Hamburg is one of Germany’s most cosmopolitan cities, with celebrated cultural venues, leading museums and lively shopping and dining districts. The city’s character is powered by the mighty River Elbe, which passes by stylish neighborhoods on its way to the North Sea. Its two lakes are also among Hamburg’s most famous features, where residents come to sail, kayak and canoe while others bike and walk on the shaded pathways along their shores.
Often referred to as Germany’s Gateway to the World, due to its role as the biggest commercial port in the country (and the second largest in Europe), the city has a maritime atmosphere and bustle. Hamburg has launched ships since the Middle Ages, but it was also instrumental in launching the musical career of the Beatles, who played in multiple venues on the Reeperbahn in the city’s St. Pauli district. It was here that they recorded the single that would launch them to stardom, "Please Please Me."
Today, with two of its portside districts recently added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, upscale shopping districts and a distinct European flavor, Hamburg retains an energetic and eclectic atmosphere where historic and modern charms meet.