Hamburg, here we come.
I’m not usually one for quiet weekends, for me, a quiet weekend usually means I didn’t go out Friday night but didn’t get home on Saturday night until Sunday afternoon. I had a weekend spare, and a friend of mine was having a birthday in Hamburg so I popped up and spent a couple of days touring the city on a surprisingly warm summer day, while still managing to fit in a night at a great club on the city’s party strip, the Reeperbahn. Aside from clubbing and meeting hot German boys, here are 4 things to do in Hamburg on a quiet weekend.
Take a harbour tour. The city of Hamburg is home to the largest commercial harbour in Germany, and the third busiest in Europe. Unsurprisingly, this makes it Hamburg’s largest tourist attraction. Most of the attractions of Hamburg can be found around the water, in fact, the water is almost everywhere: the city has more bridges than any other city in the world, with 2300 bridges within the city limits. While Hamburg is a very walkable city, and there is plenty to see when you travel around the city by foot, but there is nothing quite like taking a harbour tour and seeing it all from the water. The harbour boat tour company Barkassen-Mayer provides several boat trips throughout the day, and are easily found along the main harbour terminal near the Hamburg Hard Rock Café. The tour takes about an hour and takes you past several interesting features of the harbour, including military installations and the largest ships to be found in the port.
Take an open-topped bus tour with Red Double-Decker Busses. Like many cities, Hamburg has a hop-on-hop-off open-topped bus tour. The buses run all day long, and stops are all over the city. There’s even a helpful tour-guide to point out all the interesting things there are to see along the way. To make things easier, you can catch the bus at the main station, and take it down to the harbour to get the boat tour and continue the bus tour to another part of town. A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon when nothing much else is happening.
Visit the Hamburg Miniature Wonderland. Not content with having the largest port in Germany or the most bridges in the world, Hamburg is also home to the world’s largest model railway. A really fun way to spend an afternoon – particularly on days when the weather isn’t the best for being outside.
Visit the Elbphilharmonie viewing platform. While bookings to get seats inside the brand-new Hamburg Phil are booked out until sometime in mid-2019, the open-access viewing platform is open to the public for free every day. Free tickets are available online or from machines at the entrance. These give you access to the 6th-floor viewing platform, which aside from providing a great view over the harbour, are also home to a number of great bars and restaurants which offer an excellent view with your dinner or drinks. After spending the weekend touring the city, a relaxing drink overlooking the harbour is the perfect way to wrap up a weekend in Hamburg.
While staying in Hamburg, you’ll need a convenient and well-appointed hotel. The Radisson Blu Hamburg Airport is a great option as it puts you a short walk from the airport, and is on the metro line that runs directly to the main station and on to the main party district of Hamburg city. The Radisson offers the level of comfort you expect from a high-quality hotel. The rooms are spacious and the large beds are comfortable and probably can give you a great night’s sleep – but whoever came to Germany to use a bed to sleep? They do however offer a great bar in the lobby, and the breakfast buffet is also excellent, with a wide range of options to suit all your needs. I’m a particularly big fan of the whole smoked salmon, but that’s just me.
The best way to get from A to B in Hamburg is the public transport system. Metro and buses run 24 hours to all parts of the city and there are handy machines at every metro station (including the one at the airport) where you can buy a Hamburg card which gives you unlimited travel on the HVV public transport system, as well as discounts on many museums, tours, and restaurants. Cards are also available online, can be purchased for groups of up to 5 people, and are valid for the day of purchase until 6 am the following day.