my most important reasons.

 🤍 Stunning Architecture

 🤍 Christmas Markets

🤍 Great Nightlife

🤍 Amazing Restaurants

🤍 Concerts & Shows

🤍 Great Shopping

🤍 Maritime Heritage

🤍 Cultural Diversity

🤍 Friendly People

🤍 Clean City

🤍 UNESCO Sites

🤍 Miniatur Wonderland

🤍 Fun Markets

🤍 Instagram-Worthy

1. Stunning Architechture

Hamburg’s architecture is a mix of old and new styles.

You’ll encounter stunning historic buildings like the Elbphilharmonie. the Elbphilharmonie is a modern concert hall on the water.

One of my favorite places in Hamburg is the Speicherstadt. The Speicherstadt is a district of red-brick warehouses along the canals.

The Rathaus, or city hall, is a stunning example of Neo-Renaissance design. In contrast to that, the HafenCity area has sleek, modern buildings.

Overall, Hamburg’s architecture tells a story of its rich history. It embraces both traditional and contemporary designs.

2. Charming Christmas Markets

Hamburg’s Christmas markets are magical places that appear during the holiday season. The Christmas markets in Hamburg are one of the biggest reason why the city is worth visiting in winter.

Festive villages with cozy stalls selling crafts, ornaments, and delicious treats pop up all over the city.

You can sample warm drinks like hot mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep you toasty. The markets are beautifully decorated with fairy lights and often have a big Christmas tree as a centerpiece.

It is an amazing place to try traditional German holiday foods. My favorite Hamburg Christmas markets are Hamburg City Hall Christmas Market, Jungfernstieg and St. Petri Christmas market.

Find later on in the article a detailed overview of the Christmas markets in Hamburg.

3. Great Nightlife

Hamburg’s nightlife is exciting and vibrant, an amazing place to dance the night away.

We are not big nightlife fans ourselves – but a fun cocktail in Hamburg was definitely also on our list.

When the sun sets, the city comes alive with lots of things to do. There are many clubs, which are big places to dance and listen to music.

The Reeperbahn is a famous street known for its nightlife. Some places have live music where you can see bands perform and have a good time. This is also where the Hamburg Red Light District can be found.

picture of colorful houses of the reeperbahn

4. Great Restaurants

Hamburg has some of the best restaurants in Germany.

The food culture in Hamburg is influenced by its maritime location and other German culinary traditions.

You can find typical German food, but also Mediterranean restaurants, Asian places and great steakhouses. You can also find most bigger Fast Food chains in Hamburg (you have to try Five Guys!)

Traditional markets like the “Fischmarkt” offer a chance to sample local products, such as smoked fish or marinated herring.

5. Concerts & Shows

Hamburg is famous for concerts and shows, especially due to its rich musical history.

Hamburg has a vibrant cultural scene, and some truly iconic venues that attract both local and international artists.

Hamburg played a crucial role in the early career of The Beatles. This connection has left a big musical legacy and contributed to its reputation as a music hub.

The Elbphilharmonie is probably the most famous venue for classical concerts in Hamburg, make sure to check it out.

famous elbphilhabrmonie building on river

6. Great Shopping

Hamburg is every fashionista’s paradise. The shopping opportunities are endless – it truly makes Hamburg worth visiting.

Mönckebergstraße is one of my favorite shopping streets, offering high-end brands, department stores, and fashion boutiques.

Jungfernstieg is another popular shopping area with shops, cafes, and a great view of the Alster. Neuer Wall is known for its upscale designer boutiques and luxury brands.

Hamburg has also a big variety of flea markets that offer charming antiques, vintage clothing, and more. The Flohschanze market is particularly popular for its mix of goods.

As you can see, there is a shopping street for every taste and budget in Hamburg.

7. Maritime Heritage

As a major port city in Germany, Hamburg has a big maritime history dating back centuries.

Because the city is nicely located on the Elbe river, it became a major hub for trading and shipping. The Speicherstadt was used as a warehouse district, with its red brick buildings.

Today, Hamburg is still one of Europe’s leading port cities. Even major cruise ships dock in Hamburg regularly.

The International Maritime Museum in Hamburg offers interesting exhibits on ships, navigation, and maritime history for those interested.

big cruise ship msc fantasia anchored

8. Cultural Diversity

Hamburg is famous for being culturally diverse.

The beautiful city is home to people from many different backgrounds and countries. Especially the city’s history as a port and trading hub has attracted a mix of cultures over the years.

You can find a variety of international restaurants, festivals, and cultural events in Hamburg which is definitely a reason why Hamburg is worth visiting.

9. Friendly People

The Hamburg locals are very kind and friendly people. This is a big reason why Hamburg is worth visiting for me.

We have met many nice and helpful locals that were eager to chat or help us find our way. Many people in Hamburg speak English, which is not common in Germany.

10. Clean City

The people in Hamburg are not only very kind, but they are also very orderly.

The city is nicely up-kept and very clean. Especially in the Inner City, you can’t find as much as a paper on the street.

11. UNESCO World Heritage Site

Hamburg has a UNESCO site called the Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus. These are special places that were recognized by UNESCO for being important and valuable.

The Speicherstadt is basically a collection of old warehouses. These warehouses were used a long time ago for storing goods that were being traded in the city.

The Kontorhaus District is where unique office buildings are found. One of these is the Chilehaus. It’s shaped kind of like a ship,

UNESCO thinks these places are really special because they show how Hamburg used to do business and trade.

12. Miniatur Wonderland

Miniatur Wunderland is a very cool and unique place in Hamburg. It’s a tiny world that’s been built with a lot of detail and creativity.

Imagine a big room where you can see miniature versions of different places and scenes from around the world.

There are tiny cities, landscapes, airports, and even little people doing different things. One of the many cool things to do in Hamburg.

13. Fun Markets

Hamburg is famous for hosting fun markets throughout the year. Some of them are permanent, while others pop up at special times.

Here are my favorite markets in Hamburg:

  • Fischmarkt (Fish Market)
  • Isemarkt
  • Schulterblatt Flea Market
  • Hamburger Dom
  • Winter Dom

14. Instagram-Worthyness

Hamburg is oh-so Instagram-worthy.

The city is sometimes called Venice of the north – for good reason. The canals through the city make it so picturesque and charming.

You can find a great Instagram photo spot at basically every corner. From the big Town Hall to the Speicherstadt – you’ll get some great photo ops.

Christmas Markets in Hamburg

Hamburg will have over 30 different Christmas markets in 2023! This gives you plenty of opportunity to make the most out of your Christmas getaway to Hamburg.

I have compiled below a list of my favorite Hamburg Christmas markets, including directions on how to get there.

For my selection, I have only compiled Christmas markets in walking distance from each other, so you can spend a relaxed day sipping the hot wine without having to drive or go to the metro.

The Hamburg City Hall Christmas Market

The Christmas market in front of Hamburgs famous city hall is the most beautiful and enchanting Christmas market in Hamburg.

It has all the traditional chalets of a typical German Weihnachtsmarkt. This includes stands selling roasted duck, different sausages, and Chocolate.

My favorite stands sell hot mulled wine! Make sure to try hot mulled wine with a shot of raspberry schnapps – this is gonna warm you from the inside. There are many small stalls selling handmade toys, glassware, and traditional Christmas ornaments. Talk about a perfect souvenir!

Three times a day, Santa makes an appearance and hovers over Hamburg’s most famous Christmas Market with his sleigh. This is a delight for young and old.

How to Get There

U3 Rathaus
U1/2/3 Jungfernstieg

Christmas Market on Spitalerstrasse

The famous shopping street Spitalerstrasse is also home to a fabulous and fun Christmas market.

This is definitely one of the more lively Christmas markets, with stalls selling hot mulled wine, traditional arts and crafts as well as local delicacies.

Take a break from shopping, so you can enjoy the sound of happy Christmas carols at this Hamburg Christmas market.

How to Get There

Walk from Central Station

U3 Mönckebergstraße

Jungfernstieg Christmas Market

The Christmas Market at the famous Hamburg Jungfernstieg is pretty special.

It is located on the inner Alster lake, so you will have a perfect view of the lake while you sip on your hot mulled wine. Instead of the typical Weihnachtsmarkt stalls, you can find elegant white tents there housing all the shops and food stands.

Make sure to try a traditional Currywurst there, or my favorite: Pasta that is prepared in a huge cheese!

How to Get There

U1/2/4 or S1/2/3 to Jungfernstieg
U3 to Rathaus

Christmas Market at St. Petri Church

This was definitely our favorite Christmas market in Hamburg.

The market is located next to the historical St. Petri church and offers a magical experience for young and old. You can find over 200 real fir trees lined up on the market, which makes it extra special.

There is a great selection of local and international delicacies for you to choose from. I especially enjoyed the Roasted Apple punch and the Krakauer sausage. Also, make sure to also try hot Caipirinhas and Dutch poffertjes.

Another pretty special thing about the St. Petri Christmas market is the small presentation of fairy-tale characters for children. Above all, there is even a traditional Christmas crib with small baby Jesus.

How to Get There

U3 Rathaus


Another really cute Christmas market in Hamburg is the Fleetweihnachtsmarkt, located right by the Michaelisbrücke.

The adorable market is home to many white tents selling traditional food, drinks, and art work, so it is a great place to enjoy a magical Christmas atmosphere.

How to Get There

The closest station is Stadthausbrücke & Rödingsmarkt

Chez Noël – Hüttenzauber am Alten Wall

My last Christmas market on this list is the Hüttenzauber.

It is located in the Im Palais Hof, however, it is one of the smaller Christmas Markets in Hamburg. I personally liked the small intimate market, because the beautiful fairy lights hanging everywhere.

It is located right behind the Fleetweihnachtsmarkt, so you can nicely combine your visit!

Do I need Travel Insurance for Hamburg? Yes, Travel Insurance is always recommended. While Hamburg per se is not unsafe, it is necessary to have Travel Insurance in case of sickness or accidents. EKTA offers worldwide coverage at amazing prices – without any hidden fees or clauses.

Where to Stay for Christmas in Hamburg

Auhtor’s Choice
Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg
  • 5 ***** Hotel
  • Walking Distance to Major Sights
  • Restaurant & Bar
  • Charming & Modern Rooms
  • Underground Parking

Another important thing before you go to Hamburg is choosing a place to stay for your Christmas getaway.

Luckily, we have found the most perfect hotel for your Christmas Market weekend in Hamburg. The Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg is a beautiful 5-star hotel located right on the Michaelisbrücke.

It only takes a short walk to reach the Hamburg town hall and therefore all the Christmas markets I mentioned before. We loved how close the hotel was to all the major attractions in Hamburg!

It is also located right by the Fleetmarket and the Hüttenzauber, so you will step into your first Christmas market right when you leave the hotel.

Above all, the hotel is beautifully decorated and the rooms are spacious and modern.

There are even some small ambient lighting installations in every room, that remind of the maritime history of Hamburg.

Lastly, their restaurant is located on the 8th floor of the building, so you will have an amazing view of the town. A great place for a cocktail.

Hamburg Hotel
Super 8 By Windham Hamburg Mitte
  • Good Location
  • 3 *** Hotel
  • Affordable Rooms
  • Breakfast
  • WiFi
  • Bar

Other Things to Do in Hamburg

If you get bored of all the magical Christmas markets, there are plenty of other things for you to do during Christmas in Hamburg.

Taking a walk around the inner city is a great experience, there are many beautiful buildings and picturesque streets for you to admire. So, if you don’t know where to start, participate in a private walking tour of Hamburg highlights.

I can especially recommend walking around the quarters of Speicherstadt and the Old Harbour. The red brick houses there are super fabulous and you can even see the famous Elbphilharmonie, the opera house.

For visiting the Elbphilharmonie, I recommend this guided tour, so you can learn all about the special building and its history.

Another great and romantic experience in this part of town is the evening boat tour around the Old Harbor.

We wanted to learn more about the (dark) history of Hamburg, so we decided to check out the Hamburg Dungeon. Professional actors guide you on a tour that takes you through 600 years of Hamburg history. Most of all the tour can be scary and funny at the same time, we definitely had a blast! However, we now remember a lot of the cities history in great detail!

Best Time to Go to Hamburg

The best time to visit Hamburg really depends on your preferences and what you want to experience. There is no bad time to visit Hamburg, but here are some things to consider:

Spring (March to May): Spring can be a great time to visit. The weather starts to warm up, and the parks and gardens begin to bloom. It’s a good time for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Summer (June to August): Summer is a popular time to visit Hamburg. The weather is usually warm and there are outdoor events and festivals. You can enjoy boat rides on the river or enjoy the bustling waterfront. Sadly, Hamburg in summer is a bit crowded.

Fall (September to November): Fall can also be a nice time to visit as the crowds thin out. The weather is still relatively mild. The changing fall foliage adds a touch of beauty to the city.

Winter (December to February): Winter in Hamburg can be quite cold, but it is my favorite time to visit. You can experience the beautiful Christmas markets, holiday lights, and a cozy atmosphere. The Hamburger Dom fair also takes place during this time.

Where to Eat in Hamburg

  • Fischereihafen Restaurant: Located in a former fish market, it offers seafood specialties. You can enjoy a great maritime setting with views of the harbor.
  • Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei: A coffee lover’s paradise in the historic Speicherstadt district! It is known for its freshly roasted beans and charming ambiance.
  • Zur Ritze: A unique boxing-themed restaurant where you can enjoy traditional German dishes amid a boxing ring and other quirky memorabilia.
  • Henssler & Henssler: An amazing sushi restaurant by celebrity chef Steffen Henssler. You can try innovative sushi creations and a trendy atmosphere.
  • Jellyfish Bar: A quirky cocktail bar with an underwater theme, featuring creative drinks and a relaxed vibe. I totally loved that!

Conclusion: Is Hamburg Worth It?

To sum it up: yes, Hamburg is definitely worth it. And especially during Christmas times.

The city is beautiful with an interesting history and a diverse culture – but during the Advent period it is even more charming.

The Hamburg Christmas market is unique and beautiful, and definitely worth a visit.

If you are looking for more Christmas travel inspiration, you definitely have to check out Vienna in Winter or maybe even visit Hallstatt before Christmas.

Of course, you also need to consider going to the capital city of Christmas: Colmar in Alsace.

Lastly, read all about why Paris is worth it during Christmas.

Check out further Destinations for more ideas.

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in New Mexico. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.

FAQ: Is Hamburg Worth Visiting?

Is Hamburg Worth Visiting in Winter?

Yes, Hamburg is worth visiting in winter. Experience festive markets, vibrant cultural scene, and charming waterways. I love the city’s cozy atmosphere. You can explore historic sites, and enjoy seasonal events. However, be prepared for colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours.

How many days should I spend in Hamburg?

I suggest spending at least 2 nights in Hamburg. 3 days is a great amount of time to explore the city without a rush. If you have a bit more time, you can surely keep busy in Hamburg for about 5 days. I would not suggest staying for a week in Hamburg.

What is so special about Hamburg Germany?

Hamburg, Germany, is renowned for its stunning harbor, historic architecture, and rich cultural scene. The city offers a unique mix of maritime heritage, fun entertainment options, and a lively nightlife. Its waterways, including the Alster Lake, add to its distinct character, making it a captivating destination for travelers.

Is Hamburg a friendly city?

Yes, Hamburg is a friendly city known for its welcoming atmosphere and open-minded culture. Locals and visitors alike often praise the city’s warm hospitality. It is easy for newcomers to connect and feel at home. The diverse neighborhoods, vibrant social scene, and numerous events contribute to the city’s reputation as a friendly destination.

Is Hamburg walkable?

Yes, Hamburg is walkable. Many of the big attractions in Hamburg are located in the city center and you can easily walk around there.

Is Hamburg cheap?

Hamburg is generally considered moderately priced. While some aspects of the city, like public transportation, can be affordable, others such as dining out and entertainment may be relatively expensive. Compared to other major cities in Europe I would say it is quite affordable overall.

Is Hamburg better than Berlin?

Yes, Hamburg is a nicer tourist city than Berlin in my opinion. The city is cleaner, more beautiful and more orderly. Hamburg has a lot more charm than Berlin and interesting history and architechture.

Does it snow in Hamburg?

Yes, it does snow in Hamburg, Germany, but the amount of snowfall can vary from year to year. Hamburg experiences a maritime climate influenced by the North Sea, which means that winters tend to be relatively mild compared to other parts of Germany. Snowfall typically occurs during the winter months of December, January, and February, but it is often light and doesn’t stay around.

Picture of girl on christmas market in Hamburg with text the best christmas markets in the inner city - Christmas in Hamburg