A city card can be an easy way to see top sightseeing spots and save money at the same time. In most cases, a tourist pass allows you to pay one price and then get access to certain attractions for free.
The Hamburg Card works a bit differently. It includes public transportation and discounts on local experiences and restaurants. If you still have to pay for attractions, is the Hamburg Card worth it?
One of the reasons I like the Hamburg Card is that you don’t have to go crazy doing a ton of sightseeing to save money. You can take time and enjoy the city. Let me share more about the Hamburg Card, the new Hamburg Card app, and help you decide if you should get one.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please see disclosure for more information.
What is the Hamburg Card?
The Hamburg Card is a city pass with a bit of a twist. Unlike other city passes (like the New York Pass) it does not include free admission to tourist attractions. Instead, it includes unlimited public transportation and discounts at more than 150 attractions, restaurants, and theaters.
A single ticket covers one adult and up to three children under 15. There is a group ticket that is good for up to five people of any age. It’s actually not hard to save money with the group ticket even if there are only two adults because it costs less than two individual Hamburg Cards.
There are a few more types of Hamburg Cards:
- Hamburg Card Light – The Light Card includes the same discounts as the Hamburg Card but does not include public transportation. There is no group option though, so each adult needs to get their own card.
- Hamburg Card Plus Region – The Region Card includes everything that the Hamburg Card includes plus public transportation in a wider area. The Hamburg Card covers transportation in the AB zones while the Region Card covers ABCDE zones. The last page of this brochure has a map that shows what each zone covers.
If you want a pass that includes admission for attractions, there is a Hamburg city pass (also referred to as the Hamburg turbopass). It’s significantly more expensive than the Hamburg Card (because it includes admission instead of just a discount) and only includes 25 attractions. It could still save you money if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing. Read more about the Hamburg city card here.
How Much is the Hamburg Card?
The price depends on which Hamburg Card you purchase and the number of days. With each additional day purchased the price per day decreases. Also, keep in mind that three children are also included on the single card and up to five people can use the group card. If you are traveling with others the savings grow. You will save the most by getting the group ticket for five days.
|Card||1 Day||2 Day||3 Day||4 Day||5 Day|
|Hamburg Card (Single)||€10.50||€19.90||€25.90||€34.50||€41.90|
|Hamburg Card (Group)||€18.50||€32.90||€44.90||€59.50||€74.50|
|Hamburg Card Region (Single)||€21.50||N/A||€59.50||N/A||N/A|
|Hamburg Card Region (Group)||€35.50||N/A||€89.50||N/A||N/A|
How Long is the Hamburg Card Valid?
When you purchase the Hamburg Card you must specify the dates you want to use it. It can be for one to five consecutive days. The Hamburg Card will work from midnight until 6 am the following day for the dates purchased.
What if I am Staying in Hamburg Longer than Five Days?
The maximum length of time the Hamburg Card is good for is five days. If you are staying in Hamburg longer buy multiple cards or if you’re not planning on doing much sightseeing consider the weekly 24/7 Season Ticket to save money on public transportation.
Will I Need to Take Public Transportation in Hamburg?
Yes, unless you plan on driving or riding a bike or scooter. Attractions are spread out across the city and it’s interesting to see the different neighborhoods, so I don’t think it is feasible to just walk everywhere. The public transportation system in Hamburg is reliable, safe, clean, and relatively simple.
Don’t forget that the Hamburg Card includes ferries. The ferries are a reasonable alternative to a sightseeing boat cruise. While you won’t have the commentary, the views are the same. Start at Landungsbrücken and choose either the 62 ferry to Finkenwerder which takes about 30 minutes or for a shorter ride take the 72 ferry to the new Elbphilharmonie or the 75 ferry to Steinwerder. From Steinwerder, you can walk through the Elbe Tunnel back to Landungsbrücken.
Other Transportation Options with the Hamburg Card
Public Transportation is not the only way to get around the city with the Hamburg Card. You can also get save money on car rentals with UBEEQO. With the Hamburg Card, there is no registration fee (normally €15) and you get a €25 credit.
Bike rentals with Hamburg City Cycles are also part of the Hamburg Card. Hamburg is a very bike-friendly city, so this is another fun option for exploring the city.
Is the Hamburg Card Worth It?
The Hamburg Card is one of the least expensive city cards that I have come across. Considering it includes unlimited public transportation, I think it is pretty easy to justify the cost.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
- One person in Hamburg for one day: The Single Hamburg Card would cost €10.50. The unlimited transportation part would have cost €7.80, so you would only need to save €2.70 on attractions to break even. That can easily be done by visiting just one attraction. Visit more attractions, eat at one of the restaurants, get theater tickets and save even more. Also, keep in mind that up to three children can be included, so if you are bringing along the little ones, there will be additional savings.
- Two adults in Hamburg for one day: The Group Hamburg Card would cost €18.50. Two unlimited transportation passes would have cost €15.60, which means you only need to save €2.90 on attractions for two people to break even.
- Five adults in Hamburg for one day: The Group Hamburg Card would cost €18.50. Just unlimited transportation for five people would cost €39. You don’t even need to visit any attractions to save money.
These examples illustrate how easy it is to save on one-day Hamburg Cards. Keep in mind, Hamburg Cards with a longer duration have a lower cost per day making it easier to save even more.
Similarly, the more people that use the card the greater the savings. The Hamburg Group Card is a no brainer. The one thing to keep in mind is that the group is only issued one card. This means everyone has to stick together to be able to use it. If you have a group that likes to do different things, consider getting multiple cards.
The Hamburg Card App
There is now a convenient app for the Hamburg Card. It can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store here or Google Play Store here. You can store the Hamburg Card on the app so there is no need for any paper card. Everything needed to use the card is stored on your phone.
The app includes a list of experiences in Hamburg – not just those that are part of the Hamburg Tourist Card. You can click on each attraction to find out more information including a description, operating hours, address, and discount percentage. That way you can research and plan your trip to Hamburg and have all the information you need on your phone.
The amount of information about each attraction in the app was a bit inconsistent. Some had lengthy descriptions while others didn’t. Not all included operating hours, etc. Also, given how well the Germans speak English it is easy to forget that the official language is German. As I was going through the app, I noticed some of the descriptions were in German. In those cases, I just googled the name of the attraction to find out more about it in English. Also, some of the attractions use English names and some are in German so when I did a search in the app if I didn’t use the right language it sometimes wouldn’t find it
You can go through the list based on what is included in the Hamburg Card, your interests, or use the search feature if you know the name. Click on the heart next to the attraction name and it will save it to your favorites section for easy reference. Just keep in mind once your Hamburg Card expires, your favorites will no longer be saved.
Unfortunately, there is no option to search the attractions by location or neighborhood while you are planning your trip. When you are in Hamburg, choose the redeem discount option and it will show a list of merchants offering a discount nearby.
Hop-on Hop-Off Tours
A hop-on Hop-off tour can be an efficient way to get an overview of a city, especially when it is your first time visiting. Luckily for those that enjoy these types of tours, there are a few that offer Hamburg Card discounts:
Some of these hop-on hop-off buses offer a combined ticket that includes a harbor tour.
Hamburg Card Boat Tours
One of my favorite things to do in Hamburg is to spend time out on a boat! As I mentioned, with the Hamburg Card you can take the ferries for free (which we enjoyed), but no ferries go on the Alster. It’s also fun to take a tour through the harbor. There are a few companies that offer discounts for boat tours if you have the Hamburg Card:
- Rainer Abicht Elbreederei
- Verein Alsterdampfschiffahrt
- Alster Touristik
- Hamburg Belly Tours (Each person gets their own boat and there is a guide to lead you through the Alster and its canals)
- Bergedorfer Schifffahrtslinie
For those interested in a private charter, the Hamburg Card includes discounts with Hamburg City Sailing.
Best Attractions on the Hamburg Card
The Hamburg Card has over 150 attractions so it’s not possible to see them all in one trip. If you are trying to narrow down your Hamburg sightseeing list, these are some of the top attractions that offer discounts with the Hamburg Card:
- Miniatur Wunderland: A model village that is bigger and more detailed than you can imagine. We spent over 4 hours exploring it and could have stayed longer if we had the time. This is one of the most popular attractions in Hamburg so there can be a queue to get in at times, so best to go early. Read Tripadvisor reviews here.
- Chocoversum by Hachez: At the chocolate museum, you can learn more about how chocolate is made and then make your own chocolate bar. Our 90-minute tour was technically in German but our tour guide, Lena, was amazing and translated everything for us. Check here in advance for the English tour schedule. Read Tripadvisor reviews here. (If you are a chocolate lover, also consider visiting Brussels where they also have a chocolate museum.)
- Discovery Dock: This is a new high-tech interactive experience that helps visitors learn more about the Hamburg Port. Be sure to read my Discovery Dock review. Note that there is a Hamburg Card discount for the Discovery Dock tour but the combined package that includes a boat ride is not included in the program. Read Tripadvisor reviews here.
- St. Michael’s Church: Called Michel by the locals, this is Hamburg’s largest and most important church. Inside there are five organs and an impressive 20-meter tall altar. It also has a tower with spectacular views over the city. Read Tripadvisor reviews here.
- Rathaus: This is the Hamburg Town Hall and it is a spectacular and elaborate building. You can go inside a few rooms and the courtyard for free but they also offer a guided tour. Most tours are in German though, so be sure to contact them in advance (email here) to get the schedule for English tours. Read Tripadvisor reviews here.
- St. Nicholas’s Church: This church was destroyed by bombs during World War II but the tower and some of the walls still remain. There are some moving sculptures in what would have been the Nave. There is an interesting museum underground and from the tower, you have 360-degree aerial views of the city center. Read Tripadvisor reviews here.
- Dialogue in the Dark: This exhibition is designed to raise awareness and give visitors an idea of what it is like to be blind. You are led through different settings in total darkness. Read Tripadvisor reviews here. Another similar experience in Hamburg would be eating at Unsicht Bar, which also offers a Hamburg Card discount. The name translates to “Invisible bar”. Here diners eat in complete darkness guided by a staff that is blind or visually impaired. Read Tripadvisor reviews here.
There are many other must-see attractions and tours in Hamburg that are part of the Hamburg Card. Check out the complete list here.
What Is Not Included in the Hamburg Card
I don’t think you will find a city card that offers better coverage than the Hamburg Card – it includes more than 150 attractions, although you will find some tours that do not offer a Hamburg Card discounts. There are also some special tickets that need to be bought online (like those to skip a line) don’t include a Hamburg Card discount.
Hamburg Card Restaurants
Select restaurants offer a discount to Hamburg Card holders. The discount varies by restaurant but tends to be around 20%. Be sure to show the Hamburg Card before placing your order.
During our trip, we ate at Cafe Ponton (which is part of the Hamburg Card). They had a lot of choices on the menu with English explanations so it was easy for us both to find dishes we liked. The portion sizes were huge (we could have probably shared) and the prices were reasonable especially after the Hamburg Card discount. We sat at a section in the restaurant that was on a pontoon on a canal. It was romantic dining outside on the water. Read reviews on Tripadvisor here.
We also tried to eat at Zum Alten Lotsenhaus (also part of the Hamburg Card) but it was full when we got there. The name translates to “old pilot house” and it has been a restaurant since 1801! Read reviews on Tripadvisor here. If you would like to go, it’s best to make a reservation so you don’t have the same problem. It’s not too far from the Museum Harbor Neumühlen ferry stop (take the #62 ferry) and there are also a lot of beach bars close by along the Elbe.
Check the complete list of restaurants that participate in the Hamburg Card program here.
How Much Can You Save with the Hamburg Card?
We were given a complimentary group Hamburg Card for four days so that we could share the experience with our readers. The card would have cost €59.50. There were two of us.
That gave us:
- Unlimited public transportation for 2 people in Hamburg for 4 days – €74
- Savings at Cafe Ponton – €7.54
- Savings at the Chocolate Museum for 2 people – €6
- Savings at Discovery Dock – €5.20
- Savings at St. Nicholas Church for 2 people – €3
- Savings at Miniatur Wunderland for 2 people – €2
Total Savings: €38.24
We could have saved more by eating at more of the restaurants that offered a discount for the card. I had planned on a few for lunch but we skipped lunch most days after our huge breakfasts at the Holiday Inn Hamburg. Also, there was one day we did a day trip to Schwerin so we didn’t do any sightseeing in Hamburg that day.
Where to buy the Hamburg Card?
It’s easy to buy the Hamburg Card online so that you are set and ready to explore once you arrive. There are a few options to choose from:
- Printable ticket: Book online here then the card will be sent by email so you can print it out at home.
- Mobile phone ticket: Enter your mobile phone number in the field provided when purchasing the Hamburg Card online here and receive the card as an SMS on your smartphone
- App-Ticket: Buy the card through the free Hamburg Card App which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store here or Google Play Store here.
If you prefer to buy the Hamburg Card in person, you can find it at Tourist Information Hamburg (Central Station, Port, Airport), Train station ticket vending machines, buses, many Hamburg hotels, youth hostels, and ticket offices. Since the Hamburg Card includes transportation from the airport, it’s best to buy it there to take advantage of that benefit. There is a Hamburg Tourist Information shop right across from the entrance to the metro in Terminal 2.
How does the Hamburg Card Work?
If you are using the Hamburg Card app, there is an option on the bottom menu that says “Hamburg Card.” You click on this and it gives the option to buy the card or add a card you purchased on the website by scanning the QR code. Then when it’s time the card automatically activates.
Once the card is active, when you click on the Hamburg Card option inside the app it will show two options. One to show the QR code for the HVV ticket (public transportation) and one to redeem discounts for attractions and restaurants. Click on the appropriate option and show as needed. Note that the Hamburg public transportation system operates sort of on an honor system. You don’t need to scan in and out, just be prepared to show it if someone asks.
For those that prefer a more traditional card, there is also the option to have a paper discount card. You would use it the same way as the app. Just show the paper card on public transportation, at the attractions, and restaurants.
Hamburg Card Review
If you are planning on visiting Hamburg, then the Hamburg Card is a no brainer especially when traveling with others. It’s nice that you can save money on a sightseeing pass without feeling like you have to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible.
It was easy to use and gave us discounts at more places than we had time to visit. We saw a lot while we were in Hamburg, yet there are still lots of attractions on the Hamburg Card that we haven’t been able to visit. I plan on getting the card again the next time we visit!
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Disclosure: We received a complimentary Hamburg Group Card from Hamburg Marketing so that we could share the experience with our readers.
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