Three days and two nights in Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg.
How to get the best out of your time?
I’ve never really been in Germany, except when I have had a stopover in Frankfurt or done InterRail from Spain. But now, Come to Hamburg thought that it was time for me to experience their city! They invited me for a weekend. I brought Christine who has previously lived in Germany when she worked on a beautiful horse farm. She had to help me with the language, because I can not speak a word of German!
We found the cheapest tickets with Eurowings at Momondo.se for € 93 return trip.
We stayed at the apartment-hotel Apartello. Apartello is a newly opened hotel since September and is designed for longer stays. The rooms are individual apartments with separate bedroom and living room and fully equipped kitchen. Their slogan “smart-time living” is about that you only pay for what you actually use. Many of their services are optional, for example, breakfast and cleaning. They want it to be as comfortable as living in an apartment, but it you should also get hotel service as soon as you want it. You get access to the gym and the washing machine for free. If you stay for a long term, it can be up to 50% cheaper to stay at Apartello than at a traditional hotel.
The apartment was very nice and we used the kitchen once even though our stay were only for two nights. Because Christine eats vegan food, it’s pretty hard to find any good eating out. Instead, we cooked baked sweet potato on Saturday. Located in the residential area around the corner from the airport Apartello is an excellent hotel for those who needs a night of sleep during a stopover or for those who will stay for a longer time. We could access the apartment straight after check-in and the staff were very helpful and pleasant. They had written a note in Swedish (!) waiting for me in the room.
The hotel was located a bit outside of town. However, it was very easy to get around with busses and the subway. The bus went from the airport, past the hotel and then to the metro station called Lattenkamp on the U1. It took about half an hour from the hotel to town. The underground system was so easy to understand, it is even printed on the city map how they go. We never had to wait long for the next subway and it took us only a moment to understand how we should travel. There were no busses at night but you could still take the subway to Lattenkamp and then a cab which cost € 6-8.
We had lunch at Better burger Company on Friday. They had burgers from € 6.90, they even had vegetarian and vegan burgers. On Saturday we ate at Kaffeerösterei Brügmann at the food center Rinder Markt Halle at St Pauli.
- Learn some basic German phrases. Not every german understands or speaks English. Try Duolingo, an app where you can learn the language by playing a game on your phone.
- They often can’t take foreign cards, make sure you have cash out.
- Make sure to book the tours with an English speaking guide. Book in advance, there are not too many different times to choose from.
I usually don’t do the typical tourist activities when I am traveling. Nor do I usually read as much as I should before every trip. With that said, I sometimes feel that I miss out on activities which I realize when it is too late. But this weekend we have been real tourists!
Hop-on hop-off bus (€ 17)
The first thing we did in Hamburg was to go on a city tour with Die Roten Doppeldecker. It was actually very good for us, we really got an idea of what the city looked like and we could tick out where we wanted to spend more time the rest of the weekend. The bus took us to Rotherbaum and Harvestehude where we saw very nice, luxurious villas in an American and English style. That we would have missed out of if we didn’t go on the bus.
Model railways (€13)
Do you like trains? Then you should visit the largest model railway in the world at the Miniatyr Wonderland. It is one of the most successful permanent exhibitions in Northern Germany. This was unfortunately not something I’m particularly interested in, but it’s impressive that they’ve built up all the scenery in miniatures and added a lot of light and smoke effects.
Boat tour (€18)
Hamburg is known as the Venice of the Northern Europe – with 2,500 bridges that cross rivers and canals, Hamburg has more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam both together. That’s why it’s popular to take an 1-hour boat trip around the canals. Depending on the season and the tides the boat trips can vary. I would recommend taking the tour called “Speicherstadt” – it goes through the channels. However, at high and low water levels the tours in the canals can’t operate. At those times, there are other tours that goes around the port where you get to see the locks, the big ships, containers and large passenger vessels. The tour we took was with the company Barkassen-Meyer. Hamburg has one of Europe’s largest container port and is therefore one of Germany’s most important cities. This is of course something that they are proud of and want to show you, but I wish we could have done the canal tour instead!
Chocolate museum (€15)
When we were in Panama, we were on a chocolate tour and got to see how the beans grow etc. Now we got a similar experience at the museum Chocoversum in Germany and we even got to make our own chocolate bar. Chocolate is interesting, maybe because it’s so tasty! We got a taste of every process that chocolate goes through, from the fruit and bean shell to the finished chocolate.
Hamburger Dom is the largest festival in northern Germany, which is held three times a year. We were supposed to look for a pub in St Pauli but ended up by coincidence at this carnival. We had some traditional German sweets and went shopping instead of drinking beer.
There are many nice churches and old buildings throughout Hamburg. Down by the harbor is an island, the warehouse district Speicherstadt, which is 1.5 kilometers long and crossed by several channels. It’s very pretty and the buildings raise straight from the canals.
Reeperbahn in St. Pauli is known as the city’s red light district where there are numerous of night clubs and pornographic clubs. Unfortunately, even prostitution, but there are also a large number of theaters and music clubs. In summertime they open several beach clubs from Landungsbrücken to Altona along the Elbe.
Because we didn’t want to interfere among the pornographic clubs we went to Sternschanze which is an alternative neighborhood just a bit further away, it’s similar to Söder here in Stockholm. However, we ended up at Reeperbahn in the end anyways, at Freida B where we played Fussball with a bunch of Germans. The nightlife starts late in Hamburg because they have no closing times for bars and nightclubs. It was a crazy night that ended at 7 in the morning, but we had a lot of fun!
- Christmas Markets – They were building a lot of Christmas markets around Hamburg, but they would open after the weekend when we had gone home. Damn it! Here you can read more about the different Christmas markets at Come to Hamburg.
- Flea Markets – We were at the Saturday market Flohschanze at the Feldstraße Subway Station. They had everything! We wished that we had had a car with us, it was so much we wanted to buy that we could not bring on the plane.
- Shoes – There are a lot of shoe shops in Hamburg with a completely different variety than in Sweden. I’ve been wanting to buy a pair of black Timberlands for a long time but have not felt that I could afford a pair of shoes for € 200. In Hamburg, I found a pair of black Timberlands in a narrow model for only € 140! That model I have never seen in Sweden. We didn’t have too much time to go shopping, but what we could see, we thought overall they seemed to have a wider variety of clothes there than in Sweden.
Handmade backpacks from Lacys for €25, Timberland Slim Black Nubuck €146, a 100 year old industrial lamp from the flea market for €40.
Hamburg during the weekend! Can I recommend it? ABSOLUTELY! We are very keen to take a car in the spring and go on a roadtrip to bargain old furniture at flea markets that we missed out of, and around Germany too. Do you have any tips on flea markets in Germany? Feel free to comment!
Do you also write a travel blog? Do you want to go to Hamburg and get all this for free? Apply to the Come to Hamburg blogger project, you might also get to do this!
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This post contains advertising links. I was a guest of Come to Hamburg and have to thank all the local tour operators we worked with. However, all opinions remain my own.