Explore Eco-Friendly Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg is one of Germany’s largest and most vital cities; for centuries it has been a hub of international trade. The Hanseatic city of Hamburg has long been known as a commercial port, and while it continues to be a vital trade center, this industrial city is in the midst of getting a green makeover. Hamburg was the European Green Capital in 2011, recognized for its large-scale revitalization of the district of Hafencity; homes will be built to the city’s ‘green’ standards and will be accessible by walking and public transit. Hamburg has become famous for its unique and eco-friendly solutions to urban redevelopment.
- Planten un Blomen park: Since Hamburg is after all a green city, it is home to some lovely parks, the most famous of which is Planten un Blomen. This park was opened in 1930 and has traditional rose garden, hot houses which house dozens of exotic plants, Japanese garden with teahouse, and beautiful water fountains. If you have children the park also has a playground, and offers illuminated fountain concerts from May until August. Also take a trip to Stadt Park, which has beautiful settings for walks, picnics, and row boating. In the Stadt Park is Hamburg’s Planetarium, which is among one of the oldest in the world, but rest assured it has modern projectors, which offer a beautiful experience.
- Hafen Hamburg (port): The city’s port is among its largest attractions and is a must see for anyone traveling to Hamburg. The bustling harbor district offers boat trips which give you a tour of this historic harbor, and is home to the city’s famous fish market. The Hamburg harbor is the heart of the city and is the third largest commercial port in the world. It’s a lovely place to take a stroll, have lunch, and enjoy a delicious German beer.
- Tierpark Hagenbeck (zoo): At Hamburg’s zoo you can see elephants, monkeys, tigers, etc. in their outdoor habitats. Be sure to check out the newly built aquarium the zoo showcases Hamburg’s first and only Tropic Aquarium with over 14,000 exotic animals this facility takes the visitor on an expedition from the depths of the ocean to a tropical jungle.
In order to get around Hamburg your best bet is to make use of the city’s amazing public transportation. The S-Bahn and U- Bahn trains are an impressive network of rapid transit trains which focus on the city’s center. System maps are readily available at most stops or any hotel. You can also get around by bus, or rent a bicycle. Hamburg has a public biking system called StadtRAD Hamburg (CityRide Hamburg); there are approximately 80 stations within the city, and you can return your bike to any station. Also your first half hour is free! Check out their website for more information: stadtrad.hamburg.de.
Hotels & Cuisine
Complete your stay in Hamburg with accommodations at one of the city’s top eco-friendly hotels. These hotels range from the five-star Park Hyatt Hamburg, which focuses on recycling, energy efficiency and reducing C02 emissions, to more modest options. The most budget conscious traveler might want to check out the Okotel Hamburg which was built with eco-safe materials, and offers all the comforts of other hotels while keeping your trip under budget. If you want to sample some eco-friendly eats during your stay, Hamburg has restaurants such as the Schanzenstern, which uses locally sourced and organic ingredients. Vegetarians can rejoice at the offerings of the Loving Hut, which is the first Asian restaurant in the city to feature a vegan menu.
Beyond its eco-friendly attractions, Hamburg is a city with a rich artistic and cultural heritage. If you want to infuse a little culture into your trip look into any one of Hamburg’s museums, like the International Maritime Museum, or enjoy the State Opera in Hamburg. This city has unlimited attractions for every kind of eco-traveler.
Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet, a site that keeps readers informed about the best ways to save money, from couponing to affordable travel options.