Did you know that Hamburg has a greater number of bridges than Venice and Amsterdam combined? And that it’s seven times bigger than Paris? These are just some of the things that make Germany’s second largest city well worth a visit. Want to know more? Keep reading!
Located on the Elbe River and known as the “Gateway to the World”, Hamburg was once considered the world’s most mercantile location, mainly thanks to the development of connections to distant lands like Africa, South America or the Far East. With time, the harbour city swallowed up many small villages in the vicinity and established itself as a major economic power in Europe.
Today, Hamburg is increasingly becoming a trendy tourist spot and one of the most amazing destinations in northern Germany. The best time to visit is between May and October, although each season has its own charm.
So, what is there to do? What to see? Let’s start with some must-see sights in Hamburg :
– The old Fish Market.
Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s not all about fish! This 300 year old market sells an eclectic range of wares and is a fun way to spend a few hours experiencing a unique atmosphere right on the harbour . Be ready for live music bands, all sorts of food and a fun crowd. Curious fact: Back in 1934, after a longtime rivalry between them, the Altona and Hamburg fish markets merged into the shared Fischmarkt Hamburg-Altona, becoming the leading market for gourmet fish in Germany.
The famous city quarter oozes history and shows an interesting contrast between the old and the new. Did you know that the city is Europe’s most important development project? Since 2008, this urban regeneration project focuses on turning the existing old warehouses into residential areas, shops, hotels and office buildings. Our tip? Take a stroll along the waterways and enjoy the UNESCO buildings, such as the Speicherstadt, the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, the International Maritime Museum of Hamburg, and the numerous bridges. Visiting this place at night will give you a perfect sight of the ships’ and city lights reflecting on the water.
The “Dark Side” of the city, the place where the Beatles became famous. This street is one for Hamburg’s nightlife centers. Expect an interesting mix of bars, night clubs, walls covered with graffiti, live theaters and sex shops. Curious fact: Between the 17th and 18th centuries, Reeperbahn was a ropewalk, hence the name. Reeperbahn means ropewalk, the place where ropes are made. If you need a more detailed list of the sights and sounds of the Reeperbahn, check this travel guide!
Next stop, the museums . The city is home to many galleries and museums where you can learn all about the Hamburg’s wonderful history, like the International Maritime Museum, with a variety of exhibits and displays that will take you on a trip through the city’s past and the relationship between humanity and the sea. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll have the chance to learn how chocolate is produced (and then try some) at the Chocoversum Museum, they even let you make your own chocolate! The Miniatur Wunderland Museum is a must for the little ones and adults alike. Want to visit 15 different areas around the world in a couple hours? It’s not impossible thanks to the great mini-cities models, you’ll utterly love its details and quirks! Tip: don’t forget to press the button at the chocolate factory when visiting the Switzerland miniature exhibition, you’ll get a miniature chocolate!
And if you’re visiting Hamburg with the family, there are plenty of plans to do with the little ones, like a visit to the fantastic Hamburg Zoo, where the children can hand feed the elephants, admire the lions and tigers and enjoy the impressive underwater scenery of the Aquarium. The Zoo opened in 1907 and is one of a kind; there are no cages and the animals freely roam in open enclosures surrounded by moats. For more exciting Hamburg entertainment for families, here’s another useful list!
You shouldn’t have any doubts by now, Hamburg is definitely a place to visit. Alone, with friends, with that special someone or with the family. There are interesting and fun things to do for everyone!