Although it may only be Germany's second-largest city, Hamburg has a fine international reputation and is a fantastic place for a city break with family, friends or as a couple.
Located in the north of Germany, sitting on the mighty River Elbe, Hamburg is a great place to take a city break, whoever you are with. There is plenty on offer for people of all ages, such as museums and attractions, while couples and groups of friends will also enjoy the wide range of nightlife that the city offers. As a city with a long maritime history, the best way to experience this is by taking a boat trip along one of the canals, as the city has more bridges than Amsterdam, Venice and London put together. The artificial Lake Alster and the parks that surround it are an important feature of the city, particularly as the city expands to include the new HafenCity.
If you are looking for family-friendly places to visit, try the Hagenback Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. You might also want to visit the St Michaelis church and tower, as well as the Rathaus (Hamburg's Town Hall) and the Chilehaus, a unique example of Brick Expressionism architecture.
While there is plenty on offer for families to enjoy, there is much to attract those without children to Hamburg. Places include the Philharmonic Hall and the Reeperbahn, which has a great atmosphere and can help you find out more about the Beatles' connection with the city. Shopping in Hamburg is excellent; all the major German department stores, as well as a huge range of restaurants and bars serving all kinds of food (especially seafood) are represented here.
Hamburg has a coastal climate, meaning that the warmest months to visit are June, July and August, while December, January and February tend to be the coldest.
As you would expect from a city the size of Hamburg, there are many festivals and events taking place throughout the year. There are annual street festivals such as Gay Pride and the Alster Fair, as well as the Hafengeburtstag, a funfair that celebrates the Port of Hamburg. In December there are Christmas markets held in Rathaus Square and other places throughout the city. Hamburg also plays host to many sporting events throughout the year, such as the Hamburg Marathon and the Hamburg Masters tennis event.
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Romance: Take a trip with your loved one high above the Hamburg skyline in the High Flyer Balloon. Time your romantic trip just right to see the sun setting on the horizon.
Shopping: The huge Europa Passage is an indoor shopping centre of gargantuan proportions. There are five floors crammed with shops. For al fresco shopping, take in the window displays along Moenckebergstrasse or visit one of Hamburg's lively markets.
Families: Bring the world down to a more manageable size for little minds at Miniatur Wunderland, claimed to be the world's largest model railway. Tour miniature parts of Europe, as well as a tiny slice of America.
Hop on the S-Bahn train into central Hamburg from the airport and be in the city centre in 25 minutes.
A number of buses stop directly outside the airport terminals and travel into the city centre. Depending on the route and the number of stops, this journey can take up to an hour, though it is a reasonably priced option.
Licensed taxis are available from designated ranks outside the arrivals terminals. Fix the price of your journey before you set off.
Public transport: An extensive network of buses and trains operate in and around Hamburg, with good links to most areas of interest. The central part of the city is well connected even in the early hours of the morning, with late-running and early-starting trains, and a night-bus service.
Ferries: A number of ferries run in Hamburg, though they do cost more than buses and trains.
Taxis: Taxis are reasonably priced and easy to find in Hamburg.
Bike: This bicycle-friendly city has a number of hire options, including the StadtRAD Hamburg scheme with hire stations throughout the city, if you would like to see the sights by bike.
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