Speicherstadt (The Warehouse District)
The beautiful old factories in the district
Adjacent to the harbour, you will find the Warehouse District in Hamburg - the oldest warehouse complex in the world - which is a fascinating example of the city’s rich, architectural history. The neo-gothic buildings - once used to store goods such as spices, coffee and tea from the port - have been restored over the years but have kept their distinctive style.
You can take a tour of the area and sample Hamburg’s own Holsten Pilsiner, in the hugely popular local eateries that have sprung up. The district is also home to the Hamburg Dungeon and the impressive Miniatur Wunderland – the world's largest model railway.
Fischmarkt (Fish Market)
Haggling for an orange
This fish market turned street festival, featuring live bands, beer stalls, street vendors and German entertainment is a must-see for anyone looking for a good old knees-up. Since 1703, the Fischmarkt has been held every Sunday along the harbour of the Elbe River and attracts upwards of 70,000 visitors each week.
Due to its port location, Hamburg’s cuisine has been heavily influenced by seafood and many of the local delicacies reflect this (it’s not just schnitzels and sauerkraut, you know). You will find an abundance of seafood restaurants, serving delicious food along the harbour, from à la carte dishes to the classic fish finger sandwich. After visiting the market, many people congregate in the auction hall to watch bands, with an ice cold stein.
The lively streets of the Reeperbahn
St Pauli’s Reeperbahn is recognised as one of the most famous attractions in Hamburg. The wonderfully outrageous red light district is home to a notable amount of sex shops, strip clubs, variety acts, museums, theatres, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and 100, erm, double-glazed windows, bringing a whole new meaning to the term 'window shopping'...
Not only is The Reeperbahn a red light district, but it is also home to a rich music scene, credited with propelling The Beatles in to international stardom. The surrounding streets are home to several ultra-stylish music venues, along with mainstream drinking establishments. However, there are edgier bars for those that like their beverages served by a waiter sporting a handlebar moustache, braces and oversized glasses (hipsters… come on guys).
Hafengeburtstag (Hamburg Port Festival)
Fireworks illuminating the port of Hamburg
The Hamburg Port Festival is the city’s biggest annual event, taking place over three days in early May. Widely regarded as ‘the world’s greatest port festival’, the fair was established in honour of Emperor Barbarossa granting Hamburg customs exception, with more than one million visitors arriving each year to celebrate ‘the birthday of the harbour’.
Whilst the concerts, funfairs and gallons of beer (of course) make this an incredible attraction for those visiting the city, the real star of the show is the water programme. Over 300 ships from around the world travel to Hamburg for the occasion. Another highlight is the spectacular firework show, which takes place on the Saturday along the river bank, at the end of the celebrations.
Hamburger Dom (Funfair)
Everyone loves The Big Wheel
The Hamburger Dom, established in 1329, is one of Europe’s oldest funfairs. It is annually held at Heiligengeistfeld fairground in the centre of Hamburg in late March, late July and late November, and with three fairs per year, it is also recognised as the longest fair in Germany.
Those who love the occasional adrenaline rush of being thrown into the air will certainly enjoy the rides, as the Hamburger Dom is home to the Olympic Looping - the world’s largest portable rollercoaster. For those that like to keep their feet firmly on the ground, however, there are street vendors and small eateries at the fair, serving traditional, hearty German meals.
Alstervergnügen (Alster Amusement)
Cocktails by the lake
Lake Alster runs through the heart of Hamburg and is the host of the Alstervergnügen – an annual summer street festival. The stunning lake is the focus of the festival, so it comes as no surprise that watersports are a prominent feature. Over the course of three days, you can watch several sports, including; wakeboarding, waterskiing, rowing and sailing.
Back on dry land, around 500 national and international artists, acrobats and athletes perform from 10am to midnight, with the fair eventually culminating in an impressive firework display over the Alster.