As a city of approximately 1.7 million inhabitants, Hamburg has an extensive traffic network which consists of buses, trains, subway, rapid rail as well as ferries.
Public transport in Hamburg
Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV) is the association in charge of Hamburg’s public transport. The most important means of public transport is the U-Bahn (subway) and the S-Bahn (urban rapid train). There are 3 U-Bahn lines, 6 S-Bahn lines and 9 regional lines all of which connect Hamburg and its region. Also, the U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines operate in Hamburg during the night at weekends and prior to public holidays. Besides this, there are also bus services complementing the rail.
These are the different bus services in Hamburg and the region:
- MetroBus with 22 lines which run frequently and provide direct connections with the city centre as well as the Hamburg districts. Metro buses are marked with the M letter and the numbers from 1 to 27.
- SchnellBus (buses with limited stops) refers to bus lines connecting residential districts and the inner city. These buses are marked with numbers from 31 to 39.
- City and regional buses take passengers to the stations of rapid transit and regional trains, to the centres of districts and regional counties. These buses can be recognized by the three-digit numbers and sometimes by the four-digit numbers.
- NachtBus (night bus lines) has 19 lines which operate during the night hours. These buses can be recognized by the three-digit numbers from 600 to 688. The departure point of these buses which will take you to almost every district in the town is the bus stop at Rathausmarkt.
- Eilbus sprinter services provide a fast connection from the city outskirts to the nearest U-Bahn or S-Bahn station. These vehicles are marked with the E letter and a two-digit number.
All buses are low-floor buses which means an easier access for the disabled.
Public transport tickets can be used for all public transport means. Ticket prices are based on the zone you are travelling in. Travelling is for free for children under the age of six.
Tickets can be bought at ticket machines, from the bus driver, at the HVV online shop or using their mobile app.
- Single tickets which can be used for one-way trips or short-distance trips
- Daily tickets are convenient for those who plan to use the public transport more times during the day, in all directions. Daily tickets are valid all day (from 6 am) until 6 am the following morning. There is a cheaper version of daily ticket called the 9 am day ticket valid from 9 am till 6 am the next morning.
- Group tickets for up to five poeple; group tickets also include the cheaper 9am variant.
- Week tickets are good for those who plan to use the public transport on a regular bases during a period of seven days. These tickets can be purchased at a HVV service centre; these tickets cannot be transferred and therefore to buy one you need a passport photo. HVV service centres can be found at Hamburg Central Station and at Terminal 2 of Hamburg Airport. You can purchase them in the HVV online shop or using their app.
- Hamburg Card is a great option for those who want to see the city and visit its museums, theatres, join sightseeing and walking tours together with an unlimited use of the public transport at very low prices. Hamburg Card is available in single and group variant.
- Happy Weekend Ticket is valid on Saturday and Sunday for unlimited number of rides including Deutsche Bahn rail services as well. Up to five people can travel with this ticket.
In case you have a bike and want to bring it on a bus/train you can do it free of charge and if there is enough space for it. Bringing bikes is not allowed during rush hours on week days, from 6 am to 9 am and from 4 pm to 6 pm.
On frequented routes within the city, buses and trains run every 5 or 10 minutes. If it is a regional bus or train, they run every 20, 40 or even 60 minutes.
Sightseeing in Hamburg
As already mentioned, if you want to see the main as well as other attractions in Hamburg the best thing is to buy a Hamburg Card which allows an unlimited use of public transport as well as discounts for visiting museums, theatres… Using this card you can save up to 50 %. With this card you can also use the six ferry lines and enjoy the trips on the river Elbe.
Bus line 111 is also good for the sightseeing; here you can check which sights you can see if you take a ride on the 111 bus line.
Visitors who buy a daily ticket can join a sightseeing tour on one of the red double-decker buses which run from 7:30 to 17:00 every day. This tour lasts for 1 hour and 40 minutes, has 27 stops and you can get on and off the bus wherever you want.
National bus lines to and from Hamburg
These days there are a lot of national bus lines connecting Hamburg with other German cities unlike the previous years when the trains were the main transport means. There are many German bus companies providing long distance bus trips at very low prices; thus you can find bus lines to Cologne, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Munich, Hannover, Bremen and more but the line between Hamburg and Berlin has most departures, 30 a day.
International bus lines to and from Hamburg
Besides the national connections, Hamburg has also many international bus connections. There are daily departures (one or more) towards Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Zurich, Basel, Milan, Rome, Prague, Budapest and more. There are also departures towards certain destinations in south-eastern Europe but they are much less frequent than to the above mentioned destinations.
International buses, as well as the national ones, arrive to and depart from the main bus station in Hamburg, ZOB, which is situated close to the central train station.
On Getbybus it is possible to buy tickets for the following destinations from Hamburg:
Airport buses in Hamburg
Hamburg Airport is easily accessible by means of public transport; S1 metro line which runs every ten minutes from Hauptbahnhof, the central train station. A single ticket costs around 3 euros and it takes about 30 minutes to get to Hamburg Airport.