"Hamburg" Hamburg by antistar

Hamburg Travel Guide: 1,530 reviews and 3,636 photos

I was walking along the Elbe away from Landungsbrucken when I first noticed it. I turned around and saw the city stretch and curve along the banks of the river, the wide water washing far across to the grey, ephemeral, mist obscured docks. It looked like a city by the sea, but there was no sea to be seen. It looked magical.

Hamburg isn't like other German cities. It's not like other cities in Europe. It feels cold and industrial like Liverpool, but it is cut through with graceful canals like Venice. The buildings are industrial, post-modern even in the expensively new HafenCity, but they frame beautifully against the waters in the channel, and the wide expanses of water in the city centre give outstanding and unobstructed views of many of Hamburg's best sights.

Hamburg is one of the world's busiest harbours, it has cruise liners, ferries and gigantic ULVC container ships, but it's many miles from the sea. It is a huge city, the second biggest in Germany, and the seventh biggest in Europe. It has a vast public transport system, but it hasn't got a single tram. The city was firebombed into oblivion during the war, and yet its city centre is full of beautiful old buildings.

I fell in love with the city. Not immediately. It took a while for me to realise its charms. The weather didn't help - it's routinely awful up this edge of the North Sea. Arriving at the grim train station didn't impress me. A walk around the Alster made me think. Looking across the fountain at the skyline over the Binnenalster had me snapping endlessly with my camera. A walk along the canals in the centre delighted me. The walk from the Landungsbrucken sold me. But the boat ride through the warehouse district of Speicherstadt had me in wonder.

  • Last visit to Hamburg: Sep 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    Hi Tim
    Gathering tips for our forthcoming trip to Europe, so thought I'd drop by to get your perspective on Hamburg. Splendid stuff as always!


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