Water, water everywhere and Germany's biggest port has always been outward-looking. Its dynamism, multiculturalism and hedonistic red-light district, the Reeperbahn, all arise from its maritime history. Joining the Hanseatic League trading bloc in the Middle Ages, this long-standing duty-free port has been enthusiastically doing business with the world ever since. In the 1960s, it nurtured the talent of the Beatles. In the 21st century, it's also a media capital and the wealthiest city in Germany. Still overshadowed internationally by Berlin and Munich, domestically Hamburg is known as a natural achiever. Rarely prone to the self-doubt that's wracked the rest of Germany since reunification, this thriving &harbourpolis' has seen its container ports growing like topsy thanks to new Eastern European business. &Boomtown Hamburg', Stern magazine d in 2006 and with a beautiful cover of the night-time harbour lights twinkling. Such easygoing self-confidence makes Germany's second-largest city wonderful to visit. Immigrant workers mingle with students among the Portuguese, Turkish and Asian eateries of vibrant St Pauli and Schanzenviertel. Shipping, TV and newspaper magnates drive their Porsches up to mansions in leafy Blankenese. Defying the city's renowned Schmuddelwetter (drizzly weather), Hamburg's hipsters lounge on artificial river beaches, while visitors cruise around the Alster Lakes and the neo-Gothic Speicherstadt warehouses, or haggle at the rowdy fish market as cargo ships navigate the Elbe River. And if this isn't enough, there are buildings shaped like ocean liners, plus an all-new waterside HafenCity district. The Philharmonic hall being built there is tipped to rival the Sydney Opera House. In which case, the world might finally return some of Hamburg's attentions.
Excursions and attractions in HAMBURG close to HAMBURG Hamburg-Mitte:
Second only to Berlin, both in terms of size and overall population, the city of Hamburg is equally impressive and by no means second rate when it comes to tourism. Hamburg is a very different city, since it is home to one of the biggest harbours in the whole of Europe, together with a series of large lakes and winding waterways, which include the River Elbe. The true heart of commerce in the city of Hamburg is located within the Merchant's District, which is dominated by imposing historic red-brick architecture and many major companies. With a famous red-light district (St. Georg), an exciting local fish market (Fischmarkt) in the St. Pauli area, fine dining with river views, boating along the Speicherstadt canals, and a huge ion of top nightspots around the university quarter (Universitatsviertel), tourism in Hamburg is thriving.