Hamburg: Young, rich and vibrant – the exciting “matchmaking” for the Israeli tourist

A surprisingly abundant city that it offers visitors, from music to museums and clubs, through canal cruises and diverse neighborhoods, to fine restaurants and family attractions. And the beetles too…

The water castle on the Elbe canals, one of the most popular lookouts in Hamburg. Photo by Shosh Lahav

“Alba earns the money and Elsa spends it”, is a phrase with which Dr. Thomas Kaiser, the guide who accompanies us on a fascinating day tour of the city of Hamburg, sums up the essence of the city: the famous port of Hamburg stretches along the banks Hamburg became a rich city. Very rich. So Elsa – a German generic name, can spend her money on the pleasures of the “city sitting on the water”, which leads me to surprising information: Hamburg has more canals and bridges than Amsterdam and Venice combined.

Hamburg is located in northern Germany, on the banks of the Elbe River, about 50 kilometers from the river estuary to the North Sea, and borders the states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, and is the second largest city in Germany (after Berlin). Its name, apparently, is derived from the words: Ham which is a muddy plain and a screw which is a fortress, that is, something like “a fortress on muddy ground”. The canals, at low tide, their edges filled with mud, pass between the streets and buildings that separate walls to the canal, and we always see people stopping on their way to take pictures and be photographed against the backdrop of this beautiful sight, and so do I.

Impressive canals, forts, cathedrals and buildings. Views of the city of Hamburg. Photo by Shosh Lahav

A rich city that its residents are very proud of

Guido Newman – Head of the Communications Department of Hamburg Tourism, makes it clear to us that the people of Hamburg are very proud of their city, where they see the cultural and progressive capital of Germany. Berlin is no longer seen as a competitor, because Hamburg is the young, rich, cultured and vibrant city in Germany. In their opinion. And the more I get to know the city, the more I tend to understand what they’re talking about. Hamburg is an old city, but it has no ancient buildings – because what is not destroyed by fires, floods or bombings, burgers do not hesitate to destroy themselves, and build functional and new for the city’s needs, and extensive areas are constantly planned as urban renewal projects.

Wealth is highly valued here, but the rich of the city will not cross their wealth, but will leave the Ferrari in the home parking lot and get around on the subway. There is the ‘old money’ – of previous generations, derived from the port, the stock exchange and international trade, and there is the ‘new money’ – mainly from high-tech and entrepreneurships that are highly developed and represent the new Hamburg. The city is considered the media capital of Germany, with about 50 percent of Germany’s magazines produced and printed in it, and the press being an influential force.

Elbphilharmonie “Elbphilharmonie”, shown in the Hamburg Concert Hall. Photo by Shosh Lahav

The capital of culture – museums, music, architecture and nature

Culturally Hamburg boasts famous cultural figures who were born and created in it, such as the composers Brahms, Bartholdi, Mahler, and Schubert. The jazz scene is very strong and they are also lovers of operettas, Hamburg has plenty of museums, clubs, an opera house and the highlight – the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which has become one of the city’s symbols, is currently celebrating 5 years of its establishment, and is one of the most beautifully designed architects. And the most advanced and modern in the world, also acoustically. A tour of the high and prominent Philharmonic building above the city views and hearing a concert in it, are truly an experience that works on all the senses.

Hamburg has many universities and colleges and lots of students, making it a young city in its spirit. The beauty of the city also stems from the abundance of green areas, gardens and manicured parks that allow for breathing space – over two-thirds of its area is dedicated to the beauty of nature thanks to extensive gardens and parks. And the canals and bridges that contribute to its romantic look. I also admired the colorful buildings that add color to the city, which while I walked in the gray winter season, I can imagine how glowing it is in the sunlight.

Stephanie Hempel is the founder of “The Beatles Tour of Hamburg”, where she began her sweeping global success. Photo by Shosh Lahav

Band, meatball and announcement

Hamburg is also famous for one band, one patty and one UNESCO declaration: the immortal Beetle Band, which began its glorious career in the small, remote music clubs in Hamburg. Stephanie Hempel is the founder of “The Beatles Tour of Hamburg”. You can still see all the places they played when they were anonymous and became a skilled band that would conquer the world. The musical tour takes us to the stories that take place in the streets and backyards of the famous St. Pauli district. And of course it is impossible not to mention the hamburger – the same meatball in a bun – which is also a ‘there is no hamburger’ patent.

The Feicherstadt storage area, located in the port area of ​​Hamburg in the HafenCity district, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. Chili House is the largest office building in Germany with 3000 windows and its expressionism-style architecture, and the use of this area is mainly for modern offices and warehouses. Sailing culture lovers can have fun in Hamburg, whether visiting one of the marine museums housed in a ship or submarine, eating dinner on board a ship or cruising on regular ferries to all sorts of different areas of the city. The daylight or evening cruise passes the buildings and neighborhoods, has audio guidance and is great for photographing the beautiful sights from the ferry. And you can also just sit on a bench on the Elbe River promenade and watch the passing vessels.

A view of the artificial lake at Altstadt. Photo by Shosh Lahav

Plenty of attractions for hiking and recreation

And what else is there to do in the city? On a beautiful day you should wander around the artificial lake in the center of the city, while in summer you can wander in it and in winter slide on the ice. Its water is calm and clean and swans can be found in it. The Hamburg Fish Market is a traditional market held every Sunday morning. This is the place to buy seafood as well as fresh fruit, flowers and even clothes. The place has a lively atmosphere and music is played. The market starts at about five in the morning and ends at around 10 in the morning, so arrive early. It is also advisable to visit the Old Town (Altstadt) where the ancient buildings in the city are located. The night market, held every Saturday night in St. Pauli County. The flea market is held in the Spielbudenplatz square where you will find designer furniture, antiques and various realities, alongside the market experience itself.

Hamburg is a fashion city, and if you are a shopping enthusiast, you will find what you are looking for, from leading elegant boutiques, to young and modern fashion, wandering around large and family-friendly malls, to young and colorful markets. And you can find ‘offers’. Hamburg’s nightlife is tumultuous, thanks in part to being a university city with a very large number of young people. The heart of the nightlife is in the “red lights” area (yes, with the permission of the authorities) in the St. Pauli neighborhood. This area comes to life every night after midnight, where you will find bars, clubs and pubs. And if you’re looking for a slightly more alternative area, within walking distance of the red lights you will find the Sternschanze neighborhood, which offers an alternative and young vibe.

The building of the new “Albefilharmoni” concert hall, in the Museum of Miniatures in Hamburg. Photo by Shosh Lahav

Miniatures, restaurants and delights

One of the attractions that is equal to children, and believe me adults will also enjoy it, is the Miniature Wunderland Museum where models from different countries in the world are expanding. Among the exhibits you can now see a spectacular airport, including takeoffs and landings, models from countries around the world, including cars and moving ships, and of course a model from Hamburg. The small details, the traveling trains and the puppets that roam inside the small buildings, make the place exciting. One of the models that surrounded it visitors was the new concert hall structure, which can be seen from the outside and inside on its details. Amazing.

And we will sip on food, because the tourist is also walking on his stomach. If you also think of beers, pretzels, sausages and mashed potatoes, when you think of German cuisine, you were not mistaken, but in northern Hamburg the cuisine is slightly different, and the traditional dishes, as befits a port city, are mostly fish dishes, like fish roll and fried fish, alongside sour soup- sweet. Favorite desserts are berries with vanilla cream and croissants. But not only traditional North German dishes you will find here, but a huge variety of restaurants, of all kinds, from food stalls to chef restaurants. Hamburg is also known as the coffee city, and at the end of the 19th century the city became the largest coffee market in the world. Here you will find some of the most famous cafes, and coffee lovers will enjoy this city.

Shlomo Almagor, one of the founders and owners of Tel Aviv Air, at Hamburg Airport. Photo by Shosh Lahav

Tel Aviv Air Launched first and exclusive direct line from Tel Aviv to Hamburg

For me, a direct flight to a destination is always preferable to juggling between airports and connections. This is how I got to experience the direct flight from Tel Aviv to Hamburg, of

“Tel Aviv Air”, The German-European company that operates flights from Germany to Israel only. As of today, March 6, 2022, the direct flights of “Tel Aviv Air” from Tel Aviv to Hamburg operate at a price starting from 99 euros one way, including a trolley suitcase. Frequency of flights twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, on an Airbus 320A aircraft with about 180 seats in two main service classes: Economy and Premium Economy. In the future, the company intends to expand its operations and operate flights from other destinations throughout Germany, directly to Israel.

The company was founded at the end of 2020 in Hamburg and has received significant encouragement and support from the German authorities, such as the Hamburg Municipality, the Tourist Office, the Chamber of Commerce and the Airport. The company is owned by two German businessmen with extensive experience in the field of tourism and aviation, with an emphasis on Israel: Paul Skudlero Former senior manager of German Airlines, andShlomo Almagor An Israeli who has lived in Hamburg for about thirty years. Shlomo Almagor, Co-CEO: “We are happy to set out. “Tel Aviv Air” as it is called, is a company that flies only to Tel Aviv and was established to increase traffic between Israel and cities throughout Germany, with an emphasis on Hamburg and the northern German region, which is very interested in the Israeli public, and the significant support of Hamburg officials .

For more information on Tel Aviv: click here

Tips worthwhile

* You should get to Hamburg by direct flight, which is convenient and fast.

* Purchase the “Hamburg Card” which allows free travel on all means of transportation in the city (buses, trains and ferries). The card also gives a discount on admission to various sites in the city.

* Despite the travel card, it is highly recommended to plow the city center and its neighborhoods on foot.

* Do not be lazy to leave the hotel even if it is cold. And cooler… Dress warm and have a good time.

For more information on Hamburg: click here

* The author was a guest of the Hamburg Tourist Board and the Tel Aviv Air Company

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