This week’s Ask a Local takes us to Hamburg, Germany where we meet Sarah who was all excited to tell us about her hometown.
Sarah is a Spatial Designer. She moved to Hamburg four years ago after studying in London and calling several places all over Europe her home. When she is not designing temporary architecture, Sarah is travelling the world looking for the most inspiring designs, the coolest architecture and the nicest people. She also really likes puppies.
But today she opens up and shares what she loves about Hamburg and what you should not miss!
Describe Hamburg in your own words.
Getting out of the subway at “Landungsbrücken” and overlooking the entire harbour right away. If you’ve done this once on a sunny day in Hamburg, you will be in love forever.
Hamburg is in the very north of Germany, close to Denmark and the coast. It’s Germany’s second biggest city (after Berlin) and it is characterized by its very different quarters like the hip Sternschanze, the posh Winterhude, the harbour, the red light district and even a beach, additionally all the residential areas. There is really something for everyone and a new world to explore every day you are visiting.
What’s the best thing about living there?
Taking a boat to work, cycling everywhere else. The infinite amount of portuguese cafés. Party all night and watching the sun rise over the harbour is an unforgettable experience.
What your favourite time of year in Hamburg for you? Why?
Definitely Spring and Summer! The Winters can be mean with storms, floods and horizontal rain freezing in your face. There are sunny days all year round but if I had the choice I’d pick a date between April and September.
Is there one place visitors shouldn’t miss seeing?
The harbour! You can take a public boat and simply ride around and you will have seen half the city by the end.
There is also a Party-boat called “Hedi”, which does the same thing but with a DJ. You can buy a ticket online, drive around and dance for hours.
I also really like Grindelviertel, which is the old jewish part of town with many cute cafés and restaurants. It’s close to the university, so there are many students around and almost no tourist finds his way there. Perfect place for a nice dinner and drinks with friends!
What’s your favourite local dish?
Fischbrötchen! It’s simply a sandwich with different kinds of fish. I always pick the one that’s preferred by children called “Bremer”, which is basically a fish finger sandwich. If you are more adventurous you can choose pickled herring and other crazy toppings.
Do you have a favourite local place to eat/drink you would share with visitors?
I love Kleine Pause, which is a dodgy sports bar in between Sternschanze and St. Pauli (means you will walk by there on your way to the party). They literally serve everything you can imagine for a ridiculous price and you can wash down your fries with a 2€-Mojito while watching 80s MTV. This place it not about the food or the drinks (hell no) but it still has the atmosphere of a simple bar in the neighbourhood where everyone is welcome, and I often get stuck there for hours on my way to St. Pauli.
Keep your eyes open for the crazy waitresses who have been working there for 60 years.
If that’s too rough for you try “Bullerei”, a very hip restaurant in Sternschanze. It’s located in a beautiful old warehouse with open brick walls and stylish furniture. They are famous for their steaks, so it’s not really for vegetarians. You should book a table way in advance since it’s always full (for a reason).
How about a favourite local coffee/tea shop?
There is an amazing café called “Herr Max”, which serves the best cakes I’ve ever eaten. Also it’s in the nice and hip neighbourhood Sternschanze, where you will find many cute shops and nice bars.
What three local words every visitor should know?
- Schietwetter: (“shit weather”) Perfect conversation starter, always.
- Mexicaner: a local shot, made of tequila, tomato juice and tabasco
- Moin: northern German for “hello”
Why should someone visit your city?
Hamburg manages to make everyone feel welcome. You can find great restaurants, bars, clubs, museums and architecture for every taste here. There is a beach in the city where you can watch massive cruise liners go by while you are swimming, do I need to say more?
What advice would you give someone visiting your city?
If you are into open air dancing check out the festival calenders before you come. On most weekends during the summer there is a huge party in one of the parks or you can simply take the party boat described above. I’ve taken it at least 20 times and still can’t get enough.
You’ve probably seen the pictures of “Reeperbahn” with prostitutes on the streets. Yes, that’s true but you can still go there without being scared. There are great clubs, restaurants and shops in this area, which aren’t filthy at all and somehow these two worlds just work together in this district.
Don’t worry, if it rains you will still find something to do. There are great cafés everywhere, you can visit an ancient indoor swimming pool or even go trampolining.
Take your time to wander through the little shops in Sternschanze and St.Pauli. You will find hidden gems everywhere.
Wow…Sarah has definitely given some fantastic tips and recommendations. Since she loves exploring her hometown of Hamburg so much, she’s written a lot more of her local explores on her blog Journey to Design, have a read for more unique places she has discovered in Hamburg and her travels. Thanks Sarah!
Until the next Ask a Local…Happy Travels my friends!