‘The gateway to the world’ might be a bold claim, but Germany’s second-largest city and biggest port has never been shy. Hamburg has engaged in business with the world ever since it joined the Hanseatic League trading bloc back in the Middle Ages, and this ‘harbourpolis’ is now the nation’s premier media hub and its wealthiest city.
Hamburg’s maritime spirit infuses the entire city; from architecture to menus to the cry of gulls, you always know you're near the water. The city has given rise to vibrant neighbourhoods awash with multicultural eateries, as well as the gloriously seedy Reeperbahn red-light district. Hamburg nurtured the early promise of the Beatles, and today its distinctive live- and electronic-music scene thrives in unique harbourside venues.
Its attractions are only matched by its inherent alluring spirit. Come, Hamburg says, have a ball.
Top things to do in Hamburg
Germany - Hamburg & the North (Chapter)
Head to Germany's north because you love the water: white-sand beaches are everywhere and, inland, Mecklenburg's lakes are a maze of places to paddle. Then there's the fabled Baltic heritage of the region's historic towns, and finally waterside...
Travel literature review: The Bells in Their Silence
The Bells in Their Silence by Michael Gorra Rating: 4 out of 5 Reviewed by Mark Broadhead Michael Gorra's The Bells in Their Silence (travels through Germany) is not a typical travel book, but the author suggests that it is typical of post-war German travel literature...
Hamburg destination guides
Licence to travel: jet-setting with James Bond
It's a tough life but someone's gotta do it: flitting between exotic destinations, schmoozing in glam casinos and disposing of baddies without a backwards glance...
Dogs of the world
'When you point out something to a dog, he looks at your finger.' - J Bryan, III Dogs are like children, small and hairy. And just like children they're loud, adorable/ugly and they're everywhere...
Illuminated Hamburg City Tour and Evening Cruise
The Illuminated Hamburg City Tour and Evening Cruise is the ideal way to entertain the whole family and a great introduction to the cosmopolitan city of Hamburg. The Red Double Decker Bus takes you to the magnificent Outer Alster lake. On board a cruise you can admire the tranquility of this area.
With city-state traditions reaching back for centuries, Hamburg has always played a special political and cultural role in Germany's history. Today, as a key commercial hub, an international harbor and a media and cultural center, the metropolis on the Elbe River with its one million inhabitants is once again pursuing ancient traditions with typically Hanseatic aplomb.