Hamburg – Metropolis on the Water
With the Elbe River and the Alster Lake, its boulevards, public places and
parks, Hamburg is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the heart of
Europe. It is home to people who treasure its unique waterside location and
the cosmopolitan atmosphere of this liveable metropolis.
The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg lies in the North German plain on the
lower reaches of the Elbe, around 100 kilometres from the river’s estuary
on the North Sea. With 1.8 million inhabitants on an area covering 755.3 square
kilometres, Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city after Berlin. The city
state of Hamburg is one of the 16 federal states of the Federal Republic of
This metropolis on the water is incomparable and has a unique character. Almost
2,500 bridges – far more than in Amsterdam, London and Venice combined – cross
the innumerable watercourses between the Elbe, Alster and Bille. Its maritime
flair, fresh air, and Hanseatic cosmopolitanism make Hamburg the finest city
in the world for many people. With the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in easy
reach, the Hamburg Metropolitan Region is seen as one of Germany’s favourite
holiday areas. To discover the face of Hamburg, you will embark from the Elbe
landing stages (Landungsbrücken) on a round trip through the harbour and the
historic Speicherstadt district. You will pass the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg,
the city’s new landmark under construction, and HafenCity Hamburg, Europe’s
largest urban development project.
Furthermore, thanks to its wealth of versatile, high-quality cultural offerings
in particular, Hamburg’s culture scene enjoys an outstanding reputation. Its
theatres and concert halls, stage musicals and museums – among them Deutsches
Schauspielhaus, Thalia Theater, Laeiszhalle Hamburg and the Hamburg State
Opera – attract more than ten million people every year. Because of its four
musical stages, Hamburg has long been ranked as a musical capital comparable
with New York and London.
With its port and strong economy, this dynamically growing, international
trading metropolis offers a highly attractive business environment. International
sport and culture events, shopping and leisure opportunities, street festivals
and a vibrant nightlife lure millions of visitors here each year. Discover
Hamburg with its wealth of attractions!
In the following, some of the many attractions in Hamburg are described. Most of them can be reached using the HVV bus line 111, which has a great sightseeing route from Hafen City to Altona. The line operates every 20 minutes and the bus route can be downloaded here
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Hamburg's town hall
Unusually lavish for Hanseatic taste: built in 1886–1897, with its impressive architecture the splendid sandstone edifice in Neo-Renaissance style dominates the city centre. Hamburg town hall is the seat of the city’s Senate (state government) and Bürgerschaft (parliament), and, with its 647 rooms, has more rooms than Buckingham Palace.
Jungfernstieg on the Alster has long been Hamburg’s premier thoroughfare for strolling and shopping. In the old days, families would take their Sunday walks here, parading their unmarried daughters (or Jungfern). Jungfernstieg remains something very special as always – it is the place in Hamburg to see and be seen; which is not only due to its ideal location on the banks of the Alster.
Hamburg’s port is not simply a factor in the economy, but, being so centrally located, it is also the city’s greatest tourist attraction. The comings and goings of the ships and the loading and discharge of goods at state-of-the-art container terminals are all equally fascinating. But the port also houses leisure and cultural facilities. The historic Speicherstadt houses several museums and entertainment centres. The new HafenCity Hamburg will be offering additional sight-seeing highlights. The best way to discover the port is on a boat trip – or by taking one of the ferry lines linking the north and south banks of the Elbe.
Tip: Trip with HADAG ferry no. 62 to Finkenwerder
Hamburg’s waterfront station on the Elbe is one of Germany’s most frequented tourist attractions. The floating landing stages adjacent to the Landungsbrücken U-Bahn station are the departure point for harbour boat trips as well as HADAG ferries to Finkenwerder, Oevelgönne, Blankenese and to Wilhelmsburg on the other side of the Elbe. From time to time, impressive luxury liners also berth here. Colourful souvenir shops sell waterfront mementos, and cosy fish restaurants serve ample helpings of fresh plaice or North Sea shrimps. Not far from the “Rickmer Rickmers” museum windjammer on Bridge 1 you will find the “San Diego” museum freighter.
When the Old Elbe Tunnel, also called "St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel", was opened in 1911, it was a technical sensation. Today, it is a nostalgic and lovingly tended piece of Hamburg history and has already celebrated its 100th anniversary. The distinctive, square, domed structure on the St. Pauli landing bridges houses the machinery and the four large lift cages, which have been transporting people and vehicles at a depth of nearly 24 metres since 1911. After 426.5 metres beneath the Elbe and through two tiled tunnels with a diameter of 6 metres, you return to daylight in Steinwerder.
The Old Elbe Tunnel was the first river tunnel on the continent and became a necessity since the growth of the Port of Hamburg was increasingly moving to the southern side of the Elbe and so an improved transport connection was required.
Further information on the Old Elbe Tunnel or the "St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel" can be found on the website of the Hamburg Port Authority.
Virtually anything not nailed down firmly has been traded
at the Fish Market, the most traditional market since 1703. From dusty porcelain
coffee pots to a quacking family of live ducks, any-thing can be acquired down
here in the shadow of the former fish auction hall. Every Sunday morning, night
clubbers from the Reeperbahn, clutching fish rolls and hot coffee, descend on
the waterfront and hope that it will give them a second wind. A popular option
for early risers, night clubbers, bargain hunters and tourists alike is the
brunch in the historic fish auction hall to the tunes of jazz, pop or rock music.
St. Michaelis Church
It is one of Hamburg's five Lutheran main churches (Hauptkirchen) and the most famous church in the city. St. Michaelis is a landmark of the city and it is considered to be one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant baroque churches. The church was purposely built Protestant unlike many other Hamburg churches which were originally built by Roman Catholics and were converted to Protestantism during the Reformation. It is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. A large bronze statue, standing above the portal of the church shows the archangel conquering the devil.
The 132-meter high Baroque spire totally covered with copper is a prominent feature of Hamburg’s skyline and has always been a landfall mark for ships sailing up the river Elbe.
The Grocers’ Institute houses are located beside St. Michaelis Church in Hamburg, and they are the last remaining example of a formerly typical Hamburg residential complex from the 17th century...
The rows of houses with the narrow alleyway between them served the same purpose as a home for the elderly up until 1968. With the involvement of the office for the protection of historic monuments, the building was restored by 1974 and the individual homes have been let.
One of the historic houses has been preserved in its original condition and has been completely furnished by the Hamburg Museum with items from the period circa 1850/60. It conveys a living, "up close" impression of the simple and humble life of that period.
Stiftung Historische Museen
Hamburg’s former red-light district is, above all, renowned for the Reeperbahn, the boulevard for those who like to party until morning in the countless clubs and discos. At the district’s heart you will find the St Pauli stadium, home to the infamous FC St Pauli. The new brewery quarter with its futuristic high-rise buildings and hotel separate the multicultural and some-what structurally weak district from the Elbe.
St. Pauli, Hafen & Reeperbahn
The Speicherstadt district
Over a century old, the Speicherstadt in the free port is the world’s largest integrated complex of warehouses. Here, guests to Hamburg find an idyllic scenery they would hardly expect in a global port: redbrick Gothic architecture from the Wilhelmine era with bizarre little gables and towers, all reflected along with barges in the canals. Valuable goods are stored at controlled temperatures behind their massive walls: coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, tobacco, computers and the world’s largest stock of Oriental carpets.
Miniatur Wunderland (German for miniature wonderland) is a model railway attraction in Hamburg, Germany, and the largest of its kind in the world, built by the twins Gerrit and Frederik Braun. The railway is located in the historic Speicherstadt district of the city. In September 2015 the railway consisted of 15,400 metres (50,525 ft) of track in HO scale, divided into seven sections: Harz, the fictitious city of Knuffingen, the Alps and Austria, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, Switzerland and a replicate of the Hamburg Airport. Of the 6,400 square metres (68,889 sq ft) of floorspace, the model takes 1,300 m2 (13,993 sq ft).
By 2020, the exhibit is expected to have reached its final construction phase, including at least a total of ten new sections in a model area of over 2,300 m2 (24,757 sq ft). The next section is Italy and is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016. The exhibit includes 930 trains made up of over 14,450 carriages, 335,000 lights, 228,000 trees, and 215,000 human figurines. Planning is also in progress for the construction of sections for France, England, Africa and Australia.
International Maritime Museum Hamburg
The maritime heart of the city: in Kaispeicher B, Hamburg’s oldest preserved warehouse, this museum showcases 3,000 years of naval history, with valuable exhibits from around the world. Welcome to the world of wind and waves, of explorers and pirates. 40,000 miniature models, a treasure chamber with ships of gold, silver and amber, and the “Queen Mary II” made of one million Lego bricks awaits you.
HafenCity Hamburg is a project of city-planning where the old port warehouses of Hamburg are being replaced with offices, hotels, shops, official buildings, and residential areas. The project is the largest rebuilding project in Europe in scope of landmass. The area of the HafenCity used to be part of the free port, but with the decreased economic importance of free ports in an era of European Union free trade, large container ships and increased border security, the Hamburg free port was reduced in size, removing the current HafenCity area from its restrictions. When completely developed, it will be home to about 12,000 people and the workplace of 40,000 people mostly in office complexes.
in der HafenCity
A bold glass structure is rising above the historic Kaispeicher A, a monumental redbrick block at the western tip of HafenCity Hamburg. An architectural vision has become reality – the Elbphilharmonie concert hall is Hamburg’s new cultural land-mark. The design by Swiss star architects Herzog & de Meuron combines tradition and modernity just where the Hanseatic city is at its most authentic: directly on the water and in the heart of the city. This is where one of the world’s finest concert venues is being built. The Elbphilharmonie will open its doors in 2017 as one of the world’s finest concert halls.
This is certainly the best-known of the Elbe suburbs. Even today the name is synonymous with affluence and prosperity.
The district’s much-visited steep flights of steps and its narrow lanes have almost Mediterranean flair.
Since 2001, the Falckenberg Collection has been based at Phoenix-Hallen in Hamburg’s Harburg district. In 2007, Harald Falckenberg acquired one of the buildings and had Berlin-based architect Roger Bundschuh convert it into a spacious exhibition hall for his collection.
The new hall opened on May 30, 2008 and by 2010 had hosted 28 exhibitions, featuring artists such as Paul Thek, Jon Kessler and Robert Wilson, not to mention themed shows and presentations of the collection. The expansive rooms mean that the hall is predestined for shows of larger-size installations and multimedia projects by artists such as John Bock, General Idea, Thomas Hirschhorn, Mike Kelley, Jon Kessler, Jonathan Meese, and Gregor Schneider.
The Falckenberg Collection and the exhibitions can be visited either during the previews or as part of a guided tour. Those are held regularly on Thursdays and Fridays at 6 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m., as well as Sundays at 12 a.m., 3 and 5 p.m. Guided tours through the Collection are being held on Saturdays at 12 a.m.