Unusual Things to See in Hamburg

A list of our favorite unusual things to see in Hamburg
We have been to Hamburg quite a few times, and we can easily describe it as our second favorite city in Germany. Because of all our visits, we decided it was time to put together a list of our favorite unusual things to see in Hamburg.
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and can be reached from Berlin by train in less than 3 hours. The trip is worth it since Hamburg is a fantastic place to explore. From its gorgeous historical architecture filled with bricks to the modern Elbphilharmonie. From its many parks and gardens to the infamous red district and the Reeperbahn…

There are lots of things to do and places to see in Hamburg. Below are some of the favorite things to see in Hamburg.




The light show at Hafencity Universität Station

While in Hamburg, take the subway and trains and enjoy the high quality of public transport available in the city. While you do that, you should find the time to go to the Hafencity Universität Station, a U-Bahn famous for its gorgeous futuristic colorful illumination.

The station was opened to the public in 2012, and its colorful light design is meant to represent the city of Hamburg. The blues in the stations represent the water that surrounds the city. The reds are the red brick from the wharf buildings and the metals from the ships that pass by.

In October 2021, we visited Hamburg once again, and we asked around on Instagram for tips. We were looking for some unusual sights. One person advised us to take our cameras to the Hafencity Universität Station. We had never heard about this station before so we were sceptical, but once we saw some pictures of it, we were sold on that.

Old Elbe Tunnel

The Old Elbe Tunnel is a piece of Hamburg history. It was opened to the public in 1911 and was considered by many an engineering marvel of the world. It was the first river tunnel in Europe. It connected the St. Pauli neighborhood with the harbor area with its docks and shipyards on the south side of the Elbe river.

You must pay attention to the decorated tunnel walls inside the tunnel. They are made of glazed terra cotta and display ornaments that relate to the Elbe river like fish and crabs, but there are rats and some litter, which we think is amusing.

Back in 1911, when the Old Elbe Tunnel was opened to the public, it was an engineering marvel of the world. Back then it was called the St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel due to the area where the tunnel is located but, like the St. Pauli neighborhood, a lot has changed in the last years.
Back in 1911, when the Old Elbe Tunnel was opened to the public, it was an engineering marvel of the world. Back then it was called the St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel due to the area where the tunnel is located but, like the St. Pauli neighborhood, a lot has changed in the last years.

The St. Nicholas Church

It’s easy to spot the tall gothic tower from the St. Nicholas Church in the Hamburg skyline. Nowadays, it doesn’t appear as glorious as it used to, but this was the tallest building on Earth from 1874 to 1876, which is more than enough reason to visit it.

In German, it’s called St.-Nikolai-Kirche and is the second tallest building in Hamburg, only losing to the TV Tower. During the Second World War, the church was used as an orientation marker for the pilots during the extensive air raids. Even though it was helpful to the Royal British Force and the United States Army Forces, the church was bombed during the war. The tower remained, but the church was left in ruins.

In 1951, the nave and choir area was demolished, and cleanup left it close to what can be seen today. Back n 1977, the St. Nikolai Memorial was inaugurated, and it’s dedicated to the victims of war in the years from 1933 to 1945 in Germany.

In September 2005, a lift was open to the public, and it takes visitors to a platform 75,3 meters high inside the St. Nicholas’ Church tower. This is the fifties highest tower in the World! From there you can have a fantastic view from Hamburg as you can see in the pictures we have here in this article. If you want to go up there, be aware that it’s windy and you might need to consider taking a jacket with you. It was quite useful for us.
In September 2005, a lift was open to the public, and it takes visitors to a platform 75,3 meters high inside the St. Nicholas’ Church tower. This is the fifties highest tower in the World! From there you can have a fantastic view from Hamburg as you can see in the pictures we have here in this article. If you want to go up there, be aware that it’s windy and you might need to consider taking a jacket with you. It was quite useful for us.

The Blankenese Shipwrecks

It’s easy to spot the shipwrecks when the tide is low, but they disappear quickly later in the day. We are talking about the Blankenese Shipwrecks, which consists of two ships that wrecked around Hamburg decades ago.

Today, they serve as breakwaters to protect the Elbe shore. For some people in the city, it might be part of what it means to live in the largest harbor in Germany. For us, it was a great excuse to take our drone to a new piece of Hamburg and see one of the most unusual things to see in Hamburg with our own eyes and cameras.

Back in October 1926, the Polstjernan was on its way from Finland to England. An accident happened when the engine exploded while it was on the Kiel Canal. With a cargo that consisted of wood, it was ablaze in a few minutes, and there wasn't much that could be done.

The German Food Additives Museum

During our first time in Hamburg as Fotostrasse, we decided to explore the area where our hotel was, which is how we found out about the German Food Additives Museum. Called the Deutsches Zusatzstoffmuseum in German, this small museum is dedicated to explaining the use of various chemicals and other substances in the food we eat every day.

We thought this was good enough for us, so we headed there without knowing what to expect. But we left the museum wondering about everything presented and how people should know more about it. This is what made this museum so fascinating.

This is why we have to close this list with this cool and unusual place to see in Hamburg.

For us, the exciting part of the German Food Additives Museum was how it tries to tell the world about the food we eat in a focused way. There is even a scanner that you can use on some barcodes to learn what is inside the products you buy. The museum shows the history behind what we have today and the current landscape of food additives in an informational way. Something that we were delighted to see since the most information you have about this topic goes to the political aspect fast.
They mysteriously rise from the Elbe as a reminder of the Hanseatic past of a city like Hamburg. These are the Blankenese Shipwrecks, and it's easy to spot them when you follow the Falkensteiner Ufer along the Elbe.

We have some tips if you are wondering where to stay in Hamburg

The first hotel we advise you to go to is the Prizeotel Hamburg-City. This budget design hotel comes with one of the best showers we have ever used in Germany.

INNSiDE by Meliá Hamburg Hafen can be found in the same area as Deutsches Zusatzstoffmuseum, and it has a great view of the canals that pass in front of it. We know you will love it there.

The Hotel City House is the most central among the ones we are sharing here and has a more classical look. Close to Hamburg’s beautiful Rathaus and to everything you’ll need to find your way around town.

Superbude is also fantastic. You can try their design hostel in Hamburg St. Pauli or their Altona Paradise hotel. We stayed on both before, and they are excellent.

Hafencity Universität Station

Old Elbe Tunnel

St. Nicholas Church

Deutsches Zusatzstoffmuseum

The Blankenese Shipwrecks

Prizeotel Hamburg-City

Superbude Altona Paradise

Superbude Hamburg St. Pauli

INNSiDE by Meliá Hamburg Hafen

The Hotel City House

5 Great and Unusual Things to See in Hamburg


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