Photo credit: Speicherstadt II via photopin (license)
Want to have a great time in Germany? Then head for Hamburg, a great and beautiful city on the River Elbe that leads to the North Sea, packed with history, culture and fantastic shopping when you need a break from all the attractions to visit and things to do in the city.
Head for the river
As Europe’s second largest seaport, Hamburg is situated by a harbor that handles millions of containers a year. It may sound a bit boring, but rest assured it’s not. It’s fascinating to watch vast ships as they dock and are unloaded, then reloaded with cargo that goes all over the world. You can see the handling of containers live if you visit the Oevelgönne museum and take in the vintage ships anchored in the harbor. Here, you can get a sense of the old world juxtaposed with the new.
Hamburg’s floating dock is called the Landungsbrücken and is 700 meters long. Here you can embark on harbor tours and take steamers to islands such as Finkenwerder, Oevelgönne and Blankenese. There are plenty of excellent fish restaurants nearby and also plenty of souvenir shops to enjoy.
It’s even more water! A 160-hectare lake, the Alster is located in the heart of Hamburg and is a magnet for paddlers, rowers and sailors. If you don’t want to take part in any water activities, there are also extensive grasslands around the bank, so you can just relax, play some Frisbee or boules, or enjoy a gentle stroll through the stunning surroundings by the lake.
Capital of culture
Theatres, galleries and museums – they are all here in Hamburg, and the city is third only to London and New York as a musical metropolis. There are so many venues to visit, so many opportunities to experience music, theatre and exotic nightlife that you’d need at least a month to get a flavor of what the city offers.
You could check out the magnificent productions at the Hamburg State Opera and see children performing in the series Opera Piccola. You could go to the Theatre im Hafen to see The Lion King, the hugely successful musical that has won more than 70 international awards, or head for the Allee Theatre, the sole private chamber opera in Europe, where you can experience operas from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Germany is famed for its Christmas markets, and no visit to Hamburg in the season would be complete without a visit to the city’s own Christmas market. Hamburg is an ideal place to explore what’s on offer in Germany during the festive season. At this time of year, holiday apartments in Hamburg are the perfect place for you to set off on your voyage of exploration.
You will find beautiful wood carvings, pottery and silverware and many more examples of artisan work to take away. And, of course the food. Cookies and gingerbread are just a couple of the delicacies on offer. You might also find the odd thing to drink!
Head for Hamburg, enjoy what this amazing city offers, drink up its history and culture and have the perfect introduction to Germany.