Hamburg at Christmas

December 26, 2014

Hamburg is Germany’s second city – a bold, confident and brash metropolis whose attitude to its importance is perhaps best summed up by its self-appointed nickname “Gateway to the World”. The city is wealthy and has been engaged in business with the world since the early middle ages, and welcomes visitors from all corners of the globe all year round, but especially at Christmas, when the already-pretty city is decorated beautifully.

All through the city, you can discover history, tradition and the Hanseatic heritage of the area.

The architecture of the centre of the town is a throwback to a classic European era and looks suitably mighty yet elegant, especially under a light dusting of snow.

One of the main attractions of Hamburg at Christmas time is the arrival of the Christmas markets. The most attractive of these markets is set just outside the impressive town hall building, hosted by Roncalli’s Circus. There are huge numbers of lovingly-decorated stalls, and you can even be served punch by clowns and other circus artistes.

In the market you can browse and buy everything from hand-crafted Christmas decorations, toys and gifts, specially-made Printen cookies from the Aachen region and precious jewellery, ornaments and more made by the best silversmiths in Germany. There are also old-fashioned carousels, which are guaranteed to bring a smile to anybody’s face, young or old.

Outside of the Christmas markets, you can take a Christmas boat tour of Lake Alsten, complete with a mug of gluhwein, visit a Christmas-themed exhibition at one of the city’s many museums or enjoy the Christmas parade every Saturday as it meanders through the town, bursting with colour and festivity.

Catch a Christmas show at one of the city’s theatres, or even on a Fairytale Ship anchored on the Jungfernstieg Promenade. You can even hear Santa Claus himself telling the story of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer every day at 4pm, 6pm or 8pm above the rooftops of the Christmas market cottages.

Hamburg’s beautiful and dignified cityscape becomes a scene right out of a fairytale each Christmas, making it the perfect destination for a European festive getaway.

The Gateway to the World has plenty to offer on its own merit.

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