To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect of Hamburg but there was a Ryanair sale on and we needed a break. I had a feeling my spontaneous method of booking travel was going to pay off as soon as I started researching our trip. With a thriving street art scene, plenty of museums, and more craft beer options than we could possible drink through it seemed like the perfect place for Pablo and I to explore for a few days.
Take in the street art
Art is always high on my priority list when travelling, a place that has a decent street art scene usually has our kind of creative vibe.
Staying at Suberbude St Pauli we didn’t have to travel far to take in the local art as it was literally on our doorstep.
The streets of St Pauli and Sternschanze were covered in a mix of colourful artwork from graffiti, scribbled tags, paste ups to full blown murals, there was something for every style of street art fan.
Visit a museum
Hamburg is a city that gets its fair share of rain so it’s worthwhile having an indoor plan unless you just want to wander around looking like soggy cats, like we did.
With around 50 museums to choose from you’re not short of choices; top of my list on our next visit are: St Pauli Museum, Neuengamme Memorial, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, and Dialogue in the Dark.
Get a view from up high
OK, so not exactly alternative but definitely worth joining the tourists for the views over the city at The Elbphilharmonie.
You need to queue for tickets but entry is free; take the escalator up to the top of this grand building and enjoy views over the river and city, it’s a gorgeous place to get your bearings and take in the sights of Hamburg from up high.
Catch a Game
Now, I’m not a football fan but F.C St Pauli is a team I can get behind, not only because they have a skull and crossbones logo but also because of their liberal and accepting views.
They were the first club in Germany to have a set of guiding principles which include;
FC St. Pauli accepts this social responsibility and promotes the interests of its members, employees, supporters and volunteers beyond the sphere of sport.
Tolerance and respect in our mutual interactions are important pillars of the St. Pauli philosophy.
Individuals and groups should subject their present and future conduct to constant self-critical evaluation and be conscious of their responsibility for others. Adults should not forget that they are role models, especially for children and young people.
FC St. Pauli will continue to be a good host. The club grants its guests far-reaching rights and expects this to be honoured accordingly.
It’s the only stadium that I have visited that is decorated with murals, pride flags and family friendly advertising promoting love and equality.
I wish I hadn’t been travelling hand luggage only because Hamburg is full of awesome independent shops. Despite my lack of baggage I did manage to pick up some vintage pieces from Pick Weight (a by the kilo store filled with amazing retro finds) and jeans from Backyard. We didn’t actively hunt down shops due to lack of funds but managed to stumble across loads of cool little boutiques and record stores just simply by wandering the streets of St Pauli and Sternschanze.
Next trip I’m 100% bringing a bigger bag and visiting one of the local flea markets as well as all the other gorgeous stores I purposely avoided.
Grab a pint
As you’d expect from Germany, Hamburg has a great craft beer scene. Some of the best spots to try out some local beverages that I can personally recommend are;
- Altes Mäedchen, a modern warehouse space where you can grab a local pint or one of 60 other international craft beers, as well as freshly baked bread and good quality fresh food.
- Galopper des Jahres is a small casual brewery pub with a great selection of beer and a laid back atmosphere.
These were two of my favourite spots for a pint, but everywhere we went had a options from local brewery Ratsherrn. After sampling a fair few of their offerings a tour of their brewery is high on my list for next trip, as well as a visit to Blockbräu beer hall.
Get on your bike
The day we planned to rent bikes it was typically pissing it down with rain, however Hamburg is a great place to cycle in. The city has the infrastructure for cyclists to feel safe even when on the main roads through town and is a fantastic way to take in as much of the city as possible.
Embrace the craft coffee scene
Beer is not the only beverage which Hamburg takes seriously, it is also a coffee lover’s dream with fantastic craft coffee available in various places.
Our favourites included Hermetic Coffee Roasters, Elbgold, Nord Coast, and Törnqvist.
Get some vegan grub
Sometimes travelling as a vegan requires a lot of effort, but not in Hamburg. We had already done some research in advance but even the greasy kabab shop we strolled into after a few to many offered vegan currywurst which made our weekend trip so much easier. I’m not gonna give too much away with this one as I’ve got a full food and drink post coming your way soon but a few of my favourite spots included Pauline, Jim Burritos, Happenapappen, and In guter Gesellschaft.
In 2004 a project to restore and maintain vintage photo booths started in Berlin and it has now made its way to Hamburg. There is something magical about these analogue machine and hearing the whizz and click of your photos being developed.
I absolutely love this project and they make for an awesome keepsake.
We didn’t have much of a plan for this trip but simply by wandering we came across so many awesome hidden gems in Hamburg, including most of the places we ate, galleries, parks and even this amazing climbing wall. Hamburg has a really relaxed vibe so my advice would be to pack some comfortable shoes and take you time to explore the streets and drop in wherever takes your fancy.