A Weekend Escape to Hamburg, Germany

Hi everyone,

unfortunately, I am under a lot of pressure coming from my studies and the whole application process that I am currently in. Therefore, I wasn’t able to write up all the things I wanted to share with you this week (like a link up post about my hometown, things to do in certain cities, and an essay about the question “where is home?”. Instead, I have a little something for you that I wrote, when I first wanted to start my blog back in December last year. This is a recap of a truly whimsical weekend in Hamburg. Enjoy!

To celebrate our survival over exams, presentations, and papers, a friend and I decided to get away for a weekend. We wanted to see something different and discover some new Christmas markets. Coming from California, my friend had never been to the Venice of Northern Europe and so we decided.

The city hall of Hamburg. (c) Juliet

A great advantage of living in Berlin are the endless connections of long distance busses towards every major city in Europe. So we ended up taking the bus for 10€ one way, which took us 3.5 hours. Sure, taking the train takes a third of the time but also it is also five times as expensive (and we’re students after all). We stayed in two adorable rooms in an old villa that we found via Airbnb. Booking a room for two can make Airbnb actually cheaper than any hostel but there are obvious up- and downsides to both choices.

View from St. Michaelis. (c) Juliet

Although it was not the first thing we did, taking a free walking tour through the city is definitely the best to cover all the famous sites of Hamburg. I love those free walking tours. The tour guides are always locals and super fun to be around. The company starts walking tours in more and more cities all over Europe, so whenever I get to a new city, I always check if they offer a tour there. In Hamburg, they offer two different tours: One through the historic center of the city and one around the harbor and the famous Reeperbahn. We decided to join the historic tour and have a look at the rest by ourselves. Since I’m writing this post a million years too late, I can’t remember the actual route, but it was perfect. The tour ends in front of the renowned St. Michaelis church, commonly called “Michel”. It has one of the highest steeples of the city and, therefore, offers the best view over Hamburg. For 4€, you can either walk up the 452 steps or take the elevator and enjoy the view over the harbor and the city.

View from St. Michaelis. (c) Juliet

After the guided tour, we explored the harbor and the Speicher-City on our own. The Speicher-City was originally the part of the city with all the trading stations of the Hanseatic League. Some of them are still used, but a lot of the buildings have been repurposed. You can find the Miniatur Wunderland (the exhibition of the largest model railway in the world), the Hamburg Dungeon (which you can find in a lot of cities actually), interesting architecture, a university and some hidden cafés. My favorite spot in the Speicher-City are the Marco-Polo Terrassen. It is a wonderful spot for people-watching. (Unfortunately I didn’t make it there on my last trip, so I’m lacking photos.)

The Reeperbahn in St. Pauli is one of the areas with a vibrant nightlife and also the well-known red light district of the city. Since my friend and I have never been there, we decided to be tourists and have a look. I can not say a lot about the area since we didn’t stay there for a long time. However, I prefer the other nightlife center of Hamburg, called Sternschanze since the atmosphere is more relaxed and there are fewer tourists than on the Reeperbahn.

My favorite spot to hang out during the day is the Jungfernstieg at the lake Innenalster. It is located in the center of the city, maybe two walking minutes away from the Rathaus (city hall) and surrounded by the most upscale hotels and shops of the city. It is always nice to take a walk around the lake and through the small streets with all the shops and restaurants. Since we went there around Christmas, everything was beautifully decorated. Therefore, the walk around the lake was equally enjoyable at night.

Christmas decoration along the Innenalster. (c) Juliet

For your pinterest board:

Adapted from original: “Hamburg” by Marius Brede, used under CC BY
Adapted from original: “Hamburg” by Marius Brede, used under CC BY

Did I miss anything? What are your favorite spots in Hamburg?

Yours, Juliet

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