You have to try the food. Just pick something, even if you don’t know what it is. This is the best way to get to know a local culture. I suggest a warm bretzel (pretzel) or the Rhabarberschorle (rhubarb soda, trust me, it’s good and I don’t like soda). Sternschanze has great eateries where you can get falafels, curry or baked potatoes. I suggest Kumpir König for all those vegetarians. This baked potato bar will meet all of your needs and warm you up on a brisk fall day.
Stop by the St. Michaelis Church and climb the stairs to the top. You could take the elevator, but you probably need to burn some calories from the chocolate croissant you ate for breakfast so opt for the stairs. You also get to see the bells up close in person when you take this route. While you’re there go down into the crypt where over 100 people are said to be buried.
Stroll down the harbor of this historic and modern port city to the Alter Elbtunnel where you can walk beneath the Elbe River. Take the stairs a few flights down, through the river, back up, and turn around to see the skyline. A helpful guide will point out all of the important spires and statues that are scattered throughout the city.
Walk by the canals in the warehouse district (which is the largest in the world might I add). Lined with red brick buildings that date back to the late 1800s and plenty of bridges this is a beautiful walk in the early evening. This is also where you will find the Hamburg Dungeons, Miniature Wonderland, and tickets to the theatre (if you have money to spend on those things).
If you have a little bit of free time and some energy rent a Stadtrad bike (they’re the red ones dotted throughout the city) and take a ride around the lake. Be on the lookout for rowers, extravagant houses, and stunning views. There is no better way to see this city than biking. There are dedicated bike lanes on sidewalks so you can feel safe without riding beside cars. Hamburg is also quite big and a bike is a much more efficient means of transportation than walking or trying to figure out the buses.
Grab a coffee and pretzel from Nur Heir and then check out the City Hall starting from the back. It’s right by Alster Lake and you can take a free(!) self-guided tour of the ornately decorated rooms. Check out the front plaza as well and then shop till you drop at the countless stores in the surrounding area. I suggest stopping by the Neuhaus Chocolate store for a few sweet treats. It looks more expensive than it is and the chocolates (and the service) are some of the best I’ve ever had.
How do you like Hamburg? Any suggestions on other places I should visit?