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.
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