The maritime metropolis and media hub carries the nickname “Gateway to the World” and is in my opinion the most beautiful city in Germany. Amongst other things Hamburg features the largest German seaport (second largest in Europe), a scenic lakefront, quaint riverbanks, beautiful architecture from the 19th and 20th century, a modern harbor city, high-end shopping, a wide selection of cultural activities, as well as tons of restaurants, and a diverse nightlife. In short: everything you need for an awesome city break.
The city arose in 808 A.D. with the fortress Hammaburg, the first permanent building that also gave Hamburg its name. In 1189 Hamburg received the status of an Imperial Free City and started to develop into a major seaport in Northern Europe, mercantile hub, and one of the richest metropolises. Today it consists of 7 boroughs and has over 1.8 million residents.
Most sights are located within the borough named Mitte, the actual city center. This district includes the seaport, the adjoining historic Speicherstadt, the new harbor city, the red light district St. Pauli, and the inner part of Lake Alster. The lake is split into two sections: an inner and outer lake that dominate the city center and the bordering quarters.
The neighborhood of Altona adjoins Mitte in the Northwest and embeds the quarter of Ottensen, a former Danish village that became one of the hippest areas in town. Moreover, there is the Schanzenviertel, a district in particular known for autonomic movements in the past that slowly transforms from a skid row to the next hot spot in Hamburg. The most prestigious neighborhood in Altona is Blankenese, a very classy residential area along river Elbe that is dominated by impressive mansions and lovely little homes.
North of Mitte follows the borough of Eimsbüttel that contains fancy art nouveau quarters like Harvestehude, Rotherbaum, and Eimsbüttel. All of them are known for high rents and impressive old structures. Eppendorf and Winterhude are two other expensive art nouveau quarters and are located within the neighborhood of Nord. The area further North within this borough includes several residential areas that were re-built after massive damages in World War II. The third and last neighborhood in the North is called Wandsbek and mainly consists of buildings that were constructed after World War II and many single-family homes.
South of Elbe River the boroughs Harburg and Bergedorf line the city-state. Both embed many residential and rural areas but also a lot of industry.