I had heard a lot about Hamburg before my trip, but it I was not aware of how lovely this city really is until I finally went there. Hamburg is such a photogenic city. For someone like myself who loves to abuse cameras (I take waaay too many pictures) for some ‘serious’ photography, this is the perfect place to be. The city reminded me of a variety of places that I had visited: Rotterdam because of the port, the modern architecture and the brick houses. Berlin because of the public transport system. Brussels because of the resemblance of some of the houses. Vienna again because of architectural reasons and Sydney for some odd reason, I don’t really know why, it was just a feeling I had when I was there. My stay was very short, but I will be back for sure, as I did not manage to do and see all the things I wanted to. I’ve put together a to-do list for photography lovers or any curious traveler like myself.
~ Walk along the Elbe
One thing I love about this city is the water. To me, water – be it a lake, a river, the sea – adds so much to the quality of life of a city. You can walk along the Elbe for ages, watch the boats passing by, gaze at the shipping containers and all that industry and machinery in the water, listen to the sound of the seagulls and take some impressive shots of the port.
~ St.Pauli Landungsbrücken – Elbtunnel – Viewing platform
When walking along the Elbe, please make sure to cross the Elbtunnel and walk to the other end. You can take an elevator downstairs. Once down, I believe it would be a good spot for some long-exposure shots. If you don’t know how to take long-exposure shots, make sure to go to the other end of the tunnel, go back upstairs (or take the elevator), turn around and go to the viewing platform. It’s a really good spot to take shots of the city and it gives you a nice view of the Elbphilharmonie. I reckon this would be a lovely place to sit in summer with a beer and watch the sunset. While you’re there, make sure to try a typical Fischbrötchen (fish bread). Unfortunately, I have to go back and try one next time!
~ Harbour Boat Tour
Once at the landing bridges (Landungsbrücken), you can and should choose a boat that you want to go on a harbour tour with. Pretty much everyone has recommended me to go on a harbor tour, as you actually get to know more about the city, they take you out to the containers, pass by the Elbphilharmonie and take you back to the landing bridges via the beautiful Speicherstadt. I think you can get quite different ones, so just go there and choose the one that is best for you. Ours was 20€ for an hour, a bit expensive, but definitely worth it. It was one of my highlights and it’s very good for photography. Take care of the waves though, apparently sometimes the water can be wild!
Continue walking to the Elbphilharmonie. It is impossible to miss it. I personally am a fan of modern architecture, not that I know anything about it. Elbie as the locals also call it is unfortunately very overcrowded, as people queue up to get to the plaza. Apparently, in 2019 the government plans charge people around 5€ to get inside and up to the terrace. I didn’t consider it necessary to go upstairs – I’m not a big fan of queuing anyways – as you don’t have the Elbphilharmonie on your photo, which is why I prefer taking my shots from elsewhere.
Take a walk through the Speicherstadt, Hamburg’s UNESCO world heritage site. It is such a breathtaking area with many possibilities to take a beautiful photo. Unfortunately, the light wasn’t as great as I had hoped it would be, when I was there. It sure is worth to just take a stroll and discover new beautiful corners. Many museums are situated in this area and so are cute cafés and restaurants. I personally love the contrast between the red brick houses and the new very modern architecture along the water. It would be a dream to live in one of those apartments.
~ Climb up Michl (Hauptkirche St.Michaelis)
You can find another great viewing platform for photography on top of Michl, the church. You can either take the stairs or use the elevator to go upstairs. The entrance fee is 5€ for adults (students and probably pensioners get a discount) and is worth it, in case of good weather. Like I said, we were really lucky with the weather that weekend, so the view was perfect in all directions, although it turned out to be a bit misty. I also really enjoyed the neighbourhood that the Michl is surrounded by, so make sure to take a walk in that area as well.
~ Jungfernstieg, town hall
The inner city looks very different from the rest of Hamburg, at least this is my opinion. Hamburg has very different areas, some that are poorer, or hipper and some that are very posh. The city centre where you can find all sorts of shops, town hall and different government buildings is very posh and less attractive to me to some extent. It is, however, interesting to walk along the water and cross the little bridges that remind very much of Venice, you’ll see why. We had very delicious breakfast at a French-American place called ‘Atelier F’. They were in the midst of putting up the Christmas markets so the charm sure wasn’t the same, but I was less impressed by the inner city, although it is worth seeing town hall and the Binnenalster. If you have enough time, make sure to also go to the ‘outer-Alster’.
~ Sternschanze / Schanzenviertel
I stayed at a place called ‚pyjama park‘, which is a lovely and very modern/minimalistic hostel in an area called ‘Schanzenviertel’. It is an area with many nice bars, cafés, restaurants, shops and graffiti. Any Viennese person would perhaps compare it to the 7th district of Vienna, although the Schanzenviertel is even cooler in my opinion. Unfortunately, we don’t have a specific area you would go to for good food, clubs, or bars – at least not an area with style. In Hamburg, all this is very concentrated, which I like. Unfortunately, I didn’t really take the time to do some browsing at the shops. Many of them were local stores with fair fashion, which I consider very important.
~ Try a Franzbrötchen
Franzbrötchen is a sweet pastry with cinnamon that looks a bit like a croissant. It is very delicious and I can only recommend you to try one while you’re there. They also have it in different variations with chocolate, apple etc. but it seems to me that the original is the one with cinnamon.
Here’s what’s still left on my list:
~ Nord Coast Coffee Roastery
~ Fish Bread
~ Walk through St.Pauli
Do you have any further recommendations for my next trip? What would you add to my list?