GERMANY  |  Hamburg, Germany Travel Guide
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Hamburg, Germany

Reeperbahn, St. Pauli, Hamburg, Germany (cc)
Photo: dannyone
 

Hamburg Travel Guide

Introduction

Hamburg, Germany's premier port, is the domain of media moguls, shipping magnates, heavy-metal bands and nearly 2 million Hamburgers – and no, we're not speaking of beef patties here! – where the top draw is the city's red-light district, the Reeperbahn, the largest in Europe and one of the most famous in the world, in which sections are closed to women and juveniles. But lest we jump to hasty conclusions, Hamburg is not a city principally of bars and brothels: quite on the contrary, it is an elegant city, a green city, a cultured city, a wealthy city, and the undisputed capital of German (print) media, where many of Germany's top newspapers and magazines, among them Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, are published. It is also a city, one might suggest, of liberal and independent attitudes, where, before the outbreak of World War II, young Hamburgers came of age kicking up their heels to Big Band and swing music – think Swing Kids! – and where in the early 1960s, before they made their fame and fortune, the Beatles played at clubs around the Reeperbahn, with John Lennon famously declaring, "I might have been born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg."

Location

Hamburg, officially "The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg," is a city-state, situated at the mouth of the River Elbe, some 70 miles (110 km) in from the North Sea, where the mighty Elbe flows into Germany's largest harbor. The city is 59 miles (95 km) northeast of Bremen, or 158 miles (254 km) northwest of Berlin.

How to Get There

Sightseeing

Hamburg's sights and attractions are mostly low-key, with few historical buildings still standing after a major fire in 1842 and the allied air raids of 1945. Among those that remain, the most impressive are the 19th-century Neo-Renaissance Rathaus (city hall) and a handful of prominent churches with soaring spires that continue to punctuate the skyline, most notably St. Michaelis, also known as Michel, and the remains of Nikolaikirche, which in the 19th century was the world's tallest building. The city also has more than 60 museums – among them Miniatur Wunderland, the world's largest model railway museum, with 7.5 miles (12 km) of rail track – scores of good galleries, and 40-plus theaters.

Main Neighborhoods

  • Schanzeviertel - Lively quarter, brimming with street-side cafés.

  • Speicherstadt - A fabulous Neo-Gothic red-brick warehouse district on the canal, which has the distinction of being the largest timber-pile founded warehouse district in the world.

  • St. Pauli - The most happening district of Hamburg, which has in it the Reeperbahn as well as scores of bars, discothèques, restaurants, cafés, venues offering Broadway musicals, and one of the city's most prominent landmarks, Landungsbrücken (Landing Bridges), part of the Hamburg Harbor.

  • Altona - Formerly a separate town and now a Hamburg neighborhood. Principal draw here is the Fischmarkt (Fish Market), as well as the famous Elbchaussee which runs parallel to the River Elbe and has on it some the largest and most expensive homes in Germany.

  • Blankenese - An uppity suburb, where the city's wealthy lot, the upper crust, make their home.

How to Get Around

Where to Party

In Hamburg, the premier nightlife district is St. Pauli, which has more bars, discothèques, restaurants and cafés than any other quarter of the city, plus the added draw of venues offering Broadway musicals, as well as Reeperbahn for adult entertainment.

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

Trivia

Hamburg is the richest city in Germany, with a GDP of €50,000 per capita. Its most famous sons are composer Johannes Brahms, waltz composer Oscar Fetrás, 1940s singer and actor Hans Albers who wrote the lyrics for Auf der Reeperbahn Nachts um Halb Eins, and Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor of West Germany at the height of the Cold War in the 1970s. And in food, Hamburg's most famous dishes are Birnen, Bohnen und Speck (green beans cooked with pears and bacon), Finkenwerde Scholle (pan-fried plaice), and Franzbrotchen (a croissant-type pastry with a sugar and cinnamon filling).

Know Before You Go

  • Best Time to Visit: May-September
  • Cost Per Day: €100-€300 (US$130-US$400)
  • Currency: Euro EUR (€1 ~ US$1.30)
  • Electricity: 230V - 50Hz
  • Phone Code: +49 40
  • Population: 1.8 million (4.3 million in the greater metropolitan area)

Nearby Destinations

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Last updated November 29, 2013
Posted in   Germany  |  Hamburg
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