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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.

Flight times

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).

Routes

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.

Coaches

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

From London - 10 hours; Berlin - 3 hours; Copenhagen  - 4 hours 30 minutes; Amsterdam - 4 hours; Paris - 8 hours; Zurich  - 8 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

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.

Operators

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. 

Journey times

From London - 9 to 10 hours; Berlin - 1 hour 40 minutes; Frankfurt - 3 hours 40 minutes; Cologne - 4 hours; Munich - 5 hours 30 minutes.

Featured Hotels

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Fritzhotel

Located in the Sternschanze area opposite a park and just beside the U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations, this is a smart, modern and clean hotel in Hamburg that's intimate enough to have a character of its own. Its 17 single and double rooms are well proportioned, some even have balconies, and the local vicinity, which has a reputation as something of an artists' quarter, offers plenty of pleasant green spaces, cafés and bars.

Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten

Old-fashioned opulence on a regal scale. Many regard this enormous 19th-century townhouse on the edge of the Inner Alster Lake, comprising 156 rooms and 32 suites, as the best hotel in Hamburg, and consequently there's a price tag to match. Well located for shopping but a little off the beaten track for much of the city's nightlife.

CityHotel Monopol

For those who like to be in the thick of it, this cheap hotel in Hamburg is centrally positioned along the raucous Reeperbahn's nightlife mile. Fortunately, all of its 80-plus rooms are fully soundproofed, but this is certainly the perfect place to stay for the budget-conscious party crowd.

Hotel Wedina

A more intimately proportioned boutique hotel situated in a quiet residential area near Alster Lake, this Hamburg establishment's tasteful décor is more focused on comfort than cool. There's an attractive garden with a pool, Staff are friendly, and the hotel prides itself on providing sanctuary to a number of heavyweight literary guests.

Gastwerk Hotel Hamburg

Gastwerk proudly wears the mantle of being the city's first 'designer' hotel. Even those who don't speak German won't be surprised to discover that 150 years ago this grand brick building housed the city's first gasworks. Its proportions and the clever use of space in its conversion are the hotel's biggest attraction.

The Westin Hamburg

One of Hamburg's newest five star hotels, the Westin is located high up above the recently opened Elbphilharmonie concert hall complex, meaning that the views from its rooms and suites are pretty spectacular. It's also in the heart of the harbour district with all its attractions and points of interest.