The original entrepreneur, Hamburg proudly boasts a long history of commerce. Born from medieval trading prosperity it now thrives as Germany’s second largest city and one of the richest in all of Europe, with a prestigious selection of hotels and restaurants to cater for the most discerning of clientele.
Hamburg is one of the richest cities in Europe – and it has a hotel scene to match. Internationally famous names such as the five-star Hotel Atlantic Kempinski (An der Alster 72-79) represent traditional opulence, while a new wave of contemporary upmarket accommodation caters for style-savvy travellers. Side (Drehbahn 49) is an eccentric city centre hotel that epitomises modern luxury, while Mercure Hotel Hamburg Mitte (Schroederstiftrasse 3) will charm mid-budget visitors with its cheerful and quirky vibe. Travelling on a budget? There’s no need to venture outside the city centre – Ibis Hamburg Alster Centrum (Holzdamm 4-12) is a well-located hotel with all the necessary creature comforts.
From the historic passages of Alsterarkaden to the American-style mall at Europapassagen (Ballindamm 40), Hamburg’s retail scene is dominated by shopping centres. Mall bunnies will adore the three undercover areas off Gänsemarkt, but the Jungfernstieg (Neustadt) centre is a better bet for luxury lovers. The city’s classiest boutiques are clustered around the Neuer Wall, where famous international brands such as Escada (Neuer Wall 32) and Jill Sander (Neuer Wall 43) rub shoulders with Hamburger favourites Möhring (Neuer Wall 25), Ladage & Oehlke (Neuer Wall 11) and furniture store Bornhold (Neuer Wall 72). Hamburg also has plenty to offer vintage fashion fans – check out Classen Secondhand (Grillparzerstrasse 2) for some fabulous retro bargains.
Once known for its culinary conservatism, Hamburg has recently seen an influx of creative chefs from all corners of the globe. Its best restaurants are still focused around traditional German cuisine – Das Dorf (Lange Reihe 39) is well known to locals for its delicious German dishes – but the city’s more interesting restaurants are experimenting with different flavours and cultural influences. Le Canard Nouveau (Elbchaussee 139) serves up scrumptious Mediterranean fare at good prices, while Piment (Lehmweg 29) plays with North African flavours to amazing effect. For a true treat, book a table at two-Michelin-star Haerlin (Neuer Jungfernstieg 9), where the view is almost as good as the food.
April, August, November
The first Hamburger Dom was held in 1329, and since then this tri-annual fair has grown to become the biggest of its kind in Germany. A collection of retro-style fairground rides and stalls gives the event a nostalgic atmosphere. Don’t miss the fabulous firework display that takes place every Friday evening while the fair runs.
This famous annual marathon attracts upwards of 15,000 runners every year, making it Germany’s largest road running competition. Spectators line the route to cheer on the participants and admire the weird-and-wonderful costumes.
Established in 1892, this is one of the most high-profile tennis tournaments in Europe and always draws a good crowd. Tickets are as hotly contested as the title, so book in advance if you want a seat.
This four-day summer festival in the heart of Hamburg is an eclectic mix of music, performance, sport and food. The highlight of the event is the family fireworks display, which attracts tens of thousands of watchers every year.
Germany’s biggest club music festival hosts over 250 international bands, indie musicians and solo artists over three days of concentrated revelry. It also features a series of workshops, showcases and seminars directed at upcoming bands and the music industry more generally.