Hamburg — Germany’s second largest city boasts a rich cultural scene and historical past

Hamburg’s Speicherstadt district has been UNESCO World Heritage site since 2015

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, and a German state at the same time. It is well-known for its busy port, which is among the largest in the world, as well as its history as part of the Hanseatic League.


Things to see and do

Elbphilharmonie

Elbphilharmonie

Since Hamburg’s latest landmark, the Elbphilharmonie opened its doors in January 2017, tickets have been among the most popular for classical concerts in the world. Shows at the “Elphi”, as locals have dubbed it, are regularly sold out months in advance. Built on the socket of the former “Kaiserspeicher”, the new, futuristic glass-building oversees the city’s western pinnacle. The complex encompasses two concert halls, the larger one accommodating up to 2.100 guests, a hotel and apartments.

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City Hall & Mönckebergstraße

Hamburg city hall

The City Hall is an impressive and eclectic building which was built in 1897 in the neo-renaissance style. It is the seat of the government of Hamburg, and also houses the office of Hamburg’s First Mayor. Right next to it “Mönckebergstraße” invites you to stroll around. It is the oldest traditional shopping district in Hamburg and also home to large department stores, many fashion boutiques and small retail businesses.

Port of Hamburg

Hamburg fish market at dawn

Hamburg’s over 800-years-old port is one of the largest in the world. There are many ways to enjoy it: take a boat tour, stroll along the waterfront or enjoy excellent seafood. Another nice way to discover the port is either by getting aboard a tourist boat offering one-hour-tours (about €20), or if you are on a budget, do as the locals do and take the ferry line 62 from “Landungsbrücken”, which is part of the public transport system (about €2–3). It takes you to the fish market, past the modern seaside architecture, the Elb-beach, across the port and back. Additionally there are numerous museum ships offering you the opportunity to learn more about this city’s shipping history.

St Pauli / Reeperbahn

St Pauli quarter in Hamburg

The most famous street in Hamburg is undoubtedly the “Reeperbahn”. During 1600 and 1880 the space north of today’s Reeperbahn street was used as a ‘ropewalk’ for the production of ropes for the nearby harbour. It is also where The Beatles performed before they got famous in the early 1960s. Nowadays, the street is the first-stop for all sorts of entertainment. Alongside music venues is a varied assortment of entertainment, including Reeperbahn’s famous strip clubs. The street’s nightlife has something for everyone and is the first stop for every night owl.

Alster

Despite its appearance, the Alster is not a lake but a non-tribal tributary of the river Elbe. The 160-hectare lake in the heart of the city is a popular spot for anyone keen on water-based activities, such as sailing or rowing. The manicured grasslands on the edge of the bank offer plenty of outdoor opportunities: relaxing on a blanket, jogging “all the way round the Alster”, taking a walk, playing frisbee and boules — the options are endless for you to enjoy this splendid green oasis on land.

St Michaelis Church

St Michaelis Church Hamburg

St Michaelis Church is a landmark of the city and is considered to be one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant baroque churches. The 132-metre high Baroque spire completely covered with copper is a prominent feature of Hamburg’s skyline and has always been a landfall mark for ships sailing up the river Elbe. You can even climb the stairs, or use an elevator.

How to get there

With an international airport, train station and a large tube network, Hamburg and all its districts are within easy reach from the UK.