Today on Lauren on Location, we have Van of Snow in Tromso here to tell us about her ideal day in Hamburg!
If you happened to read my past post, “I’ve left my heart in so many places,” you already know that a huge piece of me resides in Hamburg.
Hamburg, Germany is the city of my ancestors and therefore has always been really important to me. When I was younger I always heard stories about this foreign place and dreamed of the day I would visit. The memories passed down in my family were mixed, some were lively and joyful, but a lot of them were dark, horrid and painful. After all it was this place where my family once prospered and it was this very same place that later destroyed them. Still, I knew I had to go. There was something so strong pulling me there, pleading for me to give the city a second chance.
Finally in the summer of 2014, during the beginning of my blogging career, I finally got to visit Hamburg. I had a really emotional whirlwind experience and was even on TV with my father! Needless to say, my trip to Hamburg completely blew me away! The city wasn’t dark. It wasn’t scary or cold. It was just the very opposite! Somehow after only a few days, it felt like home.
That’s why I’m so excited to have Van here, who I consider a Hamburg expert! She’s giving us a real inside look at one of her (and now my) favorite northern cities!! And what a wonderful city it is ….
Hey y’all! I’m Van, a German who moved to the Arctic of Norway to attend the northernmost university of the world. I’m blogging about my life and travels in the Arctic and Scandinavia over at Snow in Tromso and am so happy to be taking over Lauren’s blog today to tell you all about Hamburg!
Hamburg is by far my favourite city in Germany and since moving to Norway, I’ve spent more time there than during the 23 years I was actually living in the country. I always take the plane from Hamburg to Tromso when I’ve been visiting my family in Germany and I always spend at least one night in the city before I go home again. Last year alone, I went to Hamburg 4 times and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen most of what the city has to offer by now!
Now, Hamburg isn’t as big as Berlin which means it’s a wonderful city to explore on foot! 24 hours aren’t enough to see everything though but it’s definitely enough to see the highlights of the city centre! So let me present you an itinerary with my favourite spots and things to do in this Northern Pearl as the Hamburgers call their city!
Breakfast at the Fish Market
If you’re in Hamburg on a Sunday, definitely get out of bed early (or don’t even go to bed at all) and head to the fish market in Altona which is open from 5am to 9.30am in the summer and from 7am to 9.30am in wintertime. It’s THE tourist attraction in Hamburg where you can bargain for fish, fruits and vegetables. There are bakers everywhere trying to convince you to buy their products and even live music and beer stalls in the old auction halls.
However if you’re not up for a party that early in the morning, there are lots of restaurants nearby that offer breakfast or brunch so that you can have a quick look at the hustle and bustle of the market and then enjoy a nice breakfast in peace. After all, the day is going to be quite long so you might not want to exhaust all your energy in the morning already!
- Fish Market, Pauli Fischmarkt 2
**Not in Hamburg on a Sunday? Check out Lauren’s tip for breakfast:
If you’re not lucky enough to make it to Hamburg on a Sunday for the fish market, try grabbing a bite at Café Absurd. This café is pretty popular and therefore often crowded, but the staff are really friendly, the food is tasty and fresh and the best part, it’s extremely affordable (which can be a hard find in Hamburg)!
- Café Absurd, Clemens-Schultz-Str. 84
When you’ve seen enough of the fish market, take a stroll along the river Elbe to get to the famous Landungsbrücken. This is quite a touristy area at the harbour but nonetheless, it’s a place you have to visit and there is so much to explore too! You can for example visit an old Russian submarine, the U-434, right next to the fishmarket or you can go onboard of the Cap San Diego – an old sailing vessel that now is a museum where you can even visit an exhibition about the emigration wave to America in the 19th century, as Hamburg played a big role for emigrants during that time.
Lunch on the Harbour
For lunch, you HAVE to try one of Hamburg’s famous Fischbrötchen! It’s simply a piece of fish on a bread roll but it tastes delicious so try it! If you want more than a snack for lunch though, definitely visit the Feuerschiff. It’s a bright red ship at Landungsbrücken that you can’t miss and even though it looks and is named after a ship from the fire department, in reality it was simply a ship of the navy that is now used as a hotel and restaurant. From cake to fish to soup, you can get basically everything you could want for lunch here!
- Feuerschiff Hotel and Restaurant, Vorsetzen
- Lauren suggests to get a Fischbrötchen at Brücke 10, Pauli Landungsbrucken | Bruecke 10
Hamburg from above
When you’ve enjoyed the view on the Elbe enough and you ate a Fischbrötchen, it’s time to head to Hamburg’s city centre. You could of course just take the metro but I can only recommend you to go on foot. It’s a beautiful route and you even pass by St. Michel’s Church where you can get a view of Hamburg from above. Absolutely amazing!
- Michel’s Church, Englische Planke 1
Jungfernstieg and Alster Lake
The best views of Hamburg down on earth beside the ones you can get at the Elbe river, are at the Alster lake. The area around Jungfernstieg is just so pretty, no matter whether you visit in summer or wintertime. It’s where the Town Hall is situated as well as some amazing old Hanseatic houses that make for postcard perfect pictures. Jungfernstieg is also where you can go on a boat tour on the Alster lake – perfect for a relaxing Sunday afternoon, isn’t it?!
**Tip: If you’re peckish again – eat some ice-cream at the lake! And in wintertime, don’t miss out on the winter market at Jungfernstieg and eat some crepes or roasted almonds.
In the evening, it’s time to get back to the harbour and the old warehouses of the city, situated in Speicherstadt. Hamburg has been a hanseatic city once and the warehouses at the Elbe river are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage – awesome, right?! Take a stroll around the neighbourhood by following the street “Am Sandtorkai” and if you have some time left, head inside the Speicherstadtmuseum, that tells you all about the history of the warehouses, or the spice museum next door.
- Speicherstadtmuseum, Am Sandtorkai 36
- Spicy’s Gewürzmuseum (museum of herbs and spices), Am Sandtorkai 34
The best way to see the warehouses and the harbour though, is from a boat. So book a boat sightseeing tour and go on a one hour adventure on the river Elbe. You can either start your tour in the Speicherstadt or at the Landungsbrücken close by. The best time to do this is definitely the evening though as you’d get the chance to see an amazing sunset over the river and experience the city lighten up.
**Tip: If you’re in the city in summer, check out the website of the Miniature Wonderland as they offer combi-tickets for boat sightseeing and visiting the museum.
Miniature Wonderland & Currywurst
The Miniature Wonderland is a huge collection of model railways that have been built in miniature copies of the Alps, Hamburg, the US, Scandinavia and Italy. They even have a miniature model of the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso and a mini-cruise ship cruising Scandinavian waters. And the highlight: a real miniature airport with real tiny planes starting and landing!
It can be quite crowded at the wonderland since it’s definitely a tourist magnet but they are open until Midnight during summertime which makes it the perfect destination for your evening in Hamburg. And also dinner is cared for: you can get an awesome XXL Currywurst with fries for little money at the wonderland so eat first and then go explore! You can also book a behind-the-scenes tour if you’re interested in seeing how the wonderland has been built.
- Miniatur Wunderland, Kehrwieder 2-4/Block D
Now, if you still have enough energy to go out and party after such a long day, head to Reeperbahn (the red light district) and party until the sun rises again. If you’re doing this on a Saturday night – even better! The fish market is close by so party all night and head to the market in the morning!
I know, this sounds like a really really long day but Hamburg isn’t that big so with the exception of partying all night and visiting the fish market, it’s more than doable! 😉
Have you been to Hamburg? What are your favourite spots? And if not, what would you like to see/do most?
If you’re interested in more guides to Northern European cities, head over to my blog and subscribe to my newsletter!
Thanks Van! When I get back to Hamburg one day (because it’s inevitable) you better believe this guide is where I start!!
Heading to Hamburg soon & want to take Van’s guide along? I’ve created a condensed, printer friendly version:
Download & Pack this guide: One Day in Hamburg
Check out Lauren on Location’s other “One day in” posts: