Inside Hamburg’s famous Speicherstadt district is the world’s largest model railway system in the world: Miniatur Wunderland and was voted the most popular tourist attraction in Germany.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to visit. It seemed like such a tourist trap and looked tacky. The cost of admission was kind of steep and generally, I prefer to spend my money on food and unique experiences, only visiting museums when they have free admission days. However, Miniatur Wunderland was recommended over and over again to me so I just decided to go check it out (plus it got me out of the rain and cold of November in Germany so win!).
Surprisingly, I actually loved it.
Walking into the room is incredibly overwhelming. There is just SO much to look at. However, once you stop and start looking at the details it’s actually a lot of fun. Hidden among the miniature figures are so many funny scenes. The attention to detail is astounding and it was incredible discovering every little detail. The map they give you upon entry gives you the option to participate in a scavenger hunt as well if you need a little more guidance in what to look for.
The railway is divided into nine different sections depicting scenes from the Americas, Scandinavia, Italy and of course the city of Hamburg to name a few. There is even a section of an airport where you can watch airplanes land a takeoff! With over 15,400 of railway tracks over two floors and more to come, there is a lot to observe as you wander through the different lands.
One of my favourite sections was the area depicting Hamburg. It was cool to see things I had just experienced in real life shrunk down into miniature form. The miniaturized version of the new Elbphilharmonie even moved and played music.
Another highlight was watching the planes at the airport taxi and eventually moving to take off and land. Makes me wonder how they manage all the mechanics behind the scenes.
Throughout the exhibit, there are interactive features where with a touch of a button you can activate a scene and watch it move before you.
The exhibit also changed from day to night every 15 minutes so you can see the different scenes lit up with lights when it is “night.”
The Wunderland as it currently stands already seems like a lot to take in, but they’re still expanding! In fact, my visit in November 2016 was just after they had added in a section on Italy. On the docket is France with a completion date in 2018 and Great Britain starting in 2018. Who knows what else they’ll come up with next!
With so much to look at, it’s easy to spend a whole day here, but after awhile it does get a bit draining. By the end of my visit, I definitely wasn’t looking as closely to the scenes.
This only just scratches the surface of what there is to offer at Miniatur Wunderland. There is just so much to discover and I know for sure I didn’t see it all. So if you’re on the fence and not really sure you want to spend an afternoon here, I say, do it! It’s a great way to get out of the rain and it really is a lot of fun. And if you’re not heading to Hamburg anytime soon, you can check it out through Google Streetview!
Do you visit attractions like this on your travels?
Kehrwieder 2-4/Block D, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
Hours: Daily 9: 30 AM – 6:00 PM; Tues 9:30 AM – 9:00 PM; Sat 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM; Sun 8:30 AP – 8:00 PM
Tickets: Adults €13; Children €6.50; Seniors €11; Students €9
Good To Know
Because I was visiting during off-season, I was able to walk right up to the ticket desk and purchase my ticket. However, during high season, lines can get quite long. You’re able to purchase tickets in advance on their website to avoid the queue. You just need to pick a day and entry time.
There isn’t a ton of seating in the exhibition area, but there are a couple of benches if you’re lucky enough to grab a seat. However, there is a restaurant and additional seating available on the 2nd floor past the entrance way to rest in between your explorations.