Hamburg’s New Elbphilharmonie Another Reason to Visit Germany

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The author cruising through Hamburg's warehouse district. Photo courtesy Janna Graber
The author cruising through Hamburg’s warehouse district. Photo courtesy Janna Graber

Speicherstadt

Music is not the only reason to visit Hamburg. The city’s diverse neighborhoods offer a wide variety of experiences to travelers.

One of the best ways to view the city is by harbor cruise. Cruises showcase the port and harbor, and journey through the canals of the Speicherstadt warehouse district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has now become a hip neighborhood for restaurants, shops and attractions.

One of those attractions is Miniatur Wunderland, one of the world’s largest miniature railway attractions. Iconic destinations from around the world come to life in miniature here, with working trains, boats, cars and even planes. The attention to detail is mind-boggling, so time is needed to explore each room.

Iconic scenes from destinations around the world come to life in miniature at Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg. Photo by Janna Graber
Iconic scenes from destinations around the world come to life in miniature at Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg. Photo by Janna Graber

Coffee lovers congregate at Rösterei Burg, also in the Speicherstadt warehouse district. Hamburg’s warehouses were once filled with coffee and tea bound for homes across Europe. The custom coffee roaster honors that tradition with its coffee shop, store and coffee museum. Daily tours detail where coffee comes from and how it’s roasted. There’s even an impressive collection of coffee making equipment from throughout the decades.

The Wasserschloss is just steps from Rösterei Burg. As its German name suggests, the grand building does indeed look like a small castle surrounded by moats, and houses a restaurant specializes in contemporary and traditional German cuisine. Downstairs is home to an extensive tea shop.

The Elbphilharmonie stands tall in the distance from Speicherstadt. Photo by Jorg Modrow, Hamburg Tourism
The Elbphilharmonie stands tall in the distance from Speicherstadt. Photo by Jorg Modrow, Hamburg Tourism

HafenCity and Beyond

While Speicherstadt reflects Hamburg’s historic roots, HafenCity is a look into Hamburg’s future. HafenCity, where the Elbphilharmonie is located, is Europe’s largest inner-city urban development project. What was once a harbor zone will become mixed use housing, offices, shops, restaurants and more. It will be interesting to watch this area of Hamburg grow. Completion is estimated for 2025.

Other must-see Hamburg experiences include a Sunday morning visit to the Hamburger Fischmarkt (Hamburg Fish Market), where market barkers offer good-natured insults and try to out yell other vendors, creating a cacophony of sound that visitors and locals enjoy. The market is just a few minutes from the bar and club scene at the Reeperbahn. It’s a treasured Hamburg tradition to visit the Fish Market for a fish sandwich at the end of a long night out on the town, so don’t be surprised to see some late-night partiers winding down.

If the weather is nice, follow the locals to Alster Lake, the city’s favorite playground for biking, kayaking, walking and sailing. Lake cruises are a fine way to spend the afternoon in this world-class German city.

The Park Hyatt Hamburg is located in the heart of the city, and is known for its Hansiatic elegance. Photo by Park Hyatt Hamburg
The Park Hyatt Hamburg is located in the heart of the city, and is known for its Hansiatic elegance. Photo by Park Hyatt Hamburg

Where to Stay in Hamburg

Hamburg has a wide variety of hotels to choose from. The Elbphilharmonie is home to the 244-room Westin Hamburg Hotel. Another popular option is the Park Hyatt Hamburg, a 5-star property located in the historic Levantehaus building in the heart of the city near Mönckebergstrasse, one of Hamburg’s main shopping streets. The Park Hyatt Hamburg is known for its Hansiatic elegance, its extensive spa and Apples, a top restaurant that locals also frequent. The hotel’s 283 rooms are large, with warm cherry woods. The luxury bathrooms include heated floors, large tubs and showers which have both hand-held and Japanese-style rain showers. It’s a peaceful place to rest after a busy day out exploring Hamburg.

If You Go

Getting to Hamburg

Hamburg has an international airport with direct flights from many international destinations and throughout Germany. The train from the airport to Hamburg’s Hauptbahnhof (central station) takes 25 minutes.

Getting around in Hamburg

The easiest way to get around Hamburg is by using the public transportation. The Hamburg Card includes all public transportation (even the train from airport to Hamburg’s central main station), as well as discount admissions to 150 attractions and restaurants. It is available from Hamburg Tourism at hamburg-travel.com.

Hamburg Tourism Information
hamburg-travel.com

Author Bio: Janna Graber has covered travel in more than 48 countries. She is the editor of three travel anthologies, including “A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women’s Travel,” and is the managing editor of Go World Travel Magazine (www.goworldtravel.com).