Famed as Germany’s largest port and with a bustling economy, you might think that Hamburg is all about business. However, you’d be wrong. On Hamburg holidays, visitors will discover a destination packed with culture, culinary surprises and waterfront views. Vestiges of pre-war Hamburg dot every district, from its 17th-century bridges to its 19th-century Town Hall. The reconstructed St Nikolai church tower offers sweeping views of the city, while the Speicherstadt district has seen centuries-old warehouses transformed into funky apartments, which attract a cool, arty crowd. Hamburg’s a real city in motion, where contemporary media and technology industries thrive, yet it reveres its historic past.
Numerous museums are dedicated to topics as diverse as maritime history and immigration, while the Hamburg Museum details the city’s rapid growth over the years. While days can be spent getting a cultural fix, nightlife options on holidays to Hamburg are plentiful, too. Evenings are electric, with a range of live gigs (everything from classical to electro-pop) and plenty of bars for weekend partying if you want to let loose. Food is another highlight, and local specialties include fried fish and kale and sausage, not to mention the sweet treat ‘Franzbrötchen’ (a buttery cinnamon roll). For a break that brings together the best of historic and modern Germany, Hamburg makes for a memorable trip.
The watery views
Whether it’s the canals, lakes or river, Hamburg begs to be explored by boat. Plan at least a few hours on one of its ferry or cruise services.
Take the glass elevator up the spire of this rebuilt 19th-century neo-Gothic church tower to the 76-metre-high viewing platform for some of the best views across Hamburg.
The lively harbour
Running along the River Elbe, Hamburg’s harbour is home to scores of shops, bridges and interesting buildings between the contrasting Speischerstadt and modern HafenCity districts.