You want to spend a weekend in Hamburg, but are still looking for the perfect plan? Here’s the formula: Shopping, going out, sightseeing – selected tips for a weekender that normally only my friends get if I can’t take care of them personally!
TEXT & PHOTOS: SUSANNE KRIEG
Something Organizational First
StadtRAD: Register with StadtRAD via APP. So you can rent and return a red bike at more than 200 stations in Hamburg. The registration fee of 5 Euro will be deducted from the costs. The first half hour costs nothing, then every minute 8 cents, a whole day 12 euros. Take a rain cape with you.
Accommodation: e.g. in the Superbude – right at the top of the hostel-liga, in the middle of the Sternschanze & close to St. Pauli (you can also get a double room) // Boat fans should rent a berth in the Feuerschiff, a former lighthouse on a ship, centrally located at Speicherstadt and Baumwall // The Clipper Elb-Lodge offers apartments in a great location directly on the waterfront, between the Altona Fish Market and Dockland
A Weekend In Hamburg: What To Do On Saturday
First: Breakfast at the Transmontana in the Sternschanze, an old-established Portuguese family business, which I also recommend in my „Elbville Photo Safari“ (you can download the tour in the Elbville Shop). The Transmontana not only scores with generous scrambled egg combinations. The Galao, i.e. espresso with frothed milk, and above all the „Pastel del Nata“ (pudding pastries) are also dangerously tasty and very affordable. PS: Don’t let the hippsters intimidate you! They only want to have coffee and eggs like you…
If you prefer to start with lunch, I recommend Slim Jim at the Neuer Pferdemarkt (Sternschanze): The Slim Jim pizzas are beyond tomatoes and cheese and also take care of the vegetarians and vegans among us. Good music, tattooed pizza bakers and homemade furniture.
Next: an alternative shopping tour through Marktstraße in the nearby Karolinenviertel: local brands, cafés and shops with special charm, e.g. the Hanseplatte (Hamburgensien, books & local music). The men’s outfitter Herr von Eden or Garment, the fashion store „for more everyday glamour“ are also worth a visit.
Not far from Sternschanze, behind the park Planten and Blomen, you reach Neustadt: here in Peterstraße you’ll find a picturesque ensemble of old Hamburg town houses. At the end of the 19th century the quarter was razed to the ground after several cholera epidemics, which is why, strictly speaking, the houses are only replicas. But this is exactly where Johannes Brahms was born in poor circumstances in 1833. House No. 39 is now dedicated to the life of the composer, who looked surprisingly handsome at a young age. Special highlight: The old panel piano in one of the upper rooms, where Brahms himself once sat. It’s hard to believe, but today visitors are actually allowed to play on it. In a basket on a table you can even choose a Brahms music sheet for your performance.
For dinner I recommend the Taqueria Mexiko Straße: real Mexican street cuisine and fantastic Mezcal in a colourfull atmosphere. Whoever expects Chili Con Carne and sticky burritos will be taught otherwise. Located directly in a side street of the Reeperbahn, the shop offers a good opportunity to fuel up for the party night on St. Pauli. But it’s better to book in advance – at least at rush hour, when it can get crowded.
Next on the list: Set sail with Barkasse Frau Hedi at the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken. The sympathetically quirky dance ship, decorated with plastic flowers, sails through the harbour and stops every hour at Brücke 10 (inner edge) to pick up new guests and let others leave the ship again (PS: bachelor parties have to stay outside!). The music ranges from polka beats, mass karaoke, garage punk and calypso to indie. The atmosphere is almost always fantastic and the guests are extremely dance-loving.
After one or two hours, you leave the Hedi and party on ashore, for example in the underground Mojo-Clubat the end of the Reeperbahn. Right next to it is also the Clouds, a bar that literally floats above the clouds of Hamburg on the 22nd-24th floor of the Tanzende Türme. Shortly before 12.30 a.m. you should make a detour into the Silbersack, a legendary seaman’s pub between Elbe and Reeperbahn. In the post-war jukebox, turn on the old Hans Albers hit „Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins“ and with an Astra beer in your hand, witness how people go crazy (by the way, you can find inspiration for more Kiez pubs & bars here).
Ready for some more real Hamburg feeling? Then head off to Erikas Eck: Here you can enjoy fresh meatballs, schnitzel and other hearty dishes together with taxi drivers, who like to strengthen themselves here after the shift is over – and only here can a St. Pauli night really come to a worthy end. PS: You can skip the Fischmarkt. It is a little bit of a rip-off, because these days everything is sold there, but unfortunately not a lot of fish…
A Weekend in Hamburg: What To Do On Sunday
After a good sleep and breakfast in the Mutterland Cölln’s, formerly Germany’s oldest oyster shop (more information on this place you’ll also find in my mobile „Photo Safari“), Sunday begins with a walk through HafenCity and Speicherstadt. Don’t forget to take a look from a bridge called Poggenmühlenbrücke (Speicherstadt) towards the Wasserschlösschen.
If you are with children, you should head for the Pirate’s Playground in HafenCity opposite Grasbrookbpark and Unilever House – a popular family meeting place on Sundays and the little ones can let off steam on really great climbing frames. Sometimes there is a bicycle trailer on the side where you can buy strong coffee. On the steps on the rear of the…, well, let’s say: „interesting architecture“ of the Unilever house there is also a nice chill-out zone in which you can watch the hustle and bustle on the Elbe river with some ice in your hand. On weekends, the Der.Die.Sein-Market also takes place inside the foyer of the building.
Now you walk along the Dalman-Kai to the Elbphilharmonie. Take the escalator up to the Plaza of Hamburg’s new landmark and enjoy the views. Afterwards you will cross the Niederbaumbrücke, a bridge over to Baumwall. At the Landungsbrücken you should change on to the floating pontoons, the so-called „Brücken“ (bridges), and taste the best fish rolls in town at a kiosk called Brücke 10 .
Afterwards you should visit the old Elbe tunnel, whose impressive tubes from 1911 take you under the Elbe and over to Steinwärder and back again (you can walk, but also ride the city bike). From Steinwärder you have a fantastic panoramic view of Hamburg.
Back at the Landungsbrücken, you now cross Hamburg’s Portuguese quarter. Here you will find cafés and some nice shops, some of which are even open on Sundays. At the end of Ditmar-Koel-Straße rises the Michel , Hamburg’s main church. Those who want to visit it should take a look at the tomb as well as take the elevator up to the tower: the panoramic view is also magnificent.
Anyone who has two or three hours left and does not have to head straight home should also pay a visit to the Hamburger Kunsthalle (Museum of Art). It is located in the immediate vicinity of the main railway station. Recently renovated, the old part next to the futuristic cube (which houses modern art) shines in new splendour both inside and out since 2016. A must see are the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, whose collection also includes the famous „Wanderer Above The Clouds“.
If you need an idea for one more dinner – the Altes Mädchen (a Brewery Inn) in the Sternschanze is one of my all-time favourites: countless craft-beer varieties and delicious food in a cosy and modern atmosphere. Sometimes even a fire crackles…