Foto von meiner Freundin Kristina
Four and a half years ago I moved from a small town called „Ichenhausen“ in Bavaria, populated by 8000 people to the second largest City in Germany- Hamburg. Hamburg is 760 km away from my hometown, so it took me a while to decide that I wanted to live there.
I grew up in an even smaller town, that had only 900 people. My friends over there are amazing, and it is really a pleasure and a gift, if the people around you know who you really are, and take you the way you are, without compromises.
I worked as a nurse in a hospital at that time and was blessed with having great colleges. I also worked in my favourite bar, which was the meeting point of our friends. We had really fun times there, my friends are all musicians, so we always had parties with live music until the sun rose. We all became older and our interests changed. They got more settled, had families,built houses, and calmed down. But I was bored, wanted more, wanted to see the world and got itchy feet.
In 2011 while I was travelling through Thailand, I got to know „Jonas“, a guy that lives in Hamburg. He grew up in Bavaria, but he lived in the north since he was six years old. I told him, that I was unhappy, and that I needed a change in my life. The plan was to move to a city with more options other than one bar, a few lakes around or just one close cinema in the next town. I couldn’t imagine Munich nor Stuttgart, which where the closest bigger cities around. I had been to Hamburg once, I spent just one night there after a concert 8 years ago. But I saw that beautiful impressive harbour, felt the spirit of the town and could fell the pulse there. So, the decision fell to Hamburg.
North? Or South?
I already live here for a while.In the beginning, I really recognized the difference between people from the north and the south of Germany. The people look the same, that´s not the issue, (no, not everybody from the south wears leather pants) but in the south it´s more about traditions, food, skiing, mountains and hiking . Most people have a really warm personality, it´s easy to join other people immediately in open places, but they can be really conservative and stubborn.
The Northern people are mainly colder and distanced, rough and taciturn when you meet them the first time, in my opinion, that feels strange and unfriendly. They need a longer time to open up, but if they do, you get a really warm welcome days later. They are more open minded and are more cosmopolitan. I like that, because, if you get to know each other it feels more real. Here, it´s all about shipping, surfing, kite-sufing. The people love the rough sea.
My First Night Out Here. Where To Go? Where To Party?
The Reeperbahn- One Of Hamburg’s Landmarks
I stepped into an embarrassing situation at the beginning of my time in Hamburg. It was my first night out in Hamburg, I didn´t know were to go, I just heard about the „Repperbahn“ and went there and luckily I stumbled into a side road „Hamburger Berg“- the „Kiez“. Here the bars join onto one another. This is the place were people from Hamburg celebrate, no one who lives here goes to „Repperbahn“, that’s more a tourist thing. It´s all about partying, sex-shops, kind of red light district. Here´s also the hairdresser, „the Beatles“ got their hairstyle from. It´s still open. Have a look at „Salon Harrys“. Sometimes there are some specials at „Spielbudenplatz“, like „Foodtruck-markets“ or BBQs, that´s pretty cool.
I went to the first side street at the counter in „Rosis Bar“, it’s a tiny bar, the music is something between rockabilly and oldies. At weekend it is crowded, but a really nice place to party. The Beers in the south and the north are one of the main differencies. I got totally confused, when I ordered a beer for the first time in the north. I thought the barmaids questions were quite funny. I asked for a lager beer, she said “ Jever, Becks or Astra?“-„No, not a „pils“, a „lager-beer“ She repeated her answer. Me: „Ok, strange- Jever.“ They don´t drink usual lager beer in the north, and we don´t drink pils in the south. She asked me honestly, if I like a small or big one. I had never heard of small beers back in Bavaria. 🙂
There are a few options to party there: Exsparr, Nachtlager, Headcrash, Barbarabar, Sommersalon, Pooca, just to mention a few.
This is the place were people from Hamburg celebrate, no one who lives here goes directly to “Reeperbahn”, that’s more a touristic thing. It´s all about partying, sex-shops, kind of red light district. There are also some theaters here. “The Reeperbahn” belongs to Hamburg, its one of it´s landmarks, so you have to see it once, but it´s crazy. Sometimes there are some specials at “Spielbudenplatz”, like “Foodtruck-markets” or BBQs, that´s pretty cool.
Very close, in “Talstrasse 22”, there´s a bar called “3-Zimmer Wohnung” (“3-room-appartement”), and that´s how it looks like. The counter is created like a kitchen, you can enjoy your drinks in the living room or you go to the bedroom.
In “Paul-Rosen-Strasse 27” you can visit a very nice cocktailbar “Clockers Bar”. The bar is specialized on Gins. Clockers even has its own distillery, which produces its own gin with patience and love. It´s not cheap, but the cocktails are the finest.
There´s another really good place for cocktails. “Möwe Sturzflug” is located in “Clemens-Schultz-Strasse 96”. The decor is very individual and alternatively. The drinks are great and the stuff is very nice.
If you are more up for an old rustic and authentic sailor pub, there´s a typical one in “Carsten-Rehder-Strasse 62” called “Schellfischposten”. In this place they are filming a hamburger cult show- “Inas Nacht”.
Who is close to the Reeperbahn, definitely should have a look in the “Hasenschaukel” (“like bunny-swing”). This pub is definitely different from others. Good mood, fair prices and a smoking room with furniture from grandma’s day. Sometimes there are concerts or readings. “Silbersackstrasse 17”
A bit more outside from the centre is “Freundlich und Kompetent” , a bar that offers Live Music. “Freundlich und Kompetent” means “friendly and competent”. And the name says it all. You will find that bar at “Hamburger Strasse 13”.
Also check out “Moloch”, “Pudel”, “Waagenbau” ,”Hamburger Berg” ,”Übel und Gefährlich” ,”Princenbar” ,”Hafenklang” ,”Stubnitz” “Barbarabar”, “Dschungel” ,”Bernsteinbar”,”Hörsaal” (I just mention Hörsaal because you can play “Super Mario Cart” there 🙂 ). Depends which music you like.
There are so many options in Hamburg. If you like to go into more alternative areas, with a lot of bars and boutiques for different people, hipster, alternatives, punks, then you will like the “Schanze” a lot. “Schulterblatt” is very crowded in summertime, if it´s warm, everybody is outside, and there is a whole street where people meet and drink beer outside.
My favorite bars there are “Transmontana” (there´s also one in St. Pauli- I’m talking about the one in “Schanze”). It´s very cheap, the staff are friendly, and if you sit outside, I don’t even care whats inside. The hippest one is definitely “die Katze” like “the cat” but its too hip for me. What I like the most, is to just stay in front of the two most famous Kiosks, one is close to the Flora, the other one is “Pferdemarkt/Wohlwillstrasse”. It´s always full with people, who like to drink and party. I´m pretty sure, you’ll find a good spot you like there. And if you would like to eat something there you have lots of options.
I can also recommend bars like “Mutter”, “Berliner Betrüger” or “Le Funk”.
“Die Rote Flora”
Here is also “die rote Flora”. The “Rote Flora” is an autonomous center occupied since November 1989 remaining building of the former Flora Theater at “Schulterblatt 71” in “Schanzenviertel” of Hamburg’s “Sternschanze”. Since 1988, with the prevention of the conversion of the flora at a musical theater, it is a symbol of a radical leftest resistance or focal politically motivated, violent clashes. It´s definitely worth a look, last year they had to renovate it, so it looks less dilapidated.
“Ottensen, Lange Reihe…”
A really nice area I can recommend is Ottensen, here are the bars “Familieneck” and “Aurel” -some of my favorites.
“Lange Reihe” should also be mentioned, you will find coffee places , restaurants and nice shops.
Like A Coffee Or Wine In A Quiet Area?
Also a really good choice is the street “Bellealliancestrasse”.It´s beautiful, a bit calmer, amazing buildings around and plenty of trees. There are two good ones –“Bacana” or “Gloria”.
Vegan?– Go to “Happenpappen-Veganverliebt” in “Lappenbergsallee 41”.The bright, trendy restaurant with a warm atmosphere and outdoor ranges offers vegan burgers, quiches and cakes.
“Làl pera” in the “Osterstrasse 154”. The Art Cafe / Bar offers fresh teas, cocktails and snacks. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside. The interior impresses with comfort and style. The paintings and photographs on the walls can be bought.
Another good choice for snacks, wine, Coffees and a really funny barmaid is “Lütt Fridas Kombüse” in “Gärtnerstrasse 32”. You feel home immediatly.
“Karolinenviertel” is also a nice place. to have a coffee or go shopping. It´s in “Marktstrasse”.
Hungry? Here Are A Few Places To Go. Restaurants & Imbiss
“Imbiss bei Schorsch” at “Beim grünen Jäger 14” is cult! At “Schorschs” have a maximum space for 5 people. It is an unpretentious local snack with hearty classics such as potato salad, sausage with homemade ketchup. The old Lady is incredible!
“Gefundenes Fressen”. Hamburg hip hop legend has since 2015 its own BBQ restaurant in the “Markstrasse 130”. The Meat lovers got his money worth.
Another good place for fantastic Burgers is “The Bird” in “Trommelstrasse 4”. Angus Beef steaks and huge hamburgers are on the menu here. It does not hurt to book a table by phone.
“Frau Möller” is a rustic Restaurant/Pub .It is noisy and cramped, but has incredible charm. The cordial atmosphere compensated the lack of comfort. There is North German home cooking such as “young herring with fried potatoes”. We call that “Matjes”. “Lange Reihe 96”.
“Kleines Phi / Feldstrasse 42” .Quality and attention to detail is lived here. The guys from “Salt & Silver” here create culinary highlights.
More about Salt & Silver
Like Seafood, Tapas and more? Go to the Portuguese quarter close to “Landungsbrücken”. The restaurants there are really good and do great seafood and tapas.
Our Chancellor eats fish if she is to stay in Hamburg, in the restaurant “Fischereihafen”. It is said that there are the best fish dishes.“Grosse Elbstrasse 143”.
“Erikas Eck” in “Sternstrasse 98” has open even at nighttime. It offers home made food in a rustically location. Other unique place.
Like To Chill? Here Are A Few Parks Listed
Hamburg has also a lot of parks, “Stadtpark” I guess is the biggest, in summertime there are a lot of concerts. There´s also the planetarium, but to be honest, I have never been inside. “Planten un Blomen” is a very good choice. There´s a botanical garden inside, a skate park, you can do ice-skating in wintertime and watch impressive Lightshows in summertime (for free). My favorite parks are “Schanzenpark” and “Wohlerspark”. At “Schanzenpark” there is a Open Air Cinema in summertime, when the weather is fine. Most movies are in English. The hippest park, where you have an amazing view of the harbor is “Park Fiction”, its also the place where people go to chill after electro parties or when they come from the “Kiez”. Also around “the Alster” are countless green spaces to calm down.
A forest in a City? You will find that in Hamburg
Hamburg also has a place where you don´t feel like you are in a big City, more like in a forest. In “Niendorger Gehege” you can just go for a walk and observe deers.
My favorite Beach Bars
The best spot to watch the harbour is “Strandpauli” or “Strandperle”. They are like beach bars, where you can lie in your deck chair with your feet in the sand, listening to the waves of the rough river “Elbe” while watching the big steamers and cruise ships passing by. If you have bought a day-Ticket for the public vehicles, the ferry 61/62 is included in that, so you can also drive from “Landungsbrücken” to the Beach “Övelgönne” for free also. It´s definitely worth to visit “Strandperle”. You can be sure, you will have a really relaxed time at the beach. Just put your feet in the sand, open a beer and enjoy this beautiful view.
The Best Place To Be, The Impressive Harbor
If you go to the harbor, you will be impressed by the huge cranes and containers. In my eyes, it´s pure romantic. In my ears, it sounds like Music, when the cranes load the heavy containers from one place to another. It has this amazing industrial charm. I love it!
The Old “Elb-Tunnel”
It is also worth it to go to the other side through the old Elbe-tunnel. It´s shut down, but you can still walk through or go by bycicle. The elbtunnel was built 1907-1911 with great attention to detail. It connects the south side and the north side of Hamburg. Looks beautiful! From the other side you got an amazing view.
Drinks? Harbourtour? Music? Enjoy The Harbor A Different Way By Boat
The best way to explore the harbor is while partying. On Fridays and Saturdays you can go on a “Partyship”- “MS Hedi” or “MS Claudia”. Every weekend there is a different party like “Salsa night”, “Headphoneparty” “Hip Hop” “Balkanbeats” and the barge travels through the sluices. It´s a breathtaking view of the illuminated harbor from the ship, while drinking “Cuba Libre”.The ships lay off at dock ten. It depends, how crowded it is, which people are inside and what´s the theme, but mostly you should have luck.
“Speicherstadt/ Warehouse District”
If you are at the harbor, you definitly have to go to “Speicherstadt” . The warehouse district is a historic warehouse complex in the port of Hamburg. It stands since 1991 under monument protection and is since July 5, 2015, the adjacent “Kontorhausviertel” under the name “Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel” registered with “Chilehaus” on the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
There there are still stored goods that are imported and exported worldwide. The brick buildings are just beautiful.
Here you can visit the “Miniaturwunderland”. The Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg is the largest model railway of the world. It´s located in the historic warehouse district. On the 1300 square foot facility area there are a total of 15.4 km of track in 1:87 on which operate 930 digitally controlled trains. Make a reservation first, sometimes it´s too crowded.
It’s worth a visit to the coffee roasting. There is also the “Hamburg Dungeon”, but I was a bit disappointed when I was there.
“International Maritime Museum Hamburg”
The Maritime Museum is a Museum in the warehouse district, close to the harbor. You can find the holdings of the former Institute for Shipping , an extensive collection of ship models, ship miniatures, construction plans, paintings, watercolors, graphics, uniforms and weapons. All together it include the collection of more than 40,000 individual pieces, and more than one million photographs. The area of the historic naval uniforms and graphical characteristics deemed historically significant worldwide. You need a lot of time there!
„The Hamburg Fish Market“
is a public fish market in Altona district. Here you get fish sandwiches, the catch of the day, vegetables and fruits, but also a lot of odds and ends. The fish market opens Sunday morning. It is now a tourist attraction. In the fish auction halls you can hear live music.
It is also worthwhile to take a walk around the “Alster” and look at the pretty town hall of Hamburg. Have a look inside! It´s impressive!
On the “Alster” you can do a pedalo ride for example, stand up padeling, canoeing or sailing.
It depends what you are looking for. In Hamburg, there are a lot of districts for everybody. If you want for a walk, with your new fancy posh dress, the area around “Jungfernstieg” is the place to go for you.
If you like shopping, “Schanze” and “Karolinenviertel” or “Ottensen” is great for extravagant things. But also in other districts are a lot cute shops to explore. My favorite one is “Krämerladen” in “Osterstrasse 169”, you can find special clothes there, but also funny trinkets. It is worthwhile here to look through and the owner is unique and lovable. In the “Mönkebergstrasse” you find the same shops you have everywhere, but that’s the biggest Shopping street. There are also a lot of flea markets. On the opposite site of Metro station “Feldstrasse” is one that’s on every Saturday the whole year. At the same place you have a lot of free concerts every Wednesday in summertime starting from six o’ clock. The event is called “Knust Sommersession”.
“Arts & Culture”
If you are interested in Photography, there is a “House of Photography” and the “Deichtorhallen” close to the Main Station, it´s always worthwhile visiting the exhibitions there.
Another good place for art, a bit more alternative is “Gängeviertel/ Valentinskamp 28A”, it´s more self-made stuff, very impressive and a cute little backyard and sometimes, there are really good parties, exhibitions and culture stuff.
The Most Special Way To Explore Hamburg:
“Waterkant-Tours” is a very young company and offers individual and authentic City tours. They cooperate with local companies. Waterkant tours understood as an alternative to hectic mass tourism and in doing so deals with the concept of sustainable urban tourism.
The tours are made with “Volkswagen Bullies/Campers” and show the special corners of Hamburg, for example the “Energy-Bunker”, where you can go on top and enjoy a 360 Round view over the roofs in Hamburg, drive with the Bulli thought the old impressive tunnel, and show you secret tips you never realized. In small groups outside the mainstream, with drinks and good mood on board.
It´s a maximum of 8 persons on board. There are various tours between 2 and 4 hours. They lead the participants in special places. Hamburg, as it can be. They show the industrial charm of the harbor, residential areas, abandoned places, and secret tips. The guides are witty and authentic. They love their city. Also for people from Hamburg a special experience. It’s not the cheapest tour, but the most individual and authentic. On request there are also tours in English.
Specials In Hamburg
“Labskaus” is a potato dish of salted beef and beetroot. Well, here go the opinions apart. Indeed Labskaus is more a seafaring as Hamburger national dish. Nevertheless, it may well pass for a baptism of fire for hamburgers. Despite dubious optics numerous hamburger restaurants Labskaus have put on their menu.
“Franzbrötchen” is composed of puff pastry dough or sweet pastry filled with sugar and cinnamon. It is a modification of the cinnamon roll. The Franzbrötchen is a specialty of Hamburg food, and is often served with coffee. The distribution was originally limited to the greater region of Hamburg.
“Scholle Finkenwerder Art” is a traditional preparation for “plaice”. Names factor for the Court was the Hamburg district Finkenwerder.
“Astra Beer” is a populated cult-beer on St. Pauli.
“Fischbrötchen”A fish sandwich is a sandwich with fish and usually onions, often with pickles and different fish with tartar sauce. In northern Germany fish sandwiches are considered part of the culture.
“Mexikaner” As “Mexikaner” an alcoholic beverage, which is mainly composed of a clear spirit (originally korn, often vodka or tequila), tomato juice, Sangrita, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. Every bar in Hamburg has their own receipt.
“Helbing-Kümmel” is a is a caraway brandy. Helbing caraway is called the national drink of Hamburg. In City Hall a caraway liquor is served at all official occasions.
“Gehängten” It is Vodka shot with an anchovy. Good place to try it is at “Otzentreff” in “Otzenstrasse 4”. In St. Pauli everything is just possible!
“Grünkohl” Kale is probably the favorite food of the North German wintertime. It´s served with cooked sausage.
“FC St. Pauli” is a football club out of the St. Pauli district. The team plays in the “2. Bundesliga”. The ” Millerntor Stadium” on “Heiligengeistfeld” is near the Reeperbahn, which is why the players are also known as “Kiezkicker”. It is a cult club. If you have the chance, you have to watch a game there. The atmosphere is spacial, I always get goosebumps when the players run to “Hells Bells” from “ACDC” on the pitch.But it´s not easy to get tickets.
I have enjoyed my time in Hamburg a lot, and hope you do too. Everyday I still see something new, it´s full of Street art, the City is incredibly diverse, each district has different things to offer. It can be found right for every taste. It pays to pursue other ways away from the sights.I fall in love with this beautiful city every day a bit more.