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Magic Cities from A to Z
Hamburg: wanderlust and a maritime world city.

Hamburg: wanderlust and a maritime world city.

Explore the far corners of the globe and return via Hamburg – travel itineraries don't get much better than that. Gateway to the world, beautiful seafaring hub, maritime capital of the north – even the normally reserved locals find it hard to conceal their pride in their home city, its ambience and its cosmopolitan charm.

How do you like the sound of a port sightseeing tour followed by a stroll through the old town before heading to HafenCity, Hamburg's new city centre? Or perhaps the other way around… ? There are countless ways to discover the beguiling character of this Hanseatic trade centre that is at once steeped in tradition and at the forefront of modernity. That said, no visit to Hamburg would be complete without a boat trip around one of Europe's biggest ports. Sightseeing boats launch from the Landungsbrücken jetties and weave their way through huge container vessels, majestic steam-powered ocean liners and elegant yachts; an experience that can only be described as unforgettable. Make your visit all the more memorable with a leisurely stroll through the old town, where noble merchants once traded coffee, tea and spices. Today it's an inviting scene of residences and grand corner buildings from the 17th to the 19th century, quaint restaurants and laid-back bars. Another reminder of Hamburg's heritage is the historical Speicherstadt, home to the world's largest single complex of traditional brick warehouses, resting on thousands of oak supports and intersected by narrow waterways, the Fleets. Or if you want to discover the Hamburg of today and tomorrow, head to HafenCity, one of the largest inner-city construction projects in Europe and a contrast between seafaring heritage and cutting-edge architecture in the heart of the Überseequartier. Nestled between Speicherstadt and the port, this maritime world of discovery and shopping paradise stretches all the way to the Hamburg Cruise Center along a broad boulevard.

If this place doesn't give you a taste for cruises, then nothing ever will. After seeing some of the world's biggest and most spectacular cruise ships sailing in and out of Hamburg's port, you're sure to leave with aspirations of sailing the seven seas. The people of Hamburg are especially fond of the Queen Mary 2, a vessel for whom the city has become something of a second home. Every time the majestic ocean liner comes into port, thousands of well-wishers line the Elbe to welcome her – often accompanied by a huge fireworks display and always with great exuberance.

There are many places to enjoy spectacular views of the city's maritime goings-on, such as the viewpoint at the Cruise Center, or from the Perlenkette along the banks of the Elbe with its luxurious residences and exclusive restaurants, or from the Magellan Terraces that give an unparalleled view of Hamburg's latest landmark, the Elbe Philharmonic Hall on the western tip of HafenCity. One of the best places to see Hamburg in all its glory is the public viewing platform at the futuristic Dockland office building, which rises up from the Elbe at a height of 40 metres. Views of a very different kind are on offer in the lively, slightly flipped-out alternative quarter of St. Pauli with its famous red light district the Reeperbahn. Or there's the fish market in Altona, where fresh fish (and much more besides) is auctioned every Sunday at the crack of dawn – a shopping experience like no other. And speaking of shopping, Hamburg has something for everyone, including on the Jungfernstieg, the city's chic centre of shopping and finance that begins at the Inner Alster. Even here, in the heart of the city, you can take a gentle stroll along the riverside promenades. The same is true of the Outer Alster, the perfect place for a spot of leisure and recreation within easy reach of central Hamburg. And if you get the impression that the people of Hamburg simply can't get enough of the water, then you'd be absolutely right.

City Highlights

There is no doubt that the three buildings belonging to the Hamburg Kunsthalle house one of the most important public art collections in Germany: perhaps the best place to discover connections, developments and trends in seven centuries of art history. The permanent exhibition of more than 700 works and alternating displays from the museum's holdings offer a unique insight into art from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Every one of the museum's collections is important in its own right but in combination they have an immense impact. The museum presents the medieval altars of Master Bertram and Master Francke, 17th century Dutch paintings and 19th century German paintings with extensive groups of works by Caspar David Friedrich, Philipp Otto Runge, Adolph Menzel and Max Liebermann. Works of the Classical Modernist period include paintings and sculptures by Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Beckmann, Lyonel Feininger, George Grosz and Max Ernst. The contemporary art section features alternating exhibitions, which have included Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Mona Hatoum and Jenny Holzer. The Department of Prints and Drawings comprises more than 120,000 works and is a museum in its own right. The Kunsthalle also runs the 'Museum At Home' initiative where art historians give their expert opinion on paintings (on canvas and wood), drawings and prints for a small fee.

The 100-year-old Speicherstadt, the world's largest warehouse complex, is situated between the Deichtor Halls and Baumwall. It is a very pretty quarter – not at all the kind of place visitors expect to find in an international port – with its Wilhelminian brick Gothic buildings, unusual gables, little towers and winding lanes. Behind the thick walls, high-value goods such as coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, tobacco and now computers are stored in a temperature-controlled environment. This is also the location of the world's largest Oriental carpet store. The Speicherstadt is one of the main attractions on the great harbour tour.

The Reeperbahn in the St. Pauli district, where the Beatles shot to fame in the 1960s, is Hamburg's top entertainment quarter. It has everything and anything you could wish for. The street on which the 100-metre ropes or reep were once braided is now home to any number of bars, pubs, discotheques, clubs, snack bars and, of course, red light establishments. There's also plenty of more wholesome entertainment on offer at venues ranging from the 'Operettenhaus', Schmidt Theatre and Schmidt's TIVOLI to Café Keese and the Quatsch Comedy Club.

This six-storey office block on the banks of the Elbe is one of Hamburg's most extraordinary buildings. Designed in the shape of a parallelogram slanting from east to west, it juts out 40 metres over the river, slicing through the air like the bow of a ship. The striking construction was built on a specially raised spit of land. Accessed via steps on the eastern side of the building, the public viewing platform on the sixth floor offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Elbe and Hamburg. Other special features include two sloping glass lifts up to the individual floors.

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The people of Hamburg know how to party. Not once but three times a year they team up with visitors for northern Germany's biggest funfair – which lasts a whole 30 days. For almost a month in spring, summer and winter, people flock to Heiligengeistfeld in Hamburg to enjoy fairground rides, food and drink, and shows. There are reduced prices for families on Wednesdays – and attention turns skywards on Fridays for the massive fireworks display.

Upcoming dates:

27.03.2020 - 26.04.2020

24.07.2020 - 23.08.2020

06.11.2020 - 06.12.2020


20359 Hamburg

All information on prices, dates and opening times are subject to change without notice.


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