Standard clichés about Hamburg include: Bad weather and aloof people. But it seems that as soon as people enter the "most beautiful city on the planet" and go for a walk along Binnenalster, take an extended boat trip on river Elbe or go and see one of the world-class musicals, these stereotypes disappear. Are you planning a trip to Hamburg? Here is a compilation of the most important facts to make your visit most enjoyable and memorable.
For more than 800 years, Germany's biggest and most important port has been the starting and end point for many visitors and goods from all over the world. Romantic as well as eerie myths revolve around Hamburg's harbour. Störtebeker, the notorious pirate, is said to have passed eleven people on death row and saved their lives – after having been decapitated.
The unique atmosphere around the water is unchanged, if less creepy: Dive into the busy mingling of tourists and shipwrights – and watch the seagulls diving for fish!
Are you comfortable going below? Then a walk through the old Elbe Tunnel will provide new insights on the city’s history. Opened in 1911, this is a lovingly restored and nostalgic bit of Hamburg that will take you back in time – and a visitor's favourite.
Party animals and night owls will feel right at home in Hamburg: Whether you consider yourself mainstream or subculture, Reeperbahn welcomes everybody with open arms. You really have to see it to believe it! So dive into this nightlife 'hot spot' with its colourful lights and its enthralling dynamics. One hint: Lounge & Bar 20up is a favourite – with delicious cocktails and stunning views of the port.
If your Saturday night suddenly turns into Sunday morning or if you're an early riser, Fischmarkt is the place to be! Why not ring in the new day by shopping for clothes, fruits and flowers? People here appreciate generosity and are always up for an early morning chat. If you are after a hearty snack to recuperate from last night, why not head straight for deep-fried squid ("frittierte Tintenfischringe") or smoked mackerel ("geräucherte Makrele")? Sampling some of the delicious, fresh fish is highly recommended – if not, you are missing out!
Thinking of Hamburg conjures up images of the port, fish and a delicious cinnamony sweet pastry called "Franzbrötchen". Here is another strong reference point for Hamburg: Culture and especially musicals. The city hosts two record-breaking productions: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and THE LION KING. Fantastic voices, impressive stages and a very special travel memory for the entire family are certain – irrespective of which show you will see!
Andrew Lloyd Webber's hugely successful musical is perfection based on a classical recipe: An eeriely beautiful stage, great music and a dramatic love story. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA doesn't just make for a very special night for musical experts and fans: With its strong singing, acting and stagebuilding, this piece has been touching people since its 1986 London premiere – more than 130 million enthusiastic fans speak for themselves. To see this unforgettable musical and fall in love with its complex main character, make sure to book tickets at Hamburg's stage theatre 'Neue Flora' early.
There is only one musical that is more successful than the above show: THE LION KING. Since its opening night in Hamburg in 2001, this show has made more than 5 million Euros. Go see this show in Hamburg's legendary 'Theater im Hafen'.
Despite being seated in a port city's theatre, this beautiful tale of love and companionship, courage and pride will take you to the African Serengeti immediately. 56 actors and singers in lovingly designed costumes and a unique, imaginative stage have turned this musical into an all-time favourite for families visiting Hamburg. In case you are not seated in the first few rows, make sure to bring binoculars so you can enjoy the show in all its details and visual richness.
There are a few more musicals to see besides THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and THE LION KING:
ROCKY: The famous boxer's story includes exciting action and strong emotion! This musical has been deemed very authentic – last but not least because of the professional experience of its co-producers: Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.
DAS WUNDER VON BERN – English: 'The Miracle of Bern': Germany's 1954 football miracle embedded in an emotional family story – this is a perfect choice for football lovers and their family members.
HEISSE ECKE – DAS ST. PAULI MUSICAL: Based on Hamburg's nightlife and red light district hotspot Reeperbahn, this is a humorous, entertaining show: Nine actors take on more than 50 roles to tell the stories of Hamburg's spiciest neighbourhood.See one of the many great musicals in Hamburg and leave the daily grind behind for a while!
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