Here are a couple of things you have to read before you start packing :
1. The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany with population of around 1,7 million people. The official name reflects its history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, and as a free city of the Holy Roman Empire. Today Hamburg is one of the 16 federal states of Germany. Every year in May, with more than million guests from all over the world, Hamburg celebrates the Hafengeburtstag or birthday of its port (the second biggest port in Europe!). The main symbols of Hamburg are its amazing Rathaus (city hall) built in neo-renaissance style and the Speicherstadt (city of warehouses), the largest warehouse district in the world.
2. Hamburg is the media metropolis of Germany, particularly in the area of print media, where it has a leading position. Almost 50% of the German mainstream press is held by important Hamburg publishing houses. Hamburg is considered to be the “Creative Capital” of Germany, and its advertising agencies always end up in leading positions in national and international competitions. Media employs around 70,000 people in more than 14 000 companies. Hamburg is also an important center for media training, with the best journalism schools in the whole country.
3. As a big harbor, Hamburg has always attracted people from all over the World, including many who were searching for jobs on its docks or simply a chance for a better life in the big city. Especially during the 1960s and ´70s many Portuguese immigrants found the southern part of Hamburg an interesting place to settle because of its relatively low rents and proximity to the harbor. This immigration gave the district also its present name – Portuguese Quarter (Portugiesenviertel). When you enter this area, you will be surprised when you see numerous lively Portuguese restaurants, bars, patisseries and all decorated with green-red Portuguese flags. In addition to tourists, many young people and employees from the surrounding office buildings visit it at lunchtime, making it one of the busiest districts in town.
4. One of the places that Hamburg is world famous for is definitely St. Pauli, a lively area on the right bank of the Elbe River, near the stunning Landungsbrücken – the old bridge, which is also one of the city´s symbols. Historically, St. Pauli was mainly visited by sailors who were searching for entertainment during their stay in Hamburg; and because of that, shops and restaurants were open all night long, which continues to this day. The part of town that never sleeps, with a focal point in Reeperbahn Street, St. Pauli is full of theatres, musicals, bars and clubs, as well as the best known red light district. The Beatles also lived in St. Pauli and played at the Star-Club before they became world famous.
5. HafenCity Hamburg is a modern neighborhood, the result of a massive urban regeneration project where the old port warehouses were replaced with offices, hotels, shops, and residential buildings. This was one of the largest projects of its kind in Europe in terms of landmass. The whole area is crisscrossed by canals and bridges; and with its mixture of old brick houses and futuristic glass buildings, it reflects the soul of Hamburg: an old city with tradition that is adjusting to the needs of a new age. HafenCity will soon get a new landmark – the impressive Elbe Philharmonic Hall, a new concert hall built on top of an old warehouse. This will be the tallest building in Hamburg, with a planned height of 110m.
6. One of the most beautiful hidden places for relaxation in Hamburg is the quiet Blankenese area, a former fisher village that turned into a fancy place for living and quick getaways. Situated on a hill near the river, overladen with old villas, picturesque flower gardens, and narrow streets, Blankenese has a totally distinct atmosphere compared to the rest of the city. In Hamburg, ships are open to the public, so you can simply hop on and travel to Blankenese while enjoying the view.This area is also interesting for Treppenvirtel (or Staircase quarter) with around 5 000 steps that lead from the top of the hill to the beach.
7. As is true in every port city, the main specialties are fresh fish and seafood. So, if you happen to be in Hamburg on Sunday, don´t miss a chance to visit Altona Fish Market. Open from 5 am until 9.30, the fish market attracts around 70,000 visitors to the Elbe river bank. This interesting market has become a real tourist attraction, but not just because of the good food. Besides buying fish and exotic fruits, in the market hall it is also possible to dance with live music! So if you don´t know where to go after the club closes on Saturday – the Fish Market is one of the possible options!