I visited the city of Hamburg in Germany for a weekend trip with a fellow gryphon and Copenhagen exchange friend Kate Trombino. We took a fairly cheap Flixbus from Copenhagen central station to Hamburg central bus station on a Friday evening in February and stayed until Monday afternoon. I think its safe to say that although it was a very chilly weekend I was more impressed with Hamburg than I had expected. The beer and schnitzel were amazing but the architecture and history also blew my mind. There were also some things to do in Hamburg which I found quite random and unique, but nevertheless awesome. So here it is – my top six recommendations of what you should see and do in Hamburg!
- Speicherstadt – Hamburg’s Warehouse District
A UNESCO world heritage site, Speicherstadt is the world’s largest warehouse district. This neo-gothic brick architecture city once deemed a free economic zone spans about 260,000 square meters. It was built along the Elbe river on thousands of oak poles between 1883 and the 1920s. Kate and I saw this while on a Hamburg city walking tour. We explored the district throughout our weekend trip and just fell in love with the unique scenery which contrasts the average city architecture so brilliantly. Also no kidding – its a great photo op!
2. Elbphilharmonie Hamburg (Hamburg’s concert hall)
I didn’t know this place existed until Kate mentioned it (architecture is kind of her thing though). Apparently it is one of the largest and finest concert halls in the world. The wavy and shimmering glass features characterize the building and are present throughout. Designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, this building was phenomenally designed for acoustics and to be enjoyed by the public.
Apparently visiting an urban riverside beach to bask in the sun while watching boats go by is a popular thing to do in Hamburg! Kate and I visited the StrandPauli beach club and it immediately transported us to a tropical island. We grabbed a cider, a pretzel and chilled in some beach chairs (while wearing jackets, scarves and sunglasses) looking out at one of Europe’s biggest ports. It is definitely a unique experience.
Miniatur Wunderland is home to the largest model train attraction in the world! I was expecting the trains and figurines to be pretty and detailed but Miniautur Wunderland brought this to a whole other level. You could easily stand there for half an hour looking at each set – the colours, the people, the buildings, what people were doing in the buildings, etc. It definitely required talent and it is no wonder people rave about this place. Even if it does not sound like your type of thing, you should go. It’s suitable for all ages.
5. Hamburg City Walking Tours
Hamburg is full of history and architecture as I have mentioned and some of the best ways to see it are by walking or by boat. Kate and I did a free walking tour of Hamburg (don’t forget to tip the tour guides!) on our first day and it was the best idea. Not only do you learn some interesting facts and get to see some interesting architecture, but it gives you a great idea and layout of the city and what you may want to do next.
6. Canal Boat Tour
Also, as Hamburg has scenic canals and it is one of Europe’s largest ports, it only makes sense to take a boat at some point! From the boat tour we got a great view of Speicherstadt and the port.
This is only a handful of the many things you could do in Hamburg, but I would say these were some of the most memorable. If you are only in the city for a short amount of time, I would make sure you see and do these six things!
Feel free to leave comments with questions or other Hamburg related travel advice! 🙂