Hamburg is Germany's second largest city and is very cosmopolitan. The compact city has an excellent transport system with plenty of shops, but few major landmarks beyond the usual churches. Hamburg has an excellent nightlife particularly in the St Pauli area which was traditionally the red-light district. The city's main attraction is Alster Lake, which offers a host of boat trips and activities in peaceful contrast to the bustling city. Around the busy harbour are many ships and container vessels to see as well as the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district.
The Alster Lake is the centre of Hamburg's recreational activities. Take a cruise from the Binnenalster on Lake Alster, to enjoy the Aussenalster and the surrounding parkland, a popular activity with the Hamburg locals. Music is also part of the local culture and the Reeperbahn area throbs to the pulsating beat of the nightlife, particularly at the weekends. Red double-decker bus tours are a great way to see the city sights or walk around and explore the city centre on foot. The usual city attractions include shopping, strolling in the parks and dining out on some of Hamburg's renowned local cuisine.
Hamburg has several notable churches which pierce the modern skyline. The 132 metre high tower of St Michael, known locally as "Michel" can be climbed up for fabulous city and harbour views from the viewing platform. The old "Speicherstadt" warehouse district is between the Baumwall and the Deichtor Halls. This pretty area has Gothic buildings, gables and towers in the 100-year old architecture. The ground floor accommodates goods which are being transported by ship, including the world's largest Oriental carpet store.
Hamburg has hot sunny summers with average temperatures reaching 22°C (72°F) whilst winters can be below freezing from December to February. The city can have rain and showers at any time of year although the winter has the highest precipitation so be prepared with an umbrella or raincoat.
Visitors enjoying holiday rentals in Hamburg will find regular flights from all over Europe to the Hamburg (HAM) Airport make it a very easy city to reach. The airport is 8km (5 miles) north of the city and the S-Bahn suburban network conveniently links it to the centre of Hamburg.