Hamburg, Germany cruises

Your guide to Hamburg.

Seventy miles from the sea, on the Elbe River in northern Germany, Hamburg is the second largest port city in Europe and one of Germany’s most cosmopolitan, dynamic and fascinating destinations. The city has some 2,000 plus bridges—more than Venice and Amsterdam combined, earning Hamburg the moniker the ‘Venice of the North’. As well as exploring the city’s highlights, including its neo-renaissance and baroque architecture, Museum of Fine Arts and redbrick warehouse district, you can travel to attractive World Heritage city of Lübeck. Sample the famous Niederegger marzipan and explore Lübeck’s Old Town, where gabled houses and ancient churches span over 100 hectares.


Hamburg is an extensive city and subway offers the quickest way to get around. Hauptkirche St Michaelis (St Michael’s Church) is Northern Germany’s largest Baroque church and the city’s most prominent landmark. Near the church is a street lined with late 17th century brick and timber houses while the town hall, built in neo-Renaissance style, offers much to admire. The Museum of Fine Arts has works by masters such as Rembrandt and Munch, while the city’s history museum fascinates with exhibits from the 9th century. The redbrick Speicherstadt Warehouses are the world’s oldest, and railway enthusiasts will appreciate Miniatur Wunderland, one of the world’s largest model train displays.

Eating and drinking.

As in most major cities, Hamburg boasts a variety of quality eateries and international cuisine. Restaurants and cafés are found throughout the city, in galleries (shopping centers), major museums, and department stores. Local Dishes include Labskaus (fish and meat stew, often topped with an egg), Büsumer Krabben (small shrimp) and Wiener Schnitzel (veal cutlets fried in bread crumbs). Beer is liberally consumed and Hamburg’s own Holsten Pilsener is widely available in the city. For something stronger, try Lütt um lütt (beer fortified with schnapps) or if visiting in winter, glühwein and feuerzangenbowle—a combination of wine, rum and caramelized sugar.


Shopping is well represented in Hamburg and caters for a variety of tastes and budgets. Two of the main shopping streets are Mönckebergstrasse and Jungfernstieg, the latter is where you will find Alsterhaus, arguably the city’s most famous department store. Home to high-end labels such as Hermes, Cartier and Armani, Neuer Wall and Grosse Bleichen are regarded as the most prestigious shopping streets in Hamburg. The city also boasts several covered shopping arcades, Galleria, Hanse-Viertel, Hamburger Hof, and The Europa Passage among the most popular. Typical gift items include Buddelschiffe (small models of ships in bottles), Hummel figures, German glühwein and local crafts.

Beyond Hamburg.

Around Hamburg you will find many an option for a day-trip out of the city. A visit to Lübeck offers chance to admire one of Northern Germany’s most historic cities. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Lübeck’s Old Town covers more than 100 hectares and its streets are truly beautiful. Similarly worth seeking out is Lüneburg, another of Northern Germany’s Hanseatic cities. Dubbed the “City of White and Gold” Lüneburg astounds with its medieval architecture and picturesque harbor offering quaint bars and cafes. North of Lübeck brings you to Travemünde where attractions include an exquisite soft sand beach with a 100-year old promenade and gardens overlooking the sea.