About Hamburg: Germany's second-largest city and biggest port is not shy wallflower: it has long taken pride in its history of trade with the world (and the wealth that has created) since joining medieval trading association the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages. But despite its role as a wealthy economic stronghold, Hamburg isn't a boring, sterile business port: it's lively Reeperbahn red light district is one of the world’s most popular, filled with provocative bars, shops, and prostitutes, yet very safe for the tourist practicing common sense. Its maritime spirit shines through everywhere you look: from fantastic seafood to waterfront parks, port cruise tours to the shipping warehouse complex of Speicherstadt. It's here that you can also explore a miniature model town at Miniatur Wunderland. True to German culture, Hamburg loves its open-air markets: Rathausmarkt takes place in the central square and offers visitors a taste of authentic German food (though the American hamburger had its origins here, true Hamburger cuisine tends more to pan-fried fish and the regional pastry FranzbröThen.) The city has a long love affair with music as well, being the birthplace of Johannes Brahms and an primary incubator of the Beatles. For all its charms, Hamburg has maintained a relatively low profile on the world tourist map. Yet has plenty to dig into from historic buildings to modern theater.