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A Hamburg travel guide – lively port life, designer shopping and late-night cabaret

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Experiencing Germany’s biggest port is only the beginning of a Hamburg city break. The maritime-flavoured city takes visitors from its 19th-century brick storehouses to the relaxed lakeside promenades surrounding its inner-city lakes. Book a Hamburg hotel and dine in traditional fish restaurants before exploring the city’s playful side at night.

Historic harbour

The central Landungsbrücken pier gives way to Hamburg’s sprawling port. Board a small boat to tour the Speicherstadt, the city’s 19th-century labyrinth of brick storehouses. The International Maritime Museum takes visitors back in time while the daring architecture of HafenCity, a redeveloped area next door, offers a glimpse of the future. At the Miniatur Wunderland museum, housed inside a former storehouse, see the world’s largest model railway crossing meticulously reconstructed sceneries. Afterwards, enjoy sweet and sour Hamburg eel soup and freshly-caught herring served at the seafood restaurants dotting the pier.

Designer shopping

Around Hamburg’s central Binnenalster lake, shoppers stroll Mediterranean-style arcades and promenades for jewellery, chic dresses and perfumes. The area’s main street, the tree-lined Jungfernstieg, also hosts the 1920s-style Alsterhaus, Hamburg’s main department store. Around the corner, the up-market Neuer Wall boulevard features the likes of Armani and Louis Vuitton. Fashion fans looking for individual outfits explore the tiny Karoviertel quarter, next to the trade fair grounds, where young designers sell one-off items straight from their studios.

 

Legendary nightlife

Hamburg’s neon-lit Reeperbahn, in St Pauli, has long outgrown its reputation as a mere red-light district. Visitors sit in the area’s friendly sailors’ pubs, before taking their seats for a brash cabaret next door. St Pauli is also where the Beatles played some of their earliest gigs. The Beatlemania museum, on Reeperbahn, honours the band’s love affair with Hamburg.