If you’ve been keeping up with my social media over the past week then you’ll know that I’ve just returned from a trip to Hamburg.
That’s right, as part of my Dad’s birthday present, me and my brother paid for me to take him to the Free and Hanseatic City, and Hamburg Tourismus made it extra special by kitting us out with a Hamburg CARD, and tickets for tours and museums.
Hamburg has a diverse range of ways to spend time in and around the city and we took advantage of a lot of them. A trip to see how local chocolatiers, Hachez, make their cocoa bounty at the Chocoversum was great, as was a look around Speicherstadt, the world’s largest warehouse district, as well as the U-Bootmuseum, providing us the opportunity to hop on board a now-defunct Soviet submarine.
They all came together to make a memorable trip, but there is even more to Hamburg than meets the eye. Here are five reasons why you should make Hamburg your next destination.
1. It’s cheap to get to thanks to budget airlines
Hamburg’s route map extends across four different continents, and Flughafen Airport can be reached from six different destinations throughout the United Kingdom. Ryanair, easyJet, Blue Air, British Airways and bmi regional fly from Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and all four London airports, with prices from £9.99 one way (Ryanair, flying from Manchester in March 2017).
2. Its laid-back ambiance makes for a nice alternative to Berlin
Berlin is all hustle-and-bustle, and that’s to be expected from Deutschland’s capital. There’s a lot of history tied up there and it is a globally renowned destination for tourists, so it makes sense. Hamburg, Germany’s second city, on the other hand, is a chilled out alternative, with just as much to satisfy even the most demanding of itineraries.
This isn’t to discount Berlin, because it’s great to see the two most populous cities in Germany have completely different identities. But Hamburg is a great destination for people who worry about overcrowding, large queues and heavy traffic.
Step foot in Hamburg and relax…
3. It’s a great spot for photographers
Whether it’s your next Instagram, cover photo or portfolio or album entry you’re searching for, Hamburg and its breathtaking views and structures have you covered.
The most photogenic are of the city is, unquestionably, Speicherstadt. Once an important part of Hamburg’s presence as a maritime giant, the collection of redbrick Gothic architecture is now a tourist attraction, and still used to house coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and tobacco, in addition to, somewhat ironically, the world’s largest collection of Persian rugs.
The various bridges used to connect various areas of the district add to its allure, and you can experience different effects both at day and night.
Hamburg is also home to some impressive street art, as well as a riverfront which provides stunning views. The Harbour isn’t just home to the industrial port and the big ships which visit daily, but there’s also stunning architecture to be seen such as the Elbe Philharmonic Hall (Elbphilharmonie).
4. The history
150 years ago, prior to the unification of Germany, Hamburg was its own sovereign state – an impressive and interesting fact that is just a small piece of the Hanseatic City’s rich and illustrious history.
Another is that the Elbtunnel, Europe’s first river tunnel, recently celebrated its 100th birthday, and is one of the city’s most charming attractions, with visitors able to pass through the 426-metre long passage to get from the mainland city to the port.
But whether it’s giving a certain quartet their first big break on the music scene (check out Beatles-Platz), being acknowledged on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list (Speicherstadt) or being home to two storied football teams (One-time European Cup winners Hamburg and cult club FC St. Pauli), Hamburg is host to a wealth of diverse history which makes it an intriguing place to explore.
Okay, so if you’re going to make Hamburg your next destination due to a certain annual celebration that takes place in late December, then you’re going to be waiting an awfully long time to go.
But don’t worry, because that worth will be more than worth it to check out Hamburg over the Christmas period. Easily one of the world’s most beautifully decorated cities when it comes to the lights and sparkle of Christmas décor, Hamburg is also home to Christmas markets, scattered across different locations within the city.
The market at Rathaus, the town hall, runs from November up until 23 December, while the rest of the festivities remain until the end of the year.
I visited Hamburg with Hamburg Tourismus and used a Hamburg CARD – the convenient way to see Hamburg. With unlimited use of public transport and discounts on tours, attractions, musicals and theatre and restaurants, it is definitely worth purchasing. Prices start from €9.99 for a 24-hour pass, and are available online.
You can also download the Hamburg Tourism app, providing helpful information for your trip, by clicking here.
If you would like to know anything else about my trip to Hamburg or have been yourself and have some stories and recommendations from your trip, then leave me a comment and let me know!