Most people who tour Germany are going to travel to Munich, Berlin, and if there is time, a trip along the Rhine or the Black Forest. There is far more to enjoy in Germany though. The country’s second biggest city – Hamburg – has its own personality and it is certainly worth a visit.
The rich history
There is a reason that the citizens of Hamburg are proud of the city’s maritime history. The city is located on a river that connects Hamburg to the nearby North Sea. This made Hamburg an important trade partner for centuries. The city was declared an Imperial Free City in 1189, which meant that the city enjoyed tax-free access from the Elbe River to the North Sea. In 1321, Hamburg joined the Hanseatic League and became an even more prominent trading hub.
Art and other museums
If you appreciate the arts, Hamburg gives you a chance to enjoy seven centuries of it. In the three different buildings of Hamburg’s Kunsthalle, you are able to experience everything from medieval to contemporary. Make sure to visit the Deichtorhallen if you are more interested in contemporary art and photography.
If you want to learn more about the aforementioned history of Hamburg, you can visit the Maritime Museum. This museum details why Hamburg became such a prominent trading partner for much of Europe. One of the most popular attractions in Hamburg is the Miniatur Wunderland, home to a working model airport, full model cities, and the largest model railroad in the world.
Boats and water activities
The Elbe River is not the only water that connects Hamburg, because the Alster Lakes are also next to the city. During the summer, you are able to take a boat tour of the lakes, go sailing, kayaking, or swimming. You can try ice-skating during the winter months as well. There is a proud tradition of rowing within the city of Hamburg too.
You can join a boat tour of the city at the Hamburg Port, which lets you experience some of the maritime culture up close and personal. Some tours even venture into the largest single warehouse complex in the world – Speicherstadt.
The shopping district
There are a number of impressive shopping opportunities in Hamburg, ranging from local boutiques to famous names. The heart of the city is also home to typical shopping malls and stores. Jungfernstieg is the most popular street for shopping, and you can find it just south of the Inner Alster Lake. If you want to experience some of the more unique, locally owned shops, make sure that you wander from the tourist district.
You can find a wide variety of architectural styles throughout Hamburg. Hamburg is also home to a number of significant churches, including the St. Nicholas church, which was renowned for being the tallest building in the world for a short period in the 19th century. If you want a stunning view of the city, we recommend that you climb the bell tower of St. Michael’s church.
The city hall of Hamburg (the Rathaus) was completed in the late 1800s, and it is an elaborately decorated building. Hamburg is also home to more bridges than any other city on the planet. There are more than 2,300 different bridges to be found throughout Hamburg.
Given that Hamburg is close to the sea, it should come as no surprise that this is one of Germany’s best places to enjoy fresh fish. You can find fish and seafood options in almost every restaurant in the city, and any market in the city is going to offer you a fisch brotchen (fish sandwich). If you want fish straight off the boat or want to see the fish stalls in action, make your way to Hamburg’s famous fish market on Sunday morning.
A youthful vibe
Given that Hamburg has an active nightlife and many universities, it has a very youthful vibe. Travel to Schanzenviertel if you want the laid-back bars, and travel to the Reeperbahn area and St. Pauli if you want to see where Hamburg’s young adults are able to enjoy their Friday and Saturday evening. The city truly feels alive, almost as though something fun can happen at any moment.
Traveling to Hamburg in style
If you are traveling to Hamburg and want to experience only the very best, you cannot go wrong with the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. This hotel offers a fitness club, luxury spa, and gourmet cuisine. The hotel is located in the heart of the city, directly on Alster Lake. The elegant Haerlin restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars, which is reason enough to warrant a stay in and of itself for foodies. The Gänsemarkt subway station is only a quarter mile removed as well. If you want to enjoy Hamburg at its most luxurious, you cannot go wrong here.