When Germany was divided between the allies after the Second World War, the north was commandeered by the British, planting traits that are reflected in modern day Hamburg. At the heart of the city is the picturesque harbour, the second most important in Europe after Rotterdam, considered to be “the gateway to the world,” after millions left Europe from here in the late 19th Century and early 20th century.
A visit to Hamburg is not complete without a steamboat ride to Lake Alster. Departing from Jungfersteig, the old fashioned maritime vessel chugs along the River Elbe until it reaches a stunning oasis dotted with peaceful cafés, expensive apartments and fascinating sculptures. For the active visitor various water pursuits such as rowing boats, pedloes and dinghies are readily available. Should you decide to stop by Lake Alster, check out the beautiful Planten un Blumen, a peaceful urban greenway with tropical greenhouses and botanical gardens. If visiting during the summer, don’t miss the spectacular water, music and light show.
Culture vultures will want to head for the Museum of Hamburg History and the famous Kunsthalle art gallery which houses the largest collection of Edvard Munch outside of Oslo. For those who dare brave the Hamburg Dungeons, a sister company of the London Dungeons, learn about the city’s dark history fuelled by fire, floods and plague.
Like the majority of major German cities, Hamburg was a victim of heavy allied bombing and much of its baroque charm has been replaced by modern glass fronted buildings. The few surviving historical monuments however, are still reflected with great importance and have been renovated on several occasions. In the 19th century St. Nicholas’s church was the tallest building in the world and in 2008, St. Michaelis Church was on the reverse of the two Euro coin.
Surrounded by so much water, Hamburg is home to 2300 bridges, more than Venice and Amsterdam put together and subsequently specialises in sumptuous seafood restaurants. Shrimp in potato soup and lobster salad are popular choices and, depending on where you eat, not overly expensive. The best restaurants however, are outside the city centre in Univiertel and Schanzenviertel around Schulterblatt and Schanzenstrasse. The food stalls outside the Rathaus, Hamburg’s City Hall serve delicious traditional snacks though prices are inflated.
Hamburg nightlife is centred round St. Pauli where there are numerous pulsating bars and nightclubs. It is also where the city’s notorious sex industry is most prominent and though not as thriving as it was once, is still no place for the prudish.
If you need a place to stay in Hamburg then for a good choice of hotels with discount prices try Hotel in Hamburg.
Travelling to Hamburg by Ferry
Before the closing of the UK to Cuxhaven ferry, traveling to Hamburg by ferry was quite simple. However since that route closure there is no direct ferry from the UK to Germany.