Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city, also holds the distinction of having the world’s third-largest port, a bustling 300-year-old fish market, and one of the most impressive collections of European art in all of Germany. If you thought Hamburg was boring compared its cousins Frankfurt and Berlin, think again. Take to the water and check out the 10 best things this port city has to offer.
When Hamburg finally joined the German customs zone in 1888, work began on a new warehouse district for its free port.Residential quarters on the Zollkanal were removed and storage facilities were constructed on oak piles and with Gothic Revival architecture.Now protected as a World Heritage Site, the Speicherstadt or City of Warehouses has an atmosphere all its own, and it’s enough just to walk through these red-brick canyons, crossing the canals and admiring the glazed decoration on the gabled facades.
St. Michael’s Church
The most famous of Hamburg’s many churches, St. Michael’s was built in the Baroque style between 1750 and 1762 and is one of the city’s most important landmarks. From its 132-meter-high tower, familiarly known as “Michel” and accessible by stairs and an elevator, viewing platforms offer excellent panoramas of the city and port, a particular treat during their regular extended evening openings. Look for the stunning bronze statue of Archangel Michael killing the devil over the entrance.
The world’s largest rural cemetery and also one of the most important, this place to visit in Hamburg boasts 12 chapels while being a ground to 1.5 million burials. Unlike the other cemeteries, this one pulls tourists in a huge number to see its monuments, memorials, and the museum. Do include this cemetery on your list of Hamburg tour
Rickmer Rickmers and Cap San Diego
Berthed along the river at Landungsbrücken, Rickmer Rickmers is a three-masted tall ship with a long and colorful history. Built in 1896, the ship returned to Hamburg in 1983, and after four years of restoration is now a museum focused on the role of the merchant marine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The MS Cap San Diego, a 1960s cargo ship, is another merchant marine ship museum with visitor access to the entire ship, from the bridge to the engine rooms.
The Port of Hamburg
The Port of Hamburg, the Hamburger Hafen, encompassing 100 square kilometers of tidal harbor, is known as the Gateway to Germany. It’s also where you’ll find many of the city’s important attractions – and on summer evenings and weekends plenty of local residents relaxing. A lovely pedestrian trail takes in the old 19th-century Warehouse District, with its continuous lines of tall brick buildings once used to store tobacco, coffee, dried fruit, and spices.