Itinerary Highlights

  • Visit the Hamburger Kunsthalle
  • See Hamburg’s flamboyant neo-Renaissance Rathaus
  • Explore covered shopping arcades around Grosse Bleichen
  • Take a night cruise around Hamburg
  • Spend a full day relaxing at the Weissenhaus spa

Follow in Our Footsteps

Editor’s Itinerary

Duration: 9 Days

When visiting this region, many people combine Hamburg with Amsterdam and Copenhagen (or Cologne), but I like to balance city sightseeing with some more-relaxing time in the countryside. Hamburg provides a perfect opportunity to do so, with its easy access to Germany’s splendid Baltic coast.

It’s entirely understandable if you’ve never considered visiting either destination, considering the overshadowing fame of Bavaria and Berlin. I like that Hamburg, which feels as much Scandinavian as German, still retains its authenticity, since it doesn’t rely heavily on tourism for its income. And, now that the Elbphilharmonie has opened, the city has claimed a place as a cultural capital of Europe.

The coast does revolve more around tourism, but there, the visitors tend to be German or perhaps Danish, which means that even the touristy areas along the Baltic have a sense of integrity. Beaches, dotted with charming Strandkörbe (beach basket chairs), look like something out of the 19th century, and the countryside is a perfect patchwork of well-tended pastures, often overlooked by thatch-roofed farmhouses.