With the Elbe River and the Alster Lake, its boulevards, public places and parks, Hamburg is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the heart of Europe. The Hamburg Metropolitan Region is home to more than five million people, who treasure its unique waterside location and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of this liveable metropolis. With its port and its strong economy, this dynamically growing, international trading metropolis offers a highly attractive business environment. International sport and culture events, shopping and leisure opportunities, street festivals and a vibrant nightlife lure millions of visitors here each year.
Whether by air, rail or road – Hamburg has excellent transport links with all world regions. Hamburg Airport provides direct connections to Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. Along the Intercity-Express route (ICE), Berlin can be reached in 90 minutes by rail. As a major German motorway hub, Hamburg has excellent links with the whole of Central and Northern Europe.
Water gives life. People strive for proximity to water – and find it in Hamburg like nowhere else. This metropolis on the water is incomparable and has a unique character. Almost 2,500 bridges – far more than in Amsterdam, London and Venice combined – cross the innumerable watercourses between the Elbe, Alster and Bille. Its maritime flair, fresh air, and Hanseatic cosmopolitanism make Hamburg the finest city in the world for many people. With the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in easy reach, the Hamburg Metropolitan Region is seen as one of Germany’s favourite holiday areas. To discover the face of Hamburg, you will embark from the Elbe landing stages (Landungsbrücken) on a round trip through the harbour and the historic Speicherstadt district. You will pass the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the city’s new landmark under construction, and HafenCity Hamburg, Europe’s largest urban development project
Whether boat trips on Alster and Elbe, city tours on double-deck busses or visits at the traditional Hagenbeck’s Tierpark and the Miniatur Wunderland: Hamburg is the ideal destination for families with children. The city has something to offer for everyone, so every family member will find its perfect spot in the maritime city. A huge moving wall towers above the small barge that comfortably cruises on the River Elbe – a wall that seems to extend up to the sky. The wide-eyed little girl standing on the deck of the tourist barge looks up at the gigantic container ship passing by, while her brother deciphers the lettering on the stern of this giant ship: “China Shipping Line”. “Wow, Dad, does it really come from China ?!” His father nods, and he, too, is drawn into the bustle of Hamburg’s port
A sweeping view, a fresh breeze and plenty of light – hardly any other city has as many attractions and places of interest as Hamburg. Everywhere in the city, life is linked with the port – whether it in the stairs quarter of Blankenese with its traditional fishermen’s cottages, on the Elbe beach with a view of the passing container ships, or on the promenades of the Elbe banks and the HafenCity district. On an area that was once used by cargo ships to unload their freight, the HafenCity Hamburg district has been taking shape over the last ten years.
Hamburg is a city of contrast and seeming opposites, and this is particularly true when it comes to wining and dining. Today, Hamburg boasts more Michelin-star restaurants than ever – and at the same time the city is increasingly turning into a hotspot for a young, creative food and beverage scene, with original concepts that are definitely worthwhile trying. Hamburg’s culinary avant-garde is known for their love of regional organic food. The fare on offer is sustainably produced and prepared with love – in other words: fast food with slow-food quality. Passion with a dash of idealism – these are the main ingredients used by Hamburg’s catering trade, which also includes a broad range of homemade food and beverages made from regional, seasonal and organic produce.
The Miniatur Wunderland is the world‘s largest model railway and Hamburg‘s tourist attraction no. 1. More than 15 million visitors from all over the world have already visited this superlative miniature world. Spreading over 1,490 square meters, a unique and outstanding exhibition arose in 760,000 man hours and it keeps on growing. Next to sophisticated technologies, Wunderland is known for its captivating richness of detail: 250,000 figures lovingly set in scene, moving cars and ships – even airplanes are taking off and landing at Knuffingen Airport every minute. Since Autumn 2016 the new section, Italy, is open to the public. The Miniatur Wunderland is a breathtaking microcosm unmatched anywhere in this world.
Luxury shops on grand boulevards, a relaxed stroll through elegant shopping arcades, original, young fashion directly from designers, quirky antiques from Hamburg’s rich past. Or maybe you would prefer eco-friendly garments straight from manufacturers and small specialist shops? In any event, when you go shopping in Hamburg, you are spoiled for choice. Large Kontorhaus buildings and broad promenades – Hamburg’s inner city boulevards have a long tradition. The Jungfernstieg along the Inner Alster Lake is Hamburg’s most renowned and most traditional shopping boulevard. It owes its name (which can be translated as Maiden’s Walk) to the single daughters of well-to-do Hamburg families, who would take their Sunday walk on this promenade in the old days.
Around the famous street Reeperbahn in the district St. Pauli, bars, livemusic clubs, cocktailbars, theatre and comedy stages, dives, discos and underground clubs as well as burlesque bars follow one another. Yet also the districts Schanzenviertel, the Karolinenviertel, Ottensen, Eimsbüttel or Eppendorf have their very own spaces for night owls. During the summer many music and culture festivals, beach clubs and outdoor events at numerous public spaces can be added. The Reeperbahn is a living legend: in the old days it was a seedy red light quarter for seafarers and strollers.
With its opening in January 2017, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg became the centre of attraction for all who live in Hamburg as well as for visitors from all over the world. In the flow of the Elbe and surrounded on three sides by water, the spectacular building houses three concert halls, a large music education area, a range of places to eat and drink, a hotel and the public Plaza, which offers visitors an unparalleled panoramic view over the whole city. Artistic quality, variety and accessibility shape the musical programme of Hamburg’s new cultural landmark.
Two rivers shape the face of Hamburg. One wakens a yearning for the sea, the other for home: with its port that never sleeps, the Elbe is the city’s main artery leading out into the North Sea; and the Alster, which forms the lake in the city centre, represents the heart of Hamburg. These two waterways are in slight competition with each other, and thus “Alster or Elbe?” is almost a question of faith among residents of Hamburg, and literally everyone has their own answer. Alster or Elbe, this is, first of all, a question of social milieu: the rough Elbe with its tireless port, and the busy operations of heavy cranes, barges and ferries, have always been the domain of the working classes.
In July 2015, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee included the historical warehouse Zone Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus into the UNESCO World Heritage List. They form a unique architectural ensemble that has long been an important tourist attraction in Hamburg’s city centre. The committee, which comprises 21 UNESCO member states, honoured the extraordinary universal value of the inner-city complexes of warehouses and office buildings from the early 20th century. The World Heritage Committee based its decision on the belief that the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus District are “an outstanding example” of buildings and ensembles which “illustrate significant stages in human history”.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Hamburg and the towns of the Metropolitan Region lure visitors from far and wide with traditional Christmas markets and Christmas attractions. In many districts of Hamburg, the city is transformed into a magical yuletide world – with manifold treats for the eye and the palate. The Christmas market on Jungfernstieg fully lives up to the elegance of the surroundings. Yet also well worth visiting are the Christmas markets on Gänsemarkt, in the old town, in the HafenCity, or in St Pauli with its frivolous flair.
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