Germany’s second-largest city following Berlin, Hamburg is a sheltered natural harbor lying at the tip of the long estuary of the Elbe River taking the shape of a funnel. This Hamburg port covers an area of about 100 square km. It is not only an important financial center but also a great attraction for tourists all over the world, owing to the streets that gives a glimpse of the city’s past, and the unique architecture.
The city owes its name to the first permanent building which was a castle built for defense. It was called Hammaburg meaning castle or fort, but the exact location remains uncertain. The city has been destroyed and occupied several times and has experienced great fires during the medieval period. It has also suffered disastrous consequences of the 2nd World War. It was only after 1990 that it started to regain its position as the region’s largest deep sea-port and a major commercial center.
Things to do in Hamburg
- The port of Hamburg also popular as the Gateway to Germany is where you will find some of the city’s greatest attractions. There is a 3.9 km long bridge spanning the harbor named as Köhlbrandbrücke. The Warehouse District is a beautiful pedestrian trail of very high buildings made of brick that stored coffee, spices etc. once upon a time. But the latest attraction of this spot is the Elbphilharmonie, popular locally as Elphi. This is a six storied building of tobacco and spices warehouse and above it is an additional 20 stories of shining glass. It houses 3 concert halls, hotels, residential apartments and various other luxuries, with amazing views of the harbor and the entire city. The entire port is best explored by boat.
- Miniatur Wunderland is the world’s largest model railway covering over 1,490 sq m., with tiny human figures, tracks, trains and also an airport that sees planes actually taking off. You can get your online ticket to avoid the long queues.
- Kunsthalle Hamburg can be dubbed as one of Germany’s best art galleries and houses arts of local and Dutch artists belonging to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
- St. Michael’s Church is one of the important landmarks of the city. Following the Baroque style, this 132-meter building has stairs and elevators to offer you a panoramic view of the port city. Make sure you do not miss the magnificent statue of Archangel Michael, made of bronze, where he kills the devil right at the entrance.
- Rickmer Rickmers can be described as a tall ship with three masts at the river at Landungsbrücken with a historical significance. Currently it is a museum that showcases the merchant marine of the nineteenth as well as the twentieth century. Also, the MS Cap San Diego is a 1960 cargo ship which gives visitor access to the current merchant marine ship museum.
- Ohlsdorf Cemetry is the world’s largest cemetery covering over 966 acres. It has over 1.5 million burials of prisoners-of war, victims of Nazi prosecution and has 12 chapels. Another important memorial is the Bismarck Monument, in memory of the country’s most revered politician.
- Great Lakes: Inner and Outer Alster are two artificial lakes in the inner area of the city connecting the rivers Elbe and Alster. Here is the place for all your Instagram-worthy picturesque and historic squares and avenues that lead to cafes, parks, boutiques and shopping centers. If it’s September, do not miss the annual street fair Alstervergnügen.
There are other museums, commercial centers and tourist spots too. All in all, this port city is a must for your Germany tour.