During the times of the big seagoing clippers, Hamburg was - and still is - Germany's biggest harbor and was called Germany's Gateway to the World. Actually, the emigrants to the New World of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century boarded their ships in Hamburg. Today, the BallinStadtMuseum offer their almost complete archives for those looking for the names of their ancestors who have been on one of those ships.
The harbor is the most important attraction. A harbor cruise shows the docks where the giant sea vessels are built and repaired. Next to St. Pauli Landungsbrücken, the boarding station for the North Sea ferries, you find a big fish auction hall, part of the famous Fish Market and also a location for events of all kinds. At Speicherstadt, where coffee and rugs and spices and all the other goods from abroad were stored in four story brick houses connected by canals, you find several more museums and exhibitions. One of them is spectacular, a huge miniature train landscape with farmhouses and cities, an airport with starting and landing planes, etc. The Maritime Museum is a must for everybody who is interested in seafaring throughout the centuries.
Excursions are possible to Lübeck, the ancient Hanse town, or to Lüneburg, another Medieval town, or Schwerin, which is located in the former East Germany, with its impressive castle.
Hamburg offers a variety of hotels of all categories, some traditional Grand Hotels, some very modern and elegant.