Advantages Great lively city; great sights!!
Disadvantages None really!
Hamburg is a great cosmopolitan city that will appeal to old and young alike. Perfect for couples who enjoy fine dining and shopping as well as perfect for families at the fairs and attractions.
Getting there:Flights to Hamburg are relatively frequent. If you live in the North of England like me then direct flights are available from Manchester to Hamburg with Lufthansa and British Midland at a cost of approx £150. Flights are also available from Birmingham and I know that there are many direct flights each day from London with British Airways and Lufthansa (the national German airline).
In November 2004 Air Berlin will launch daily services between Manchester and Hamburg for only 39Euros one way; a new bargain airline that is too cheap to miss!Another great way is to sail between the UK and Hamburg on an overnight cruise and arrive along the river Elbe in Hamburg to true pomp and circumstances including marching bands and confetti!
A taxi from the airport to the city centre will cost approx 20Euros and the journey takes approx 20 minutes (30 in rush hour).~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Where to stay?Hamburg offers a wide range of accommodation that ranges from youth hostels and budget hotels to luxury chains. I would definitely try and stay as close to the centre of Hamburg as you can do where you will find great value hotels from chains such as SAS, Marriott and Renaissance.
I normally stay at the Marriott or Renaissance hotels and you can pick up an internet deal for around £60 for a double room which is great value and both hotels are located right in the heart of city, less than five minutes walk from Jungfernstieg and the Alster.
What to do:Here are a few of my favourite things to do in Hamburg:
Take a walk around the inner Alster Lake. If it is sunny enjoy an ice cream, from a vendor and if not try to get a window table at the Alstertor Cafe. After that go on an hour long cruise along the Alster and soak up the atmosphere and see where all the rich Hamburgers live!Go to the village of Blankenese; this is a beautiful small town/village that overlooks the river. You get a real flavour of Germany here form the people and shops and there are beautiful walks down to the harbour front. You can get there on the Green S-Bahn line.
Have a tour around the Rathaus (Townhall). These operate daily and are free of charge and tours are conducted in English. Also take time to explore the many exhibitions and fun fairs that are held outside the Rathaus.Go to the harbour and take a cruise ship around the port and see the fascinating workings of this busy port. Look for one of the larger ships as these are very comfortable to travel on and also offer a great waitress service making it a great way to chill out for a hour!
Other ideas:Take in a show: Mamma Mia and Disney's the Lion King are current favourites
The Hamburg DOM is a very famous annual fun fair (see locally for details)Open air swimming? Try the pool at Wedel (end of the Green S Bahn line)
The world famous Reeperbahn oh la la (not that exciting really....)Get to know the city and take an open top tour bus from the Rathaus
Eating???German LOVE their food and it is hard to find bad food in Hamburg. There are lots of street sellers that sell sausages (naturally!) and the bakeries are amazing. There are tons of coffee shops dotted around everywhere an these typically offer great coffee and snack although they can be more pricey than other options.
The main department stores all offer great value food and train dishes can be reduced after 4pm and on Saturdays.Some of my favourite places to eat:
Movenpick (Hansaviertel arcade);
Lovely, well presented food
Great for a unique lunch!
Hamburg offers some great shops with many department stores including the famous chains Karstadt and Kauhfof (Monchebergstrasse) and Alsterhaus which is currently undergoing major renovations. If you go to Alster (Jungfernstieg) make sure you try the new cafe on the 5th level and try and great a table over looking the Alster.Hamburg also offers many famous high street names that you will know and love:
As well as few designer shops:
Timberland, Maxmara, Louis Vitton, Burberry, Hugo Boss, Jaegar and many more!
Shopping in Hamburg is fantastic and can be either as cheap or expensive as you make it. There are lots of bargains and also some great designer makes! Not too many shops take Visa so cash is a good idea or EC card!Most shops in Hamburg open between 9 and 10am and stay open until 8pm on weekdays (Mon to Friday). Most shops now open until 4pm or 8pm on Saturdays following a relaxation in trading laws.
NO shops (except at airports and stations) open o Sundays so don't leave all of your shopping until then!Coffee and cakes is a very German thing to do on a Sunday afternoon!
The German train and underground system consisting of the S Bahn, U bahn etc is very efficient and cost effective with a day ticket for a family costing less than £10 and allowing unlimited usage of the train system. Trains run every few minutes to most locations and map are available at all stations and shops etc. It's a colour coded system that is very easy, clean and safe to use.Taxis are cheap and efficient in Hamburg although many taxi drivers don't speak English so grab a cab from your hotel where staff can direct the driver saving you a job!
Anything else??Tipping staff is not that common or excepted in Germany but is very appreciated by hotel and waiting staff: don't feel the need to go OTT however!
Most Germans speak English very well but a few words of German are also very useful:Hallo Hell
Guten Tag Good dayBye Tschuss (juice)
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