Hamburg is the second largest city of Germany and one of the largest in Europe, with about 1.8 million people. Hamburg had a special history through the years, being named Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and having a strong influence within Europe through the years.
Hamburg today is a modern city, still revolving around its harbour, being one of the main ports of Europe. Hamburg is also a nice tourist destination, with beautiful architecture and a green belt of parks that surrounds the city centre. Hamburg is also a fairly liberal city, having one of the largest red light districts in the world.
Start your first day in Hamburg in the beautiful Town Hall Square, visiting the beautiful building of the Town Hall (Rathaus). After the Town Hall of Hamburg completely burnt down in 1842, the council temporarily moved into auxiliary premises – for 55 years! The new Town Hall was inaugurated in 1897 and has more than 647 rooms and was erected on more than 4000 oak poles. Contradicting the Hanseatic style, the Town Hall shines with an elaborately decorated facade which is seamed by 20 emperor statues. Above the main port it is written in Latin:“The descendants shall aim to maintain the freedom which was achieved by the ancestors with dignity.”
Continue your trip in Hamburg walking on one of the most famous streets of Hamburg. Jungfernstieg on the Alster has been Hamburg’s shopping and promenade street for a long time. Formerly, families had a walk here on Sundays and took out their unmarried daughters (“Jungfern” = damsels). Nowadays it’s all about shopping in big department stores and exquisite shops. The passage of the Hamburger Hof is also situated at the Jungfernstieg. Here, shopping becomes culture: the big and the small exquisite shops almost outperform each other with their exclusive offers.
Next, visit the Art Museum of Hamburg. The Hamburger Kunsthalle is one of the largest and most important museums of art in Germany. Its superb permanent collection takes visitors on a journey through seven centuries of art history, from the medieval altars of Master Bertram through to the stars of the contemporary art scene such as Gerhard Richter and Neo Rauch. Among the highlights of the collection are Dutch paintings of the 17th century, including works by Rembrandt and Ruisdael, German painting of the Romantic period with extensive groups of works by Caspar David Friedrich and Philipp Otto Runge, as well as important paintings by Adolph Menzel and Max Liebermann. The Hamburger Kunsthalle consists of three striking buildings: the brick building from 1869 with its ornamental facade, the neoclassical extension building from 1919 made of light-coloured shell limestone, and the white cube of the Galerie der Gegenwart designed by architect Oswald Mathias Ungers and opened in 1997. Centrally located between Hamburg’s main railway station and the Alster lakes, the Kunsthalle is therefore one of the city’s architectural highlights.
After lunch, visit the Museum of Applied Arts in Hamburg. The museum features applied art and design spanning a period from antiquity to modernity. The diversity of the museum’s collections and its outstanding special exhibitions positioning it among Europe‘s leading museums. Everything here is related to applied arts, sculpture, graphic collections and the history of photography. In the new Schümann Wing visitors can also view a collection of historical keyboard instruments; arts and crafts and design since 1950.
Your next visit in the centre of Hamburg is Michaelis Church. This distinctive landmark in Hamburg is better known locally as the “Michel”. Visitors can admire the church’s impressive central vaulted nave, containing three music organs, and enjoy a beautiful view of the city from the tower. As you pass through the Hamburg inner city, the church tower of Michel can seem to follow you everywhere. This may be due to the fact that, at 132 metres, the tower of the main church dwarfs most buildings in the city centre and can be seen from many angles. Many lovers of architecture consider the Baroque church, with its distinctive cap, to be the most beautiful church in northern Germany, situated as it is among the piers and jetties of Landungsbrücken. Particularly striking is the copper plating around the tower, which is a popular lookout spot. At a height of 82 metres, visitors can have a wonderful view of the northern metropolis as well as being able to get close to the largest clock tower in Germany.
End your first day in Hamburg with the most important and busy area of the city. The port of Hamburg is almost as old asHamburg Founded on May 7, 1189 by Frederick I for its strategic location, it has been Central Europe’s main port for centuries and enabled Hamburg to develop early into a leading city of trade with a rich and proud bourgeoisie. The Port of Hamburg is also one of Hamburg’s largest attractions, both as a living, industrial and logistic center but also as a backdrop for modern culture and the ports history. Among these are various museum ships, musical theaters, bars, restaurants and hotels – and even a floating boat church.
Start your second day in the city with the Planetarium in Hamburg. It is very possible that this is the most sophisticated planetarium on Earth! Gathered under the dome is a unique multimedia orchestra of cosmic surround scenes, comprising image, sound and live performances. The fascinating elements of our environment and the universe come alive in a moving and easily comprehensible presentation. In the beginning there was the building: the water tower was constructed between 1912 and 1915 under the supervision of world famous master builder Fritz Schumacher and began its working life in the middle of World War I. In 1925 the Hamburg Parliament decided to purchase a Zeiss planetarium (Modell II) which, following a long dispute regarding where it should be located, was installed in the Winterhuder Water Tower in 1929 – the Planetarium opened its doors in 1930.
Spend a few hours of relaxation with the Planten un Blomen park. The “Alten Wallanlagen” the old Town Ramparts and the famous “Planten un Blomen” are situated in the middle of the city – a wonderful green leisure area with a botanical garden, tropical green house and the biggest Japanese garden in Europe. If you follow the man made stream at the entrance to the park at “Millerntor” you’ll reach the park lake which has at certain times in the evening an illuminated fountain organ, playing in time to a piece of classical music.
After lunch, visit the the Miniatur Wunderland, wich is the largest model railway system in the world. Visitors can admire different countries and even an airport in miniature. Up until now the sectionsHamburg, Harz, Austria, America and Scandinavia are completed. There are also open construction sites, so the visitors can observe and understand the construction. The 200 square meters Hamburg section includes all of Hamburg’s main attractions such as Michel and Hagenbecks Tierpark. With over 50.000 “Wunderländer” (as its inhabitants are called) the miniature replica of Hamburg is a bustling city. 1.500 trains arrive in the Hamburger Hauptbahnhof on a daily basis.
End your second day in Hamburg with Prototyp – the Automobile Museum of Hamburg. Visitors can travel in time, returning to the years when cars were still thought up, made and driven in a pioneering spirit. You can hear stories about legendary racing drivers and their cars, and see the original vehicles. The central focus is on famous names from the racing world, along with the high points and tragedies of their careers. Industrial illustrations and examples of advertising art are also shown. Racing placards, like those of Porsche, are among the most sought-after trophies for collectors today, and many of them can be seen here in their original form. The racing photographs of Horst H. Baumann brought new aesthetic standards to the sport. His studies of racing cars are now housed in galleries all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and some also feature in the PROTOTYP exhibition.
Start your last day in Hamburg with the International Maritime Museum Hamburg. The exhibition at the International Maritime Museum Hamburg (IMMH) focuses on new horizons, it tells the stories of discoverers and conquerors and of captains and seamen. In short, an expedition through 3,000 years of the history of humanity. On 10 stories and more than 11,000 square metres of exhibition space, the visitors can experience shipping and marine history from 3,000 years. Over several decades, Professor Peter Tamm senior has collected about 26,000 ship models, 50,000 construction plans, 5,000 paintings and graphics, more than 2,000 films, 1.5 million photos, 120,000 books and numerous nautical devices, historical uniforms, militaries and maritime objects.
Next, visit the Hamburg Dungeon, a unique and inciting experience. All of Hamburg is burning – where can you run to now to get away from the fire? … you will experience these situations and many more, such as the era of the plague as well as the legendary “Klabautermann”, live and up close … if you have the courage, that is! More than 600 years of the city’s history await you behind the ancient walls of the “Speicherstadt”. Professional actors, exciting shows and breathtakting rides will take you in a realistic reconstruction of the past – provoking plenty of goose bumps, exciting surprises and scary moments.
After lunch, visit the Museum of Anthropology. Founded in 1879 the Museum für Völkerkunde (Museum of Anthropology) is one of Europe’s largest anthropological museums and documents the art and cultural histories of the people of the world. The comprehensive collections gathered by Hamburg merchants and scientists for this museum now comes close to a total of 700,000 exhibits, photos and documents from all over the world. The vividly designed exhibitions in an area of 5,000 square metres appeal to all the senses and all age groups. A wide ranging spectrum of festivals, concerts and markets make it a unique place for people from all over the world to come together.
Next, make your way to the Hamburg Zoo (Tierpark Hagenbeck). This green oasis in the centre of Hamburg is a popular day-trip destination whatever the weather. Whether you choose to visit alone, with your partner, or with your children, Hagenbeck’s Zoo has something for everyone. Its panoramic views and open-air enclosures are world-famous. The Zoo is home to 1,850 animals from all over the world and we have bred many species threatened with extinction with great success. Orangutans, Asian Elephants and Giant Otters from South America have all found sanctuary at Hagenbeck.
End your tour of Hamburg with one of its most popular attractions, the Alster. The image of Hamburg downtown is formed by the Außenalster (Outer Alster) and the Binnenalster (Inner Alster). The Alster has its spring in the north of Hamburg near Henstedt-Ulzburg. In Hamburg’s citycentre the Alster expands into a big lake. The water is surrounded by trees, green parks and beautiful buildings which give the cityscape a special charisma. To uphold the beautiful scenery, it is rule that all buildings around the Alster have to be white and their roofs need to be covered with copper.