Latest posts by Therese Iknoian (see all)
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Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city to the far north, doesn’t end up at the top of many visitors’ lists. Somehow the Southern German romance of hills, forests, beer festivals and vineyards grabs most. But all of those folks are missing out on a real diamond of Germany’s culture and pretty gardens, like Planten un Blomen. Situated on the Elbe River, the city is a shipping and transport hub and a rather affluent port too. Hamburg’s charm, however, comes from the canals that crisscross it, and the green expanses all that water nourishes.
The subject: A visit to the Planten un Blomen Garden on your Hamburg tour is a must, whether you are a flower and garden lover, adore open spaces, enjoy dancing water fountains, or just want a nice place for a stroll or picnic. Now, not many non-Germans head there – obvious in the fact that the official Hamburg tourism website doesn’t have the garden’s page translated into English! But the official Visit Germany website helps with your Hamburg tour and a garden visit.
The inspiration: With 47 hectares (116 acres) of flowers, trees and ponds, bees are buzz-buzzing when the flowers pop out. When I saw this garden full of pink hydrangeas in full glory and bees everywhere in the Planten un Blomen Garden, I started the chase with my lens. Bees don’t ever stop when you tell them to, nor do they land on the flowers that are what you would perhaps always deem the best to photograph. But I wouldn’t give up the hunt on my own “bee-zy” Hamburg tour
Artist’s tools: My Nikon D90 still serves me well for many an adventure, as does the 18-105mm lens f/3.5-5.6, both of which I got when I returned to photography after about 25 years! What I like about this focal length on a lens is its ability to capture almost everything for me without fiddling with changing lens or being draped with several cameras with different lenses. I’m a simple photographer like that. For this bee on blossoms in the Planten un Blomen garden, I was set at a 1/250th of second at f/5.6 with a focal length of 105mm. I also try to avoid over-processing so this has only the simplest of touches.
Read more travel tips for Germany
What to do in Germany planning map
In the map below, pins mark the exact location of the sites and places to see mentioned in our articles and travel tips on Germany. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name of the destination or location as well as any additional information, including links to stories and articles. This map is the perfect place to begin planning what to do in Germany for several days, one week, two weeks or more.
The Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow was completed in 1934 and is part of the Haavel-Oder waterway connecting the Elbe and Oder river basins. The waterway begins in Berlin at the Spandau lock and opens into the West Oder at the border area between Poland and Germany. Watching ships being raised and lowered in this ship elevator is amazing. A true engineering marvel.
Kleinhesselhoer See, Englischer Garten
Sophie Scholl Memorial
Planten Un Blomen Garden
St Nikolai Kirche
International Donaufest in Ulm
Drei Annen Hohne
Wernigerode Train Station - Brockenbahn
Quedlinburg Old Watch Tower
The rolling foothills of the Harz mountains that surround Quedlinburg feature forested terrain with open, rolling meadows, some hills and plenty of farmland – perfect for those who need to stretch the legs and mind a bit on an easy wander. We’d heard about the Quedlinburg Old Watch Tower (“Altenburgwarte”) that was located approximately 0.5 miles (just under 750 meters) from the southwest edge of town, on a sandstone ridge overlooking the village below.