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I'm going for a weekend to Hamburg, and I'm trying to work out the best public transport ticket(s) to get. I'll be arriving on a Friday evening, leaving on a Sunday, but spending less than 48 hours in the city. I'll need to get to and from the airport to the city centre, then the rest of the time will be in and around the city sightseeing. I'm not planning to go very far out of the city, so I don't think I'll be needing regional coverage on my tickets.

I've tried looking on the HVV english site for ticket information, but there was a surprisingly large number of options! Off peak (post-9am) day tickets look to be as low as €5.80, or there's a special weekend ticket for €42, with lots in between!

Will I be best off with some sort of multi-day or weekend ticket? Or would something like a single from the airport for the Friday, then two day tickets work out cheaper?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you are not going far out of the city, you only need a ticket for the tariff zone "Großbereich Hamburg" which covers the white and blue areas on the tariff zone map. This tariff zone also covers the airport and the trip between the airport and the city centre.

On Friday, you could either buy a single-trip ticket from the airport to the city centre for 2,95€ or if you plan further trips later in the evening, a day ticket (9-Uhr-Tageskarte) for 5,80€ may come cheaper. On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, the 9-Uhr-Tageskarte is valid all day. Single fare tickets within the city centre are 1,40€, 1,90€ or 2,95€ depending on the distance, so unless you only plan one or two trips with public transport, the day ticket comes cheaper.

A further option is the 3-day "Hamburg CARD" for 21,90€. In addition to free public transport within the "Großbereich Hamburg", you get discounts on the tickets to several tourist attractions like museums and sightseeings and discounts on theatre or cinema tickets or in restaurants and cafés. You should check the online benefits list and see if there is anything interesting and if it's worth the 4,50€ extra compared to three day tickets for the public transport. You should however avoid buying the "Hamburg CARD" online, since you would have to pick it up at the tourist information at the central railway station (and therefore need an additional ticket to get there from the airport). Instead, the "Hamburg CARD" should also be available at the HVV ticket machines at the airport, so that you can buy it there directly.

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The 9-Uhr-Tageskarte has a group version, which covers up to 5 people for only €10.40, less than the cost of 2 tickets! This proves great value for a group, especially on a weekend :) –  Gagravarr Aug 18 '13 at 21:26
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