Hamburg is a city of superlatives. The biggest harbour , the craziest red light district and probably one of the best burgers in Germany! These are just a few things I experienced while exploring this great city in northern Germany!
Hamburg and I
Hamburg has always been one of my favourite cities in Germany. Back when I first moved to Germany many years ago I remember visiting the city for its famous musicals.
Then I visited it with friends to party for a weekend and was amazed by the places we visited. It still has this rough charm from the old days when fishermen were the source of income for the areas around the harbour like St. Pauli.
During my recent visit I got to see the city from a different angle. I decided to see and taste as much as possible from the city that I like so much. We did a harbour tour, walked endless kilometres through the old and new streets of the city, met friends like Backpacker Steve and ate some of the best burgers of Germany. No kidding, best hamburgers are in Hamburg!
No matter if you want to party, enjoy the culture or just do sightseeing, Hamburg has it all and it will welcome you with open arms!
What To Do In Hamburg
1. The old Elbtunnel
Under the river Elbe right next to St. Pauli there is the old Elbtunnel a truly old and architectural masterpiece that was built in 1907 and used since 1911. It has four big elevators that used to bring the cars up and down to cross the river back then. This was the shortest way to get into the city and cross the river! The tunnel is big enough to fit one car, this is why it used to run one way in the morning for all those that needed to get to work into the city and the other way in the afternoon to get all those people back home! Truly amazing what they’ve built there!
Make sure to check it out. You will find the entrance right at the Landungsbrücken!
2. Explore the harbour of Hamburg
Are you interested in getting to know what the largest harbour in Germany is all about, how many tons they move per day and what it takes to organise the logistics of such a huge organisation?
There are many ways to get a little insight into the harbour of Hamburg. The nicest but probably most expensive way is with a tour that departs from the Landungsbrücken! The price is 18 Euros per Person. For the price you get an hour long tour on a boat with a guide telling you all about the history, some details and fascinating numbers about the harbour!
There are many tours in German but also a few in English!
If you are on a budget, there is also a way to enjoy a harbour tour without paying 18 Euros. The only thing is that there won’t be a guide telling you all the fascinating facts about the harbour. Simply take the ferry from the Landungsbrücken Dock 3 to Finkenwerder. The ride takes about 30 minutes and costs about 4 € per Person
3. Check out the Schanzen Viertel
The Sternschanze as it is officially called used to be an outpost of the city. Today it’s home to the alternative scene of Hamburg and less crowded like the very touristy Reeperbahn in St. Pauli.
Come here to relax, eat great food and sit on the many terraces to enjoy the summer sun. In winter all life happens indoors and the cafes turn into cozy meet up places!
Tipp: You’ll find one of the best baked potatoes on the Schanzenstraße 95. Check out Kumpir!
4. Walk around the Alster
The Alster is a side river from the Elbe that created two little lakes right in the center of the city: the Binnen- and the Aussenalter!
There are always events happening around the Alster like the annual Alster Vergnügen, which I attended recently! When there isn’t an event happening, it’s great to just walk around the Alster and enjoy the scenery and the view at the city from different angles!
Also stop at the Alster Pavilion for a coffee and cake inside and enjoy the view over the lake when it is cold outside!
It is difficult to imagine once you’ve seen the Speicherstadt, but this whole area has been built on oak logs. A whole warehouse district that stands on a timber-pile foundation for more than 100 years. It’s very impressive!
The whole area is the new Hafen City (Harbour City) and is home to many museums, shows and offices!
One of the most popular museums is probably the Miniatur Wunderland, a model railway attraction and one of the largest of its kind in the world.
6. Skybar in Hamburg: Drinks with a view!
If you are looking for a great skybar in Hamburg you should check out the 20up in the Empire Riverside Hotel in St. Pauli. The bar is in the 20th floor of the hotel overlooking the harbour. You have an incredible view from up there and the cocktails are also very good!
7. Hamburgers in Hamburg
And now comes the most cliche thing to do in Hamburg, go and try Otto’s burger close to the central station. It will blow your mind away. These were some of the best burgers I’ve had all over Germany.
One of my favourite burgers was the BBQ Burger, which had a very special and self made BBQ sauce and self baked buns!
Where to stay in Hamburg:
If you are looking for a place to stay I can recommend you a few hotels and hostels where I stayed during recent visits:
Hostel in Hamburg on a Budget
During the Alster Festival I stayed at the Generator Hostel right next to the main train station. A huge hostel in Hamburg with a very central location. To get to the city center you only have to cross the train station!
The prices already start from about 15 €/night in a dorm and go up to 80 €/night for a single room! Book them here!
Hotel in Hamburg with great value
Earlier this year I stayed at the Empire Riverside Hotel in St. Pauli. The hotel has an amazing view over the harbour and the prices start at around 100 € per night. Breakfast costs additional 44 € per day! Book a room here!