With over 1.7 million inhabitants, Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany after Berlin. The city is also one of Germany’s 16 federal states.

Here you can find information about some of the top sights in Hamburg and about using the public transport system.


The Alster is a river in the centre of Hamburg. You can get a beautiful view of the city centre from the Lombard Bridge. There is a 7km path running along the Alster for walking and cycling. In the summer you can have a barbecue at marked spots along the Alster.

The Jungfernstieg (U/S Bahn station Jungfernstieg) is located right beside the Inner Alster. The Jungfernstieg is an attractive and very popular shopping street. The Rathausmarkt (U3 Rathaus) and the Hamburg Town Hall are located a short distance from the Jungfernstieg. The Town Hall is the seat of Hamburg’s government and parliament. You can visit parts of the Town Hall free of charge during the day.

The Hamburger Hafen (Hamburg Port) is situated on the River Elbe and is Germany’s biggest sea port. You can get good views of the river and the port by getting out at the U/S Bahn station Landungsbrücken. The HADAG port ferries depart from the Landungsbrücke station, you can travel on these with a HVV ticket.

The two districts Speicherstadt and HafenCity are situated to the east of the Landungsbrücken (U1 Meßberg, U3 Baumwall, U4 Überseequartier). Speicherstadt is a historical warehouse district and UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is famous for its red brick architecture and its waterways between the buildings. HafenCity is a newly-created district which is characterised by its modern architecture. One outstanding building is the Elbphilharmonie concert house.

The Elbstrand is a small beach beside the port. You can get there with the number 112 bus or the 62 ferry (Övelgönne station).

Public transport with the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV)

You can get to most places in Hamburg by train or by bus. The U and S Bahn metro services run every 5-10 minutes during the week until 11pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, the trains run throughout the night at 20 minute intervals.

You can find out more information about tickets or timetables at the HVV service points located at the following stations:

  • Hauptbahnhof
  • Jungfernstieg
  • Dammtor
  • Berliner Tor
  • Harburg Rathaus

You can also find more information at www.hvv.de or by using the free HVV app.

Please bear in mind that the HVV network extends beyond the Hamburg metropolitan area, however you are required by law to remain within the city boundaries.


As a resident at a Central Initial Reception Centre (ZEA), you will also be given a HVV travel ticket for all public transport in Hamburg. A few days after your arrival, the social management team at your accommodation will give you this ticket. The ticket must be returned as soon as you move to secondary housing or receive official refugee status and receive all future benefits from the Jobcenter. You should then ask for a Sozialkarte (social services ticket) which entitles you to a discount on a monthly HVV ticket.

When you move from your initial accommodation to subsequent housing, you need to buy your tickets from the HVV. You can buy tickets from the bus driver in a bus, from a ticket machine or at one of the HVV service points.

You do not need to validate your ticket. When travelling by bus you should enter at the front of the bus and show the bus driver your ticket. Ticket inspectors will check your ticket on the U or S Bahn. For this reason, you should always keep your ticket until after you have left the station!

There are different types of ticket:

  • Einzelkarten (single tickets) are valid for one journey and are suitable for people who do not use the buses very often. If you buy your single ticket from the bus driver, you should tell them which stop you are travelling to. The bus driver will then sell you the right ticket. If you use a machine, you can click on the upper left section to enter your destination stop.
  • You can buy Wochenkarten and Monatskarten (weekly and monthly tickets) from the HVV service points. A passport photo is required.
  • CC Karten (customer cards) are tickets at special rates. These cards are NOT valid for travel Mondays to Fridays from 6am – 9am and 4pm – 6pm. A CC Karte can be used by one adult and up to three children (aged 6 to 14). You can buy CC Karten from the HVV service points.
  • Sozialkarte (social services ticket): If you receive benefits as per the Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz (Benefits for Asylum Seekers Act) or from the Jobcenter, you can apply for a Sozialkarte, which allows you to buy reduced fare tickets from the HVV service points. You should ask at the office where you receive your benefits about applying for a Sozialkarte.

Children under 6 do not need a ticket to use public transport.

Last Updated: 16.08.2018

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