Close your eyes, turn on your imagination: you're sitting on the beach, a cocktail in your hand, while you listen to the soft sounds of the ukulele. You are in Honolulu! The capital of Hawaii not only has dream beaches and non-stop sunshine but also many natural and cultural highlights to discover. Follow us to the islands of happiness and the laid-back city of Honolulu!

Honolulu facts

State: Hawaii
County: Honolulu City and County
Area: 272.1 km² (davon 222 km² land)
Population: about 351,000
Nickname: Crossroads of the Pacific, Sheltered Bay
Time zone: Hawaii-Aleutian Standard (UTC -10)

Honolulu: location & population

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is located on the southern coast of Oahu, the most populous of the Hawaiian islands. The exotic group of islands in the middle of the Pacific is one of the most remote places on earth: over 3,600 km by air separate it from the state of California on the mainland.

With a population of about 351,000 people, Honolulu ranks 55th among the largest US cities. The majority of Honolulu's residents are of Asian descent (about 55%), followed by whites (about 18%) and Latinos (about 5.5%). Native Polynesian Hawaiians now make up only about 8.5% of Honolulu's population

Climate in Honolulu

When you fly to Honolulu, you don't have to check the weather forecast to pack the right wardrobe before you go. In the island paradise of Hawaii, you can wear a bikini and shorts all year round because summer lasts all year round!

Warm daytime temperatures between 27°C and 31°C prevail throughout the year. You don't have to worry about freezing while swimming and surfing either, because you can count on pleasant water temperatures of 24°C to 27°C. Don't forget to pack sunblock and sunglasses – the Hawaiian Islands spoil you with seven to ten hours of sunshine a day.

Traveling to Honolulu

Hawaii's largest airport is located just outside the city. Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) is located about five kilometers west of downtown and is connected to Honolulu and the surrounding towns by the Honolulu Rail Transit and the bus lines 19, 20, and 31.

If you're traveling from Europe to the remote Hawaiian Islands, you'll have to change planes at least once. Wear comfortable clothes for your flight and make sure you have plenty of entertainment, as you'll be flying for 18 to 24 hours.

Good to know

Most international flights to Hawaii land in Honolulu. If you want to get around within the Hawaiian Islands, there are few alternatives to air travel. That's why there is an airport on each of the main Hawaiian Islands, which is served by national airlines like Hawaiian Airlines or Island Air. If you get in the mood for island hopping, you should budget around $100 for a local flight.

Travel authorization Honolulu

Before you take the long flight to Honolulu, don't forget: you need a visa or ESTA to enter the USA.

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!

Accommodation in Honolulu

Still looking for the ideal accommodation for your dream trip to Honolulu? We have a few tips for every travel budget.


The Hawaiian tourist hotspot Honolulu offers a wide range of hotels. The highest density of hotels can be found in the Waikiki district.

Pearl Hotel Waikiki

Pearl Hotel Waikiki is just a 5-minute walk from Waikiki Beach. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen TVs and coffee makers, a 24-hour front desk, and the Legends Sports Bar.

  • Address: 415 Nahua Street, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
  • Price category: $
  • Hotel details: Pearl Hotel Waikiki

Aston Waikiki Circle Hotel

Decorated in relaxing shades of green and turquoise, the cozy Aston Waikiki Circle Hotel offers rooms with balconies and ocean or city views. The unique open-air lobby features ocean-themed murals, and you can get a special locker for your surfboard.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk

The suites at the luxurious Hilton will make you feel right at home on your Hawaiian vacation. The highlight: A heated rooftop pool, a whirlpool, a large sun terrace, delicious cocktails, and Hawaiian live entertainment in the Pakini Bar await you in this hotel.


Are you traveling with a group? An apartment can be a cheap alternative to a hotel. On these websites, you can find what you are looking for:

  • airbnb.com
  • apartments.com
  • apartmentlist.com
  • apartmentfinder.com


Cheap accommodation is rare in Honolulu, but even here, you can save a lot of money by booking a room in a hostel. You can find a place in a shared room starting at €50 per night.

Sightseeing in Honolulu

Honolulu is not only about a relaxed lifestyle but will also impress you with its numerous sights. Our top five are the ones you should put on your travel list right away.

Waikiki Beach

No place in Honolulu is as popular among Hawaii vacationers as the coastline of Waikiki with its legendary surfer hotspot Waikiki Beach. Stroll along the Waikiki Beach Walk promenade with its numerous cafes, beach bars, and entertainment venues. Then snap a photo in front of the famous bronze statue of Olympic gold medalist Duke Kahanamoku, who is known as the "father of modern surfing." Better yet, grab a surfboard yourself and ride the gentle waves of Waikiki Beach!

Iolani Palast

In Honolulu, you can visit the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the USA. In the former residence of the Hawaiian rulers, you will see the throne room, the Koa wood staircase, the crowns of the king and queen, and numerous other pieces of jewelry and art. As you stroll through the surrounding Hawaii Capitol Historic District, you'll also discover the Coronation Pavilion and the statue of King Kamehameha I.

Aloha Tower

Built in 1926, the Aloha Tower welcomes arriving ships to Honolulu Harbor. For this purpose, the greeting message "Aloha" was placed above the tower clocks on the highest building in Hawaii. You can have a very close look at it because there is a visitor's platform on the top floor, from which you can also overlook the whole harbor. After you have descended from this Honolulu landmark, you can make yourself comfortable in one of the restaurants or cafes that have settled around the tower.

USS Arizona Memorial

The battleship USS Arizona gained tragic fame during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. After a direct hit by a Japanese bomber and a violent explosion, the ship sank to the bottom of the harbor within nine minutes, where it still lies in a depth of 12 m. The ship is now a memorial and the last resting place of the 1,102 crew members who died in the attack. Each year, more than 1.7 million people visit the 56-meter-long white building that was installed across the wreckage in 1962.

Moving: The USS Arizona is still leaking oil today. Hawaiians also say: "She's still crying."

USS Missouri

Just a few meters away from the USS Arizona, the USS Missouri, also known as "Mighty Mo," lies at anchor in Pearl Harbor. On September 2nd, 1945, representatives of the Japanese Empire signed the surrender on this historically significant battleship, and thus ended the Second World War. Since 1999, the USS Missouri has been a museum ship and is visited by around 400,000 people annually. Don't miss this impressive piece of American history when you're in Honolulu!

Culture highlights in Honolulu

In addition to the museum ships in the harbor outside Honolulu, the city has a number of other interesting museums, where you can learn about the history, art, and culture of the Hawaiian Islands:

  • Bernice P. Bishop Museum – cultural and natural history museum with the third-largest insect collection in the US
  • Honolulu Museum of Art – historical and contemporary art from Hawaii and around the world
  • Hawaii State Art Museum – three galleries with a permanent exhibition of Hawaiian art and various temporary exhibitions
  • Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum – aircraft and aviation exhibits (especially about the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II)
  • Hawaii Army Museum Society – a military museum with exhibits from World War II and the pre-imperial Hawaii era

Nature and parks in Honolulu

There are few places in the world as famous for their fascinating nature as the island paradise of Hawaii. You don't have to venture far from Honolulu to see some of Oahu's most beautiful natural highlights.

Diamond Head

The volcanic crater of Diamond Head, also called Leahi by the Hawaiians, is the most famous icon of Honolulu. The striking mountain is not only a beautiful postcard motif but also a hiker's paradise. The circular hiking trail that leads to the 231 m high Diamond Head is even the most frequented on all of Oahu. No wonder because from the edge of the crater, you have a magnificent view of Honolulu!

Tip: Take bus line 58 from the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu to the starting point of the trail at the intersection of Diamond Head Road and 18th Avenue.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

A few kilometers east of Diamond Head stretches the natural paradise of Hanauma Bay. This natural bay was formed in the crater of an extinct volcano and is the perfect place to discover Hawaii's corals and marine life while snorkeling. Note: In order to protect the reef from too many visitors, admission is regulated, and you may have to wait.

Tip: Since Hanauma Bay is completely closed to visitors on Tuesdays, the water is clearest on Wednesday morning.

Koko Crater Railway Trail

The best view of Honolulu's coastline is something you have to first earn: 1,050 steps lead you up the Koko Crater Railway Trail. Since the "stairs" are actually railroad tracks that belonged to a military railroad during World War II, the climb is almost perfectly straight and extremely steep. However, your sweat and muscle power are well spent – once you reach 300 m above sea level, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view!

Manoa Falls

If you prefer a comparatively easy hike that still takes you to a spectacular destination, you should head to Manoa Falls. It's only a 30-minute walk through an idyllic rainforest landscape to reach the 45-meter-high waterfalls, which are among the most beautiful on Oahu. Note: If it rained the day before your excursion, you should wear good hiking boots because it can get slippery in the last section of the trail.

Shopping in Honolulu

Hawaiian shirt, flower wreath, ukulele – do you want to treat yourself with some typical Hawaii accessories? These places in Honolulu are not only popular meeting places, but also shopping meccas:

  • Ala Moana Center – largest open-air shopping center in the world with about 290 stores and a huge food court
  • Royal Hawaiian Center – a shopping center on Kalakaua Avenue at Waikiki Beach with around 140 stores, including many luxury brands
  • International Marketplace – open-air shopping center in Waikiki with about 100 stores, including the Hawaiian branch of Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Flea market at the Aloha Stadium – largest flea market in Hawaii with about 400 booths; every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday (tip for bargain hunters: clothes, souvenirs, and art are usually much cheaper here than in the big shopping malls of Honolulu!)

Food and drinks in Honolulu

Hawaii is also a paradise for those who love good and healthy food. The long flight to Honolulu is worth it just for these regional specialties:

  • Kalua Pig – pork cooked in the earth oven
  • Lomi Lomi Salmon – fresh tomato salmon salad with sweet
  • Maui onions Poke – a traditional dish made from raw tuna Poi – a pudding-like dessert made from the bulb of the taro plant
  • Shave Ice – ice cream scraped from an ice block and sweetened with sugar syrup

Nightlife in Honolulu

Are you looking for some tips on where to spend the warm summer nights in Honolulu? The following bars and clubs are the best in town:

  • Nextdoor – an underground concert hall with a diverse range of music from jazz to heavy metal to hip-hop
  • Rumfire – nightclub at Sheraton Waikiki Hotel with a view of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head
  • Mai Tai Bar – open-air bar above the Ala Moana shopping center with great drinks, Hawaiian cuisine, views of Diamond Head, and lots of live events
  • Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand – legendary bar in the Waikiki Grand Hotel and hotspot of the gay community
  • Karaoke Hut – oldest karaoke bar on the island, cheap food, and drinks

Instagram hotspots in Honolulu

You'll have no shortage of spectacular subjects to get your Instagram followers excited about Honolulu. If you're having trouble deciding which photos to take, start with our top five Instagram hotspots:

  • View from Koko Head
  • Manoa Falls
  • Statue of Duke Kahanamoku
  • USS Missouri
  • Hanauma Bay

The history of Honolulu

The first settlement on the site where Honolulu now lies was probably established in the 11th century by Polynesian immigrants from the Marquesas Islands. Over time, there were most likely other waves of immigration from other island groups, such as Tahiti.

The Hawaiian Islands were long ruled by local chiefs (aliʻi), between whom rivalries and wars broke out again and again. At that time, the Hawaiians lived in a caste-based society similar to the Hindu way of life in India.

Captain William Brown from Great Britain was the first European to reach what is now the port of Honolulu in 1794. Other explorers followed and established Honolulu as a trading hub between North America and Asia.

In the early 19th century, the Hawaiian Islands became a kingdom. Kamehameha I moved the royal court to Waikiki in 1804. Over the years, buildings such as the Iolani Palace and St. Andrew's Cathedral were constructed, and Honolulu was transformed into a modern capital.

In 1893, the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown with a coup d'état against Queen Liliʻuokalani. In 1898, just a few years later, the United States annexed the Hawaiian Islands. The attack on Pearl Harbor went down in Honolulu history as another significant event. On the morning of December 7th, 1941, Japanese fighter planes attacked the anchored US Pacific Fleet. 2,403 Americans were killed, and the majority of the ships were destroyed or damaged. As a result of the attack, the United States declared war on the Japanese Empire.

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th and youngest US state to date.

Fun facts Honolulu

Do you want to impress your travel companion with your knowledge? Here are some more interesting facts about Honolulu:

  • The name Honolulu means "protected bay."
  • Honolulu is the largest city in the world because the constitution of the state of Hawaii stipulates that all islands, islets, or atolls that are not assigned to another district are automatically counted as part of Honolulu.
  • The Iolani Palace had electricity before the White House in Washington D.C. and was the first palace in the world to have flush toilets.
  • Billboards are banned in Honolulu to keep the landscape natural and the view unobstructed.
  • On an average day, there are about 72,000 tourists in Waikiki – that's about 44% of all Hawaii vacationers.
  • In addition to English, Hawaiian (ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi), the language of the Polynesian natives of the Hawaiian Islands, is also spoken in Honolulu. It has one of the shortest alphabets ever and consists only of the letters a, e, i, o, u, p, k, m, n, w, l, and h.

Immigrate to Honolulu

Are you as in love with beautiful Honolulu as we are and want to live the Aloha spirit forever? Then read our tips for living and working in Honolulu carefully:

Working in Honolulu

The tourism industry is booming in Honolulu. The city is also an important aviation and shipping hub. There are also many job opportunities in retail, health and social services, education, and public administration in Honolulu.

On the positive side, the unemployment rate in Honolulu and the surrounding area is only 1.9%. Per capita income of over $58,000 is also well above the US average.

Living in Honolulu

The Hawaiian Islands are not only one of the most beautiful spots in the USA, but unfortunately also one of the most expensive. The state of Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the United States.

Honolulu ranks third among the most expensive cities in the US after New York City and San Francisco. According to the Cost of Living Index, you have to pay almost three times the US average for housing. Prices for food and other products are also 40% to 80% higher than the American average.

You can save money by not moving directly to Honolulu but to the surrounding area. If that's an option for you, you could find the property of your dreams in Kailua, Mililani, Waikele, or Pearl City

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