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A local's guide to Hamburg: 10 top tips - MW

Beer and sailing
Our historic port city is defined by its rivers: the majestic Elbe river, a maze of canals surrounding the warehouses of the Spe Richstadt district classified by Unesco, and above all is the giant lake, Alster Alster, formed by the river Alster. The best time to explore Alster is on Saturday or Sunday morning, when the bread starts to walk, walk the dog, jog, bike or skateboard around the lake. Renting a bike and going back and forth is fun, but nothing goes beyond renting a canoe or pedal boat. From the north of the lake, you can drive your boat through the narrow, slightly lost canals and collect beer from places like Café Canale, where they cross the plateaus to your boat as a fast food restaurant. Be careful not to fall when a dozen canoes try to be served at the same time.

Collectible fashion

In a quiet street in the hipster district of Sternschan, amid lively restaurants, vintage shops and design studios, is the minimalist fashion boutique of Mojo. The Minimalist is the perfect word to describe the collections of these young Hamburg stylists, as each item is limited to a 100 edition - an instant collection - whether a wool hat or a cap. baseball, T-shirt or hoodie. And you won found them sold in any other store - only in a top store here in Sternschanze or online. The price isn't cheap - T-shirts from € 25, hoodies from € 70 - but each new version sells out quickly. Just down the road is the legendary truckers cafeteria all night, Erika rushes Eck - deserves a visit to a schnitzel mammoth - and Mojo has created a line just for them. A very Hamburgish souvenir to take home.

Cake and chat

When I arrived in Hamburg, I lived in the district of St. Georg and Café Gnosa, my first local cafe, which I liked to return. People always talk to you here when you sit, whether you like it or not. It is a bakery and a bakery outside of this world, perfect for what all Germans love - kaffee und kuchen. St Georg is one of the city's sweetest neighborhoods, the favorite LGBTQ + obsession and the proud rainbow flag fluttering in front of the cafe. And just a 10-minute walk away is the Kunsthalle, the art museum.

Village in the city

My house is in the St Pauli district, where I am touring the Beatles in the clubs they have created and I will not live anywhere else in the city. Although the sweetness sets in, there is still sadness for this working class, and although tourists can recognize it with the red light Reeperbahn, it is really a friendly village. good, tolerant, where everyone knows each other. Start at my local cafe, the Kandie Shop, where friends learn about gossip and politics about good coffee, waffles and vegetables. For dinner, Krug had a warm, gemütlich atmosphere, served hearty dishes from southern Germany, and later he served cocktails for the Chug Club, where owner Betty Kupsa stored it. 400 tequilas and mezcals. And if you're in town when St Pauli FC is playing at home, buy a ticket. They are our own social club, as well as a football team.

Cycle to an island

The island of Kaltehofe (connected to the mainland by a bridge) on the northern branch of the Elbe offers unspoiled countryside in the city center and very few tourists know it. After an epidemic of cholera in the late 19th century, Kaltehofe was the place where Hamburg was filtered - filtered through sand in a series of basins. In 1990 the island was abandoned and limited, abandoned, but today it has been transformed into a wetland reserve. It's great for biking for picnics or bird watching, following the cycle path through the harbor and along the river embankment, or bus 503 takes you to the original Wasserkunst water factory , with exhibitions and restaurants. . On the continental side of the bridge is the ideal place to enjoy drinks at sunset, the golden pavilion of the café Entenwerder 1, on a pontoon on the Elbe.

Michelle, ma belle

The vinyl record scene is booming in Hamburg, it is not surprising that there is a dynamic DJ club scene. Each neighborhood has its own specialty shops, but nothing compares to the venerable Michelle, a large, beautiful record store on a quiet street just off the department stores along Mönckebergstr, the shopping street. main city. Musicians love Michelle because the staff are friendly and knowledgeable. It stores around 30,000 recordings, from hip-hop and indie to jazz, funk, electro and techno, but you need to access and navigate it when it's not on the Internet. Check out Michelle Michelle's Facebook page for her monthly concert, with a group of live performance moments in the store window.

Chic French cafe

Café Paris is Hamburg's most beautiful place, no questions asked, and every time you go there, it looks like a special occasion. The 1882 lounge is very romantic, with art deco tiles and a beautiful fresco on the ceiling. Yes, everything is French - café au lait and croissants for breakfast, bubbly crémant for aperitif, steak steak and beef tartare - but burgers love it, and it's their favorite place to watch . For a real slice of local life, come Friday noon when he opens Kantine, a cafeteria without reservation, long common tables on two floors on a cafe, with the same yacht (€ 14.50) as in a luxurious pub downstairs.

Worth a trawl

You can arrive in Hamburg on weekends and miss Fischmarkt on Sunday morning on the bank of the Elbe. Traditionally dating from 1703, the church allows fishermen to sell catch until 9:30 a.m. on Sundays, so you have to get up early or more likely, for the Reeperbahn's Saturday nightlife nearby, don't bother with to sleep. Owners of over 100 people shouted for their items, everyone enjoyed our favorite fischbrötchen - buns stuffed with shrimp, herring and salmon - in the end, the fight hall the big prizes were widely followed as live bands danced cover versions of Sweet Caroline, Johnny B Goode and of course Beatles Get Back

Dockers’ canteen

A small wooden house is situated in the shade of the transverse beam of the railway bridge, leaning dangerously like the tower of Pisa. Built a century ago, when it was the center of Hamburg's bustling port area, Oberhafenkantine was the last real canteen. And it's the perfect place to taste Hamburg food: green cabbage with pork and wurstel; marinated salmon; Pennywort cooked slowly with kartoffelsalat (main dish from € 12). One thing I tell people is to try the traditional Labskaus sea dish. Created to last for long sea trips, it has a strange but delicious blend of mashed potatoes, beef and beets, served with cucumber, herring and fried quail eggs on the head. Although the area looks like brownfield land, the once abandoned warehouses have in fact been converted into a thriving cultural center, where concerts, theaters and art installations take place. art and exhibition.

Music to your ears

For me, a musician and music lover, Hamburg is one of the main European cities for live entertainment. The clubs that the Beatles first played, the Indra and Kaiserkeller sects, continue to grow strongly and are a dream location for any emerging group. On Reeperbahn, Molotow specializes in punk and indie rock, while in Mojo (not to be confused with the fashion boutique, above), there is everything, from jazz and funk to skating evenings on casters. And since the opening of the modern Elbphilharmonie concert hall three years ago, the city has attracted the best conductors and classical musicians. Attending a performance is a memorable experience and the future building looks like a spaceship.

Getting there
Take a ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland or Newcastle to Amsterdam, then train; or Eurostar from St Pancras via Brussels and Cologne.

When to go

The Come Together festival, from 27-29 March, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Beatles’ first concerts in Hamburg.

Where to stay

In St Pauli, Superbude Hotel (doubles from €65 room-only, breakfast €10.90) also has dorm beds from €19pp.

Discounts and sustainability
The new Hamburg CARD Green (from €10.50) has discounts on 40 sustainable attractions, such as zero-waste cafes and cycle tours

Stefanie Hempel is a singer and ukulele player, and created the Beatles Tour

Looking for a holiday with a difference? Browse Guardian Holidays to see a range of fantastic trips


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