Hamburg, Germany – February 2014

by Emma Bumpus on February 25, 2014

Winter becomes summer as careertraveller and family take to the waters and streets of Germany’s second largest city, which notably awarded the title “European Green Capital” 2011 by the EU Commission, brings vision and travel inspiration to 2014!

Captured by striking architecture above Europe’s second largest port, we become entranced by this golden cosmopolitan metropolis on water that provides a treasure trail of old and new tourist attractions.

Hamburg boasts choice with modern easy access transport systems across the city with metro, bikes, bus or boats, making the next 48 hours very ‘liveable, sociable and cultural’. With approximately 70 museums spread across the city, 85 parks and almost 2,500 bridges (more than London, Venice and Amsterdam combined) we traverse the multi waterways of the Elbe, Alster and Bille; rather special!

The deck of a Harbour Boat Tour is our maritime telescope, illuminating Hamburg’s attractions, history and fabulous HafenCity urban development, bringing zing to this industrial and cosmopolitan city.

We glide past emerging trendy quayside apartments, radiant red brick commercial warehouses and evolving glass Elbe Philharmonic Hall. Iconic and visionary, we discover this architectural masterpiece will be home to 3 auditoriums, apartments, hotel rooms and of course a unique space for classical, world, jazz and pop music on the river Elbe. Pretty spectacular!

Watching dockside workers ripen Europe’s largest social cultural project provides swish and contemporary images of an attractive new living space, epitomising 21st century regeneration, travel and globalisation.

Beneath the girders of lofty freight containers bursting with prosperous tales of trade and overseas crossings, notably Asia, Russia and Europe, we inhale the city’s majestic skyline that beckons serious sightseeing from the seats of a double-decker hop on hop off bus.

Diversity and spice become dish of the day as Hamburg reveals a silver platter of monumental riches that dazzle us with Hanseatic history. Like a 7 course tasting menu we indulge exquisite city highlights in the form of antique treasures including the Neo Renaissance style Rathaus (Town Hall) to baroque style St Michaelis Church, Germany’s biggest clock tower. Nicknamed “The Michel”, this 132-metre tower executes a sublime 360-degree panorama of Germany’s ‘gateway to the world’!

Relentless, our historical circuit transforms into a lakeside spree of the Outer Alster Lake where the likes of James Bond once stayed in various guises along the shores of affluence. Bustling with romance and al fresco joie de vivre we unearth an array of cafes, restaurants, boat rides and green outdoor pursuits in the heart of the city.

A breeze past Alster Arcade, aptly named ‘Little Venice’ with it’s 17 th century century Venetian-like arches and river side side location, provides the perfect excuse to hop off and explore Jungfernstieg, a stylish waterfront shopping precinct. Alsterhaus, a famous twentieth century luxury department store with unique gifts and delectable 4th Floor Gourmet Boulevard is an international runway of high-end produce with Veuve Clicquot Boutique. No ordinary pit stop!

Attraction led, we journey past the renowned Reeperbahn, which since 2008 celebrates the history of The Beatles with a commemorative Beatles Square of 5 metal life-sized silhouettes. Marvellous!

Our journey ends at Speicherstadt, an ‘up and coming’ Neo Gothic brick warehouse district, which claiming fame to the world’s largest stock of oriental carpets sweeps us to the world’s largest model railway; Miniatur Wunderland.

Home to more than 11 million visitors we tread foot on 1.300 square metres of pure imagination from Europe to America! Greeted by miniature figurines, iconic landmarks, landscape and transport systems, we are entertained by detail depicting stories across the ski slopes of Austria to flight simulations at Knuffingen Airport. Whilst the “little uns” gush at the spectacular 330.000 LED night-time simulation, it is easy to see why this inspirational pleasure dome has charmed the likes of Rod Stewart and Niki Lauda!

Exhilarated and educated, no stay in Hamburg would be complete without a skate on Germany’s largest open-air ice rink Indoo Eisarena in the heart of the city’s state park Planten un Blomen, an evergreen hub of leisure!

Expectations are exceeded with an 8-minute train ride East to our welcoming Novotel Hamburg City Alster Hotel, offering a semi bespoke metro stop directly outside the doors of chic and contemporary relaxation! A fresh and spacious lobby, with children’s play and console area, stylish candle lit bar and restaurant with hurricane lamps, complements modern-day travel and signifies the ease at which things are achieved in this remarkable city.

Cool and distinct Hamburg is a city of all seasons!

Further information about Hamburg’s tourist attractions can be found on the official Hamburg Tourist Office website and details of the Novotel Hamburg City Alster Hotel can be found by clicking on their website Novotel Hamburg City Alster.

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