welcome to Hamburg and SMC2016! We’d like to share with you few tips on getting around while here with us. Most of you will arrive here by plane, and land on HAM airport. The airport is located on the north of the city and is very well connected to the city center. You can board an S1 train, which will bring you to the city center (Central Station, “Hauptbahnhof”) in some 15 min (price of a single ticket is ca. 3.20 Euro). You can also take a taxi, which will be considerably more expensive. We can recommend the Hansa-Taxi company, reachable through +49 40 211 211
Hamburg has a well-developed public transport system. Buses go around the clock. At night, a special “Nachtbus” (night bus) service connects the outlying districts and the city center. The buses depart and arrive at “Rathausmarkt”, near the town hall and operate all through the night. The S-Bahn and U-Bahn (metro) train services (underground and overground) run from approximately 5AM until 1AM in the central city, but there is often no service past 11PM in outlying districts. On weekends, it runs all night.
Vending machines in the rail stations (and at some bus stops) sell short distance, single ride, and day tickets. Group tickets are also available. On the buses, the driver will sell you what you need. To buy week or longer tickets, go to Hauptbanhof or Bahnof Altona, get passport photos in the automated photo booth, and buy your pass in the information office. You can also buy a Hamburg Card, which includes the public transport system, museums, and other things. You can get the Hamburg Card at all ticket offices and from the bus drivers.
Hamburg’s public transit operates on a proof-of-payment system. Officials in red waistcoats make spot checks, but aside from that, you simply get on and off as you wish with no turnstiles or gates. From 2012 on you are required to show your ticket while entering a bus to the driver. The exception are the crowded bus lines 4, 5 and 6, except after 21h and on Sundays.
Try to avoid rush-hour before 9AM and between 4-7PM. If you start your travel after 9AM, buy a “9 Uhr Tageskarte”. You are not allowed to take bicycles into subways before 9AM and between 4-6PM, unless it is a folding bike like a Dahon, Brompton, Bike Friday, etc. Folders are allowed on Hamburg public transit at any time of the day.
Six ferry services operate in the harbour and along the River Elbe as part of the regular public transport system. (Tip: take ferry line 62 from Landungsbrücken to Finkenwerder and back to enjoy a scenic trip through the harbour on a day ticket.)
On the two Alster lakes, a ferry boat travels once every hour from Jungfernstieg in the city centre to Winterhuder Fährhaus. These boats are not in the general HVV ticket system, thus more expensive, however, they offer a splendid view to some of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Hamburg.
If you are traveling to Hamburg using a Niedersachsen ticket or Schleswig Holstein ticket, you have access to all the HVV lines.
There is a good supply of taxis in Hamburg 24 hours a day, both at taxi stands and in the streets. You can identify a taxi rank by a green box on a post somewhat like an over-sized parking meter or alarm post. You will have to wait there or phone one of the numbers below, since the boxes can not be used to call a cab. Almost all vehicles are still in the traditional ivory white colour, but even if not, a yellow and black sign on the roof reading “Taxi” indicates a licensed cab. As usual, the sign is switched on to indicate vacancies. The meter starts at €2.80. A trip in the city area will be between €6-12. For a trip from the city to the airport, expect to pay roughly €25. Most taxis accept credit card payments.
Hamburg has six S-Bahn (commuter railway) lines and four U-Bahn (subway) lines, including the line U4. This line has been introduced in 2012 and it links the Jungfernstieg and Main Station (the city centre) with the new developments in the Hafencity. All lines run partly over and underground, in the city, and in the outskirts. The only difference is that these are two companies, but there is a unified fare system.
All train platforms have signs showing the next train, where it is headed, and how many minutes until it arrives. Trains are described by a number and the final station. Note that the final station may vary. For example, half of the S1 trains heading west go all the way to Wedel, but the other half go only as far as Blankenese. Also, all S-Bahn trains with one-digit numbers go via Landungsbrücken and Jungfernstieg and all S-Bahn trains with two-digit numbers go via Dammtor.
Note that train doors do not open automatically. You have to press a button or pull a handle on the door. Wait for the passengers to get off first before you enter. In the cold season, close the door after getting on the train if it looks like a longer stop. Either push the handle or press the closing buttons on the inside until the door is closed. All signs and notifications at stations and in trains are shown in at least two languages (German and English).
Our two venues (HAW and Kampnagel) are not far from each other – they are 15 min by public transport (buses 172 and 173) or 30 min by foot.
We hope you will enjoy your stay at SMC 2016!