Updated: Mar 11, 2021
From north German Hanseatic cities to small, southern Bavarian towns, there are certain places in Germany we can’t wait to visit or re-visit once lockdown ends. This week’s recommendation is Hamburg.
Hamburg's port. Photo: Karsten Bergmann via Pixabay
Often underrated and overlooked by many travellers, who prefer to visit the nearby Berlin, I would choose Hamburg over Berlin any day. Here’s why.
Hamburg is a stunning and diverse city located on the banks of the River Elbe between the North and Baltic Seas. Whether you are a history enthusiast, culture buff or music lover, Hamburg has something for you! The city is regarded as the Venice of the North, owing to its numerous waterways and peaceful canals, including the Elbe, Alster and Bille rivers. Hamburg has more bridges than any other city in the world, including Venice. It has a rich history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, a collection of maritime market towns in North-western and Central Europe, earning it the official title of Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg. The city boasts one of the busiest ports in Europe with its trade routes stretching across the globe, making it a worldly and cosmopolitan hub.
Speicherstadt. Photo: Pexels
The picturesque city centre is wrapped around the beautiful Lake Alster and is home to a bustling and vibrant shopping district, where you can stop to admire the architecturally-impressive City Hall, take a stroll through the charming, cobbled streets of Hamburg’s historical Speicherstadt, also known as the City of Warehouses, and stop for a Fischbrötchen, with fish fresh from the North Sea, at Hamburg’s famous fish market at Landungsbrücken. You can then take a boat tour through Germany’s biggest harbour and marvel at the modern HafenCity and Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg’s hub of music, as well as Hamburg’s prestigious riverside neighbourhoods.
The Elbphilharmonie. Photo: ASSY via Pixabay
Wherever you stroll in Hamburg, you are never far away from nature. Planten un Blomen, Hamburg’s green heart, is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre by taking a stroll through the colourful and idyllic Japanese garden, Rosengarten or tropical greenhouses, such as the Schaugewächshaus, which boasts plants from the Mediterranean.
History and culture enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice, as Hamburg is home to 50 museums, 45 theatres and around 1000 music venues. Some of the most interesting cultural institutions include Hamburg’s Kunsthalle, holding one of the largest art collections from the Middle Ages to the present day, Deichtorhallen, one of Europe’s largest centres for contemporary art and photography, Internationales Maritimes Museum, seated between the Binnenalster and Außenalster, and Miniatur Wunderland, which has the largest model railroad in the world. The city centre has a number of architecturally intriguing buildings such as the Gothic Revival St Nicholas Church and Baroque St Michael’s Church, whose bell tower you can climb for an incredible panoramic view of the city.
It’s simply impossible not to be charmed by Hamburg, with its attractive blend of old and new and its natural beauty and diversity.