A local’s guide to Hamburg: 10 top tips

With buzzy cafes, plenty of green space, music venues, fashion and football, there’s more to the Beatles’ favourite German city than the Reeperbahn

Our historic port city is defined by its waterways: the mighty Elbe River, a maze of canals around the warehouses of the Unesco-listed Speicherstadt neighbourhood, and above all the giant lake, the Outer Alster, formed by the Alster River. The best time to discover Alster is on a Saturday or Sunday morning, when Hamburgers set out to hike, walk the dog, jog, bike or skateboard around the lake. Renting a bike and doing a round trip is fun, but nothing beats hiring a canoe or a rowing boat. From the north of the lake, you can steer your vessel into narrow canals, get a bit lost and grab a beer at places such as Cafe Canale, where they pass trays out to your boat like a fast-food drive-thru. Just take care not to fall in when a dozen canoes are trying to get served at once.
Boat hire from €20 an hour, barca-hamburg.de

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