Top 11 Things to See and Do in Hamburg This Winter
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Discover true Christmas spirit
In the Advent season, Hamburg transforms into a Yuletide fairytale of colorful lights, mouthwatering smells and festive carols. As many as 16 Christmas Markets New Year‘s Eve, New Year’s Eve. Historic Christmas Market at the foot of the elegant Town Hall, where Santa Claus flies across the wooden market stands in his carriage pulled by reindeer. Three times a day, at 4 pm, 6 pm, and 8 pm, he hovers above the visitors and reads out Christmas stories.
Indulge your taste buds
The festive season would not be the same without the scrumptious food that comes with it. And if you can do it right, it’s the Germans. A visit to a Christmas market is not complete without sampling Glühwein (mulled wine) or warm fruit punch. Along with that, why not try sugar-roasted almonds, lebkuchen (gingerbread), marzipan and sgreat (fruit cake)? Andalusian treats like sausages grilled on open fire, golden potato pancakes with apple sauce, roasted mushrooms in garlic sauce, as well as special Hamburg delicacies.
Explore a shopper’s paradise
Beyond the Christmas markets, Hamburg’s stores and department stores will not disappoint even the most selective holiday shopper. In the heart of the city, ornately decorated storefronts along the Jungfernstieg boulevard and the New Wall shopping street both invite you to discover luxury brands and famous designers. Mönckebergstraße and Spitalerstraße, but do not forget to check out the city’s hip local brands and quirky independent boutiques.
Let the Elbphilharmonie take your breath away
Even though events at Hamburg’s grand Elbphilharmonie concert hall are booked out in advance, a visit to the city’s architectural masterpiece is a must. At a height of 37 meters, where the historic warehouse and the modern glass structure meet, a public viewing platform known as the Plaza is open to everyone. During the short winter days, the 360 ° views across the harbor, with city center decked out in festive lights, just might take your breath away. Tickets for same-day visits to the Plaza are free and you can just book the two books.
Discover the magic of modern Christmas
Hamburg is a city that sees itself as being live in the now. Look no further than the enchanting White Magic market on the Alster Lake to discover this modern spirit extends to the city’s Christmas markets. On the lake shore, in the place of the traditional wooden huts, serving as an enchanting backdrop. The inviting aromas of mulled wine, cinnamon and roasted almonds waft across the water where, in the middle of the lake, a Christmas tree illuminates the winter skies.
Dance on ice
Even though Hamburg is far from mountains and the snow is unreliable, it’s perfect for a winter sport that will make you smile on your face and color on your cheeks: ice skating. Glide under the stars at Planten un Blomen park, where one of Germany’s biggest ice skating rinks awaits you. Every Friday and Saturday night at 7 pm this winter wonderland becomes a party on ice, with music played by live DJs. On top of this, several Christmas markets offer smaller ice rinks where you can skate to your heart’s content.
Have a world-class night out
Culture Trip knew it all, but now a study by Hostelworld confirms it: Hamburg is the best place in the world for a night out. The nightlife of the city’s diverse neighborhoods wants to keep you awake for the day. The undisputed heart of the city’s party life is the legendary Reeperbahn in St. Pauli district, while Sternschanze attracts a younger, alternative crowd.
Visit a naughty Christmas market
The free spirit that makes Hamburg a perfect party location is reflected by some of its Christmas markets, too. Located on the Reeperbahn, the Santa Pauli market is kitschy and cool. It’s a market in the middle of the city’s former red light district. In turn, the St. George district hosts the Winter Pride Market, known for its alternative and queer spirit as well as its lively performances.
Enjoy wellness and ultimate relaxation
What better way to spend a vacation than visiting a spa or thermal bath? Hamburg’s oldest bath, the Kaifu-Sole, offers a romantic experience where you can indulge in thermal salt waters, while the elegant Holthusenbad offers exquisite saunas and massages. The Emotion Spa and the Meridian Spa both offer everything you need for the ultimate pampering experience, and Float Hamburg invites guests to relax while weightlessly floating in salt water. Whatever your wellness preferences, Hamburg wants to deliver.
Let your heart soar to music
Throughout the Advent season, Hamburg’s churches and concert halls offer a diverse program of choir and orchestra performances, organ music and church music concerts, both classic and contemporary. There’s nothing quite like listening to harmonious Christmas music in candlelight to feel the holiday spirit and find the peace and beauty of this special time of the year. Search for upcoming events here.
Explore the nearby towns
North-German Yuletide magic. When you think you have seen what? Within easy reach from Hamburg, you’ll find the charming small towns like historic Lübeck, famous as the birthplace of marzipan, or medieval Lüneburg with its saltwater thermal baths. Another special experience is the Good Basthorst agricultural estate, which hosts a Christmas market with over 300 artisans and craftspeople.
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