Hamburg as a local tourist: A guide

For my studies and an internship afterwards, I spent 5 years in one of Germany’s harbour cities: Hamburg.
When people go to Germany, they mainly visit Berlin and Munich, because party capital/history and Oktoberfest. Not many find their way up to Hamburg, but if they do, they all fall in love. Mainly because it’s just a great mixture of Munich’s beautifulness and Berlin’s coolness.

But what should you not miss when you are there?

  • The Harbour. It’s the biggest in Germany and the third biggest in Europe and has such a special vibe to it you can’t really explain to anyone. To the left, you find the finally finished Elbphilharmonie, an opera house, that also includes a restaurant, a hotel, apartments and a car park; across the river you can find the homes of a few different musicals; and to the right, there’s the famous Fish Market, a place tourists love to visit Sunday Mornings from 4:30am on, while the youth of Hamburg goes there to enjoy the last beer or a “Fischsemmel” after a night out at Reeperbahn. So no matter where you go, there’s something going on.

Hamburg Harbour by author

  • Reeperbahn. This is a place you definitely have to visit at night, when all the lights and all the people make it one of the busiest places in Hamburg. There’s a street called Herbertsstraße, where only men are allowed to walk through, because it is full of display windows for women. So girls, be careful, you can actually get hurt when walking through there!
    Other than that, Reeperbahn has a vibrant nightlife. Go check out Rosi’s Bar at Hamburger Berg, for example, it’s one of the oldest bars around there.
  • Sternschanze. It’s one of the “cool areas” of Hamburg and home of many bars, cafés and restaurants. And some of Hamburg’s coolest streetart can be found between here, Reeperbahn and Altona. Check out Katze, a bar where you can drink Caipirinhas for €3,50 around Happy Hour!
  • Alster and around. This is definitely the beautiful part of Hamburg. It’s the city centre, where the town hall is located on the one side and the Alster (the inner and outer part) on the other one. You can just relax and watch the water for hours, you can hire a boat and go around there and the canals or you can go shopping up Mönckebergstraße or down to the Gänsemarkt. So many things to do.


And now on to my second favourite thing when traveling: Food. Where to eat in Hamburg?

  • Was wir wirklich lieben – they offer great, healthy options, especially for breakfast.
  • Pauline – vegan food options in Hamburg!
  • Café May – There are a few around Hamburg and they offer a breakfast buffet for around €5 while having cozy couches to lounge in.
  • Slim Jims – Pizza with toppings of your choice.
  • Hatari – A bit of southern German food up in the north.
  • Herr Max – CAKE.
  • Joe and the Juice – hot guys and healthy juices.
  • Trattoria Remo’s – a great authentic Italian in the middle of Sternschanze.

These are just a small selection of restaurants. I haven’t really been eating out there in a while, so it’s what I remember and loved, but trust me, there are new restaurants popping up every week, so you won’t have troubles finding a good one, no matter where you go!


Hamburg’s town hall by author

What else do you need to know?

  • There’s a public transportation boat going along the Elbe all the way to Elbstrand (Hamburg’s cute little beach), so save some money on a tourist boat and take this instead: You might not hear about all the history but you definitely see the same things.
  • The U3 (subway) is a similar thing. It does go under ground a bit but most of the time you can see great things from up there.
  • Hamburg’s pretty rainy and windy. I always enjoyed it, but you have to be aware that no matter when you are going, you might be facing some rain. So pack the right clothes and you’ll be fine 🙂
  • You might find a few prostitutes around Reeperbahn. It’s legal there, so don’t be shocked.
  • If you have more time around Hamburg then just a weekend, try to stroll around Eppendorf, Eimsbüttel, Altona or Winterhude and check out those beautiful neighbourhoods with all their cafés and little boutiques. So much to see!


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