Everyone always moans about January and the so called ‘Blues’. But not me. My birthday is in January (the 20th to be exact incase you fancied sending me a card) so I always look forward to the first month of the year. Especially when weekend breaks in European cities are are so much cheaper now than at other times of the year. Last year I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend in Paris, where I spent my 24th birthday in Disneyland (yes it is just as magical as an adult) and it was so quiet and incredibly cheap for where we stayed. You can check out 10 Cheap Things to do in Paris here.
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WHAT TO DO IN HAMBURG
This year we fancied somewhere where we could just wander, get very lost and eat yummy food so we settled on Hamburg, Germany – the £45 return flights also had something to do with our decision! I’m ashamed to say we didn’t now much about this historic and beautiful city, nor did we know much German but that was all part of the allure. We decided to stay in an area called Sternschanze, in the amazing Mövenpick Hotel, which has been built within an old water tower and is truly fascinating with fantastic views of the city and the park it is situated in. What’s more there is a metro stop opposite the hotel, so you can get into the city centre in under 10 minutes and to the airport in under 40.
If you know Manchester the area we stayed in was similar to the Northern Quarter, lots of quirky buildings, unique shops selling artisan products, a plethora of craft ale bars and a lot of German fusion restaurants, we just loved not knowing where we were going but always stumbling across something quirky and unusual. In Sternschanze, I would definitely recommend the Saturday Flohschanze Market where you can find many a beautiful trinket (I found a gorgeous silver ring with a pretty pink gem stone for 4 euros!). You can also pick up some warming Gluhwein and Bratwurst to mull over your purchase. After we visited the market we headed to Altes Madchen Brewhouse where the smell of freshly cooked bread and hops hits you as soon as you walk in the door. I would recommend asking for the tasting tray of their home brewed ales, I didn’t think I liked craft beer, but this place changed my mind – be careful one beer was 8.5%! If you’re after a bite to eat and fancy a German classic then head to Frank Und Frei for one of the best Schnitzels in town, with the biggest portions too. If Schnitzels aren’t your thing then you must go to Otto’s Burger joint – seriously delicious and they have veggie options, yay.
We didn’t really know what to expect of St Pauli, a few people had said it was a bit seedy around the the Reeperbahn (the main street which has an infamous red light district) but other than the one street we saw quite the opposite. It’s full of quirky shops and highly rated restaurants. We headed to Gassenhaur after we saw it was one of the best rated for German food in Hamburg (and it was my birthday after all). They serve delicious schnitzels in a beautifully designed atmosphere. Our favourite bars in the area were The Walrus and Alles Elbe both super cosy, with a great drinks menu and friendly, knowledgable staff. If you’re looking for a place to stop for coffee and a cake head to Cafe Lieblings on a leafy street just of the Reeperbahn, you won’t feel like you’re next door to erotic shops!
HAMBURG CITY CENTRE
The only thing I had on the list before we visited Hamburg was the Miniatur Wunderland and I am so glad we went. It’s a museum filled to the brim with miniature scenes from around the world, such as Las Vegas, Rome’s Colosseum, Houses of Parliament and even a mini airport with planes that takes off and land every minute, it truly satisfied my love for all things miniature (coming from a lover of dolls houses!).
We also stumbled across the oldest street in the Altstadt of Hamburg whilst searching for a drink after taking in the wonders of the museum, where we found Barley and Malt, a fab little bar, where you guessed it, you can try ale tasting too. Kartoffelkeller was at the end of the street and serves up pretty good grub.
We also wandered around many of the beautiful bridges, over the canals and discovered an abundance of arcades and shops, along with gorgeous cafes and stunning architecture. You must check out the Hamburg Opera House, unfortunately it was really foggy when we were there, so you couldn’t even make half of it out, but the half we did see was truly stunning.
Have you been to Hamburg? What did you love about the city? Let me know in the comments below!
Have you checked out my other travel guides?