Hamburg is Germany's second city. Hamburg is also the name of a federal state and the most important port in Germany. The official name of Hamburg is the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The true heart of the city is located within the commercial district, with beautiful brick buildings. Many large companies are located there. Hamburg has a famous red light district (St. Georg) and a nice local fish market (Fischmarkt) in the St. Pauli area. You can dine with a view of the river or sail along the Speicherstadt canals. There is a huge selection of entertainment options near the university (Universitatsviertel). Tourism in Hamburg is booming.
Hamburg Sankt PauliPhoto: Public Domain
The landscape of Hamburg is shaped by lakes, rivers and forests and is gently sloping with an average height of 16 meters. The main rivers are the Elbe, the Bille and the Alster. These rivers are branched into small streams and canals. The city is not by the sea, but about 150 km inland. The territory of Hamburg extends for just over 755 square kilometers.
The climate of Hamburg can be characterized as a mild maritime climate. In winter, the temperature fluctuates around freezing. July and August are the hottest months of the year with an average temperature of around 19 °C. Most precipitation also falls in the summer, but June is the sunniest month of the year. The best time to travel is summer, but spring and autumn are also suitable, which are slightly drier and offer an almost equally attractive climate, with warm, sunny days.
The history of Hamburg dates back to the time of Charlemagne. A castle called the 'Hammaburg' was built in 825 AD. This castle stood at the junction of the rivers Elbe and Alster. In the middle of the 12th century, the Count of Holstein decided to found a new trading city near Hamburg, following the example of Lübeck. The trading city of Hamburg is developing at a rapid pace and on May 7, 1189, Emperor Frederick I grants Hamburg trade and shipping privileges.
Hamburg at the end of the 16th centuryPhoto: Public Domain
After 1550, Hamburg transcends the Hanseatic city of Lübeck and becomes the largest trading point in Northern Europe. At the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Hamburg became a sovereign state, officially entitled Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
In the 19th century, Hamburg was occupied by Napoleon, the Russians, the Swedes and eventually returned to German hands. In World War II, much of Hamburg's infrastructure was destroyed in the bombing. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, Hamburg regained its position as the most important port in the country.
Whether you want to enjoy the vibrant city life or nature, Hamburg is worth considering. Some of the main attractions are:
Hamburg Warehouses SpeicherstadPhoto: Gulp CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
Speicherstad is the oldest collection of red brick warehouses in the world. It is known for the storage of various goods from different corners of the world.
The collection of the history museum of the city of Hamburg covers the period from the 8th century to the 20th century. The changing history of Hamburg is documented in this museum.
Hamburger KunsthallePhoto: Pedelecs at wikivoyage shared CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
The Hamburger Kunsthalle is Hamburg's most important art museum. The collection consists of works of art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Works by Rembrandt, Monet and Rodin are on display.
Hamburg has one of the largest ports in Europe and can be explored by boat. A tour takes visitors past huge ships anchored. Container terminals, tankers and rusting ships are being repaired in the docks. Eighty million tons of goods pass through this port every year.
Bankenese is located on the steep hill of the Elbe and a visit to this picturesque fishing village is highly recommended. Many Hamburgers have a weekend house there.
The Reeperbahn is always packed with tourists. This red light district has become one of the most popular tourist attractions. There are numerous restaurants, bars and night clubs. The Reeperbahn is famous for its erotic entertainment.
Hamburg Fishmarket AltonaPhoto: Razvan Orendovici CC 2.0 Generic no changes made
The Altona fish market is located on Grossen Elbstrasse, near the River Elbe and is close to the Reeperbahn. This market is known as a fish market, but Altona offers everything a tourist can look for. On Sundays the market is extra busy with a combination of people who have just had a night out and with tourists who have just got up extra early.