Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city, gained the title of ‘Getaway to the world’ after becoming a centre of international trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, buying its great wealth.
With the Elbe river flowing through the Port of Hamburg, the city is filled with a maritime spirit evident through its strong winds, distant cry of gulls and exquisite gastronomy.
The city invites visitors from all around the world with the promise of its vibrant, multicultural neighbourhoods, splendid architecture and the infamous Red District, home of live music, clubs and bars where the Beatles started their career in the sixties.
If you’re planning to visit Hamburg for a week or more, this is a guide of things you cannot miss.
Hamburg’s Altstadt (Oldtown) is the best place to experience the city’s history, walk through its most iconic streets and squares, and go shopping.
One of the most well known is perhaps the Rathausmark, being the starting point of all the Altstadt’s important street. Here, visitors will find the Rathaus or Town Hall, and splendorous Renaissance structure and the house of the Senate and Parliament.
If you fancy some shopping, just walk towards the west to Alter Wall, a street which overlooks a lovely channel of the river “Kleine Alster” where stores such as Gucci, Mango, Louis Vuitton can be found. Exploring the surrounding will let you know even more amazing shops.
Another interesting place is a street called Jungfersting, which includes the “Alsterfontäne,” a large fountain on the Binnenlaster, a long Elbe’s tributary, an attraction just ideal for pictures.
Just twenty minutes from the Old Town via Underground, St. Pauli is the ideal place to get the full Hamburg experience, by visiting the northern part of its historic Port. Take a walk along the port bank, Landungsbrücken (St. Pauli Landing Stages), where you’ll come across souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants with the best taste of the German maritime cuisine. Right there is the heart of the Port, a century-old tunnel and exhibition space known as Elbe Tunnel. It connects central Hamburg with the south side of the river, and its architecture is something not to be missed.
Walking around the district, the copper spire of St. Nicholas church stands out prominent in the skyline. The church, the largest of the city, is a baroque construction which offers a panoramic view of the surroundings.
After a 10 minute walk, there is the Hamburg’s Dom, a street fair with plenty of rides, games and fast food. The festive atmosphere will make you want to stay and spend all your cash. The Dom is open three times per year for a period of four weeks. If you’re lucky, you’ll find it open during your visit.
Located in St. Pauli, the Reeperbahn is the heart and centre of Hamburg’s nightlife, and also home of the city’s largest red-light district. “Die sündigste Meile” (the most sinful mile) is the place to go clubbing and get a couple of drinks having an abundance of restaurants, night clubs, discos and bars.
Some Beatles’ fans might know this vivacious street welcomed the band as they played in several clubs such as Star-Club, Kaiserkeller and Top Ten. Famously John Lennon said: “I might have been born in Liverpool – but I grew up in Hamburg.”
HafenCity is a quarter belonging to the Hamburg-Mitte district. The area was born as a result of an urban regeneration project, with the aim of revitalising the former Hamburg’s free port with the construction of new hotels, shops, and residential areas. Besides this, the Elbphilharmonie concert hall can be found, a contemporary glassy construction which resembles a water wave; the very best of Hamburg’s architecture.
Of course, like any big city, Hamburg offers plenty of attractions and interactive activities for visitors of all ages. And example is the Hamburg Zoo “Tierpark Hagenbeck,” Minature Wonderland, a world-famous model train and miniature exhibition, Plants and Flowers “Planten un Blomen,” an urban park and botanic gardens and much more.
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