August 15, 2014


When in Hamburg – do as the locals do

The opportunity to visit the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is one that any traveller should enjoy. Sprawling, but with many local centres that buzz with energy, Hamburg has all the attributes of a great port city, with the extra benefits of excellent transport, plenty of open spaces and a wealth of distractions of all kinds.

Sprawling, but with many local centres that buzz with energy, Hamburg has all the attributes of a great port city, with the extra benefits of excellent transport, plenty of open spaces and a wealth of distractions of all kinds. It’s a shame then that many visitors to SMM 2014 will only skim the surface of what Hamburg has to offer, or stick to the old favourites rather than venture further afield. A trip to the Reeperbahn may be mandatory for first-timers and the Landungsbrücken is a lovely stroll, but there’s more to Hamburg than that.

And who better to provide the insider’s guide to Hamburg than the staff at HanseNautic, Hamburg-based member of the Global Navigation Solution’s family. We asked them to give us their tips on favourite spots, hidden gems and unusual locations for fun, food and refreshments. Visitors to the HanseNautic office are lucky, says Sören Zopf as the world’s best Franzbrötchen – cinnamon pastries native to North Germany – are served at the Amber Café, just across the street. Zopf also recommends Köz Urfa for its delicious Turkish specialities at reasonable prices in the lively Altona neighbourhood.

For those with a head for heights Christiane Wilkens recommends catching happy hour in the Tower Bar at the Hotel Hafen Hamburg for good cocktails and another good view over Hamburg and the Elbe. Another venue for high flyers is Clouds – Heaven’s Bar & Kitchen, a 235 sqm roof terrace with panoramic views over River Elbe and the port, the Spielbudenplatz,  the Reeperbahn and Michel tower.

Iris Bruhn recommends lounging with chilled champagne and snacks from the Moët Ice Bar, while chill-out vibes play in the background. For dinner, walk (carefully) down the steps from the Hafen Hamburg to the Landungsbrücke and take a ferry to Övelgönnewhere there are several good restaurants for al fresco dining on the riverside. Oevelgönne is also good as a daytime location, with a local maritime museumand bars including Strandperle, where Andrea Diehn  recommends you buy beer, bury your feet in the sand and watch the ships go by.

Take the ferry back to Landungsbrücken (HVV travel cards are valid) and for a nightcap in a nicely chilled atmosphere, especially after sunset, head for beach club StrandPauli. After this indulgence, be prepared to shed some pounds running around the famous Alster Lake. Join the Alster Lake Rounds where every runner is part of a team and times can be compared against averages and the best performers.

If running isn’t your thing, you can work off your working day by renting a bike and cycle around the Aussenalster. Bikes can also be hired from City Cycles which can also set you up with a cycle tour. If time allows, why not get out of the city and head north to the Kiel Canal one of the world’s busiest waterways, connecting the Baltic and North Seas to visit the locks and get a close up view of the ship traffic. Get a train from Hamburg main station.

For anyone seeking a respite from the frenetic SMM halls, take a friend, a picnic blanket and a bottle of wine for the free light and water show in the Planten un Blomen. Also close by the SMM exhibition hall, Uwe Winter recommends bar and restaurant Altes Mädchen for its wide variety of beers, including Belgian brews and homemade breads. Reservations are recommended as it tends to get very full in the evening.

If retail therapy is more your style, Angelika Woge recommends a trip to the independent and unusual shops beyond Moenckebergstraße around Lange Reihe, as well as Eppendorfer Weg, Eppendorfer Baum and Mühlenkamp, for small and chic fashion and designer shops. A cool bite on the canal can be had at Fiedler or Cliff, with great views of the Alster.

The development of HafenCity – currently Europe’s largest such inner city programme – is well worth a stroll, though the scale of the project means you will need to set aside some time to see it all. A visit to the International Maritime Museum can be followed by a restorative cup of coffee at the Kaffeerösterei, or cross the river again to choose  from one of the many fine restaurants on Deichstrasse. Make time for any or all of these and you will soon find yourself at home in Hamburg. Just remember that here, ‘Moin, Moin’ is used instead of ‘hello’ whatever the time of day, which tells you everything you need to know about this earthy, charming and very welcoming city.

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