When I travel, one of the best feelings is going somewhere unknown and getting totally astonished by it. I didn’t know what to expect during a long weekend in Hamburg in wintertime, as in the north of Europe is very cold, grey, foggy and snowy. But let me tell you: I had one of the best European weekends ever! 🙂
USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT HAMBURG:
- Language: German. English is well spoken everywhere
- Visa: No Visa needed for EU citizens. Please check the rules for non-EU citizens
- Second largest city in Germany: 1.8 million people
- Capital of Germany: Berlin, 3.65 million people
- Currency: Euro
- Time Zone: UTC+1 / summertime UTC+2
- Country Code: +49
- Emergency number: Police 110 // Ambulance 112
WHERE TO STAY IN HAMBURG
If you are looking for a colorful, cool, well-designed and sexy boutique hotel in Hamburg, you cannot miss 25 Hours Hotel Number One! I had the pleasure to spend my entire time there while in Hamburg, and I had truly great stay!
This boutique hotel is located only 7 minutes away by car from the city center. The staff is extremely helpful and you have 24/7 reception desk. The hotel has its own bar/restaurant, where you can have a good continental breakfast and also an outdoor burger place – delicious!
If you are looking for Luxury Hotels (5 stars), I’d recommend:
- Steigenberger Hotel Treudelberg Hamburg
- Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg (city center)
- Park Hyatt Hamburg
- Grand Elysée Hamburg
- Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg
- Le Méridien Hamburg
WHAT TO EAT IN HAMBURG
I need to be honest with you: there are not many dishes I madly appreciate from the German food tradition. However, there are a few things that I really recommend!
Believe it or not, apparently the ‘Hamburger’ – the most famous American sandwich in the world – was invented in Hamburg! If you look it up on Wikipedia, it says indeed ‘Germany’ as origin! I had no idea before visiting the city, so I could not resist to try several ones! The quality of the meat in the north of Germany is exceptional and the burgers taste very good. Definitely a must try!
If you would like to try another kind of sandwich, that make you feel better the Northern German vibes, Fischbrötchen is what you should eat! This kind of sandwich is typically made with pickled herring (bismarckhering) or soused herring (matjes). But of course you can add several ingredients as you wish. Also, you can have fried fish, shrimp from the North Sea or crab meat!
Hamburger Rote Grütze
I am not a huge fan of desserts in general, but this one drove me crazy! I tried the one served with vanilla ice cream, some dark chocolate and a mixed of berries as a base: so delicious!
Another dessert you cannot miss while in Hamburg is the Geeister Kaiserschmarrn! The one I tried was with nuts and caramel, but honestly very hard to describe as the recipe was a bit different from the original one! So I just fully enjoyed it! 🙂
WHAT TO SEE AND WHAT TO DO IN HAMBURG
If you are planning to spend a weekend, or a few days in Hamburg, I think there is a list of things you really cannot miss! Please see below my highlights!
This is an exceptional museum, located in the city center, has a phenomenal collection of Old Masters. Impossible to miss while in Hamburg! You need to spend at least 2 hours there (at least!).
The Hamburger Kunsthalle permanent collection reflects indeed 700 years of art and ranks among the most substantial public art collections in Germany. It is one of the few museums to offer a richly layered tour through European art history from the Middle Ages through to the present.
Moreover, there is another building in front of the Kunsthalle, connected underground with the main museum, entirely dedicated to Contemporary Art. Fabulous!
For more info, click here to check the opening hours and ticket prices.
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Honestly I was totally astonished by this place. I spent more than 3 hours inside it and I lost my mind for its collection! This museum offers an incredible wide and various collection of: Ancient Art, Decorative Arts, Modern Art, Design, Fashion, East Asian Art, Islamic Art, Musical Instruments, Photography… Like literally for every taste! This is another place you cannot miss while in Hamburg, for sure! Trust me, my jaw dropped in every room!
Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg
When I was looking at my list of places to visit in Hamburg, I firstly thought this one would be just a ‘kids-place’: I was really, extremely, ridiculously wrong! 🙂
Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg is the largest model railway in the world, one of the most successful permanent exhibitions in Northern Germany and probably the most visited attraction in Hamburg!
The miniatures are outstanding, representing every kind of possible scenario: mountains, lakes, airports, cities, theme parks, just to mention a few. Everything is so breathtaking and every single person in each room is totally speechless! I was astonished! This is another place you cannot miss while in Hamburg, seriously!
Hall for Contemporary Art and House of Photography
These two Contemporary Art institutions are located next to each other, and they always have interesting exhibitions on. Before going, check out the opening hours as they are not always open. Click here for more info.
Internationales Maritimes Museum
Hamburg is famous for its huge commercial port and its maritime background. For those who would love to learn more about it, the Internationales Maritimes Museum is surely the place to go!
If you are a chocolate lover, you need to visit the Chocoversum – The Chocolate Museum! In this interactive museum you can learn the process of chocolate making, with custom-made bars and several tastings, with a nice shop where to buy what you like!
Exploring St. Pauli District
St. Pauli district in Hamburg has a very important historical background, and you can feel it during the day as well as at night! It has always been the most popular area for people’s entertainment, full of clubs, pubs, sexy shops and so on. But not only: St. Pauli is the place related to the sailors history, the neighborhood where The Beatles widened their reputation during the early ’60s!
During the day it is a place to explore to see so many cool graffiti and street art in general, tattoo shops and bars and funky stuffs all around!
At night it is definitely the place to go, especially along the well-known Reeperbahn street. So many people, clubs, pubs and whatever you like to find for a fun night out!
Wonderful Retreat @ The Vinoble Day Spa
If you would like to spend a fabulous relaxing day while in Hamburg, please read my full article about The Vinoble Day Spa at the Steigenberger Hotel Treudelberg Hamburg!
Harbor Boat Tour with Barkassen Meyer
For a wonderful scenic view of the city, a boat tour in Hamburg is a must – preferably in spring and summer. The best time to go is for sure around sunset time, in order to see the wonderful colors of the sun reflected on the water and the city lightened at night!
You should go to the bridge 6 ( Brüke 6 ) at the Landungsbrücken and the ticket office is called ‘Barkassen Meyer’. It is open every day, from 10am to 6pm.
You can also get a guide for your boat tour! For more info, click here!
The Most Famous Buildings in Hamburg
For those who love taking pictures of the most iconic buildings of each city, I made a quick list of the ones you have to see in Hamburg:
- St. Michael’s Church
- Hamburg City Hall
- St. Catherine’s Church
- All the museums I mentioned above
I hope this quick guide of Hamburg would help you to enjoy your time there!
And you.. Are you lusting for the sublime?