There are essentially 3 types of free tours you can take in Hamburg, one covering the city center, another of the Harbour + St. Pauli district, and one of Speichern City and HafenStadt.
We let you know about your options, provide schedules, and explain what you will see on each tour.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Hamburg, there are several free walking tours available which provide details about many notable sites in the area.
For most people today, a “free tour” is really a “pay-what-you-wish tour” or a “tips-based tour”.
At the end of the tour, if you enjoyed yourself, it’s customary to pay what you think the tour was really worth or what you can afford.
These affordable tour options can attract large crowds and most companies will allow up to 30 or more people on one tour with one tour guide, especially in the busy seasons.
These tours also tend to stick to the city’s historic center and the companies generally offer paid themed-tours in addition to the “free” ones.
So, for travelers who want to ensure either a tour with a smaller group of people or who want to go off the beaten track, we recommend considering paid small group tours.
Is Hamburg walkable?
Yes, Hamburg is a walkable city. Most of the places you might want to visit like rivers, canals, shopping streets, the tallest buildings, Neuer Wall and much more are located on the western side, so you can hop from place to place on foot.
As the name implies, these free walking tours provide information about the city center of Hamburg, including historical details about significant sites and landmarks such as the canals, the Alster river, the old town, and its neighborhood
These are essentially introductory tours, providing general information about the city and its history while taking you to some of the most notable locations.
Here are a few of the more interesting sites you can expect to see on these tours:
- Town Hall Square
- Hamburg City Hall
- Hamburg Historic Town Hall
- Church of St. Peter
- St. Nicholas Church
- Trostbrücke Bridge
- HafenCity Riverbank
- And more!
If you’re interested in seeing or learning about the city centre, consider taking one of these pay-what-you-wish walking tours.
Sandemans Hamburg Tour
Sandemans New Europe tours are in most major European cities, including Hamburg.
This 2 ½ hour tour runs every day at 11:00 am and 14:00 (2 pm) from Town Hall Square.
They run multiple tours per day for English, Spanish, and German-speaking travelers.
Robin and the Tour Guides
Their main tour offers an overview of the historic city center, including its history during World War 2 and the Great Fire.
If you’re interested in taking the tour, it’s available at 11 am each morning and it lasts for approximately 2 hours.
If you want to dig a little deeper than just the city center and want to explore middle ages, consider making a trip to the suburb of St Pauli and discover its ties to the harbor.
At least one pay-what-you-wish tour of this area provides a historical fact guide to the neighborhood and a contemporary take on the community within.
Hamburg Fish Market
During this tour, you can expect to have lots of information about and see some of the following locations:
- The Harbour
- Fish Market
- Große Freiheit
- And more!
You can find out a lot of fun facts by taking one of the following free walking tours.
Robin and the Tour Guides
In addition to their city center tour, this company also visits the Harbour area of Hamburg as well as the St. Pauli neighborhood.
While on this trip, you can expect to learn about a variety of subjects including the importance of the harbor to the community, basic functionalities and how this neighborhood once inspired the Beatles!
You will need a ferry ticket for this tour (€1.70), but aside from that, it is a pay-what-you-wish experience available at 14:00 (2 pm) each day in German and English.
Other Harbour + St. Pauli Tours
Although there are other tours that visit this area, they are all paid tours – including the service offered by Sandemans New Europe Tours.
If you’re interested in joining that tour, it’s approximately 2 hours long and it is available Thursday - Saturday and Monday at 19:00 (7 pm) in English, German, and Spanish.
Some of these tours also offer free cancellation services and a full refund.
Tickets are €15 for adults and €13 for students. Children up to 13 years of age can join for free.
While there are a lot of interesting things to see in other parts of the city, chances are you won’t want to skip over the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Speicherstadt.
Once a warehouse district, this area is now filled with beautiful architecture, museums, and many other popular attractions.
You can expect to see some of the following locations on a tour of either the Speicherstadt or HafenCity:
- Kibbelsteg Bridge
- Hamburg Dungeon
- HafenCity University
- International Maritime Museum
- And more!
The following tours are a great way to discover these sites and learn more about them.
GPS My City
This service provides a self-guided tour that you can take entirely for free which includes several notable sites in Speicherstadt.
One of the best things about this tour is that you don’t even have to think about tips, as they provide the guide via their app on either iTunes or Android.
The tour also uses GPS to help you get from one location to the next, making it easy to enjoy on your own.
If you’re interested in this self-guided tour option, please visit GPS My City for more information.
Other Speicherstadt + HafenCity Tours
Although there are some other tours that cover these areas, most of them require a ticket to join.
Thankfully, there are some relatively affordable options, including one from Sandemans New Europe Tours.
The Sandemans Speicherstadt and HafenCity tour covers a variety of locations in both neighbourhoods while providing several historical details.
Visitors can expect to learn about the damage caused to this part of the city by WW2, as well as what happened here after the Cholera outbreak of 1892 and other subjects.
Tickets are €15 for adults, €13 for students, and free for children up to 13 years of age.
The tour is available in both English and Spanish every Saturday at 14:30 (2:30 pm).
In addition to that choice, you might also want to check this list of paid Speichenstadt and HafenCity tours for more opportunities to discover this part of Hamburg.
Although these outings aren’t free, the same companies that offer free tours also provide pub crawls which will introduce you to some of the best pubs and bars in Hamburg.
You’ll need identification to prove that you are old enough to drink on these tours, and you can expect to visit 4-5 different bars/pubs while on your journey.
Any entrance fees will be paid for by the tour provider and you’ll receive a free drink in each establishment you visit.
Sandemans New Europe
This company offers arguably the most affordable Hamburg Pub Crawl of them all, with ticket prices starting at just €12 per person.
The tour includes entrance to four bars, VIP entry into a club, special drink deals at all establishments, and one free shot in each bar you’ll visit.
The wristband you receive will also grant you unlimited access to join the pub crawl again anytime you want for the rest of the year!
This Hamburg pub crawl is available every Thursday - Saturday at 21:30 (9:30 pm).
Robin and the Tour Guides
If you’re looking for a more historical outing, this company offers a tour that covers some of the best craft beers in the city and provides information about brewing traditions in Hamburg.
They actually make a point of saying that they don’t allow drunken or rowdy guests, so this is definitely more about the history of beer in Hamburg than anything else.
Along the way, you’ll sample seven different types of beer and visit multiple pubs/bars while learning about over 1,000 years of brewing history.
Tickets are $39 per person, and the tour is available on the first Friday of the month at 18:00 (6 pm) in English as well as every Saturday at 18:00 (6 pm) in German.