The second largest city in Germany, Hamburg is rarely top of the ‘must-see’ tourist lists. However, that shouldn’t detract from what is an interesting and intriguing city.
Situated right at the top of the Elbe River – and with a sail-in that takes a merry jaunt around it – this picturesque city, which is home to one of the Europe’s busiest ports, flies its counter-culture flag with pride.
There are three potential cruise ports that ships can dock in upon arrival in Hamburg: HafenCity, Steinwerder and Altona. HafenCity is the closest and is within walking distance of the city centre (approximately 20 minutes).
Steinwerder and Altona require the use of public transport or a cruise line shuttle bus to get into the centre.
Both are on the public ferry route, which is the quickest way into the centre, should passengers prefer their own way to get there.
NEED TO KNOW
Hamburg is a bike-friendly city with plenty of rental bikes dotted around the city to people get from A-Z. They are free to use for the first 30 minutes and cost eight cents per minute thereafter.
It’s probably a good idea to pack a raincoat when visiting, as rain is not uncommon, even during drier months.
There are also countless opportunities to indulge in the local culture, with approximately 31 theatres, six music halls, 10 cabarets and 50 state and private museums.
WHAT WE LOVE
Elbphilharmonie: Hamburg has a long and storied musical history – the famous composers Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn were both born in the city – and classical music still holds a special place in the city’s heart. The jewel in the crown is the stunning Elbphilharmonie, a world-class concert hall that hosts 2,100 people, and whose all-glass façade is noticeable from miles away due to it being perched on top of an old, converted warehouse.
Reeperbahn: A long street of bars, clubs and live music venues with a good dollop of sleaze on the side. That’s the best way to describe Hamburg’s famous Reeperbahn – best known for having one of the world’s busiest red-light districts. However, the street also gave birth to one of the greatest bands of the 20th century, as The Beatles made a name for themselves in the Indra Club all those years ago.
Miniatur Wunderland: Pay a visit to the brilliant – and incredibly family-friendly – Miniatur Wunderland in the centre of Hamburg – the world’s largest model railway. The level of detail on these scale models is truly impressive and guests can easily spend an afternoon travelling the world (there’s models of Austria, Italy and the US among others) in this fun exhibition.
Fischmarkt: Every Sunday, in the early hours, the famous Fischmarkt opens its door. Based in the St Pauli district of Hamburg, the market has been in operation since 1703 and boats a huge array of stalls for locals and visitors to peruse. Live bands can also be heard jamming to cover versions of old German pop songs.
- Something a little different, Hamburg has a vibe unlike other major German cities
- Foodies will love the fish market
- Walk in the footsteps of classical music pioneers