The old Hanseatic town of Hamburg has been a hub of international trade for 800 years. Its harbour area, split by canals, is attractive for many reasons: the warehouses of Speicherstadt radiate the ambience of the 1800s and HafenCity represents the finest modern architecture. A cruise on the Elbe River shows travellers the city's best, such as the baroque-style St. Michael's Church and the former fishing village of Blankenese.
On Sundays, the shore of the Elbe hosts the traditional Fischmarkt fish market, and the shimmering blue Alster lakes in the city centre are a popular location for picnics, rowing and jogging. There is an amazing variety of sights on offer: the City Hall, BallinStadt Emigration Museum and the works of European masters in the Art Hall Museum just for starters. Hamburg is still a true merchant town: if you cannot find what you are looking for in the nine shopping centres, you can always head to the charming little boutiques of the Schanzenviertel or Karolinenviertel quarters.