Whenever I visit churches, I’m usually content with saying a prayer or two, and if allowed, taking pictures inside. When I was in Hamburg, Germany, however, I couldn’t resist my Couchsurfing host’s invitation to go up the belfry of St. Michael’s Church, the largest church in Hamburg.
From the belfry, there’s an excellent 360-degree view of the city.
Even though it was still winter, I was lucky enough to have two full sunny days in Hamburg, and from the spire, I could see all the famous landmarks, one of which is the opera house, the ultra-modern Elbphilharmonie (12 o’clock position in the picture, the building with three cranes) located along the river Elbe.
Hamburg’s harbor, while pretty awesome as seen from the viewing platform, must be visited to appreciate it fully. It’s a fascinating combination of the old (some warehouses are to be nominated as UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014) and the new, and buildings dating from the 1800s stand cheek-by-jowl with more modern structures, making for a really picturesque site.
You can take the stairs in going up the spire of St. Michael’s, but know that there are 453 steps, so you should be fit and dressed appropriately if you do decide to take this route. There’s also an elevator, but it’s really small and can accommodate only a few people at a time. Be prepared to wait if you’re there during the summer season when they get a lot of visitors.
Admission to the church is 4 euros. A visit to the crypt is charged separately.