Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany – and probably its richest. Not that it flashes its cash. They like to keep things understated here. And in case you think Hamburg is all good taste, designer furniture and muted colours, remember this has been a thriving port city since Hanseatic times - it still has the raw, edgy energy that attracted the young Beatles.
As with all cities this size, Hamburg can be whatever you want it to be: there’s historic architecture in the Aldstadt, or Old City, and urbane sophistication on the shores of the Alster Lakes. Hipsters lead the gentrification march in the bohemian cafes and bars of St Pauli’s Schanzenviertel district. St Georg, the hub of the city’s gay scene, is packed with galleries and bars, while across town, larger-than-life cruise ships drop anchor in the Harbour Area. Look out, too, for the brand new HafenCity district, soon to be home to the Herzog & de Meuron designed Elbe Philharmonic Hall [NB due 2015].