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Germany - Hamburg


A Karen Brown Recommendation
Hamburg is a mighty trading and industrial center on the banks of the Elbe River. Understandably, Hamburg was a target for World War II bombings—by the end of the war the town was little more than a heap of rubble. But with great determination, much of the city has been rebuilt in the old style, so that today it has the mellow feel of an older age. Hamburg’s sights are spread around a large area, so the most efficient way to get from place to place is on the U-Bahn, or subway system, whose stations are marked on the city’s tourist map. Hamburg has some excellent hotels—see the Hotel Descriptions section. The *Aussenalster is a beautiful body of water stretching from the city into the suburbs. Promenade the Jungferstieg—the most popular spot is the terrace of the Alsterpavilion—along its tributary, the Binnenalster. Take a ferry from the Alterrundfahrt around the Aussenalster. (10 am–6 pm, every half hour, April to end of October.) In the city center, include the following on your sightseeing agenda: St. Mickaelis-Kirche (Hamburg’s symbol), which offers a great view of the port and city from atop its 449 stairs, and the palatial Rathaus (town hall), built at the end of the 19th century, at the center of the popular shopping district. Its square, Rathhausmarkt, is the site of summer beer and wine festivals. A boat trip around the port gives you an idea of the enormous size of the port complex. Boat trips leave from landing stage number 2, St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken. (8 am–6 pm, April to September.) If you are in Hamburg on a Sunday morning, plan on visiting the Altona Fischmarkt, an open-air market at the water’s edge offering everything—fruit, flowers, rabbits, socks, antiques, and, of course, fish. The show starts at six, but plan on arriving before nine. No need to eat before you arrive: there are plenty of food stands selling everything from delicious hot grilled sausages to crunchy rolls filled with smoked eel or pickled herring. Just a short walk for sailors from their ships, Hamburg’s notorious red-light district has grown up along the Reeperbahn and surrounding streets, where erotic entertainment knows no bounds. This raunchy area, just west of the city center, is an anomaly in what is otherwise a very straight-laced city. (Reeperbahn 136 is where the Beatles launched their career.)
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