Cheap flights to Hamburg
If you’re after a city with bags of style, romantic riverside walks and some of Europe’s most eclectic architecture then look no further than Hamburg.
Hamburg might not be the largest city in Germany, but it is certainly its wealthiest. And while Berlin and Munich typically get more attention, Hamburg is a sparkling and lively port town with a character all of its own.
Dating back to a 9th century fortress built by the Emperor Charlemagne, today it’s a cultural centre which boasts a high number of large world class museums and galleries, top notch theatre productions and pumping music venues.
Northern Europe's largest fruit orchard is on the outskirts of Hamburg, an easy S-Bahn ride (S3) from the city centre to the old port town of Stade. Summer in the Altes Land (literally 'old land') is cherry time, with freshly picked cherries available from farmers at the roadside. Or get a basket, pick some yourself and explore this wonderfully traditional place with its fine half-timbered farmhouses.
Don't consider leaving Hamburg without trying a Franzbrötchen, a sweet pastry native to the city. Traditionally flavoured with cinnamon, the best ones are bought from Die Kleine Konditorei in the Eimsbüttel area. The queues can be long, so pass the time by admiring the shop's ornate pre-war architecture.
The Hamburger Kunsthalle hosts the big Dalí, Ernst, Miró, Magritte... exhibition from 7 October. It presents 150 masterpieces of Surrealism from four major European private collections of the 20th century. Yes, there are the biggies, notably the iconic red lips sofa by Salvador Dalí, but also works by lesser known surrealists such as Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning.
Get your culture fix in Hamburg's world-renowned Kunsthalle art museum. Having reopened this spring after months of renovations, there's a splendid Manet exhibition to show off the revamped space. Until 4 September, http://www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de.
Now's the time to see Hamburg's Planten un Blomen park when this green haven in the city centre is blooming marvellous: think magnolias, rhododendron, tulips and daffodils, azaleas, cherry trees, lilac and forget-me-nots. In June the rose garden adds even more splendour. Tip: evening concerts by the lake with light show start on 1 May; later, head to the Schöne Aussichten café for a sundowner.
With some Christmas markets opening as early as 17 November, there's no excuse not to sample some Glühwein (mulled wine) before the first snow has fallen. Hamburg has markets galore, all over town and it's difficult to pick the best. There's the historical one, set against the stunning backdrop of the town hall, the raunchy one in St Pauli (parts of it are already open on 26 Oct), the ones with a bit of maritime flair on the Fleetinsel and in Hafencity, the posh one on Hamburg's upmarket Jungfernstieg or the oldest in the Harburg borough south of the centre.
A beautiful store for what many call Germany's most beautiful city: Uzwei is an all-under-one-roof concept store in the city's chic Kaisergalerie. Ladies, you'll love this: think great fashion as well beauty products, jewellery, a deli, a flower shop, even a cashmere bar'. Choose a jumper from the colourful, instagram-friendly display and take it away in some pizza box packaging. www.uzwei.de
Hamburg's focal point is the huge Alster lake, and a walk around its west bank makes a picturesque way to wile away an afternoon. There is a large green area right on the lake shore, which ascends into the stylish, residential area of Rotherbaum.