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Getting Around Hamburg

The best way to get around in Hamburg is 1) by foot and 2) by the city’s extensive and super competent public transportation system. A suburban train (S-Bahn), a subway (U-Bahn) or a bus can take you everywhere your own two feet cannot. In fact, the system can even take you from Hamburg Airport (HAM) into the city center with relative ease and for only a few euro. Taxis are also available, and rental cars -- though an option -- are not recommended.

By Foot

Many of the city’s top attractions are located centrally and within walking distance to one another, so it just makes sense to stroll. And for the farther-flung sites, you can hop aboard Hamburg’s über-efficient public transport system.

The Bahns

Nowhere is German efficiency better exemplified than in its competent public transportation system, which includes a number of trains: the S-Bahn (suburban train), the U-Bahn (city subway), the A-Bahn (a farther-reaching suburban train) and the R-Bahn (a regional train). Hamburg is broken into different zones, by which the fare is calculated. Fare starts at about €2 EUR and goes up from there, and tickets can be purchased at HVV stations. Visitors tend to stick with the U-Bahn subway trains, which connect with the S-Bahn trains out to the suburbs.


Buses are another way to get around, and you’ll find that the main bus station -- Zentral-Omnibus-Bahnhof -- is located right next to the main train station. Tickets are a couple of euro, except if you’re traveling on the all-evening night buses, which are a bit more expensive. And you can buy these at HVV stations throughout the city or from bus drivers.


Hamburg is a watery city -- with a river, a lake and numerous canals -- all within its bounds. Accordingly, ferries are another way you can get around. The HADAG ferries (part of the HVV system) travel a number of different routes along the River Elbe. Ferries run more frequently during the summer high season than they do the rest of the year. You can purchase tickets in HVV stations.


You can hail metered taxis on the street, but you can also find them queuing up in ranks throughout the city. The meter starts at a little more than €2 EUR, and you can expect the 30-minute ride from the HAM Airport into the city to cost about €20 to €25 EUR.


You’ll find rental car agencies at Hamburg Airport (HAM), but in our opinion, driving adds unneeded hassle to a Hamburg trip. Although major thoroughfares are well marked, parking is expensive. And why drive when the public transportation system is so good?

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