Over the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to be able to stay at my Schnucki’s house just outside of Hamburg, and we got to go into the city a number of times during my stay. So without further ado, here are my highlights of Hamburg!
Hamburg, also known as the ‘Free and Hanseatic City’ is the second largest city in Germany and is located in the Northern region. Since being in Germany, I’ve found out that Germans are damn proud of their own city/region (they even have a song for every city) and Hamburg was no different – the coat of arms and Hamburg flags were everywhere!
One of Hamburg’s most famous landmarks is St. Michael’s Church or ‘Michel’ as it is lovingly called by the locals. I’d been forewarned that Hamburg weather could be grey and overcast a lot of the time and most days were like that, but we did get to enjoy a few clear, sunny skies.
The Port of Hamburg on the river Elbe is the second largest in Europe and is Hamburg’s pride and joy. We got to go on a ferry tour around the harbour and although I couldn’t understand a word the ferry guide was saying, it was a really interesting ride. We got to see a lot of cranes, shipping containers, huge ships and tourist attractions like The Lion King musical theatre on the waterfront, complete with its own yellow Lion King ferries.
We also went past the somewhat controversial Elbe Philharmonic Concert Hall, which was 110 metres high and located in the new urban development area of Hamburg called the HafenCity.
It was supposed to be finished in 2010 with an estimated cost of €241 million. Fast forward to 2015 and it is still under construction, with its scheduled opening date to be in January 2017 with an estimated cost of over €789 million. The building was also featured in the Miniatur Wunderland – but it was already finished in there!
The Hamburger Dom is a huge fun fair held three times a year in Hamburg, and we were fortunate enough to be there for the Spring one. It’s known as the biggest and longest fair held in Germany and it was AMAZING. It was the type of fair you only see in movies and television programmes – filled with every fair stall and ride you could possibly imagine (I have a soft spot for fairs, festivals and circus’ and the like).
My Schnucki showed me a favourite sweet treat of his called Schmalzkuchen, which was yummy little bite-size doughnut balls that could only be found at these sorts of fairs. I also spotted the typical German Lebkuchenherzen biscuits, which were bigger than my face and iced with ‘I love you’ and other cute love notes. I’m determined to buy one of these one day and finish it all myself!
Aside from all of the yummy food, there were also rides…a lot of rides. The famous Wilde Maus rollercoaster, bumper cars, the Ferris wheel, water slides, illusion mazes and even a horror house or two. It was crazy to think how the fair staff set all of this up and took it all apart again after just a few weeks!
If you do go to Hamburg and you find that you are hungry, make sure to stop at a Jim Block. I’m not the biggest burger fan, but even Jim Block’s burgers won me over. They are so reasonably priced and tasted SO GOOD! I would recommend the JB Avocado or the JB Falafel – McDonald’s has nothing on Jim Block.
And if burgers don’t do it for you and you want a more substantial meal, go to Block House where you can get a slab of steak along with a massive baked potato and dollop of sour cream – lecker! Block House and Jim Block are both based in Hamburg, but have now spread to other cities across Europe.
Although I don’t think I would want to live in Hamburg city (too big and too ‘concrete jungle’ for me), I really enjoyed visiting and would love to do so again!
Have you been to Hamburg? What were your Hamburg highlights?