The titel of this blogpost might seem to be a little overconfident but when I was invited by Germany Tourism to visit Hamburg I was very exited. I have been to many German destinations but Hamburg was still on my list. People tip it to be the next Berlin. But this city is not trying to be hip and showing off their riches. Hamburg is laid back and hip without even realizing it. It’s the 3rd largest and important port of Europe (they used to be second but Antwerp has stolen that titel). For this reason Hamburg has always been an important trading city and over the last decade a lot of development has brought positive change. You will find tons of hidden gems here.
Where to stay
Hamburg is a large city but you will notice that the best area’s are pretty near to each other. I stayed in The Jugendherberge in St. Pauli which is a great location to stay in because it’s close to everything. The Jugendherberge is a good choice if you’re looking for a budget stay with friends or if you have children. They serve a pretty decent breakfast buffet and the view over St. Pauli and the harbor is great. You can book a twin room or stay in a dorm with friends. From here you will have easy acces to the beautiful Planten un Blomen park, the large harbor (hafen city) and the metro station is a 2 min walk. You can also find the Hamburg Beach Clubs here. Beach clubs? Yes, this vibrant city has a few beach bars lined up overlooking the harbour. Ok ok, they are man-made but there is sand with tropical features. Perfect for a summer day. The most populair beach bar is St. Pauli beach club where you can find all sorts of people, young and old.
Relaxing at some of the beach clubs alongside the river in St. Pauli
Walk down from the Jugendherberge and you will find the Ditmar-Koel Strasse, a street full with Italian and Portuguese restaurants. The Portuguese community is quite large here as Portuguese sailors stationed here back in the days. You will find at least 50 Portuguese restaurants in Hamburg. Also check out Milch for your morning coffee in this street.
I also visited the Goethe-Institut where you can learn the German language at different levels. Students come from all over the world to learn German to improve their job skills in Germany or within a specialized field. I was invited to see their work and meet some of the students. I even followed a German lesson! The institute is situated next to the central station. So if you think about moving to Hamburg or want to work on your German skills, this is the best place to do it. For more information check www.goethe.de/en
“You will find tons of hidden gems in Hamburg”
Get your morning coffee at Milch
You could compare this district with Berlin but I’ve already made this comparison in the titel so let’s just say that it’s an alternative place where a lot of students and young professionals live. You will find street art, vegan cafe’s and the coolest shops. I really loved it. From my accommodation it was just 2 stops by metro to get there. There are so many cool things for you to visit around here that I’ve made a little list of the best food & shops hotspots:
FOOD & DRINK in Schanze:
» Ältes Madchen, This comfort food beer bar opened 2 years ago and is part of a home beer brewery. It’s situated in an industrial building that used to be a slaughter house. You will also find advertising and creative agencies around here. www.altes-maedchen.com
» Elbgold is a coffee bar next door to Altes Madchen and they roast different kinds of coffee which you can buy and take home with you. www.elbgold.com
» Mikawa is for great Japanese lunch or dinner. Very affordable and their Matcha Ice Tea is topnotch! www.mikawa.de
SHOPS in Schanze:
» Kauf Dich Glucklich is such an awesome store that reminded me a little bit of & Other Stories. Shop till you drop. www.kaufdichgluecklich-shop.de
» Fräulein wunder has a lot of local brands in store and you will find things here you won’t find at home. www.fraeuleinwunder-hamburg.de
» Amara Ajai for jewelry, pottery and lifestyle products. www.amara-ajai.com
» Under pressure is a cool Sneaker & Vinyl store, worth visiting. www.underpressure.de
» Minimarkt is a cool Scandinavian style concept store with about everything. www.minimarkt.com
Also worth visiting is gay friendly area San George. The main street street is called Lange Reihe where you will find coffee bars, restaurants and shops.
» Cafe Gnosa for great coffee and good conversation
» Vesco Dagama has to be the best Porguguese restaurant in Hamburg, apparently.
» Fränzi (Fraenzi) vegetarian/vegan restaurant. Try their homemade lemonade or Ice-Tea, amazing! Facebook
Fun at the Hamburger DOM
Other area’s and places in Hamburg you should check out:
» Reeperbahn, This is the old red light district in Hamburg. Here you will find lots of bars and clubs but also a nice place to drink wine and beer outside.
» Ottensen district Watch this space as it’s up and coming. Bahrenstrasse is the main street for shops, cafe’s.
» The Hamburger DOM, have some old school fun at this large fair. If you’re around on a Friday, make sure you see the fireworks at 11pm!
» Wohlwill strasse near the Dom. Alternative cafe’s and bars.
» Uebel & Gefährlich is THE club everybody is talking about. Check out the agenda here
» Karolinen Viertel is a district and in particular the Marktstrasse for cool shops. You have a lot of vegetarian or vegan options around here.
» Hafen City is such a cool area to walk around. The old buildings are part of the Unesco World Heritage list and you will see why. Uber cool!
Things you should know about Hamburg:
» During my stay I used a 5 day travel card for the public transport but I never had to show my ticket plus you’re not required to check in or out like you do in the UK or The Netherlands. Oh i’m so wrong for saying this but…just saying! (A fine will cost you €60 though) #livingontheedge
» Many restaurants don’t accept cards or require you to spend a a minimum of 10-15 euro’s. Most stores prefer you pay with cash so make sure you find a ATM to avoid disappointment.
» If you are around from January 2017, you should pay a visit to the highly anticipated Elbphilharmonie, a concert hall which includes a hotel, bar and even apartments! Their first concerts are already sold out but definitely have a look in or outside the building. I was so lucky to have a first look inside with a selected group of Instagrammers.
» You may notice that they sell a lot of Fritz-Kola around this city and that’s because 2 students from Hamburg started their imperium back in 2002 and locals are proud of that. Drink it and enjoy!
So be ready for the next best thing Germany has to offer and book a flight to Hamburg, it will pleasantly surprise you!
Watch my video report here!