Did you know that Hamburg was full of canals? I certainly didn’t but a wander round the impressive red brick warehouses of the Speicherstadt put me right.
Once home to many of the city’s merchants, these towering and often ornate canal-side buildings now house Tehran’s carpet industry, which relocated in its entirety during the Iran/Iraq war. also has more bridges than London, Venice and Amsterdam put together. Hamburg is bisected by the Elbe, a wide and fast flowing waterway for superyachts, ferries and cruise ships amongst others. Walk or cycle the Elbe Tunnel under the river to the other side for an unusual view of the city.
Kids of all ages will love Miniatur Wunderland, a tiny scale model of Hamburg itself, as well as parts of Italy, Switzerland and USA, complete with teeny people and animals and thousands of moving parts, some of which you can activate yourself. Every 15 minutes this Lilliputian land goes from night to day so you can appreciate all the nightscapes. For a visitor attraction with a difference, head for Dialog im Dunkeln, where you will experience what it’s like to live life as a blind person, using your other senses to help you.
Hamburg has a rising reputation for nightlife, which ranges from the lively district of St. Pauli, where the kilometre-long Reeperbahn mixes the red light district with pubs and clubs, to the sleek and modern HafenCity. The river is also a vibrant party location, with floating clubs and swimming bars for those long summer nights, and a Saturday/Sunday all-nighter is not complete until you’ve visited the Fischmarkt where there are live bands and DJs from 5.30m, alongside a raucous fish market and rows of food stalls.
Foodies will not be disappointed, as the city boasts nine Michelin stars, an obsession with fresh fish and seafood, and a thriving vegan and vegetarian scene. For an upscale experience try Haerlin which also has stunning views over the urban Alster Lake; for old school charm and stunningly fresh fish book a table on the terrace at Fischereihafen; and for heavenly vegan fast food get yourself along to Froindlichst, who call themselves the vegan muscateers and have a mouth-watering selection of pizzas, burgers and salad bowls.