Canals are cool, and Amsterdam has 165 of them, spanned by 1,753 bridges. But too many tourists are swamping this European hot spot.
The compact Dutch city of fewer than 1 million residents is hosting 20 million tourists annually — including an increasing number of rowdy tourists in its 24-hour Red Light District. (There’s a reason the city’s deputy mayor recently said, “If the only reason for you to come to Amsterdam is to get drunk, to get stoned, don’t come.”)
Five hours away by train, Hamburg has less obnoxiousness, plus more canals than Amsterdam and Venice combined. Hamburgers are proud of their 2,496 bridges, more than any European city.
Here, you can walk narrow cobblestone streets in the Art Deco historic district and take in panoramic views from atop Elbephilharmonie, the striking new concert hall overlooking the port. Plus, the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's Red Light District, is one of Europe's most prominent...and has yet to be overrun with unruly out-of-towners.