A Carnival of culture and colour
Hamburg sits on the north coast of Germany and is a deliciously rich combination of cosmopolitan city culture, architectural splendour and incredible nightlife. It is known as Germany’s centre for shopping and culture, with over 50 museums and 30 theatres, but it is also fast becoming one of Europe’s most fashionable party destinations amongst those in the know.
The city has a reputation for its carnival of theatrical strip shows, sex shops and its liberal attitude to ladies of the night, but it is also awash with an abundance of cool, urban venues that make this city an uber-trendy playground. Think combining Moulin Rouge with hipster credentials, or blending London’s sexy Soho with bohemian Camden, and you’re getting close. The city has a buzzing live and electronic music scene and the Schanzenviertel District lies at the heart of this, fully embodying the trendy fusion of experimental music and old industrial spaces, with warehouse parties and former factories housing all-nighters – Hipster Hamburg at its finest.
Me and the girls went to the Hamburg Christmas markets which were magical. The nightlife is easily the best I've experienced as well - the whole place is pretty special.
The St. Pauli district in the west of the city is home to the famous Reeperbahn - Hamburg’s answer to Amsterdam’s red light district. Whether you’re wary or fascinated by the novelty, it is well worth a visit – the sex industry may be in full swing, but the Reeperbahn is also packed with cultural attractions, restaurants, bars and clubs and is tourist-friendly and welcoming for those visiting out of curiosity. Crowds of thousands start to flock in from around 4pm and these days the Reeperbahn is as much about mainstream musicals that play to sold-out houses, stylish nightclubs that attract the wealthy and trendy, alternative pubs and bars where you can drink local beer and catch an up-and-coming music act. The Beatles rose to fame in Hamburg, and you don’t get finer music credentials than that.
However, we must advise you to avoid the Herbertstraße, a short side street in this district that is famous for having over 100 seductive ‘window displays’, is off-limits to women. It’s not illegal but, as a point of principle, the ladies in the windows are extremely territorial about other women being on their patch of turf and will happily throw things at you until you leave – you have been warned!