Nestled along the banks of the Elbe River lies Hamburg, one of Germany’s most cosmopolitan cities. Renowned cultural venues, striking architecture marvels both modern and ancient, museums, shopping, and dining districts all contribute to the subtle appeal of the city. This cruise destination was once a Hanseatic League port, which was founded over 1,000 years ago.
Often referred to as Germany’s Gateway to the World, due to its role as the biggest commercial port in the country (and the second largest in Europe), the city has a maritime atmosphere and bustle. Hamburg has launched ships since the Middle Ages, but it was also instrumental in launching the musical career of the Beatles, who played in multiple venues in the city’s St. Pauli district. It was here that they recorded the single that would launch them to stardom, “Please Please Me.”
Vibrant, glamorous, and utterly delightful, Hamburg brims with culture and exploration.
Hamburg will fascinate you from the moment you first set eyes on it.
The political heart of the Hanseatic city, the Hamburg Town Hall, was built from 1886 to 1897. Its impressive architecture dominates the city center. The magnificent sandstone building houses the city’s senate and parliament. Written in Latin above the main door reads “The descendants shall seek worthily to maintain the freedom achieved by their forebears.” The ornate wrought-iron gate of the main entrance door leads into the entrance hall which is supported by 16 sandstone pillars painted with 68 portraits of worthy Hamburg citizens. The staircase was made from Sardinian marble and shows the course of human life.
Located in the center of Hamburg Harbor, the Elbphilharmonie combines innovative architecture with an exceptional location, outstanding acoustics, and a visionary concert program. The defining feature of the Elbphilharmonie: 1,000 curved window panels, tailor-made to capture and reflect the color of the sky, the sun’s rays, the water, and the city, turn the concert hall into a gigantic crystal. The glass facades in the loggias of the apartments and concert foyers are especially striking. With their boldly convex form, they resemble huge tuning forks.
The “Michel” (St. Michael’s Church) is one of Hamburg’s main attractions and one of the city’s must-see sights. Its bell tower offers a stunning panoramic view of the city and harbor. The church’s massive nave can fit 2,500 people and boasts five different organs. The centerpiece of the church interior is a 20-meter-high altar.
Speicherstadt, the world’s largest warehouse complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see on every trip to Hamburg. Spanning an area of 260,000 square meters, it was built between 1883 and the late 1920s on thousands of oak poles as a free economic zone in Hamburg’s port. Speicherstadt’s beautiful neo-gothic brick architecture makes for an exciting contrast to the modern steel-and-glass constructions of neighboring HafenCity.
As you get to know Hamburg, you will be surprised at just how easy it is to surrender to this city’s charms. Welcome to one of the coolest cities on earth.