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The Perfect Weekend HAMBURG

Hamburg is a handsome city with a flair and charm that leaves a lasting impression. Discover historic warehouses given a new lease of life as museums and galleries, enjoy locally brewed beers at one of the city’s beach bars and stroll around HafenCity, the old port where modern architecture now rules
MAP ILLUSTRATION: NIK NEVES

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS British Airways, BMI, easyJet and Eurowings fly direct to Hamburg from various UK cities (from £120 return; eurowings.com). In addition to free public transport, the Hamburg Card provides discounts on museums and tours (one to five days £8 to £33; hamburg-travel.com).

The architecture

The Unesco-listed Speicherstadt is the largest warehouse district in the world, and was once a customs-free zone.
PHOTOGRAPHS JONATHAN STOKES @jonstokes1
The Elbphilharmonie concert building consists of a new glass construction on top of an old warehouse

Hamburg is a rich city with a bold claim: ‘gateway to the world’. Its position on the River Elbe has put it at the centre of world maritime trade since the Middle Ages, generating wealth that’s reflected in proud waterfront architecture. The old port, HafenCity, is now a quarter that is known for striking new buildings, such as the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Elbphilharmonie concert hall, its roof like a choppy sea. Wander the boardwalks past angular glass-fronted offices and you’ll see buildings peppered with portholes, or shaped like a steamship’s funnel. In neighbouring Speicherstadt, handsome 19th-century red-and-black brick warehouses that once stored coffee, tea and spices stand beside a network of canals. Many now house art galleries, museums, and shops – plus coffee roasteries that ensure the rich smell of the brew still lingers. The best viewpoints are from the many bridges that crisscross the canals, especially when night falls and 1,000 lights illuminate the buildings and canals in a play of light and water.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - August 2016
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