So, you’ve already stayed overnight in your cool digs, hit Hamburg’s foodie scene and done so much that your feet hurt – but wait, there’s still more to see! If visiting the city for a weekend break, it may be hard to decide what to prioritise, so let my Top 5 things to see for Hamburg newbies help you out:
No visit to a German city would be complete without visiting the town hall – and in Hamburg it’s no different. The Rathaus and its accompanying square are a sight to behold, so make sure to set aside a little time to stop off here when wandering through the city.
2. HAFENCITY / SPEICHERSTADT
Once an old and dilapidated port area, HafenCity is now a gentrified Hamburg cool spot – and it’s not even finished yet. The warehouse part of the district, Speicherstadt, was recently awarded UNESCO heritage status, which only serves to make this part of the city even more of a must-see. The UNSECO seal of approval is unsurprising when learning that the walls of these red brick buildings are more than 100 years old, stand on oak log foundations, and have housed everything from coffee to oriental carpets. Speicherstadt aside, the rest of HafenCity is flurry of development – with new shops, restaurants, cafes office and hotels popping up all the time. The most iconic part of this area though is, of course, the Elbphilharmonie, which presides like royalty over all else.
Schanzenviertel is slightly grittier and even-more-hipster than neighbouring Karolinenviertel. Head here for design boutiques, second-hand gems, funky foodie spots and yes, to ‘hipster watch’. Forget the touristic Reeperbahn, this is the place to see and be seen with Hamburg’s cool collective, day or night.
If pretty, not gritty, is more you thing, then make sure to stop by the Alsterarkaden and Jungfernstieg area for some stylish shopping in the city centre. These beautiful waterside arcades are a pleasant place to stroll (even more so when Hamburg is living up to its rainy reputation, as you’ll stay dry!) It’s just a stone’s throw away from the Rathaus, so these are the perfect places to pair up in your sightseeing schedule for the day.
5. CITY VIEW FROM THE U-BAHN
The premise of an ‘undergound’ is that, well, it goes underground. In Hamburg, it’s not always so – there are a few U-Bahn lines which go above ground even in the heart of the city centre. That, of course, makes them perfect for the tired wanderer who wishes to sit back for a bit but still take in some sights. One line which is particularly good to hop on is the U3 from Hauptbahnhof towards Bambeck – you’ll get great views of the Elbphilharmonie and river as you pass by the Baumwall and Landungsbrücken stops.