Remember a while ago I wrote about why I don’t want to travel anymore? Well predictably a weekend in Hamburg has somehow managed to completely rekindle my love for travel. Normally I dive into a new city armed with pages of plans, lists and itineraries but this time there was no preparation other than a Whatsapp exchange with a friend and a brief flick through the guidebook my colleagues bought me for my birthday.
Normally I like to come away from these trips with my own recommendations and tips to write about here, but on this trip we did little more than visit our favourite coffee German shop chain (Coffee Fellows, of course – try the winter spice punch!) and bulk buy bars of Ritter Sport. My new favourite is flavour is dark chocolate, almond and quinoa which is not only quadratisch, praktisch, gut but vegan friendly too!
Tom and I are planning to hopefully move back to Germany within the next few years we were also scoping out potential places to live too. With this in mind it was really nice to shun most of the major tourist attractions and experience a typical weekend in Hamburg through the eyes of a local.
Avoid the Reeperbahn
Woah, starting with a controversial one! I expected the Red Light District to be a really cool sex-positive area and to an extent it was. My favourite thing was seeing a teenager walk into the Titty Twister with his dad like it was the most normal thing in the world.
Trouble is that it’s really heteronormative and the smell of stale beer and sweaty man in the air made it seem really gross and seedy. Not to mention the problem of many clubs not allowing women in…
If you have a while in the city it’s an interesting place to people watch and I did like the bright pink sex houses, but unless you’re really keen on seeing Beatlesplatz there are better places to spend the weekend.
There’s no place like Sternschanze
Conversely, you can’t spend a weekend in Hamburg and not check out its coolest district. Like most people, Sternschanze was my favourite district in Hamburg and was where I spent most of my time. It reminded me a lot of the Northern Quarter in Manchester with lots of cute shops, bars and cafes. There’s a tiny photo booth around the back of the Lidl on Altoner Str. which is a lot of fun albeit tempremental. When we weren’t having our picture taken we were browsing record and book shops, eating or drinking coffee.
Hamburg is(s)t vegan
Hur hur German pun I am so witty. I’ve heard nothing but praise for the vegan scene in Berlin, but as I haven’t been since 2010 so I can’t confirm that. I can however confirm that Hamburg is the most vegan-friendly city I’ve visited in Europe. There was at least one flavour of vegan Eis at every gelateria we passed and in Sternschanze especially there was a vegan alternative to all of my previous German favourites such as döner kebabs and Bratwurst.
Oma’s Apotheke Cosy Kneipe serving hearty German classics accompanied by a choice of beer. A few veggie options, not so many vegan options but dishes like Bratkartoffeln can easily be adapted
Boussi Falafel When you have so much choice in the Sternschanze a shopping centre food court probably isn’t your first choice for lunch., Boussi however serves some of the best falafel I’ve ever tried and with vegan halloumi too (!)
Europa Passage, Ballindamm 40
Mutterland Oh the things I’d have bought if I’d had more room in my suitcase… Namely some Schwarzwald gin! Mutterland has a calm, chilled vibe and would be a really nice place to enjoy a coffee or pick up some cuilnary souvenirs.
Schanzen-Döner We were enticed into this tiny Turkish eatery by the promise of vegan Bratwurst but unfortunately they’d sold out. Instead I decided to brave the vegan döner meat box. I’ve never eaten a kebab wasted at 4am never mind sober in the middle of the afternoon, but I was pleasantly surprised if a bit disgusted in myself. The falafel looked really good too!
Nord Coast Coffee One of my Instagram followers recommended Nord Coast to me and I’m so glad they did. It was the perfect place to unwind after our wander around the Reeperbahn. We didn’t try the food but the Burundian coffee was great.
Slam Records Again, Slam Records made me wish I’d had the foresight to bring a larger suitcase. I could have spent hours (and thousands) browsing through all the albums in here. I managed to restrain myself and was pretty impressed with my copy of The Byrds Play Dylan which I managed to find for 6€!
I had absolutely no expectations of the city and yet I’m already planning my weekend in Hamburg. Which German city shuld I visit next?
Pin it for later:
Like this? You might also like:
(Not Quite) The Paris of the East: Bucharest, Romania
41 (and a half) Hours in Edinburgh
The Dos & Don’ts of Athens, Greece