Hamburg certainly has much to boast about. The Elbe Rivers’ connection to the North Atlantic made Hamburg a major trade hub in the Middle Ages, and before the Unification of Germany in 1871, Hamburg was a fully sovereign state. The trading history of Hamburg is reflected in the canals that criss-cross the city landscape, the old warehouses of Cremon and Speicherstadt, and the 17th-century townhouses on Deichstrasse. However, the modern Hamburg is something entirely different. From the kookily wonderful Miniatur Wunderland the largest model railway system in the world, to the cacophonous glory that is Reeperbahn the old sailors red light district, transformed into a street of high-class restaurants, cabarets, theatres, art galleries, bars and clubs. Then you have the ground breaking technology of the Old Elbe Tunnel, and the gleaming postmodern glass facades of modern Hamburg side by side with Baroque Churches, parkland, and the natural beauty of Inner Alster Lake, making Hamburg a city of contrasts.
Hamburg, like most German cities, has an efficient public transport system, as well as a public bicycle rental featuring seven gear bikes for hire and an incredibly reasonable price to match; first 30 minutes are free. Food is truly international, however, in the true maritime fashion, you will find the local dishes feature plenty of fish, and most importantly plenty of local beer, some of it still brewed in the old brewing quarters from the Middle Ages.
As an all year round destination, Hamburg has plenty to offer visitors. In saying that, Christmas is a wonderful time to visit. The German Christmas Markets are very famous, and the ones in Hamburg do not disappoint. You will find old fashioned carousels, gingerbread from Nuremberg, woodcarvers from The Tyrol with hand crafted Christmas decorations, mugs of gluhwein (spiced wine), bakers from Aachen with their famous ‘printen’ cookies, as well as silversmiths and craftspeople from all over Germany selling their wares or inviting you to simply soak up the joyous atmosphere.