6 Best Churches In Hamburg, Germany
Churches in Hamburg, Germany. There are many breathtaking churches but we list the top 6 for your visit. Includes hours and how to get there.
Best Churches In Hamburg
Whether you’re religious or not, there’s no denying that churches attract many of us with their grandeur. Smelling of incense, they draw us in with their stained glass windows, sculptures, paintings, and opulent ceilings.
While we were in town house sitting, we got to visit all five of the main churches in Hamburg. They all have interesting histories and items worth seeing. There was also a sixth church that we were able to visit, which was very different from the others. We think they’re all worth visiting, so we put together this blog post with everything you need to know about them. We hope you find it useful and inspiring.
Check out our other Hamburg and Germany posts:
– 20+ Free Things To Do In Hamburg
– Prettiest Towns In Germany
– Best Castles In Germany Besides Neuschwanstein
Hauptkirche St. Michaelis – St. Michael’s Church
Address: Engl. Planke 1, 20459
Hours: October and April open daily 9 AM to 6:30 PM, May through September open daily 9 AM to 7:30 PM, November through March open daily 10 AM to 5:30 PM
Cost: Free to enter the church, Tower €8 for adults, Crypt €6 for adults, Combination Ticket €10 for adults
How to get there: S1/2/3/21/31 to Stadthausbrücke, U3 to Baumwall
The most famous church in Hamburg is St. Michael’s. The iconic church is also the largest in the city, able to seat 2,500 people. It is affectionally known as “The Michel” by locals.
St. Michael’s church was first completed in 1669. However, in its 400-year history, it has been rebuilt twice due to a lightning strike and a fire. Surprisingly, it did not suffer much damage during World War II.
The church is one of the most popular attractions in Hamburg. There are a few things to look for during your visit. First is the famous Archangel Michael statue above the main entrance. Next, are the five organs. Make sure to also check out the 20-meter-high altar.
Of course, St. Michael’s is also known for its tower and crypt. You can visit one or both, but tickets must be bought at the visitor’s center next door.
From the tower’s observation deck, you get amazing views of the city. To get to the observation deck, you can either climb 452 steps or take an elevator. We recommend taking the elevator up but taking the steps down. This is because as you take the steps there are placards and pictures detailing the history of the church. In the crypt below, there are 2,000 people buried as well as a small exhibit.
Hauptkirche St. Petri – St. Peter’s Church
Address: b. d. Petrikirche 2, 20095
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 AM to 6 PM, Wednesday 10 AM to 7 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM, Sunday 9 AM to 8 PM
Cost: Free to enter the church, Tower €4 for adults
How to get there: U3 to Rathaus
Another of the best churches in Hamburg is St. Peter’s Church. It was first documented in 1195, making it the oldest church in Hamburg. It completely burned down in the Great Fire of 1842 but was rebuilt within seven years. The church survived World War II with relatively little damage.
The present tower was consecrated in 1878 and its viewing platform, at a height of 123 meters, is the highest in Hamburg. You have to climb 544 steps, but the stairway is broken up into stages. There are 10 stages, so be sure to grab a pamphlet with the breakdown when you buy your ticket. At one level you have a small museum, at another the church bells. Multiple levels have portholes with views, so if you feel you can’t make it to the top, you will still have pretty magnificent views of Hamburg.
It’s also worth exploring the church itself. If you look up, there are over 500 stars emblazoned in the vault of the church. This is because gothic church vaults symbolized heaven and the Church was, in a way, heaven on earth. There are also multiple sculptures and paintings inside the church. And if you missed it on the way in, look for the ornamental bronze door handle in the shape of a lion’s head on the left entrance door. It is considered the oldest piece of art in Hamburg.
Hauptkirche St. Jacobi – St. James’ Church
Address: Jakobikirchhof 22, 20095
Hours: Open daily from 11 AM to 5 PM
How to get there: U3 to Rathaus, U2/4 to Hauptbahnhof Nord, S1/2/3/11/21/31 to Hamburg Central Station
The original St. James’ Church was completed in 1255. It was first a small chapel, just outside of the city gates. The large gothic church was built about 100 years later. In the early 1800s, Hamburg was occupied by Napoleonic troops, and the church was used as stables.
Then, during World War II, the church was destroyed by bombs. Luckily, many historic pieces survived because they had been safely stored away. The church was rebuilt in 1962.
Inside there are three medieval winged altars and many paintings. The most popular is the well-known city view of Hamburg painted by Joachim Luhns from 1681. The famous Arp-Schnitger-Organ is also a highlight. Built in 1693, it has 60 stops and about 4000 pipes. It was restored from 1983 to 1993 and is now said to be one of the most important baroque organs in Europe.
When you enter, we suggest grabbing a pamphlet (they are provided in multiple languages). It offers more on the history of the church and also details 12 points of interest inside the church.
Hauptkirche St. Katharinen – St. Catherine’s Church
Address: Katharinenkirchhof 1, 20457
Hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM
How to get there: Bus lines 4 and 6 to Brandstwiete, U1 to Meßberg
Just north of the Speicherstadt neighborhood is St. Catherine’s Church. Built in the mid-1200s, the church is one of the oldest buildings in Hamburg. It was originally built on 1,100 tree trunks that were driven into the soil. Since then it has survived French occupation, bombings, and flooding.
St. Catherine’s Church has been rebuilt and restored over the years. The community’s efforts to preserve the church’s history have now been recognized twice. In October 2013, St. Catherine’s was awarded the “Building of the Year 2012 – Special Prize for the Preservation of Monuments” by the Hamburg Architects’ and Engineers’ Association. The award was for the exemplary renovation of the church. In October 2014, the church received the “German Prize for Monument Protection 2014.” The German National Committee for the Protection of Monuments gave them the award because of their special commitment to the comprehensive renovation of the church.
The organ of St. Catherine’s Church has an important history. There has been an organ in the church since the late 15th century, although it’s been replaced and rebuilt over the years. Johann Sebastian Bach even played the organ of the time when he visited Hamburg in 1701 and 1720. During our visit, we heard the organ being played, which sounded lovely.
If you can, visit St. Catherine’s Church on a Tuesday between 10 AM and 2 PM. There is a weekly market on the right-hand side of the church. You’ll find baked goods and fresh produce.
Hauptkirche St. Nikolai Am Klosterstern – Church Of St. Nicholas On Klosterstern
Address: Harvestehuder Weg 118, 20149
Hours: Open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM
How to get there: U1 to Klosterstern
It is important to note that this is the main church of St. Nicholas and should not be confused with the St. Nikolai Memorial in central Hamburg. Although most of the other churches destroyed during World War II were rebuilt in the same location, the St. Nicholas church was not. It was decided to leave the ruins as a memorial and rebuild the church 5 kilometers north in the Harvestehude am Klosterstern neighborhood.
The new Church of St. Nicholas was completed in 1962. The church has a modern appearance compared to the other four main churches of Hamburg. Inside the church’s tower hall, you’ll find many pieces that were once in the old church of St. Nicholas or that serve as a reminder of why the city was bombed in the first place. The entrance hall is almost like a mini museum, so we recommend looking at the list of artifacts on the St. Nicholas website so you don’t miss anything. It’s in German, but Google can translate it for you.
Russische Orthodoxe Kirche des Hl. Johannes von Kronstadt – Russian Orthodox Church of St. John of Kronstadt
Address: Tschaikowskypl. 1, 20355
Hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 3 PM, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 AM to 7 PM
How to get there: U2 to Messehallen
Although not one of the main five churches, we still think the Russian Orthodox Church of St. John of Kronstadt is one of the best churches in Hamburg. Built in 1907, it was originally a Protestant church called the Church of Grace. However, after almost 100 years, the population surrounding the area changed. In 2004, the church was donated by the Evangelical Church for a symbolic 1 euro to the Russian Orthodox community.
Since then, many changes were done to the inside and outside of the building to adapt the appearance to that of orthodox churches. Today you’ll see five towers and orthodox crosses crowning the building. Inside, there are beautiful paintings, frescos, sculptures, and a unique mosaic marble floor.
Final Thoughts On The Best Churches In Hamburg
If you love visiting churches, then Hamburg will not disappoint. We believe these six are the best churches in Hamburg, but if you get a chance to visit any others while you’re in town, we encourage you to do so. We’re sure you’ll be pleased with any church you visit.
Like this post? Pin it for later!