Festivals and Markets

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From Christmas markets to literature and ballet festivals, visitors can find large and small events that truly represent the subtle flair of Hamburg’s diversity:

  • 824th Harbour Anniversary—From May 9-12, Hamburg’s port comes to life as millions flock to the harbor for the biggest festival held in the city. Parades, a tug boat ballet, food, and events on land, sea and air lead to a spectacular fireworks display on Saturday evening.
  • Elbjazz Festival—Held May 24-25, this festival welcomes local and international artists for two days of jazz music held in over 50 concerts on 10 stages in numerous locales across the city.
  • Hamburg Schlemmer Summer Festival—Hundreds of restaurants in Hamburg participate in this culinary summer event where regional and international cuisine is presented in multi-course menus for only 59 euros per couple.
  • Hamburg Cruise Days—The port of Hamburg is a hotbed of cruise ships and thousands of visitors during this summer festival of food, drink, and entertainment that takes place every two years.
  • Hamburg Theater Night—A single ticket grants access to opera, ballet, cabaret and comedy shows in over 40 different venues across the city. Held in September, theater night showcases the upcoming programs for some of the city’s most beloved arts and cultural venues.
  • Reeperbahn Festival—St. Pauli pulsates with the sounds of live music for three full days as international bands perform in clubs, bars, churches and theaters for this yearly festival held in late-September.
  • Christmas Markets—Locals and visitors flock to Hamburg’s 15 Christmas markets to stroll the array of holiday decorations on display from Nov. 26 to Dec. 31. The markets sell traditional hand-crafted items as well as sultry Christmas decorations in the erotically themed markets on Reeperbahn.

Getting There

AIR: United Airlines offers daily nonstop flights from Newark, while Lufthansa and airberlin connect to Hamburg through their German gateways. Many other airlines serve Hamburg via their U.S. and European hubs.

TRAIN: There are three major Hamburg stations that connect to Hamburg’s public transportation network, and Hamburg is only a 90-minute high-speed train ride to Germany’s capital, Berlin.

CRUISE: Various cruise lines such as Azamara Club Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, and MSC Cruises include Hamburg on their Northern Europe itineraries, and for cruise passengers, the best part of stopping in Hamburg during a port of call is that they can walk right into the city from the ship. For clients interested in extending their sightseeing time in Hamburg, recommend a pre- or post-stay.

LGBT Hamburg

In Hamburg, gay life is concentrated in St. Georg, the city’s oldest and biggest “gay village.” Located between the main train station and the Alster, LGBT visitors will find stylish stores, bars, restaurants and busy street life along the Lange Reihe and Steindamm. The gay-friendly design hotel THE GEORGE (thegeorge-hotel.de) features a Moroccan spa and a roof terrace for watching the sunset. St. Pauli, too, is gay-friendly, with Reeperbahn offering countless choices for gay partiers, such as 136° – Gay Clubbing (Reeperbahn 136). For transsexuals and transvestites, Schmuckstrasse is the place to be. Visit hamburg-travel.com/gays.