Sorry it’s been so long folks.. we’ve been quite busy. Lots of travel, work, new adventures to plan etc.. I’ve missed writing about so many great experiences, but figured I could catch up with our latest weekend trip to Hamburg.
It’s definitely someplace I’d recommend visiting in the warmer months. Though, we still managed to enjoy our time in frigid January. It’s a 3 hour drive from Berlin, so we drove up for a long weekend.
The most fun was just wandering around exploring town. Saturday we got to enjoy the city during rain, sleet, snow and sunshine, oh and crazy winds. Be prepared for any weather in Hamburg. The old town is always a good place to start touristing. There’s the ornate Rathaus (townhall) and lots of shops to visit.
Speicherstadt – an island in town connected by lots of bridges, with old brick buildings that were warehouses used in the shipping business. Now there’s a few cute shops and such, and it’s just kind of neat to wander around.
The Elbphilharmonie (new music hall) has been booked up for months apparently, but it’s worth just enjoying the building from a distance even. Truly a unique piece of architecture.
Elbetunnel– You can take an elevator down and walk along a tunnel to the other side of the river. I don’t know if there’s really anything non-industrial over there, but the view is pretty cool.
Miniatur Wunderland – We heard multiple positive reviews, so decided to check it out and get out of the snow. Not really my thing, but the detail is impressive. They recreated bits of the U.S. (the west & Las Vegas), Hamburg, Bavaria, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark. Main downsides (1) too crowded (2) while it’s detailed and has recognizable buildings, the layout of cities isn’t accurate (3) maybe with kids would be more fun?
The red light district is quite flashy and loud, but you can find statues of the Beatles there, since Hamburg is where they did their first recording.
Sundays are always fun for exploring and seeing German cities in a different light because all the shops are closed and it just tends to be a bit quieter out. We decided to walk through the Planten und Blomen Park to see the Otto van Bismark monument (huge monument at the south end of the park), and on the way passed tons of families waiting for the zamboni to finish the ice skating rink. If the line hadn’t been so long we might have joined them.
Then we wandered down to the river, where tons of people were enjoying fresh fish along the port. There’s also the fish hall, just open early Sunday mornings. Past that a bit is the U-boat museum. Easy and quick to tour, but also really cool.
Hamburg has a large lake in the middle of town. There’s a nice path around it, and we quickly realized this is where EVERYONE comes on Sundays to jog/walk etc. Even rowers were out in the bitter cold. Germans don’t let weather deter them. I however.. well we found some gluhwein, then decided to call it a day.
Where to stay– Sternschanze would be my #1 choice of neighborhood. It’s got tons of little restaurants, bars, cafes, a fun atmosphere and is not too far from the other highlights of the city. Hamburg is BIG. As in some of the cool neighborhoods are uber far out. So this is the best choice in my opinion. This is one of the few times we actually went with a hotel over airbnb and I’d recommend it. We stayed at the Movenpick in Sternschanze. The hotel is a huge former water tower (very modern inside) and right next to a train stop. You are going to want to take the train some, though we did walk a fair amount too.
Food: Hamburg is a great city to visit if you like seafood. Fresh fish, yum yum. We took advantage of that along with the hipster spots in Sternschanze, where you can basically find anything and it’s probably amazing.
Hummer Pedersen (lobster restaurant) lots of seafood restaurants down here.. this one specialized in lobster. And oh my delicious. Some large oysters then some fresh lobster meat (hummerfleisch) yes please.
Casa Franco – Portugese seafood. There’s no menu, just pick how many courses and if you’d like fish, meat or vegetarian. Go with the fish and do all 4 courses if you can. We were pretty much drooling after the spicy, garlic shrimp starter. The space is tiny, so get a reservation in advance. #1 on yelp and yet not just a tourist trap. Live music, friendly servers. Somehow we left the restaurant with a free bottle of Portugese wine. Not sure how that happened but I’m not complaining.
Cafe Elbgold – good coffee, nice space. Does get crowded on weekends.
Braugasthaus Altes Mädchen – restaurant with Ratsherrn brewery. Food’s decent, beer definitely tasty. Atmosphere was fun (other than the fact that can’t get a rezzy past 7pm, and after that it’s a free for all.. seat yourself.. aka hover over someone til they leave)
Craft Beer Store on Lagerstrasse however, definitely worth the visit if you can carry beer home.. all the Ratsherrn beer plus many many others..
Jim Burrito’s Cantina– Craving a good burrito? Okay, so I always am, but this place is great. It is not German Mexican food.. there’s some spice, and they cater to carnivores and vegetarians alike. #winning
Hatari the Corner – Brunch here. You must. Do the stacks.. Avo, Salmon whatever.. they’re amazing. Though the rest of the menu looked pretty darn good too. I could eat lunch or dinner here as well.
We stopped for tuna and salmon burgers at a little spot outside the Fischmarkt Hamburg-Altona before leaving town. Wow, so good.
A few spots we wanted to check out but didn’t.. Karo Fisch, Saints & Sinners, Mutterland