Germany's second largest city has a sophisticated demeanour, behind which lurks mischief and abandon. Hamburg is considerably smaller than Berlin, more tight-night and connected, and yet thoroughly eclectic when it comes to art and music.Getting around in HamburgThe U-Bahn is the best way to explore most of Hamburg's sights. A lot of walking will inevitably be involved. A single day pass for unlimited use of all public transport costs €6.20 a day for adults, €2.30 for children aged 6 to 14. Bike rentals are available, but not as accessible or widely advertised as in Berlin
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Home to the city's hippest clubs and a red light district, Reeperbahn is where Hamburg goes a little naughty. Here you can witness some of the world's most iconic music and dance venues (there are hundreds), peek inside the sex-shops (there are many), or take it all in from the sidelines at Beatles Platz.
Ascertaining the place further I reached right at the foot of Rathaus Glockenspiel. With the clock striking sharp at noon hearing the Glockenspiel ring and watch with the 32 life-sized figures reenacting historical Bavarian events was a sight! By far this was one of the world's most extravagant clock I had witness after Big Ben! Next day on my plan was an early beginning to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe. With 1,4 million people visiting this "fairytale castle" every year the closer I arrived to the castle I was taken back to my childhood remembrances. Reaching the castle involved an hour long train journey and an irksome climb too, but with the childlike zeal in me I was up there in no time to witness this Disney inspired fairytale. Exploring this fairy world time seemed to have passed rather quickly.
A few steps from the Rathaus Platz is Alster Lake, where visitors can take boat trips for some gorgeous vistas of the city and the surrounding greenery. Jogging tracks and sunbathing areas line the lakeside and in the winters, the lake can sometimes even freeze over. The last time this happened was in 2012.Places to visit around HamburgWadden Sea National Park on Germany's northwestern coast is a popular day-trip from Hamburg. Ferries run from Landungsbrücken, all the way to the island of Neuwerk in the North Sea (5 hrs). Also, the cities of Bremen and Hanover are both just over an hour away from Hamburg.
Ferry 62 to Finkenwerder follows a popular tourist route through the historic port of Hamburg, stopping at the the Fischmarket and Dockland along the way. Tourist boats normally charge upwards of €15 for the tour, whereas the same trip on the public ferry is € 3.20 (or free if you've already paid for the day-ticket). You can chose to return back to Landungsbrücken or get off at any of the stops. The whole round-trip takes about an hour.
Shanghai Circus City
Also known as “China’s Number One Circus World,” Shanghai’s Circus City is sure to entertain both the young and young at heart! It is over 2,500 square kilometers of sheer fun and excitement! Come prepared to enjoy a great show because this circus integrates magic, dancing and music performances along with the traditional circus acts such as acrobatic shows. It has a huge room equipped for elephants, horses, giant pandas, lions, tigers, and even chimps. Since it has opened in 1999, Shanghai’s Circus City has been the stage for more than 800 performances, and has gained a well known international reputation for delighting the crowds with amazing routines and spectacles!
The newest part of a thousand year old city, HafenCity is one of Europe's largest rebuilding projects. What was historically a commercial harbour with hundreds of warehouses, is now converted to hotels, restaurants, residential and public spaces. The neighbourhood is still a work in progress, with many upscale residential buildings in the pipeline.
Kaffeemuseum Burg (Museum of Coffee)
We visited Hamburg’s Kaffeemuseum Burg (Museum of Coffee). The first thing to note about this place is its extraordinary smell. The scent of roasting beans will fill your nostrils from a good few hundred metres away as you approach the building, and if you’re anything like me, that’s a very welcome prospect indeed.
Port of Hamburg
Through the bridges and the winding roads you will eventually land up on to the Port of Hamburg, a lively boardwalk which is perfect for an afternoon stroll and people watching. Buskers and street performers keep the energy up, against a beautiful backdrop of the city's harbour.
State Opera House
We also took a closer look at the new opera house, which has swallowed millions of Euros from Hamburg’s taxpayers and is more than five years behind schedule for completion. The city’s residents are not happy. Tourists can enjoy a guided tour of the construction site though, so at least it’s helping Hamburg tourism to boom.