City Centre, Hamburg
Three sugestions for a panoramic view over Hamburg (there are more, but these are my favourites):
1. from the "Michel"/St. Michaelis church tower
2. viewing platform from the memorial church St. Nikolai (elevator)
3. from the Hot Air balloon ("Highflyer") at the eastern end of the Speicherstadt area (Deichtorstraße), suitable weather provided.
Sandeman's New Europe offers an excellent 3-hour walking-tour through Hamburg in Spanish - and for free! There is no need to book in advance, just show up in front of the Starbuck's at the Rathausplatz (Town Hall Square). The guides work on a tip only base. That means: you pay as much as you think the tour was worth. For me, the tour was one of the best I ever had in Germany. In fact, it transmitted historic facts in an entertaining way which I usually only know from the British isles. Important points included the town hall, Petrikirche, Chilehaus, Trostbrücke, Nikolaikirche and the Hafencity with Speicherstadt. Topics treated include the key moments of Hamburg's history, for example the Great Fire of 1842, the unification of Germany in 1871 and Germany's darkest years between 1933 and 1945. There is a 20 minute break in between with a chance to use the lavatories.
The tour is available in English as well. But although I have been on the Spanish tour only, I expect the English one to be as good as the Spanish one. These guys are highly recommended!
Streits Film Theatre offers easy access to English Language movies without subtitles. Whereas the Abaton and 3001 Kino lean toward indie releases and Oscar buzz films, Streits will offer fluff and action blockbusters, a la Indiana Jones, or Sex In the City. Streits has a theatre lobby which also does double duty as a popular "scene" bar with designer drinks and lounge music for hip Hamburg 30-somethings and the after hours crowd from exclusive surrounding shops. During summer, evening movie goers spill out onto the sidewalk, enjoying cocktails or iced coffee while they take in the view of the Alster lake and pavillion across the street. It's a locale that works just as well on a rainy day or Sunday, when you want to find something cozy to do other than stay at home or wander around a museum for hours on end...
One of my favorite things to do while in Hamburg was walking through the Rathaus Townhall Platz. This is a beautiful area perfect for strolling or just sitting enjoying the crowds. This area is also within walking distance to a variety of wonderful stores for shopping. When we were there in August there was a food festival underway in the Rathausmarkt square offering a wide variety of food for purchase. We visited this area several times while in Hamburg.
The Rathaus Townhall was completed in 1897 and houses Hamburg's city government. For 1 or 2 euros you can go on a tour of this neo-renaissance building. I believe their hours are: M-F 7am to 7pm, Sat. 10am to 5pm, Sun. 10am to 4pm. Be sure and check ahead as tours are sometimes not offered during special sessions etc.
The Rathaus Platz has one of the best live webcams I've seen. We had fun coordinating a time with family and friends back home so we could 'live' wave to them from Germany!
In Deichstrasseand also at its backside (the river-side ), at Nikolai-fleet you may see the most beautiful row of ancient houses in Hamburg. From Deichstrasse you may enter these buildings by foot, at Nikolai-Fleet you would have to enter these houses by boat.
These houses dates back to the 17th century and most of them are used as restaurants with nice terraces at the waterside today. In Deichstrasse you have 2 tiny side-streets taking you to a footbridge, where you may take a better look at these lovely buildings !
In the ancient times all goods were transported by ship to these houses and then stored in these ware-houses and sold at the other side of the houses to the public
Hulbe-Haus is without doubt the most beautiful house in Moenckebergstrasse (the main shopping-street in Hamburg ). This ornate house was built in Dutch renaissance-style in 1911 and on top of it my may see a golden "Kogge" ( it used to be the typical type of ship used by the Hanse-merchants).
Take a walk around this building - next to the church of St.Petri : it has plenty of surprising details on also on the back-side.
Watch out for these great Hanseatic houses - like here on the 'Moenckeberg Strasse' - these houses belonged or even still belong to rich merchants and ship-owners
Hamburg City Hall makes no exception to the general rule that German town halls are superb. It was ready in 1897 after the previous 13th century one in the same place was destroyed in the great 1842 fire. The neo-renaissance outside gives way to all sorts of architecture once you are inside and you can visit it daily.
Around the city centre you will find these colourful Hans Hummel figures. Hans Hummel was the famous Hamburg water carrier with a bad temper who was teased by the local children because he couldn't run after them so he would just reply with "Mors Mors!!" ("Arses! Arses! ")
The website explains further:
Just by the Kleinen Alster, a little canal by Jungfernstieg, is the monument to the sons of Hamburg who died in the 1914-18 war.
Behind the monument is the Alsterakaden - the Italian style Alster Arcade where you can drink coffee and watch the boats go by.
Hamburg's inner city has two separate shopping areas. In Mönckebergstraße between the central railway station and the city hall you will find all the major department store chains. The quarter just south of the Binnenalster lake contains many canals and some of Germany's most fashionable and expensive malls. If you do not have such a thick wallet, it is still very nice to walk through the streets, across the canals looking at the people.
The splendid sandstone construction in neo-Renaissance style, built 1886 - 1897, dominates the city centre with its impressive architecture. Hamburg’s Town Hall is the seat of the city senate and the municipality of Hamburg and has 647 rooms!
After Hamburg’s Town Hall burnt to the ground in 1842, the town council moved into temporary quarters in the former orphanage in the Admiralitätsstraße and after that into the building of the Patriotische Gesellschaft – the temporary solution lasted over 55 years!
The new Rathaus was inaugurated in 1897. It stands on over 4000 oak posts. Very much in contrast to the Hanseatic style, the Town Hall gleams with an elaborately ornate façade which is graced by a total of 20 statues of the Kaiser. Above the main door a sentence is written in Latin which translated reads: “May the descendants seek to uphold the freedom which was won by our forefathers.”
The grand banquet hall in the Rathaus is 46 metres long, 18 metres wide and 15 metres high. Five huge paintings depict the history of Hamburg from 800 to 1900, 62 coats of arms of the cities of the ancient Hanseatic league adorn the walls. The three chandeliers each with 278 bulbs weigh 1500 kilos apiece!
Conducted tours in English and French:
Mo - Thurs 10.15am - 3.15pm
Fr - Su 10.15am. - 1.15 pm., hourly
Registration at information desk is requested.
Reservation for groups of 15 or more persons.
Tel.: +49/40/4 28 31 - 20 63 / 20 64
No tours during official functions.
Auskünfte: Tel. +49/40 / 24 70 (into tape)
The Jungfernstieg along the Alster is Hamburg's main shopping street and promenade since a long time. Families used to congregate here on Sundays, chaperoning their "Jungfern", their unmarried daughters. Nowadays people are more concentrated on their shopping in both the large department stores and exquisite boutiques.
On the Jungfernstieg you'll find the Hamburger Hof arcade, where shopping aspires to the higher echelons of culture. A must here is a visit to see Blume, famous for its imaginative and tasteful flower arrangements. The arcade also boasts a captivating selection of shops that may vary in size but not in quality, each trying to outdo its neighbour in the splendour stakes. Something out of the ordinary is What's New, with the latest ideas from the world of technology and design.
Other luxuries to look out for on the Jungfernstieg include shoe, leather and travel accessories, the famous Alsterhaus, Juwelier Wempe and houses steeped in tradition such as Streit's movie theatre. At the Jungfernstieg one can shop - or simply window-shop - to one's heart's content. And then? Easy enough; as you have doubtless realised, the Jungfernstieg borders the Binnenalster on one side where the Alster berths are located...
A great place to kill time is the Alsterarkaden (Alster Arcades). These are located on the side of the Jungfernstieg that faces the Rathausmarkt (Townhall Square), running parallel to the Alsterfleet. There are still four of the original buildings still standing, with their old street lamps, iron balustrades, gold-plated fish and tridents between the round arches. Simply stroll along the arcades, taking in the Mediterranean flair and exclusive shops, such as Joop.
Hungry? Don't let the Persian cuisine of Saliba pass you by. Once sated you can enjoy the sights of the Mellin-Passage (Mellin Arcade), which leads back to the Neue Wall. Here you will find ceiling frescoes and glass paintings dating back to the turn of the century. Or simply take the weight off your feet by sitting on the steps leading down to the fleet, feeding the ducks and watching the Alster boats as they cruise up and down.
100 times in Hamburg: following the example of bears and cows in Berlin and Zurich, there are now 100 figures of Hamburg’s most famous water carrier, Hans Hummel in the city centre.
Until October of 2004, the 1.82-metre-high and 240-kg-heavy figures made from glass-fibre-reinforced plastic will be populating the area between the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) and Alter Wall. The original Hamburg character is to serve as advertising for his home town in the form of a plastic. 43 banks, insurance companies, hotels and retailers from the Hanseatic city have provided sponsorship for the figure. Each figure was designed individually by an artist. “An enrichment of the city” says Henning Albers, boss of City Management, who is not only the author of the idea but is also sponsoring 15 of the figures.
This is the cheaper version of a shopping street in Hamburg. Together with Spitaler Strasse? you will find there all the popular shops like Zara, H&M, Benetton, Jean Pascale, Marco Polo, Karstadt,? Nothing typical for the city itself but much more affordable than Neuer Wall or Jungfernstieg?