The heart of the HafenCity district – the Elbphilharmonie concert hall – opened its doors in January 2017. It has already established its place as a landmark of Hamburg and as a music venue unlike any other in the world. Enjoy a concert in the magnificent Grand Hall if you can, or in the least visit its Plaza for picturesque views across the harbour.
While the Great Fire of 1842 and the bombings which took place during World War II destroyed much of old Hamburg, you’ll catch a glimpse of the city’s past wherever you look. From the stately neo-Renaissance City Hall to quaint 17th-century townhouses and the engineering masterwork Old Elbe Tunnel, you’ll love exploring Hamburg’s rich historical heritage.
Hamburg’s diversity is best seen within its numerous neighbourhoods, each displaying a different facet of the bustling city. Pick and choose from the affluent Eppendorf, the alternative Sternschanze, the hipster Karolinenviertel, the multicultural Ottensen, the up-and-coming island of Wilhelmsburg, and many more.
Hamburg boasts several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The historic Speicherstadt warehouse district, with its beautiful red brick buildings, canals, and bridges, is the largest of its kind in the world. Nearby, the Chilehaus office building, shaped like a giant ship, is a prime example of Brick Expressionism. Hamburg’s exclave, Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, is located at the mouth of the River Elbe and protects a unique ecosystem.
Between three rivers, large lakes, and countless canals, Hamburg truly is a city built on water, and there are many ways you can explore the city’s aquatic sights. Take a harbour tour on the Elbe, or a boat tour of the Alster and the canals. Go sailing in a yacht, paddle around in a canoe or rent a water-bicycle. Alternatively, enjoy the city’s newest attraction, the amphibian RiverBus.
Hamburg is a city that is not afraid to think big. Just look at the impressive HafenCity – Europe’s largest city development project. Here a whole new district is being built, and once completed, it will include apartment buildings, offices, beautiful parks, museums, schools and universities, all showcasing the best that modern architecture has to offer.
Germany’s top tourist attraction sits on the banks of the Elbe river. It’s Miniatur Wunderland – the largest miniature railway in the world. The museum’s nine miniature worlds are inhabited by over 1,000 trains, more than 4,000 buildings, and 260,000 figurines. A must-see for every visitor of the city.
Don’t stop at Miniatur Wunderland – Hamburg’s 40 museums ensure that there is something for everyone to visit. Art and photography lovers will enjoy the five Kunstmeile museums, and the Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte is the largest city history exhibition in Germany. For those interested in maritime history, the International Maritime Museum covers 3,000 years of seafaring history.
Not only does Hamburg have the Reeperbahn, the longest party street in Europe, it also knows how to throw a good celebration. Just drop by the Schlagermove parade, (dubbed the Festival of Love) in July and see for yourself. Or visit the Hamburger DOM – Germany’s biggest and longest fun fair that opens not one but three times a year.
If you’re a music lover, know that Hamburg is also a renowned music festival destination. A top event is the Reeperbahn Festival, Germany’s largest club festival. The Elbjazz and Überjazz festivals will delight jazz connoisseurs. Electronic and urban music fans will love Spektrum festival, while alternative and rock music fans will feel at home at the MS Dockville.
Hamburg is one of the greenest cities in Europe and you’ll feel it everywhere you go. There are beautiful parks, including the world’s biggest park cemetery, and sandy city beaches complete with relaxing beach bars. You can go for walks on the picturesque riverbanks of the Elbe, hike in the Harburg Hills, or cycle through moors on the city’s outskirts.
Forget everything you associate with typical German cuisine and explore the fresh flavours of North Germany. Snack on fischbrötchen packed with herring, sample traditional seamen’s dishes and other mouth-watering fish specialities. Wash it down with tart local beer and sweeten it up with a freshly baked cinnamon franzbrötchen.
A trip to a unique city is best enjoyed when staying in equally unique lodgings. Perhaps in a cabin of the hotel ship Großer Michel or the large museum ship Cap San Diego? Maybe in a spacious house boat or a tree house? Or is a rock star suite with a bed for six more your style?