Information & Facts
Hamburg is a fairly wet and windy city, prevailing westerly
winds blowing in moist air from the North Sea. Summers are warm but
rainy, with occasional brief dry, sunny spells. Winters are cold,
sometimes chilling to 28ºF (-2ºC) or below in January, the coldest
month, when the Elbe and lakes in the city centre have been known
to freeze enough for ice-skating. Snowfall is usually light,
starting in early December, with icy sleet being the more common
form of winter precipitation. Spring is very pleasant in Hamburg
when the city's thousands of trees come into bloom with a new cloak
of green, and days start to warm up after the dreary winter.
Hamburg's extensive public transport system consists of the
U-Bahn (subway), the S-Bahn (suburban train), buses and harbour
ferries, and makes getting around without a car pleasurable. The
U-Bahn is excellent and serves the whole city centre; it connects
with the S-Bahn that services the suburbs, and this train network
is the fastest way to get around the city. Buses are also
convenient and night buses operate in the downtown area. The
Hamburg Card allows unlimited travel for a day on all public
transport as well as discounted rates or free admission to museums,
on city tours and lake cruises. Taxis are less expensive than other
German cities and are available at all hours.
German is the official language. English is also widely
spoken and understood.
The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents.
ATMs and exchange bureaux are widely available. The major credit
cards are becoming more widely accepted in many large shops, hotels
and restaurants, although Germans themselves prefer to carry cash.
Travellers cheques are best cashed at exchange bureaux, as banks
often won't change them. The quickest and most convenient way to
change money is to obtain cash from one of the ATM machines that
are ubiquitous features on all German streets. Banks are closed on
weekends, but exchange bureaux at airports and main railway
stations are open daily from 6am to 10pm.
GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the last
Sunday in October).