This hot weekend in July (that is if you’re in northern Europe) I’m introducing a brand new guest blog series. Don’t we all wish we know a city as the locals do? The only ones who really, really know a place inside out are the locals after all. Welcome to the new series: Do as the locals do! If you’d like to be featured as one of our Local Experts, please send me an email.
This week, I’d very much like you to meet Sarah from Journey to Design. Sarah is from Hamburg, Germany, and she’s sharing her insights of this vibrant city with us.
Oh Hamburg, you can be so pretty. There’s the never sleeping harbour, the posh Alster, crazy St. Pauli, edgy Schanze and so much more.
But if I have a day just for myself in Hamburg I’m spending it around Sternschanze and St. Pauli, and that’s what I’m doing:
Have breakfast at Schulterblatt
This well known-area is perfect to start your day with a Portuguese coffee and croissant watching the hipsters walk by. Just pick one of the cafés there and make sure to find a seat headed towards the street. The Sternschanze area is worth a walk afterwards, you’ll find beautiful street art and adorable small shops and cafés here.
You can’t visit Hamburg without seeing the Harbour! Sitting in this park you can watch the cruise ships go by without the crowds. Get a drink at a kiosk and find your place. There is always someone playing music, you will be surrounded by locals and there is no better view on the harbour.
Fischbrötchen for lunch
For lunch you should head towards the harbour and get a Fischbrötchen (Fish-sandwich). I always choose the one for children called “Bremer”, which is basically a fish finger sandwich. If you are more daring you can go for pickled herring and other crazy toppings. It might sound weird but it’s delicious and the best cure for a hangover I’ve ever had (you’ll thank me later).
Boating through the harbour
Once you’ve made it to the harbour, you should hop on a boat. My favourite one is “Frau Hedi”, a vintage ship with a DJ, cruising through the old and new parts of the harbour. You can get off once an hour or stay on as long as you like. To make sure you get in, you should buy your ticket in advance as it’s sold out most days. If you don’t feel like music, you could take the 62 boat, which brings you to the beach.
Yes, Hamburg has it’s own beach, where you can swim while massive cruise ships go by right in front of you! The benefit on your health might be questionable but I’ve done it for years and am still fine.
Party in St. Pauli
Another thing you can’t go home without: You have to go out in St. Pauli, Hamburg’s infamous red-light district. Yes, there are prostitutes on the streets but there’s really no reason to be scared. There are great clubs and restaurants in this area, which aren’t filthy at all and somehow these two worlds just work together here.
Mojo is a really good club with an amazing sound. It’s underground with a very fancy entrance, where the ground is opening at night and closed during the day. This is a great place for a sophisticated night out with some friends.
Less sophisticated but also fun are the clubs at Hamburger Berg. There is no cover, so this is where everyone goes bar hopping. You don’t like a song? Let’s go to the next bar.
For proper electronic dancing check out Golden Pudel Club (not before 2am). It feels like you’re in a squatted house (think graffiti covered walls and boarded up windows), the music is world class though.
If you’re out on a Saturday, you’ll have to check out the Fischmarkt afterwards, which is right in front of Golden Pudel Club. Get another Fischbrötchen (or anything else), sit at the quay and watch the sun set. Hamburg at it’s best.