8 Unusual Things to Do in Hamburg: Tips For Your Next Trip

Hamburg, TrainAway’s latest fitness destination, is a city filled with fascinating activities and experiences. From imitating a 19th century traveler to exploring Europe’s largest red light district, these unusual things to do in Hamburg take you off the beaten path.

Are you planning a trip to Hamburg, but want to enjoy an alternative experience? You came to the right place because it’s a city packed with wonders, mysteries, and controversies that will leave even the biggest stoics in awe. Hamburg is TrainAway’s latest fitness destination, but of course we don’t expect you spend all your time in the gym! Here are some of the more unusual things do to in Hamburg:

What separates the Hamburg apart from other German cities is their unwavering commitment to present history, culture and daily life as it really is, all through bizarre exhibitions, unique attractions, and notorious nightlife. Go through our list and discover the most unusual things you should experience on your next trip to Hamburg.

1. Walk Under The River In Elbtunnel

Have a stroll through the largest underground river tunnel in the world, that was built a hundred years ago. At the time, it was constructed out of necessity to connect the city center with the industrial south. Today, it is a landmark every local resident is proud of. It spreads over 2000 feet and is decorated with only plain white tiles that’ll make you feel like you traveled back in time.


2. Feel Like A Giant At The Miniatur Wunderland

In 2000, the Braun brothers decided to create the largest railway model in the world. Nobody believed them at the time, but they persisted and, after 15 years, succeeded in their goal. The Miniatur Wunderland is now spreading over several rooms and floors and is much more than a railway model. You can find whole cities from all around the world there, which exchange between day and night in 15 minutes.

Everything is automated with the latest technology and observed from the elaborated control room. The miniature exhibition is constantly being improved upon, with one of the most outstanding addition being a functional airport.

This unique exhibition is family friendly, and we’re sure you’ll be just as impressed as more than 10 million other visitors that have visited it by now.


3. Make Your Own Chocolate At The Chocoversum Chocolate Museum

A Disneyland for chocoholics, the Chocoversum Chocolate Museum delivers the ultimate insight into the world of this irresistible treat. They offer 90-minute tours, where you’ll learn about chocolate and, of course, enjoy a lot of delicious tasting.

At the end of the tour, you can make your own chocolate bar with all kinds of ingredients, and take it home. The museum is suitable for chocolate lovers and curious travelers of all ages, and a perfect getaway if you are in the vicinity during one of the well known Hamburg’s rains, even if it is one of the more unusual things to do in Hamburg.

This top-rated attraction is situated in Altstadt, just next to the highway.


4. Connect With Travelers From The Past in the Emigration Museum

Hamburg was a starting point for more than 5 million people who embarked on a journey to a better life in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Emigration Museum testifies to that period. The museum spreads over 2,500 square meters and is divided into three halls.

The first, named “Port Of Dreams” is dedicated to Albert Ballin, a guardian of emigrants who built a 30-building complex that served as their last stop before they boarded to their ships. The second, known as “World In Transit” features 14 rooms where you can explore different stages of their journey and offers the interactive game Simmigrant where you take the role of a traveler from the time and experience the stages yourself. Finally, the “Biographies” hall showcases true stories, personal and touching, and allows you to search through their database to see whether one of your ancestors has been at the port.

When you’re done with the exhibition, sit at the on-site coffee shop and soak it all in, before you continue your exploration of the city known as the “Gateway to the world”.


5. Get Lost In Mysterious Harry’s Harbor Bazaar

When Harry Rosenberg got access to the exotic collection from a vintage sailors’ pub in 1954, he knew he had to transform his small stamp and coin shop into something much greater.

The result is Harry’s Harbor Bazaar, a peculiar museum and shop, packed with art, weapons and other memorabilia that Hamburg’s sailors brought home from all continents of the world. Get lost in the labyrinth of ancient spears and swords, oddly carved sculptures, poor animals who have been eternalized with primitive stuffing techniques, and discover the intricacies that inspired Tom Waits to write Lucky Day Overture.

There are more than 300 000 items in the collection, with mysterious backgrounds that allow visitors to make their own theories of how they found their final home in Germany. Once something catches your attention you can purchase it, and present a part of Harry’s collection in your own home.


6. Explore the Controversial Evolution Of Medicine in the Medical Museum

Hamburg’s University Teaching Hospital houses a curious Medical Museum, that spreads over dozens of rooms and tells the story of the evolution of medicine in the past two centuries. Not only can you see the old medical equipment and learn about their procedures, but also have an uncensored look into the horrifying methods of Nazi’s eugenics programs.

The centerpiece of this part of the exhibition is “Binetarium” a primitive device Nazi’s believed could measure one’s intelligence. However, this isn’t where the boldness of this museum stops, they also featured a moulage collection that showcases 30 different wax replicas of body parts with different diseases, which were at the time commonly taken without patients’ consent.

All in all, this exhibition is a deep and honest insight into the development of medicine, its ability to be used for both good and evil and its impact on the culture as a whole. And it’s definitely one of the more unusual things to do in Hamburg.


7. Experience Hamburg’s Controversial Nightlife Scene in Reeperbahn

No city visit is complete without seeing what happens after the sunset – and if you want to have an authentic nightlife experience in Hamburg you should visit Reeperbahn. It is the home of Europe’s largest red light district, also known as the “Sinful Mile”. You might not think it, but visiting the Reeperbahn is actually one of the less unusual things to do in Hamburg.

You can find sex shops, erotic theaters, strip clubs and an occasional brother that survived here, all illuminated with bright neon lights like in an avant-garde crime movie. Additionally, you can have a memorable nightlife experience in one of the Reeperbahn’s bars and clubs, including those in the iconic Große Freiheit street where Beatles had some of their first concerts.

Along with partying and listening to live shows, also check out the Panoptikum wax figure museum and Spielbudenplatz square, that has been the home for Hamburg’s street performers since the 17th century.


8. Have Dialogue in The Dark

The “Dialog in Dunklen” is a unique exhibition, that allows you to experience life as one of Hamburg’s less talked about locals. The exhibits are simple everyday items from markets and ships, but that’s not what makes this place so special.

The thing is, you won’t really get to see the exhibition, as it’s completely dark. Designed to give the visitors a first-hand experience of not being able to see and to raise their awareness towards the blind, this exhibition allows you to learn to use your other senses to navigate the world. You’ll be equipped with a cane and guided by a blind person.

At the end of your tour, you’ll be able to ask them everything you want to know about the life of the visually impaired residents of Hamburg.


This article on unusual things to do in Hamburg is part of a series of articles on TrainAway destinations. Read more in places like Paris and Washington DC.

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