Germany’s biggest port city transforms into a sea of lights for the festive season and with the perfect blend of tradition and innovation, celebrating Christmas in Hamburg makes an atmospheric choice. The holidays in Hamburg typically kick off on November 11th (St. Martin’s Day) when the city’s restaurants unveil their Christmas menus (including their famous roast goose), but it’s towards the end of the month when locals really start feeling the Christmas spirit, as the legendary Christmas markets begin to open.
With temperatures plummeting and a good chance of snow, visiting Hamburg in winter might not be the best time for outdoor sightseeing, but with plenty of seasonal festivities going on, it’s still an atmospheric time to visit.
With its cobblestone lanes lined with half-timbered houses and water fountains, and lively squares crammed with pubs and bars, Frankfurt’s Old Sachsenhausen district is one of the city’s most atmospheric areas. This is the historic heart of the city, sprawling along the south bank of the Main River, and best known as Frankfurt’s Apple Wine Quarter, thanks to the abundance of traditional Apfelwein (apple wine) taverns (or Epelwoi).
Berlin might be the party capital of Germany, but its second city also has a reputation for its vibrant nightlife, with its infamous Red Light District, a thriving gay scene and a live music scene that can count The Beatles among its breaking acts. Exploring Hamburg at night shows off a whole other side of the city, with its dramatically illuminated waterfront, sea of neon lights and bars and clubs open well into the early hours.
As one of Germany’s main commercial and cultural hubs, Frankfurt is a city that always has its finger on the pulse and whenever you choose to visit, you’ll never be short of entertainment. From traditional folk festivals to colorful parades to enormous funfairs, here are some of Frankfurt’s top festivals and events.
A Hanseatic port, renowned as the ‘Gateway to the World’ during the 19th-century mass emigrations and now one of Europe’s most popular cruise ports and host to the world’s biggest annual port festival, Hamburg’s is the beating heart of Germany’s maritime culture. The city’s maritime heritage is the subject of both the International Maritime Museum and the fascinating Hamburg Emigration Museum (BallinStadt Emigration World) and you can’t visit the city without exploring the lively Hamburg Harbor City (Hafencity), but the most authentic way to get a taste of life at sea is to step on board one of Hamburg’s Museum Ships.