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Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg: Everything you Need to Know + Photos

by Silke Elzner

Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg is among the top things to do in Hamburg. In fact, the attraction has become so popular that you need to plan ahead to have the best experience. It is a pretty amazing miniature museum which features more than 1,000 trains,  over 4,300 buildings and some 263,000 tiny people, making it so much more than just a model train diorama of some sort.

I visited Miniaturen Wunderland recently with my family and would like to share my experiences. I will also offer you some tips for your upcoming visit. It was actually my son who was keen to see the interactive airport where planes take off and land (and sometimes even crash or abort a landing) every couple of minutes or so. Little did we know how much we all would enjoy this two-hour visit!

In this short guide I will explain what you can see at Miniatur Wonderland. I will show you how to organise your visit. And I will even give you some tips on where to eat and stay nearby. (This post contains affiliate links with an asterisk.)

Little people populate the scenes at Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg.

Little people populate the scenes at Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg.

What is Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg?

Miniatur Wunderland is a family-friendly attraction in the north German city of Hamburg. It is located in the old port quarter of Speicherstadt and currently consists of nine different theme worlds.

The idea behind it is simple: The world as we know it is shrunk to a size that turns visitors into giants. The places we see are well-known and sometimes a bit more obscure: There are sights of Hamburg, of course, but also the city centres of Rome and Venice, the Alpine landscapes of Switzerland, and the fjords of Scandinavia. Plus, there is also a regular German city, Knuffingen, which does not exist in real life but is sort of like a stand-in for all German cities.

Cars, busses and trucks stuck in a traffic jam - just like in the real world!

Cars, busses and trucks stuck in a traffic jam – just like in the real world!

Thousands of little people live in these scenes. In fact, it is them who turn your visit into such a fun experience. They dine on rooftops in Bella Italia and get arrested for indecent exposure. They are stuck in traffic and they quietly exchange suitcases behind Vatican doors. Some are having a good time at festivals, others visit the ancient site of Pompeii. The incredible degree of detail in the displays lets you spend way more time at the Miniaturen Museum than originally planned.

A lot of animation is happening too. There are hundreds of model trains, of course, crossing bridges, stopping at stations, disappearing in tunnels. There are planes taking off, cars driving around. The light switches on and off gently to mimic a night and day effect. The lights in houses as well as street lamps are switched on and off accordingly. The kids loved pressing the many buttons that set off additional interaction all around the museum. A control centre with 50 computers ensures that the animations work smoothly.

50 computers control the different animations and lights to ensure that everything works smoothly behind the scenes.

50 computers control the different animations and lights to ensure that everything works smoothly behind the scenes.

Who Should Visit Miniatur Wunderland?

I really have to say that Miniaturen Wunderland is pretty much for everyone. It is indeed an international attraction with lots of visitors from around the world visiting the displays every day. When I was there I had great fun with a family from Idaho and we spend a good couple of minutes pointing out to each other the naughtiest parts of the exhibition. There is a screen in the entrance where you can see that visitors hail from all corners of the globe.

Kids will love the interactive animations of the museum, the trains and planes. There are also lots of fun references to what they know within their worlds. Adults will appreciate the fine sense of cheeky humor and references to things such as the Ghostbusters movie, the moon landing conspiracy theory, and straying clergymen.

In a courtyard somewhere in Vatican City, some men and women of the church acting rather suspiciously in a hidden courtyard.

In a courtyard somewhere in Vatican City, some men and women of the church acting rather suspiciously in a hidden courtyard.

What are the Highlights of This Museum?

My son is currently totally in love with planes. He was the one begging us to go and visit because he had seen a video on YouTube with the Miniatur Wunderland airport. Seeing Knuffingen airport first-hand was pretty amazing, as the planes do take off and land in front of your eyes. The airport itself is huge. It comes with lots of support vehicles, a big parking lot, an underground station, the terminal building and so on.

Check out the action in my short video here:

I personally enjoyed the historical displays of a fictional German place over time. In a series of glass cubes the same scene was depicted showing Germany in the Iron Ages, in the Middle Ages, during WWII and so forth. The same landscape, later populated with houses and fields, little people carrying tons of money, soldiers exercising in the yard, or women selling fish in the market. Yes, I know, I am a hopeless history nerd.

But really, in the end it’s the exhibition as a whole which shines, the many different scenes that you can explore, the funny situations, the amazing detail.

The mountain scenes of the Swiss Alps stretch out over two levels and make for a perfect background for the model trains.

The mountain scenes of the Swiss Alps stretch out over two levels and make for a perfect background for the model trains.

How big is Miniatur Wunderland?

The museum currently consists of 9 theme worlds with a layout size of around 1,500 sqm. That’s pretty big. The exhibition is on two levels, with some displays stretching across both levels, so you get to see the same scene from different perspectives. The trains run on 15km of tracks, and there are plans to increase this to 20km in the near future. Once finished, Miniatur Wunderland will show 13 theme worlds from around the world.

You can easily spend a couple of hours here since the worlds have so many miniscule details and change with lights and animation.

Visitors explore the ancient site of Pompeii in miniature.

Visitors explore the ancient site of Pompeii in miniature.

How much do Tickets Cost and Where can you buy Them?

There are different options available but generally a ticket will set you back around EUR 15,00 per adult. Children under 16 years get a discount. When you have a quick look on the site you will see that many time slots will be booked out, so it makes sense to plan your visit well in advance.

You can book your Miniatur Wunderland ticket online straight from the official site, or you can use this affiliate link for skip the line tickets* to help me earn a small commission.

It is sunset and this man is being arrested for indecent exposure. Finding these little details in the exhibition can be so rewarding!

It is sunset and this man is being arrested for indecent exposure. Finding these little details in the exhibition can be so rewarding!

What are the Opening Times? And how to Avoid the Crowds?

Here’s the most important thing you need to know: Miniatur Wunderland is one of the most popular attractions in Hamburg but it only has limited capacity. If you don’t order your tickets online you will most likely have to queue twice, once for buying the tickets and once for gaining access to the exhibition. On some days, waiting times can easily exceed 120 minutes.

To avoid this, check the official website. Not only will it show on top of the page the current queue times (allowing you to visit spontaneously if conditions are right). You can also have a look at the waiting time prediction which is pretty accurate.

Since the museum is usually open until midnight, 365 days a year, there are plenty of options available to avoid the worst crowds. We visited Miniatur Wunderland on a Tuesday night from around 8pm and found the place busy but not overcrowded. If you are not travelling with small children, pick a time late in the day for the best experience.

Miniatur Wunderland is great for everyone big and small. The wooden benches help small visitors see what is hidden deep in the displays.

Miniatur Wunderland is great for everyone big and small. The wooden benches help small visitors see what is hidden deep in the displays.

Any other Tips Like Where to Stay or Where to eat?

We didn’t have a lot of time in Hamburg, just making use of a public holiday and returning home already on the next day. So for us it was important that we stayed nearby and didn’t have to walk too many miles to get from hotel to attraction to restaurant. Travelling with two children, we also needed more than just a hotel room, a little bit of space, and a small kitchen was appreciated too.

We found all of this just few meters away at Adina Apartment Hotel Hamburg Speicherstadt*, and at a good rate too. Do not confuse this hotel with Adina Hamburg Michel with is farther away. Our apartment was brand new (opened in December ’17). It had huge panorama windows overlooking the street to two sides, and was absolutely spotless. To check rates, read more reviews and see photos, click here*!

We dined on delicious Italian food at Porta-Nova which is just across the street from the hotel. Service and food were fantastic.

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This graffiti sprayer and his friends "beautify" the terminal building of the airport. Their movements are animated and will come to life on the push of a button.

This graffiti sprayer and his friends “beautify” the terminal building of the airport. Their movements are animated and will come to life on the push of a button.

Miniatur Wunderland – Great fun for all

Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend away. In my view, Miniatur Wunderland is a must-do when in Hamburg, and I believe that with these handy tips you will have an amazing time as well! And now scroll down for some more photos from this great Hamburg exhibition!

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This car must have taken a wrong turn.

This car must have taken a wrong turn.

Oh no! The cheese!

Oh no! The cheese!

A different kind of movie drive-in theatre.

A different kind of movie drive-in theatre.

We also spotted the Holy Family as they arrived at Knuffingen airport.

We also spotted the Holy Family as they arrived at Knuffingen airport.

The lady in the apartment is watching us on TV.

The lady in the apartment is watching us on TV.

Check out the giant pepper mill in the waiter's hand! And somebody just crawled under a table?

Check out the giant pepper mill in the waiter’s hand! And somebody just crawled under a table?

The size of Knuffingen airport is enormous.

The size of Knuffingen airport is enormous.

A miniature land in Miniatur Wunderland - that's meta!

A miniature land in Miniatur Wunderland – that’s meta!

Rialto Bridge is overcrowded, just like in real life.

Rialto Bridge is overcrowded, just like in real life.

A pumpkin has rolled down from the field and was smashed by an approaching truck.

A pumpkin has rolled down from the field and was smashed by an approaching truck.

Pretty at night time.

Pretty at night time.

Shopping trolley racing in the car park.

Shopping trolley racing in the car park.

A stork nesting on a chimney.

A stork nesting on a chimney.

A yellow rollercoaster.

A yellow rollercoaster.

A subway station.

A subway station.

People in Knuffingen living the good life.

People in Knuffingen living the good life.

So the moon landing was fake now, or wasn't it?

So the moon landing was fake now, or wasn’t it?