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Hamburg City Guide

One of Germany's most popular cities is even more enticing than it was a few years ago, thanks to the Hafencity, the Ballinstadt Emigration Museum, and other new attractions.

Hamburg waterfrot

ABOVE: Hamburg's waterfront on the Elbe.

Hamburg flagHamburg is the second-largest city in Germany and the third most visited, with only Berlin and Munich attracting more tourists. Between 2001 and 2009, the number of overnight stays in Hamburg grew by 70 percent, reaching a total of 8.2 million--thanks in part to the city's maritime attractions, musical-comedy theatres, and airport expansion in recent years. (Hamburg also has a long-standing appeal for English-speaking visitors: Its trading ties with England go back nearly 750 years, and it was in the British occupation zone after World War II.)

Why visit Hamburg? We can think of several reasons:

Tug with containership in HamburgA lively and fascinating harbor. Hamburg is the busiest port in Northern Europe, and it's the leading transfer port for shipments between China and the Baltic. It has a rich maritime tradition, with shipyards, container terminals, canals, and lakes in the heart of the city--and with more bridges (2,300+) than any other city in the world.

Special Hamburg euro coinHistory, museums, and architecture. Hamburg was a key member of the Hanseatic League, is dotted with churches and museums, and is the site of HafenCity, the largest inner-city development in Europe.

Happy women in HamburgEntertainment and culture. Whether your tastes run to nightclubs, operas and philharmonic concerts, theatre, Beatles tours, or hired hanky-panky in the city's downsized red-light district, Hamburg is ready to offer you a good time.

Shopping. Hamburg attracts serious shoppers from throughout Germany, Western Europe, and the East--including Russia, whose millionaires and billionaires come to Hamburg for designer clothing, jewelry, and yachts.

Waterside path in Hamburg-AltonaPleasant walks and scenery.  Hamburg was voted "European Green Capital" for 2011, and it certainly looks the part: Even in downtown Hamburg, you'll see plenty of trees, and nature-conservation areas make up 8 percent of the city's total space.

For tips on what to see and do in Hamburg, go to page 2 of this article.

Next page: Sightseeing in Hamburg

In this Hamburg city guide:
Hamburg City Guide - Introduction
Museums, attractions
Culture, entertainment
Hotels, restaurants
Transportation, tourist information

Related articles:
Sightseeing Boats and Harbor Tours
BallinStadt Emigration Museum
Hempel's Beatles Tour
Franzbrötchen (Hamburg sweet rolls)
Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg
Dr. Tomas H. Kaiser (private tourist guide)

Also see:
HAPAG Halle Cuxhaven (Steubenhöft)