Hamburg: Skyline with Elbe Philharmonic Hall and Niederhafen harbor ©DZT (Francesco Carovillano)

Inspiring Germany

Between the harbour and the Reeperbahn

The hanseatic city of Hamburg is about 100 kilometres from the ocean, but has one of the largest harbours in Germany. The Speicherstadt district, an outstanding UNESCO cultural monument, and the music scene both play important roles.

Football fans in Hamburg are faced with a choice: they can either root for the Hamburger Sportverein (HSV) or for FC St. Pauli. Both clubs enjoy cult status, experience highs and lows in the league tables and lean into the fierce rivalry. While HSV, the former home of the recently deceased star German footballer Uwe Seeler, is the more successful club, St. Pauli embraces its outsider status, finding many supporters in the alternative scene.

Spectacular landmarks on the harbour

Hamburg has many landmarks: the Baroque-style Michaeliskirche, whose 132-metre-high tower provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the city, particularly in the evening; the Inner and Outer Alster lakes within the city; and the spectacular Elbphilharmonie concert hall, open since 2017, a wavy, translucent building atop an old warehouse. If you can snag a concert ticket, you'll be treated to excellent acoustics and a gorgeous view of the harbour city during the intermission.

The structure has long since captured the hearts of the locals. A miniature of the Elbphilharmonie can be found at Miniatur Wunderland, where enthusiasts can spend days enjoying model steam trains. Nowhere in the world are there more trains, tracks, buildings and figures.

Dance of the barges

In Hamburg, almost everything revolves around the water. The largest German harbour celebrates its birthday every year in May with a large fair, during which the barges perform a unique dance. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Speicherstadt and its brick buildings symbolise the incredible importance of the harbour, vividly displayed at the Speicherstadt Museum. Immerse yourself in the true heart of Hamburg by strolling through its streets and taking a tour of the harbour.

Seafood and nightlife

A Sunday morning visit to the Altona fish market is a special treat. A fish sandwich is a must. For those brave enough, add a portion of Labskaus (potatoes with beef and red beets) or eel soup. If you like baked goods, try another specialty: cinammon-scented Franzbrötchen.

Fortified by your snack, explore the many districts of Hamburg: pop into alternative shops or quaint restaurants along the Marktstrasse and Schanzenstrasse in the Karolinenviertel. The best-known landmark is the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli, with its nightlife and many venues for live music. Follow in the footsteps of the Beatles, whose career began here, or take in one of the many musicals.

Relax in nature

Experience another world with a trip outside the city. In the marshland near Hamburg, take in the sprawling Altes Land with its countless fruit trees. On the Lüneburg Heath, catch your breath amidst the unique landscape; peaceful silence disturbed only by the buzz of bees.