Hamburg is the new Berlin


The title of this article might seem to be a little overconfident but Hamburg is the only German city that would be able to defeat Berlin in this title. But this city is not trying to be hip and show off its riches.

Hamburg is laid back and hip without even realizing it. It’s the 3rd largest and most important port in Europe (they used to be second but Antwerp has stolen that title). 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.

Things you should know about Hamburg:

» During our stay, we used a 5-day travel card for the public transport. If you have a multiple-day public transport card, make sure to take the ferry as well. It’s included, and you can make a trip across the Elbe and see the Elbphilharmonie from the waterside. Also, there’s a ferry going towards Elbe beach!
» Many restaurants don’t accept cards or require you to spend a minimum of 10-15 euros. Most stores prefer you pay with cash so make sure you find an ATM to avoid disappointment.
» If you go to Hamburg, you should pay a visit to Elbphilharmonie, a concert hall which includes a hotel, bar and even apartments! At the end of the “Tube” escalator, you’ll find Restaurant Störtebeker. This restaurant had an insane panoramic view over the river Elbe and the Hamburg docks.
» 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!

Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg

Hamburg Cruise Days

The Hamburg Cruise days are one of the most spectacular maritime events in Europe. Every two years, the festival is held in the port of Hamburg in September. This time the festival had to make up for a lost time (you know, pandemic) and orchestrated a massive event in August with light shows and three (!) cruise ships. On Friday, the mother of all cruise ships, Queen Mary 2, opened the light-up of the Blue Port Hamburg. While we were on the water ourselves, we saw the whole port lit in magical blue. The next day, cruise ships AIDAprima and MSC Magnifica had a rendezvous on the Elbe with a light show, called Pas de Deux, of 270 drones between them, Which was impressive to say the least! Make sure you come back to Hamburg next edition!

Where to stay in Hamburg

Hamburg is a large city but you will notice that the best areas are pretty near to each other. For DJH Jugendherberge Hamburg „Auf dem Stintfang“ 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 access to the beautiful Planten un Blomen park, the large harbor (Hafen city) and the metro station is a 2 min walk. Besides, you can also find the Hamburg Beach Clubs here. Beach clubs? Yes, this vibrant city has a few beach bars lined up overlooking the harbor. The most popular beach bar is St. Pauli beach club where you can find all sorts of people, young and old.

Another budget option and quite trendy nowadays is Motel One Am Michel. During the Hamburg Cruise Days, this was a perfect option. It’s centrally located, near the water and breakfast is great! Book your stay here.

The view from the Jugend Herberge
The view from the Jugendherberge

Relaxing at some of the beach clubs alongside the river in St. Pauli

St. Pauli Hamburg

Walk down from the Jugendherberge and you will find the Ditmar-Koel Strasse, a street full of Italian and Portuguese restaurants. The Portuguese community is quite large here as Portuguese sailors were stationed here back in the day. You will find at least 50 Portuguese restaurants in Hamburg. Also, check out Milch for your morning coffee on this street.

“You will find tons of hidden gems in Hamburg”

Milch Hamburg
Get your morning coffee at Milch

Schanze Area

You could compare this district with Berlin but I’ve already made this comparison in the title 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 cafes 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:

» 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 slaughterhouse. You will also find advertising and creative agencies around here.
» Elbgold is a coffee bar next door to Altes Madchen and t
hey roast different kinds of coffee which you can buy and take home with you.

» Mikawa is for great Japanese lunch or dinner. Very affordable and their Matcha Ice Tea is topnotch! 

Schanze Area Hamburg
Coffee Bar Elbgold

Japanese treats at Mikawa

SHOPS in Schanze:
» Kauf Dich Glucklich is such an awesome store that reminded me a little bit of & Other Stories. Shop till you drop.
» Fräulein wunder has a lot of local brands in store and you will find things here you won’t find at home. 
» Amara Ajai for jewelry, pottery, and lifestyle products.
» Under pressure is a cool Sneaker & Vinyl store, worth visiting. 
» Minimarket is a cool Scandinavian style concept store with about everything. 

Karolinen Viertel

Located between Schanzenviertel and St. Pauli lies Karolinenviertel. Karoviertel, for short, is a bubbly and colourful area in Hamburg. Around every corner, you’ll find the most gorgeous street art pieces. The hip cafés and vintage fashion boutiques along the Marktstrasse are real gems. Have you experienced the nightlife at Reeperbahn and are ready for something else? Dive into one of the bars here at night. Not rarely you’ll stumble upon some live music! You have a lot of vegetarian or vegan options around here.

» XeÔm – A Vietnamese restaurant which is very popular amongst locals.
» Fisch Pauli – On the corner at the Marktstrasse. A no-nonsense laidback seafood eatery.
Verlan Café – Loved this little café. First I thought it was just a café, but it’s a jewelry story as well!
PAMPÁ – We noticed this was because of its terrace on the grass. Cute little café with a small menu.
Flohschanze – Only on Saturdays between 8 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon, you can go bargain hunting at the flea market. Make sure to bring cash!

San George

Also worth visiting is gay-friendly area of San George. The main 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 Portuguese restaurant in Hamburg.
» Fränzi (Fraenzi) vegetarian/vegan restaurant. Try their homemade lemonade or Ice-Tea, amazing! Facebook

Hamburger Dom
Fun at the Hamburger DOM

Other areas and places in Hamburg you should check out:

» Reeperbahn, This is the old red light district in Hamburg. Here you will find many bars and clubs and 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, and 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 11 pm!
» Wohlwill strasse near the Dom. Alternative cafes and bars.
» Uebel & Gefährlich is THE club everybody is talking about. Check out the agenda 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!
» Fish Market is not your typical market. From 4 in the morning until 9:30, both party people and early risers meet at this place alongside the Elbe. Every Sunday morning, nightclubbers from the Reeperbahn, clutching fish rolls and hot coffee, descend on the waterfront and hope that it will give them a second wind. There’s even live music in the fish auction hall!

Hafen City Hamburg
Hafen city is such a cool place to walk around in

So be ready for the next best thing Germany has to offer and book a flight to Hamburg, it will pleasantly surprise you!



Watch our video report about Hamburg back in 2016, here!

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  • Anna
    Posted at 08:39h, 30 August Reply

    Dear Elke, we love the video about your trip to Hamburg. It was fun having you here with us. Many greetings from Hamburg!

  • Michaela
    Posted at 14:15h, 08 February Reply

    What a cool trip! We are waiting about our city and are happy to hear that you like as much as we do and that you love my area where I live St.Georg!

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