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  >  Destinations  >  Germany  >  Hamburg

Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, is home to Europe’s second busiest port, and interestingly, is located on a river (the River Elbe).  Given our goal of just exploring the city, we stayed downtown, as central as possible (near the Hauptbahnhof).  We really just spent the weekend wandering about, taking in the sites.

The Harbour:  The Elbe River has a full-fledged port with cruise and heavy container ships, which is interesting.  It is located about 100 km away from the North Sea.

The Reeperbahn: We were told that the red light district was similar to that of Amsterdam and worthy of a peak.  I’m not sure I’d compare it to Amsterdam – it was busy, but a bit on the trashy side.  That said, it was a necessary stop, and fortunately we found a great roofbar, The Clouds) at one end of the Reeperbahn which allowed us to enjoy the view while sipping a cocktail.

Hafen City:  This neighbourhood is the largest urban building project in 21st Century Europe.  Basically it is a conversion of the old harbour into modern waterfront apartments, and new stores and restaurants, as well as a new symphony hall.

Alster Arkaden: This picturesque square is a great stop for a coffee, and strolling along the streets beside it, great for shopping as well.  With all the canals and small streets, it feels Venetian.  In addition, it leads to the city hall which is also worth a visit.

St Michael’s Church: The baroque church itself, while a signature landmark, is not really worthy of a site.  That said, the climb up to the spiraled top, defenitely is.  Take in the sweeping views of Hamburg from the top.  Note: there is a lift but I’d argue it is much more fulfilling to climb up and take the lift down.

Overall, a great city and well worth a weekend city break!