A Travel Price Comparison for Germany Kiel vs. Hamburg for Attractions, Nightlife, Families, and Food

Should you visit Kiel or Hamburg?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Kiel or Hamburg? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Kiel

Kiel is a authentic, off-the-beaten-path, and waterfront city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Hamburg

Hamburg is a vibrant, historic, and energetic port city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the food, shopping, and museums.

Kiel and Hamburg: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit


Is there more to do in Kiel or Hamburg?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Kiel than Hamburg. While Hamburg is larger than Kiel, Kiel has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Kiel is more popular for its beaches and big city activities, while Hamburg is known for its museums, nightlife, music, shopping, and impressive beauty. Hamburg is more touristy than Kiel and is known for its music clubs, beautiful architecture, relaxing natural areas, and green space. Kiel is popular for its maritime history and its role as the host of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. It is also home to The Kiel Castle.

How is Kiel different from Hamburg?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Hamburg and Kiel. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Kiel or Hamburg?

Kiel
Hamburg

Hamburg is well known for its museums and landmarks. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

Hamburg offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city's most famous district is the port area, which has a number of cultural sights and a pedestrian trail. There are also many museums and architectural landmarks around town.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Kiel. You'll find museums and landmarks that focus on the city's maritime past. These include Submarine U-995, the Naval Memorial, Schifffahrtsmuseum Kiel, and Leuchtturm Bülk.


Is the Food Better in Kiel or Hamburg? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Kiel
Hamburg

Both Kiel and Hamburg offer a number of good restaurants to choose from.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Kiel. The local cuisine, Schleswig-Holstein cuisine, is similar to much of Germany in that the dishes are hearty and filling. There are many British and Scandenavian influences. Local dishes that you should try include Kieler Sprotte (herring-like fish), Schnüüsch (veggie stew), and Mehlbüdel (bread dumpling with pork belly)

Hamburg is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The city has a mix of cosmopolitan restaurants and traditional places where you can enjoy a classic German dish like currywurst or labskaus (a type of stew).

Is Kiel or Hamburg Better for Nightlife?

Kiel
Hamburg

Hamburg is well known for nightlife and partying. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for its evening party scene.

Hamburg is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The city is often overlooked, but it's nightlife scene is actually among the best. There are techno concerts, music festivals, and nightclubs that appeal to all personalities.

If you're looking for night time activities Kiel has a few options to choose from. The nightlife scene is low key and relaxing. You can sip a cocktail at a trendy bar or enjoy a beer on a floating beach bar.

Is Kiel or Hamburg Better for Music?

Kiel
Hamburg

Hamburg is a must-visit destination for its live music scene. However, Kiel is not a live music destination.

Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone in Hamburg The city is an influential power in the music scene around Europe. You'll find many clubs concentrated in the St. Pauli district.

Kiel is not a live music destination.


Is Kiel or Hamburg Better for Beaches?

Kiel
Hamburg

Kiel is very good for the beach. However, Hamburg is not a beach destination.

Many people head to Kiel to enjoy the beach. The city has several sandy beaches with coastal dunes and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Hamburg is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Kiel or Hamburg?

Kiel
Hamburg

Hamburg is well known for its shopping opportunities. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

Hamburg is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. The diversity of shopping venues includes flea markets and luxury shopping malls. One of the main shopping streets in town is the Mönkebergstrasse.

Kiel has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There's a mix of retail shopping centers and pedestrian shopping streets like Holstenstrasse and Dänische Strasse.

Is Kiel or Hamburg Better for Families?

Kiel
Hamburg

Hamburg is well known for its family-friendly activities. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Hamburg is a very kid-friendly port city. The city has a surprising number of opportunities to see wildlife nearby including a zoo and a wildlife park just outside of town. The city also has great playgrounds that are fun for kids who need a break from sightseeing.

Kiel offers lots of family activities. The U-Boot U 995 is a museum on an actual submarine. Kids will love exploring this unique setting. The Kiel Botanical Gardens is another beautiful and fun place to explore. Also make sure you check out the city's aquarium, the Zoologisches Museum, and Computermuseum der Fachhochschule Kiel.


Is Kiel or Hamburg Better for Couples?

Kiel
Hamburg

With fun activities for couples, both Kiel and Hamburg make for a good place to visit.

Kiel makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The old port city sits along Germany’s Baltic Sea and couples can enjoy learning about the city's maritime past and shopping along the shopping streets of Holstenstrasse and Dänische Strasse.

Hamburg is a good city for couples to visit. Romantic activities in town include taking a boat ride or harbor cruise or grabbing a cocktail at one of the city's many bars.

Is Kiel or Hamburg Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Kiel
Hamburg

Hamburg is a popular place for backpackers. However, Kiel is not particularly known for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Hamburg. Many backpackers overlook the city, but there are a number of good hostels and a relaxing vibe that makes for a nice visit.

Kiel is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. While it's not on the main backpacker circuit, there is a hostel or two in town.

Is Kiel or Hamburg Better for Students?

Kiel
Hamburg

Kiel and Hamburg are good places to visit for students.

Kiel is popular with students. Students can enjoy the city's beaches and lively nightlife scene.

It's common for students to visit Hamburg. The city has a few great universities and a number of opportunities for international students.


Is Kiel or Hamburg Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Kiel
Hamburg

Hamburg is well known for its public transit. However, Kiel is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

Hamburg has some very good public transit options. There are trains and buses that make their way around town.

Public transit is mostly limited in Kiel. There is a bus system around town.

Is Kiel or Hamburg a more walkable city?

Kiel
Hamburg

Hamburg is well known for its high level of walkability. Also, Kiel is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

Hamburg is a very walkable port city. Most tourist areas can easily be explored on foot.

Kiel is a somewhat walkable city. Some parts of Kiel are more walkable than others.

For even more information, also check out Is Kiel Worth Visiting? and Is Hamburg Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Hamburg or Kiel?

How long in Kiel or Hamburg?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Kiel and Hamburg. In our opinion, Hamburg has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Hamburg than Kiel. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Hamburg than Kiel. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Hamburg, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Hamburg than Kiel. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Hamburg that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Hamburg than Kiel if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Hamburg.


  • How many days in Kiel or Hamburg? Ideal Length of Stay
    Kiel 1-3 
    Hamburg 1-3

One day in Kiel or Hamburg?

In Kiel, you'll find nightlife and food. This city offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the destination of Hamburg. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.


A weekend in Kiel or Hamburg?

In Kiel, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Kiel has to offer.

Hamburg is a fun place to experience. Most people visit for the live music. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Five days in Kiel or Hamburg?

Kiel is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

You'll find food and shopping around the historic destination of Hamburg. This port city offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Kiel or Hamburg?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Kiel. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Kiel. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

The energetic port city of Hamburg offers shopping and museums. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Berlin, The Best 10-Day Tours from Berlin, The Best 2-Week Tours from Berlin, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Germany.


Which place is cheaper, Hamburg or Kiel?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Kiel is €138, while the average daily cost in Hamburg is €117. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Kiel and Hamburg in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kiel 67
    Hamburg 54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kiel 134
    Hamburg 108
Compare Hotels in Kiel and Hamburg

Looking for a hotel in Kiel or Hamburg? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Kiel


Hotels in Hamburg


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Kiel Hotel Prices and Hamburg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kiel 54
    Hamburg 29

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kiel

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kiel:

  • Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port to Hamburg Airport (HAM) - Departure Private Transfer: $118
  • Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port to Hamburg hotels - Arrival Private Transfer : $118
  • Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port to Hamburg hotels - Round-Trip Private Transfer : $236
  • Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port: Private Transfer to Hamburg: $645
  • Private Transfer from Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port to Hamburg city: $95
  • Private Transfer from Ostseekai Kiel Port to Hamburg Airport(HAM): $95

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Hamburg

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Hamburg:


  • Short Distance Ubahn Ticket
    1.70

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Hamburg

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Hamburg:

  • Hamburg hotels to Ostseekai Kiel Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer: $118
  • Airport Transfer: Hamburg Airport HAM to Hamburg by Business Car: $82
  • Airport Transfer: Hamburg Airport HAM to Hamburg by Luxury Car: $146
  • Airport Transfer: Hamburg Airport HAM to Hamburg by Luxury Van: $91
  • Airport Transfer: Hamburg to Hamburg Airport HAM by Luxury Car: $148
  • Airport Transfer: Hamburg to Hamburg Airport HAM by Luxury Van: $91
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Hamburg Airport HAM to Hamburg: $41
  • Arrival Private Transfers from Hamburg Airport XFW to Hamburg City: $76
  • Arrival Transfer: Airport HAM to Hamburg by Business Car: $82
  • Arrival Transfer: Hamburg Airport HAM to Hamburg by Luxury Van: $98
  • Departure Private Transfers from Hamburg City to Hamburg Airport XFW: $93
  • Departure Private Transfers from Hamburg City to Hamburg Airport XFW: $76

Is it cheaper to fly into Kiel or Hamburg?

Prices for flights to both Hamburg and Kiel change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Kiel 39
    Hamburg 35

Typical Food Prices in Hamburg

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Hamburg:


  • Pink Thai Soup Dinner and Spring Rolls
    15
  • Currywurst and Pommes Frites
    5.00
  • Donner Kebab and Coke
    6.00
  • Traditional Hamburg Dinner w/ Beer
    15
  • Donner Kebab Lunch
    4.00
  • Sandwich and Coffee Break
    6.00
  • Fish Sandwich from Fish Market
    3.50
  • Coffee and Donut
    4.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hamburg

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Hamburg.

  • St George's Culinary Food Tour: $48
  • St. Pauli kulinarisch – Die Food Tour: $48
  • Elphi Plaza und HafenCity kulinarisch – Die Food Tour: $59
  • Original Musical Dinner Cruise 2024: $117
  • Hamburg Private Food Tours with a Local: 100% Personalized : $189
  • St. Pauli: Guided Food Tour with 5 Tastings: $482
  • Elbphilharmonie Plaza and HafenCity Food Tour: $589
  • Elbphilharmonie Plaza and HafenCity Food Tour: $589

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kiel 19
    Hamburg 39

Tours and Activities in Kiel

Here are a few actual costs in Kiel for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Lübeck Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.57
  • Laboe Naval Memorial: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Discover Kiel's Legacy: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Lindau Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $11
  • Kiel Self-Guided Audio Tour: Explore this Historic Port: $12
  • Kiel's Historical Port: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • SEA LIFE Timmendorfer Strand Admission Ticket: $15
  • City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $21
  • City Sightseeing Kiel Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $22
  • Self-Guided GPS Ghost Hunting Nosferatu Walking Tour in Lubeck: $24
  • Lübeck stories - an exciting scavenger hunt tour: $34
  • Kiel Crime Experience: self-guided crime tour: $42

Typical Entertainment Prices in Hamburg

Here are a few typical costs in Hamburg for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Tower at St. Michael's Church
    3.50

Tours and Activities in Hamburg

Here are a few actual costs in Hamburg for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Freetour, you decide the price at the end: $1.71
  • Self-Guided photo Safari with Photobook! City Tour: $2.67
  • Selfguided Audiotour "Speicherstadt and HafenCity": $3.20
  • Selfguided Audiotour "Old Town and City Center": $3.20
  • English Harbor&St.Pauli Pay-What-You-Want Walking Tour: $3.21
  • The Historic Treasure: 'Speicherstadt' "FREE TOURS'" Hamburg: $3.21
  • Deutsche Hafen & St.Pauli Bezahl-Was-ihr-wollt Tour zu Fuß: $3.21
  • English Hamburg City Center Pay-What-You-Want Walking Tour: $3.21
  • German Hamburg Historic City Center Pay-What-You-Want Tour: $3.21
  • Harbor&St. Pauli Pay-What-You-Want 2-Hour Walking Tour: $3.21
  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.21
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $3.21

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kiel 12
    Hamburg 17

Sample the Local Flavors in Hamburg

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Hamburg:

  • The Original Night Pub Crawl through The Repperbahn: $21
  • Weekend Night Pub Crawl through the Reeperbahn: $34
  • Bachelor(ette) Premium Party with Pub Crawl: $401
  • Private Pub Crawl Tour: $401
  • Private Premium Pub Crawl: $514


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kiel and Hamburg, we can see that Kiel is more expensive. And not only is Hamburg much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Hamburg would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Hamburg and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Kiel would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Kiel than you might in Hamburg.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Kiel Expensive? and Is Hamburg Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Kiel or Hamburg?

Hamburg has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Kiel. When comparing the sizes of Kiel and Hamburg, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Kiel or Hamburg?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Kiel or Hamburg in the Summer?

Both Hamburg and Kiel are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The beaches, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Kiel this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Hamburg for the music scene and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Kiel is around the same temperature as Hamburg. Typically, the summer temperatures in Kiel in July average around 16°C (61°F), and Hamburg averages at about 17°C (62°F).

It's quite sunny in Hamburg. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Kiel. Kiel usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Hamburg during summer. Kiel gets 219 hours of sunny skies, while Hamburg receives 207 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Kiel usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hamburg. Kiel gets 88 mm (3.4 in) of rain, while Hamburg receives 82 mm (3.2 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Kiel 16°C (61°F) 
    Hamburg 17°C (62°F)

Should I visit Kiel or Hamburg in the Autumn?

Both Hamburg and Kiel during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Kiel for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Also, many visitors come to Hamburg in the autumn for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Kiel is generally around the same temperature as Hamburg. Daily temperatures in Kiel average around 10°C (50°F), and Hamburg fluctuates around 10°C (50°F).

In the autumn, Kiel often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Hamburg. Kiel gets 102 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Hamburg receives 101 hours of full sun.

Kiel usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Hamburg. Kiel gets 65 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Hamburg receives 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Kiel 10°C (50°F) 
    Hamburg 10°C (50°F)

Should I visit Kiel or Hamburg in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Kiel and Hamburg. Many visitors come to Kiel in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Hamburg for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Hamburg can be very cold during winter. Kiel can get quite cold in the winter. Kiel is a little warmer than Hamburg in the winter. The daily temperature in Kiel averages around 0°C (33°F) in January, and Hamburg fluctuates around 0°C (33°F).

Kiel usually receives less sunshine than Hamburg during winter. Kiel gets 39 hours of sunny skies, while Hamburg receives 42 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Kiel usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hamburg. Kiel gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Hamburg receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Kiel 0°C (33°F) 
    Hamburg 0°C (33°F)

Should I visit Kiel or Hamburg in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Kiel as well as Hamburg. Most visitors come to Kiel for the beaches and the activities around the city during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Hamburg because of the natural beauty.

In the spring, Kiel is cooler than Hamburg. Typically, the spring temperatures in Kiel in April average around 7°C (44°F), and Hamburg averages at about 8°C (46°F).

In the spring, Kiel often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Hamburg. Kiel gets 171 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Hamburg receives 161 hours of full sun.

Kiel usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Hamburg. Kiel gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Hamburg receives 51 mm (2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Kiel 7°C (44°F) 
    Hamburg 8°C (46°F)

Typical Weather for Hamburg and Kiel

Kiel Hamburg
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 0°C (33°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 0°C (33°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Feb 1°C (34°F) 37 mm (1.5 in) 1°C (34°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
Mar 3°C (38°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 4°C (39°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Apr 7°C (44°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 8°C (46°F) 51 mm (2 in)
May 11°C (53°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 57 mm (2.3 in)
Jun 15°C (59°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 15°C (60°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
Jul 16°C (61°F) 88 mm (3.4 in) 17°C (62°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 17°C (62°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 14°C (56°F) 64 mm (2.5 in) 14°C (57°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Oct 10°C (50°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 10°C (50°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Nov 5°C (41°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 5°C (41°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Dec 2°C (35°F) 73 mm (2.9 in) 2°C (35°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)