Germany’s second largest city and biggest port is often overshadowed by Berlin and Munich. But Hamburg is the world’s third-largest civil aviation centre, housing Airbus and Lufthansa's technical centres, and is also a leading player in media, marketing and IT. The city centre is compact, with a massive series of conference halls at the Messe and yet there is a great sense of tradition and culture among its green spaces, lakes and waterways.
The 100 year-old grand Hotel Atlantic Kempinski (www.kempinski.com) offers its guests a rare opportunity to lap up the history of the city. While a number of the hotel’s Alster Lake-facing rooms have been modernised to luxury suites paying homage to Africa, Europe, America and Asia, there remains a genteel elegance throughout. For the conference-goer who wants simple efficiency and a touch of class, the Radisson Blu Hamburg (www.radissonblu.com) offers the perfect solution. It is situated in the heart of the city within a five minute walk of the Messe international exhibition centre.
Hamburg’s maritime history has left a legacy of brilliant fish restaurants. The Fischereihafen, situated near the Lanungsbrucken wharf in Altona (www.fischereihafenrestaurant.de) has a new menu every day from 18 euros and a fixed menu option from around 60 euros. The St Pauli district, which features Hamburg’s famed Reeperbahn, the red light district, is bursting with lively, small, family-run restaurants featuring Portuguese and Mediterranean dishes.
Hamburg is well served with flights out of Heathrow with British Airways and Lufthansa, while the options from Manchester are with easyJet and Lufthansa. Regular services also link Hamburg with Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Jersey and Glasgow.
There is a highly organised taxi rank for those who want the easy option. For a cheaper ride take the Airport Express coach – which operates between the airport and the main train station every 15 minutes – or a train service which runs to the central train station every ten minutes, taking around 25 minutes.
All you need to know about Hamburg is detailed on its website www.hamburg-tourism.de. The city is one hour ahead of GMT and the currency is the euro.
If you really want to get a feel of Hamburg during a short visit then you should get down to the old port at Landungsbrucken and pass the centuries old warehouses at Storehouse City (if the tide is right) followed by a stroll through Old River Elbe Tunnel to enjoy a view across the harbour and its museum ships.
“Don’t be late! Punctuality is imperative in Germany, especially for business meetings. Shake hands at both the beginning and end of a meeting and don’t call your client at home without their permission as Germans tend to strictly guard their private lives”