Situated in the centre of Altstadt since 1897, Hamburg's Town Hall is a sandstone marvel. Dwarfing the surrounding structures with its towering spire and vast concrete platz, the Rathaus is the seat of the government of Hamburg and holds heaps of history and importance within its walls. Members of the public can visit daily, 8am-6pm, to join a guided tour or explore one of the exhibitions. There are also often markets and concerts held in front of the building.
Known as harbour city, millionaire’s metropolis, media capital, anarchist hub; Germany’s second-largest city is an intoxicating mix. A place where the North Sea winds carry a prosperous Hanseatic trading history, as much as a bawdy nightlife and long tradition of leftist dissent. With more bridges than Venice and a notably crisp, northern light, it is a city defined by its proximity to – and the presence of – water, from the raucous Sunday morning Fischmarkt to the picturesque Strandperle beach. Life at sea still defines much of Hamburg’s nightlife, too, and a full city experience will take in at least one walk along the red-light Reeperbahn, as well as a stroll through the Schanzenviertel, the traditional – if now much gentrified – heart of Hamburg counter-culture. Meantime, the Hamburger Kunsthalle and proud new Elbphilharmonie promise world-class art, music and architecture in knock-out waterside locations.