As Carlotta has lived in Hamburg (map) for a while, we had quite some time to discover the city. Hamburg has a neighbourhood for everyone, whether it’s chic, alternative, young, settled, multicultural, waterfront, right in the center or more quiet. With its many canals, Hamburg is the European city with the most bridges – it has even more than Venice!
If you come here during summer don’t miss to rent a canoe and paddle the canals. We went to “Zur Gondel” which you will find at Kaemmererufer 25. You will get a canal map and you can explore the surroundings by yourself. Insiders’ tip: The Cafe Canale at the Mühlenkampkanal. You can stop by with your canoe, get yourself a coffee, ice cream, cake or beer for take away and enjoy it on the water. Paddling along the canal, you will somehow end up at the Rondeelteich, where you can marvel at the beautiful houses, enjoy the silence and the sun.
Continuing now by neighbourhood we will show you our favourites…
St. Pauli and the Schanzenviertel are probably the most popular neighourhoods when it comes to young, alternative people or students.These neighbourhoods are highly influenced by its creative and alternative inhabitants. At first sight St.Pauli and the Schanzenviertel appear to be quite dirty and just full of grafitti. But this is part of the lifestyle of these neghbourhoods. Individuality, creativity and personality are more important than the plain outer appearance. Fitting to this image the inhabitants of St.Pauli and the Schanzenviertel are highly political and come up with their own ideas instead of copying the mainstream. There are a lot of small start ups, individual shops, bars and restaurants. The motto seems to be ‘everything but usual’. The football club of St.Pauli perfectly fits to this impression. The St.Pauli supports are politically rather left-winged and tend to stand out with their fan culture. They often show choreographies against racism or homophobia. St. Pauli and the Schanzenviertel also offer quality clubs. But quality in this case is related to the DJs and the music (which is often electronic) and not the the equipment or style of the club. They are part of these neighbourhoods and are therefore casual – which could also be a description of the bouncers. Our favourite ones are ‘Waagenbau’ and ‘Fundbureau’. If you just want to go for a drink, or if you are searching for a place to start the evening, we can recommend the ‘Katze’ or the ‘Goldfischglas’. The Hamburger Berg right at the famous Reeperbahn is a good location for bar hopping. St. Pauli adjoins to the harbour which is definitely worth having a look at. There is also the possibility to cross the river Elbe through the old tunnel in order to see Hamburg from the other side. St.Pauli and the Schanzenviertel are definitely the creative soul of Hamburg. If it comes to individuality these neighbourhoods are, in many different ways, top class.
Next to the Schanzenviertel lies the small, quiet and not so famous Karoviertel with the Marketstraße as its center. You will find second hand shops, stores that sell antique furniture and objects, boutiques, design shops and many cafés. The ‘Harbor Cake’ is our favourite café on this street. For us this is the best place for cake as they have a huge variety which changes daily. The Marktstraße will end at the Karolinenstraße, right at the fair halls. Turn left and within a few hundred meters you will find one of our favourite restaurants, ‘Xeôm’. Really authentic vietnamese food and interior. It is often pretty crowded but it’s definitely worth waiting or even ordering the food for take away. Behind the fair halls, lies the beautiful Planten un Blomen park which has many different areas, including a small lake, flowerbeds, a botanical garden and cafés. Perfect to relax and to take a break from the big city.
Eppendorf could be called the exact opposite of the Schanzenviertel and St. Pauli. It is more settled, quiet, pretty chic and often called a bit snobby, but we love this neighbourhood as it does have some of the most charming cafés and buildings in Hamburg. Very small, cozy and with a private atmosphere is ‘Eppenlove’ (Geschwister-Scholl-Straße), where you can have breakfast, just a coffee or cake and sometimes even lunch. We love to visit ‘Mutterland’ to have breakfast as the scrambled eggs are amazing and if you like tray-baked cake, the ‘Petit Cafe’ is exactly what you are looking for! The probably most authentic bar to have a drink in a relaxing atmosphere is the ‘Schramme’. It is narrow, crowded, colourful and the floor is always covered in peanut shells as you always get some for free. If you are looking for a bit more settled atmosphere, don’t miss ‘Borchers’. This is where the neighbours meet for dinner of to watch football. For cocktails try the ‘Entflammbar’ with its cozy interior and one of the longest cocktail list we have ever seen. Amazing cocktails for completely moderate prices. In case you come to Hamburg around Christmas, Eppendorf has the coziest and smallest Christmas Market. You will find it at the Jonas-Marie Platz.
Ottensen is a part of Altona and lies in the south-west of Hamburg. It is young, creative and very lively. Coming from the Altona main station, walk left around the shopping mall and you will find small streets with many shops and restaurants. Have a coffee at the ‘Mikkels Café’ and wander around the streets to always find new shops and interesting stores. Every Saturday there is a small food market in the ‘Fabrik’ which is definitely worth having a look at. People sell their home made goods and there are many different stalls where you can try all kinds of food. The atmosphere is often dominated by a live band, playing Jazz or other music. We love to go there and enjoy the happening in this very special location.
Of course, Hamburg has a city center with its famous townhall, the chic ‘Jungfernstieg’, the ‘Innenalster’ and many shopping opportunities. You might want to go there to see the most famous places like the ‘Michel’, but in our opinion you need to experience at least some of the other neighbourhoods, in order to get a feeling for the city that is so rich in variety.
Hamburg in general is a mixture of hip, trendy, individual and chic neighbourhoods and furthermore offers a lot of natural highlights (parks, canals, the ‘Alster’ and the ‘Elbe’). By the number of inhabitants,this city is only the second largest city of Germany, but for us it is definitely the number one of the largest, German cities.