Live like a local – What to do in Hamburg, Germany
Not sure what to do in Hamburg? There are hot air balloons to ride, river tunnels to travel and pastries to eat just for starters!
Hamburg, in my opinion is definitely the most beautiful German city and has a lot of offer: Situated right by the river ‘Elbe’ and close to the beaches of the North Sea, this buzzing city never lacks a fresh breeze. While many mock Hamburg for the unstable weather or stigmatize its inhabitants as reserved sailor-types, there is, at least from my point of view, no better place to be!
What to eat
Something almost unique to our region, which you should most definitely try are ‘Franzsbrötchen’ – little pastries, usually baked with cinnamon and butter, are a delicious treat any time a day. You can buy them at most local bakeries or pastry shops and enjoy them with a good cup of coffee. Some stores specialized in ‘Franzbrötchen’ created a lot more ‘exotic’ fillings such as rice pudding, walnuts or even bananas – try ‘franz & friends’ (several stores in the city center) and find your favorite
If you don’t feel like Franzsbrötchen or other German cuisine, you might want to check out ‘Ti Breizh’ – a French restaurant that serves the best crepe and galette (buckwheat-pancakes) I have ever had. In summer they also take orders from a swimming pontoon in the near by canal
What to do
Tethered Hot Air Balloon Ride
If your time in Hamburg is limited you might want to get an overview first – why not start with a little balloon ride? Close to the main train station, there is a captive balloon base that – if the weather conditions allow it – operates every day. Compared to a ride in a hot-air balloon it’s a lot less expensive and easier to plan with – and the amazing view you get from 150m over the ground is absolutely stunning. [Due to construction work, the organizers are looking for a new location, so check their website beforehand]
Visit the Harbor
Its harbor has always been of huge significance for Hamburg – and it still is what characterizes the city’s skyline. Take a walk around the Speicherstadt (the city’s ware house district), visit the Spice Museum and explore the brand new area of the ‘Hafen City’ with its futuristic architecture, luxury galleries and wide canals.
The costly Philharmonic Halls and one of the major projects in this area, are still under construction – even so, there are organized tours of the construction site- sign up online, as tickets are much sought-after.
Music and a light show
If you don’t feel like stumbling around a half done concert hall, check out the subway station ‘Hafen City Universität’ (Line U4) to get your own personal concert: on weekends and national holidays, classic music is played and coordinated with a light show at every full hour.
St. Pauli Landungsbrücken and Elb tunnel
During their stay in Hamburg, most tourist come to the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken (Landing Stages), one of the most popular landmarks in Hamburg. While it is definitely worth a visit, you should also check out the old Elb tunnel. Its entrance is right next to the water level tower – first opened in 1911, this 436m long connection to the other side of the river was a sensation. Nowadays, it has been closed for cars, but pedestrians and bikers can still use the tunnel to get to the other side. Especially at night, the view is amazing and the area much less crowded than the Landungsbrücken promenade.
Another beautiful spot along the river is a little further down in the hip district Altona – on top of the Docklands building. The strangely-shaped office complex has a platform on its roof – a great place to enjoy the sunset, watch huge container ships pass by and feel the wind in your hair.
Open air cinemas
During summer, there are many open air cinema events all over the city. Bring a blanket, some snacks and enjoy current Hollywood movies on the quare in front of the majestic townhall, at the beach or in a park.
Shopping and Parks
As most big cities, Hamburg is great for shopping – sure. But if you’ve had enough of the crowded shops, there are lots of great parks to get out in nature and relax a little. One of my absolute favourites are ‘Planten & Bloom’ right next to the Congress Center and the ‘Stadtgarten’, with its open air pool and the Planetarium.