Over the past few years a glossy new 21st-century district – HafenCity – has been taking shape in the Hamburg port area. Packed with super-sleek architecture and linked to the city centre via the historic warehouse quarter, it has created a vibrant community right beside the water’s edge.
An increasing number of restaurants, cafes, shops, galleries and museums are moving in. In the summertime, people flock to the Magellan terraces for music, dance and theatre events.
Go on a discovery tour through the city on the Elbe and explore the most beautiful sites, take part in unique events or feast in the most delicious restaurants and cafés.
Hamburg boasts not only elegant residential areas and townhouses on the Elbe River, but also luxury at its best. Elegant Hanseatic style doesn’t have to be expensive, but must exude a unique identity – just like the residents of the city.
In the flow of the Elbe and surrounded on three sides by water, Hamburg’s new concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, is a centre of attraction. The building celebrated its opening in January 2017 and houses three concert halls, a large music education area, dining and drinking venues, a hotel and the public plaza that offers visitors an unparalleled panoramic view over the city.
Artistic quality, variety and accessibility shape the musical program of Hamburg’s new cultural landmark. The Elbphilharmonie was designed by the renowned Swiss firm of architects Herzog & de Meuron. The glass structure, with its wave-like top, perched on top of a brick warehouse foundation – the former Kaispeicher A, which was built at the port between 1963 and 1966 and then used for storing tea, tobacco and cocoa – rises up 110 metres into the sky.
Constructed at the western point of the modern HafenCity, the Elbphilharmonie serves as a symbol of the city’s past, present and future. It stands for Hamburg’s self-image of building on tradition to create something new, as well as for the many contrasts that coincide within the city and make up Hamburg’s character.
The Plaza is the central meeting place in the Elbphilharmonie and forms the link between the warehouse and the new structure. Even getting to it is an experience: an 80-metre-long, slightly curved escalator transports visitors through the building. At the summit, standing 37 metres above the ground, are panoramic views over the city and port. An outside walkway leads around the entire building.
The Speicherstadt is likely to be the most famous symbol of the maritime history of the Hanseatic city of Hamburg. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the expression of Hamburg’s rise and is one of the most attractive sites today!
More than 100 years old and the world’s largest warehouse district, Speicherstadt Hamburg is a unique and unexpected attraction of the port city. The precinct is embedded with Wilhelminian Gothic brick from the Wilhelminian era, bizarre gables and turrets, which are stunningly reflected from the canals.
Speicherstadt is relaxing and tours provide many interesting details about Hamburg’s history. The world’s largest contiguous complex of warehouses was built from 1883, five years before Hamburg received its free port status. The district has been a listed structure since 1991. The warehouses are built on pine stilts, and the area is crisscrossed by the so-called Fleeten canals, which flood depending on the tide, and can then also be navigated by ship. With the right tide, visitors can use small barges to cross the narrow canals to enjoy the architectural details. Departures usually take place at the landing stages in St. Pauli.
As dusk arrives, Hamburg’s warehouse zone becomes engulfed in a mysterious aura. The red brick buildings and the steel bridges are artfully illuminated by 800 spotlights. A fairytale atmosphere of the illuminated facades are reflected in the water 365 days a year. The “Lichtkunst Speicherstadt” project is being implemented by the Licht-Kunst-Speicherstadt eV association, which, with its 50 members, is responsible for lighting and maintaining the attraction.
Tip: Information about the history of the Speicherstadt, the work of the neighborhood people and typical stored goods such as coffee, cocoa or tea can be found in the Speicherstadtmuseum.
Shopping from A to Z
Whether bargain hunters, lovers of fine fashions or fashion victims looking for the latest craze: Hamburg is a mecca for shopaholics. In the city centre, the big designer labels compete in a very small space for the favour of international customers. Hanseviertel, Europapassage, Jungfernstieg, Mönckebergstrasse and Spitalerstrasse exert a magical attraction on everyone who wants to take more than just good memories home with them.
Between passages, shopping centres, numerous cafes and the Alster canals, shopping is fun in any weather!
Find out more about Hamburg’s shopping options here.
Top Restaurants and Bars in Hamburg
The Table (three Michelin Stars)
The Table by star chef Kevin Fehling on Shanghaiallee in Hamburg’s trendy HafenCity district impresses with its modernity and exclusivity, in keeping with the charming location in the port city. Far away from the classic high-class restaurants, The Table impresses with interior design charms that are unique in Germany. A single, curved counter made of dark cherry wood removes the guest from the usual conventions and enables both conviviality and separation into groups of seats of different sizes.
Haerlin (two Michelin Stars)
Awarded with two Michelin stars and 19 Gault Millau points as wells as 4 1/2 F’s (“Der Feinschmecker”), gourmet restaurant Haerlin is well-known far beyond Hamburg. Led by Executive Chef Christoph Rüffer, the team prepares amazing dishes with creatively composed flavours and surprising textures within the seasonal aligned menus. Here, the focus is set on supreme quality and the origin of the products.
A highlight for wine lovers is the customised wine cabinet, made of glass and polished brass, with noble wines and true rarities as well as the Sommelier’s Table.
The Fischereihafen restaurant has been inextricably linked with the name Kowalke since 1981. It has the big three: the highest quality, warm service and an attractive price-performance ratio. Here, anything that comes from the seas and has scales, crusts or shells is prepared by a knowledgeable hand.
The range of dishes on offer is just as varied as the audience. Business people, families, celebrities from politics, shows and sports enjoy the delicious kitchen creations in a stylish ambience. In the Fischereihafen restaurant, the service starts right outside the door. There the friendly car master welcomes guests and parks their cars on request.
Here the guest really is king, regardless of whether they are a regular customer or a curious first-time visitor. Those who want to be even closer to the Elbe when the weather is ideal can dine on the balcony terrace. Around 50 guests can enjoy the magnificent view of the port and shipping traffic.
The menu offers classic regional dishes such as the famous smoked eel fillet on scrambled herbs and the turbot centerpiece with Pommery mustard sauce, as well as modern and exotic creations for every taste.
The German island of Sylt is a scenic three-hour train ride from Hamburg. The largest of the North Frisian islands is a popular destination among foodies and water sports fans.
Stretching 99 square kilometres, the island is 35 kilometres in length but only 1km at its widest. Dubbed the ‘Queen of the North Sea’ the peninsula is home to a dozen scattered villages, each with their own individual charm, small farms and sandy beaches (on the west).
Sylt can be accessed from the mainland by a causeway at the Hindenburg Dam that provides direct links for cars and the train. Flights also operate to the destination.
This article is a LATTE exclusive and was prepared in partnership with Germany National Tourist Office and Hamburg Tourismus. For further information on Hamburg, see https://www.hamburg-tourism.de/