Public Transport, Hamburg
S-Bahn and U-Bahn
In Hamburg there are two types of trains in the public transport system. The S-Bahn (from Stadtbahn or Schnellbahn) belonged to the national railroad company (Deutsche Bundesbahn). And the U-Bahn (Untergrund-Bahn) belonged to the municipal transport system.
The U-Bahn started actually above ground as "Hochbahn" and the municipal transport company was called Hamburger Hochbahn Aktiengesellschaft. So on some historic inscriptions you still can read HHA. Actually also busses and streetcars belonged to the HHA.
So, in Hamburg the underground train is also well known for its above ground part.
So, when in Hamburg, also go by U-Bahn. Take line U3, where between Rathaus and Landungsbrücken it runs above ground along the harbour rim.
The public transport company for Hamburg if HVV. For singular train usage, you must purchase your ticket before boarding at the orange vending machines you will find just before entering the train ramps.
For buses, as of 2012 you must purchase your ticket on entering the front of the bus from your bus driver (no more Trust System fare purchases as in decades past, where it was left up to the consumer to do right thing and purchase an appropriate ticket on their own or risk being ticketed a 40 Euro fine from HVV police who randomly search check to see who's riding "black" on the public transport!).
With the advance of computer technology, the HVV website now has an app where you can not only plan your intinerary around the city online, but you can also download your tickets and extended travel time passes at home on your computer or onto your cel phone. For further details, see the website (with English instructions) at : www.hvv.com.
One of the things I would eagerly suggest for a person or group making extensive rounds across the city is to consider a day or weekly HVV pass.
For a weekly pass, you will need a passport photo, 5 euro for administrative costs , and then they will charge you for the week depending on how many rings you want to travel in within Hamburg. If you are a person staying in one area of concentration (say the city center, or a neighborhood immediately surrounding it), the 2 Ring ticket is appropriate. If you want to run around the city and soak up an array of neighborhoods and visit a variety of friends you may have in town, go for the 3 Ring ticket instead.
A great option for day travel is to purchase a day ticket " 9hr Tageskarte" (aka, a 9AM Day Ticket). Essentially, after the city's peak rush hour morning travel, from 9am onwards you can purchase a day ticket that carries costs 5,80 Euro, until midnight. The "9hr Gruppenkarte" for a group of up to 5 people costs 10, 40 Euro. You can purchase these day tickets via vending machine, your bus driver, HVV Service Points, or online at: www.hvv.com .
One way fares range from 1,90 Euro to 4,00 depending on the distance to your destination.
9 Hour day cards (Tageskarte) start at 5,90 Euro
For further information to help plan your trips around Hamburg, visit the Metro's online system at
they originally only had the site in English and German, but it appears they've added new languages to accomodate visitors for the 2006 World Cup. You only have to enter the address of your starting and ending destination in Hamburg and the time you want to leave, and the search engine will map out your bus/train travel plan for you including travel time and cost of ticket.
Hamburg is a pretty big city, Germany's second largest, and so getting around between neighbourhoods can require use of the excellent public transport system. There is a combination of U-bahn, S-bahn and bus services all of which are run by the HVV company and these will take you anywhere you need to be. Because they all run by the same company one ticket can be used on all.
There are various ticket options from single-trip tickets to multi-day passes plus the Hamburg Card which combines discounted museum and other attraction visits. See website below for fuller details.
Personally I mostly walked but on the evening I went out to St Pauli I bought the 9-Uhr-Tageskarte which is a day ticket valid from 9 am until the end of the day's regular services. At the time of writing (Jan 2012) this cost 5.60 Euros and is a valid for one adult and up to three children (under age 14). You can buy this from machines at all the stations and it comes pre-validated for that day.
Hamburg is unusual in German in that it's metro system doesn't have a single tram (at least none that I saw). Instead it runs a combination of underground lines and buses. The U-bahn trains run under and overground, so it somewhat compensates. The underground lines even become elevated in parts, such as down by Baumwall, and these offer a wonderful view of Hamburg's buildings as it rattles along through the tight streets.
The idiosyncrasies of Hamburg's metro system is purely down to its geography, especially the canals which run throughout the city. With two rivers, lakes and canals, it's hard to weave a road network through the city, let alone run trams on top.
Like most German cities you can buy your ticket from the automated machines that grace every stop. Unlike other German cities, however, Hamburg provided poorly for those with mobility difficulties, like parents and the disabled. Few U-bahn stations had elevators.
Hamburg has an extensive bus and subway network that will took you everywhere fast and easy. We used some local buses (pic 1, the hotel staff helped us with routes) but it is much easier to use the subway(U-bahn and S-bahn) because it’s easy to navigate your self on the subway map, there is one huge one in every station that points where you are(pic 4) etc I noticed that many locals bring their bicycles in the subway (pic 3)
There are different tickets:
Short trip tickets (up to 4 stops?),
day tickets for 6.30e (5.40e after 9.00am)
3 day tickets for 15.90e
group day tickets (up to 5 persons!) for 13,5e (9,20e after 9.00am)
Check the official site for routes and directions (you can just enter the street address)
The local transport offers:
Bus = Bus
U-Bahn = Metro (there are signs of big white 'U's on a blue background
S-Bahn = a little bit like Metro
If you want to search for a connection use this site:
Unfortunately it's only available in german :( Here are some hints:
Start=start, Ziel=Destination, prüfen=check, suche=search, abfahrt=departure, ankunft=arrival
the webpage for local traffic:
here are some traffic maps as pdf:
http://www.hvv.de/pdf/hafenfaehren.pdf -> the cheap way to see the harbour!
http://www.hvv.de/pdf/tarifplan2003.pdf -> tariffs...well i don't understand it, but maybe you do ;)
If you are staying many days and will be traveling more around the area, then go to HVV center (Inside Central Station, easy to find...near the tourist information center), adn check out the rates for the no. of days you are staying. Probably you need to carry a passport size photo. Per month rate for Greater Hamburg area is around 84 EUR, which you can use it n no. of times for that month in U-Bhan (MEtro), S-Bhan (Sub Urbs), bus and the ferries on the Elbe. Sometimes the monthly pass is cheaper than everytime buying a ticket or for n no. days. The best part is, if you hold this monthly ticket, during weekends you can take another adult and 2 kids along with you for free.
Use the public transport to get around. It's going everywhere you want. I love the part between Landungsbruecken and Roedingsmarkt, as it runs along the port. It's one of the most scenic tram routes in the world I think. Well, it's only two stops but worth it.....
The public transport system in Hamburg is very good.
There are several subway lines that are easy to access and that get you pretty much everywhere.
We have the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn (Bahn for train). Download the picture next to the text to get the full map of all stops.
The homepage of the public transport in Hamburg can tell you which lines to chose and how much it is to get from your A to your B. (The street names are enough you don't need to know the name of the subway stop)
The green S-Bahn runs more or less above ground and the blue U-Bahn runs more or less underneath the ground (at least that's the way it's supposed to be).
A very convenient train station can be found at the Wandelhalle Central Train Station in Hamburg. There are a couple of enclosed glass shed for the passengers on the platform that made it comfortable for us while waiting for the train bound for Copenhagen. It was my first time to use the services of this train and have been an amazing experience. The unique experience I had was when our train (I remember there are only 5 cars/coach) was loaded on board a big ship to be able to move to the other side of the water. If I remember it right, we were around 45 minutes on the ship that we spent time on its shops and restaurants. It was a big surprise for us and it is an unforgettable experience.
Waldelhalle Central Train Station in Hamburg address is:
GlockengieBerwall, Hamburg, Hamburg 20099 DE
You may be able to book your ticket online and have all the chances to get a discounted price from the website I provided below. You can also get complete information in regard to your planned journey. Good luck and have a safe trip!
You can see most of central Hamburg on foot though there is also the option of the S-Bahn or U-Bahn. It's a pretty efficient system as you'd expect in Germany though it is very tempting to board without buying tickets. We weren't asked for our tickets at all over the 3 days, though I think the fines can be heavy if you are caught. We only bought single tickets and these were Euro 1.50. It's better value to buy a day pass if you plan to make frequent use of the trains.
One thing I really liked about Hamburg's U- and S-Bahn system was the fact that there were plenty of automated ticket machines in every station - machines that provided instructions (and directions!) in English as well as in German.
It's nice that the U-Bahn is outdoors for several segments in the Center City. Here you can see one of the sturdy bridges that supports the approach to the Baumwall Station.
When I was in Hamburg I used the bus network and the trains quite a lot. The network is quite good, however the waiting time for the busses is sometimes too long. Basically the whole city is covered by HVV, espcially by busses so it's quite easy to roam around even if you don't have a car available.
The public transportation-system of Hamburg includes also a few shipping-lines and that way all holders of a Hamburg-card or other day-tickets could save a lot of money, as they will not need to go on a regular Hafenrundfahrt) and still explore some interesting parts of Hamburger Hafen (port).
My favorite line was #62, leaving every 15 minutes at St.Pauli Landungsbruecken and taking you through the port along the river Elbe to Oevelgoenne and finally to Finkenwerder at the south-bank of the Elbe.
The total cruise to Finkenwerder takes about 35 minutes, and when you calculate a bit in advance, you could even make such a tour in the right moment, when big cruise-liners are sailing through the port of Hamburg, because these small ships will not change their itinerary...
besides #62 there is also #61 taking you from Landungsbruecken to Kohlbrandbruecke
#73 and #75 will take you through different parts of the industrial port