Hamburg – the pearl of the north Welcome to the most marvelous city in Germany
Did you ever wonder what HH actually means? High Hamburg? Hammer Hamburg? Ok, lets solve the mystery: HH means Hanseatic city of Hamburg. “Hanseatic” was an alliance of merchants, representing the interests of the members in economic, cultural and political issues in the middle Ages. In particular, the shipping industry was promoted by the Hanseatic League, and thus acquired Hanseatic cities such as Hamburg with their free trade and capable merchants from the Middle Ages to wealth.
But enough of the story, let’s get to the geography: Hamburg is located on the Elbe, about 100 km away from the North Sea estuary and currently counts (as of 2018) a population of 1.8 million inhabitants.
Hamburg is one of the coolest cities we’ve ever been to. Why? Good question. On the one hand, you can be dressed however you like, you get good food & drinks anytime, the people are super friendly and almost everything is accessible by public transport. Not forget to mention the nice sellers in the kiosk who ask you after your beer purchase, whether they should open the beer directly and you take it to “go”.
Just writing about Hamburg makes us wanna go back immediately.
So there is so much to see, but where do you start?
The question is not where, but what do you want to do / see? Where should we go is definitely the wrong question, first, you need to think about what you would like to do, since you will most likely have a possibility for your activity in Hamburg! First of all, we would like to introduce you to a pretty cool website with all sorts of insider tips; we used this blog to get some pretty good restaurant recommendations: https://geheimtipphamburg.de/
A chill day in Hamburg starts in the “Schanzenviertel”
Why not start the morning with a good breakfast or brunch in Schanzenviertel?. There is enough choice for everybody, and we never had any bad experiences. We can recommend Café Kostbar at Susannenstraße 36 as well as Frank and Frei at Schanzenstrasse 93.
The Schanzenviertel is becoming increasingly popular by young and old, not just because of the hipster flair and the street art. Classic paste-ups, tiles and stencils are located there as well as eye-catching styrocuts. Many cool cafés and bars have settled in the Schanzenviertel and in the neighboring Karoviertel.
If the weather is good it’s also very comfortably to chill in the Schanzenpark near the subway station. In summer there is also an open-air cinema.
Let’s continue to the “Landungsbruecken” …
We recommend to take the U3 in direction Barmbek and hop out at the stop Landungsbrücken. You are now in the district of St. Pauli.
The Landungsbrücken (bridges) serve as a landing point for passenger ships (including the ships which takes the passengers to the musicals, harbor cruise tours etc …) and are located between Niederhafen and the fish market on the Elbe.
You can either take one of the many harbor cruises (we would rather advise you to take a container tour) or go through the old Elbtunnel, which is free to visit all year round.
A walk on the Elbe has so much to offer…
If the weather is good, we would recommend a walk in direction Hamburg Cruise Center Altona, you are able to discover some pretty amazing stuff located close to the Elbe, in the district of Altona.
After starting your walk at the Landingbriges, you need to pass the fish market, and after it can admire the Köhlbrandt staircase. Next stop is the Holzhafen (wooden harbor) and the Cruise Center.
The cruise center is normally used to handle cruise ship passengers, but at the time we were there, it was just a super sale and it was quickly turned into an outlet.
The walk-enthusiastic among you: we would suggest walking for about 1.5 km to walk to the Reeperbahn. The Reeperbahn must be seen once during day and once at night and the difference is literally like day and night … maybe this phrase comes from Hamburg and refers to the Reeperbahn.
The Reeperbahn, the bad call clouds…
If you follow our directions you will come out at Beatles square. The Beatles had the foundation of their world career in Hamburg. On 17.08.1960, the Beatles performed for the first time on the stage at the “Indra”. The Beatles played 48 times in the “Indra”, which was frequented by prostitutes and their customers before the club had to close because of neighbors’ noise complaints. Their next locations included Kaiserkeller, Top Ten Club and Star Club.
The neighborhood around the Reeperbahn (St. Pauli) is Hamburg’s number one entertainment district. There is nothing that does not exist there. Table dance bars, discos, student clubs, sex shops, pubs, theaters, peepshows etc, even a police station, the famous Davidwache.
But beware: Dear ladies, keep you away from the Herbertstraße, the prostitution street in Hamburg, unfortunately only men have access to that street.
Our favorite pub on the Reeperbahn is the Alte Liebe, where we listened to some great concerts and enjoyed ice cold beer.
A good tip: If you’re there in winter, make sure to visit the Santa Pauli Christmas Market. Instead of candles, dildos are sold here, and instead of Santa Claus there are strippers! That’s the christmas spirt!!
We have only eaten a few times on the Reeperbahn, but we would recommend dining in the neighboring Schanzenviertel. Unfortunately our experience in regards of food was not that great at the Reeperbahn. However, the Reeperbahns bad reputation is not quite appropriate.. Of course you have to be careful in the evenings, and people are quite drunk and misbehave (but these are mostly the tourists), however, the neighborhood still exudes its charm and we
feel totally comfortable as a queer couple and were welcomed everywhere (except in Herbertstraße) with open arms.
Heading from St. Pauli to the new HafenCity & Speicherstadt (warehouse district) …
The total contrast to St. Pauli is the new HafenCity. You can reach it by taking the the U3 from St. Pauli to Baumwall. At the Baumwall you can gaze at the newly built Elbphilharmonie.
The Elbphilharmonie looks pretty spacy and you better take a look twice to process this image. The Elphi was built on top of the former Kaiserspeicher (a warehouse complex). In addition to the concert halls a few apartments are located as well in this complex, purchase price up to € 10 million.
After you have passed the Elbphilharmonie head straight to the new HafenCity. The real estate prices are above the average in this area, but it’s a total different quality of living in the new HafenCity. Hamburg’s youngest district is developing into a very popular district of Hamburg. In addition to apartments, shopping malls and a cinema, the new U4, which
connects HafenCity with the rest of the city, was recently introduced to the public.
Pass the new Kuehne + Nagel building when you leave the HafenCity and continue walking towards Speicherstadt. As the name implies, these buildings were formally used as hughe warehouses for spices and corn.
The Speicherstadt is the largest warehouse complex in the world and was built between 1883 – 1928. It was a part of the free port of Hamburg, so the merchants could trade their goods without a burden of duties.
Nowadays, no “commercial goods” like grain are stored in the cracked storage, but have been used as carpet – warehouses, museums or restaurants.
If you would like to dine very well in the Speicherstadt you should visit the Vlet. This restaurant is located in an old warehouse complex. The prices are a bit high, but the food is worth every penny!
Next Stop – St. Georg, that queer district of Hamburg
St. Georg is just a short walk away from Hamburger train station and is the LGBTQ scene district of Hamburg. However, it must be said that we think that Hamburg is very liberal, and thus does not depend directly on a scene. When we were at the Winter Pride a few years ago, we got introduced to St. George and immediately felt at home. There are numerous queer cafés and boutiques especially in the streets around the Lange Reihe. The hot spot is Café Gnosa, Lange Reihe 69.
There is not much to say except that Hamburg is VERY tolerant. You see a lot of queer couples walking around hand in hand and it’s just not a big deal for anyone! It’s a very nice atmosphere for every queer couple. Hamburg is one of the few cities in which we didn’t even think about potential consequences when being out in public, because it seems to be normal for everybody. .
Hamburg is not only an extraordinary city but also a great destination for LGBTQ people!