Getting around Hamburg
Public transport in Hamburg is popular, efficient and used by almost everyone. Buses travel around the clock, including a special Nachtbus (night bus) service, and the hub is centrally located at Rathausmarket by the town hall.
HVV (tel: +49 40 19449; www.hvv.de) runs Hamburg’s excellent integrated system combining rapid transit rail, regional rail, buses and harbour ferries.
The U-Bahn (Unterbahn, underground railway) and S-Bahn (Schnellbahn, rapid transit light railway) form a very useful, interlinked network. You must buy tickets for the U-Bahn, S-Bahn and all regional trains in advance. You can buy individual tickets per journey, but if you are around for a day or more, it is worth investing in an All Day ticket, which offers unlimited travel for one adult and three children under the age of 15. The 9am Day Ticket offers the same but is only valid after 0900.
The Happy Weekend ticket allows unlimited travel for up to five people on Saturday and Sunday. The Hamburg Card, which you can buy at the tourist office, gives unlimited travel on all public transport and grants free or reduced-price admission to many top attractions and excursions.
You can buy all travel-only tickets from automated ticket machines at the stations or from bus drivers.
Taxis in Hamburg are easily available throughout the day, and can be hailed in the streets or taken from the frequent taxi stands, which are signified by a green box on a raised post.
For advance booking, reputable companies include Das Taxi (tel: +49 40 22 11 22), Hansa Taxi (tel: +49 40 211 211) and Taxiruf (tel: +49 40 44 10 11).
Driving in Hamburg has all the drawbacks of driving and parking as in any other major city and is not recommended. Note that if you do drive, you can leave your car free-of-charge at one of the HVV park-and-ride facilities (see www.hvv.de for more information) at rapid transit and regional rail stations which avoids the hassle of finding an inner-city car park.
Car hire operators in Hamburg include Avis (tel: +49 40 5075 2314; www.avis.com), Europcar (tel: +49 40 335 941; www.europcar.com) and Hertz (tel: +49 40 5935 1367; www.hertz.com). You usually have to be at least 21 years old to hire a car, although some companies charge a surcharge if you're under 25.
Hamburg’s StadtRAD bikeshare scheme (tel: +49 40 8221 88100; stadtrad.hamburg.de/kundenbuchung/) has hundreds of unmistakable, pillar-box-red bikes neatly lined up at numerous rental points across the city. Often located outside U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations, StadtRAD bikes are free for the first half hour.