Travel to Hamburg
Flying to Hamburg
Airlines offering flights to Hamburg from the UK include British Airways, easyJet, bmi Regional (BM), Ryanair, Eurowings and Germanwings. Cheap flights are available year-round, especially if you book well in advance. United operates direct flights from the USA.
From London - 1 hour 35 minutes; New York - 7 hours 45 minutes; Los Angeles - 13 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 10 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 24 hours 30 minutes (including stopover).
Travel by road
Germany is covered by an excellent and extensive system of major roads and motorways. Traffic drives on the right and the minimum age for driving is 18.
There are no tolls or speed limits (if not otherwise signposted) on the German motorways (the famous Autobahnen), but a maximum of 130kph (81mph) is recommended. On other roads, speed limits are 130kph (81mph) or 100kph (62mph) on major and minor roads outside cities, and 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas.
Foreign drivers require a national driving licence and proof of insurance - third-party insurance is mandatory, but a Green Card is strongly recommended. A country identification sticker or national licence plate must be displayed on the vehicle.
The main German automobile association is the Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil Club - ADAC (tel: 0800 510 1112, in Germany only; www.adac.de).
Emergency breakdown services
ADAC (tel: 0180 222 2222, in Germany only).
The A1 motorway runs to Hamburg from the southwest and north, the A7 from the north and south, the A23 from the northwest, and the A24 from the east. Road signs and directions to Hamburg are clear and frequently posted.
Eurolines (tel: +44 871 781 8181, in the UK; www.eurolines.com) runs international coach services to Hamburg. If travelling from London, you need to change coaches in Amsterdam.
Time to city
Travel by Rail
Hamburg’s rail system is efficient and well connected nationally and internationally across Europe. In fact, it’s possible to make a rail journey from London to Hamburg in under a day.
There are five main railway stations in Hamburg. The Hauptbahnhof is the largest of these, and lying slightly east of the city centre, this is the terminus for most trains arriving in Hamburg, as well as being a hub for buses and the U-Bahn (Hamburg’s underground rail network).
The other four main stations (Dammtor, Altona, Bergedorf and Harburg) are also centrally located and directly connected to the U-Bahn and S-Bahn (the city’s overground light railway). Altona is the departure point for many long-distance and international journeys, although most also stop at Hauptbahnhof.
There are regular hourly services to Hamburg’s nearest towns and cities, including Lubeck, Kiel, Hanover and Bremen, all taking between 45 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes. Further afield, Germany’s excellent IC (Intercity) trains connect with Berlin, while high-speed ICE (Intercity Express) trains leave regularly for Frankfurt, Cologne and Munich. There is also a service northwards into the Danish capital Copenhagen.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) (tel: 0180 699 6633, in Germany only; www.bahn.de) is the national service provider.
To travel by train from London to Hamburg, take a Eurostar train (tel: 03432 186 186, in the UK only or +44 1233 617 575; www.eurostar.com) to Brussels, a high-speed Thalys or ICE train from Brussels to Cologne, and then an IC train from Cologne to Hamburg.
There are motorail trains (www.urlaubs-express.de and www.oebb.at/de/leistungen-und-services/mehr-als-zug/auto-motorrad-am-zug) and night trains (www.oebb.at/de/angebote-ermaessigungen/nightjet) connecting Hamburg with national and international destinations.
From London - 9 to 10 hours; Berlin - 1 hour 40 minutes; Frankfurt - 3 hours 40 minutes; Cologne - 4 hours; Munich - 5 hours 30 minutes.