In the first weekend of August, during the Cruise Days, I visited the city of Hamburg for the first time. Loved it. The harbour which is located in the centre of the city, the buzz around the cruise days, the contrast between the reeperban & winterhude, the bikes, the people and of course the tons of hotspots where you can enjoy lovely healthy food.
Are you visiting Hamburg any time soon? I’ve created a travel guide for the healthy minded – here’s what I think you should eat, drink, see & do:
- Explore the city by bike
First thing you should do: rent a bike. This way, the city is really easy to explore. The roads are broad, the traffic is not chaotic and everything is within reach. You can ofcourse pick one of those red 24 hour tourist bikes, but I’d rather go for a more stylish bicycle: The Handlebar offers good looking bikes for 15 euros a day (17 euros including insurance). I picked this white cruiser with flowers 😉
- Have breakfast at the Erste Liebe Bar
Erste Liebe Bar means ‘first love bar’ – and this was exactly the first bar in Hamburg where I sat down to have breakfast. The bowl that the waitress put in front of me at this comtemporary decorated hotspot was the proof – Hamburg is a city for foodies. See for yourself. They sell fresh juices too ☺.
- Order the Ayurvedic breakfast bowl at Café Johanna
The app ‘Spotted by Locals’ recommended me this place – I was also told that many Hamburg locals love to enjoy their breakfast at Cafe Johanna. I had breakfast and lunch here, I just couldn’t choose. I ordered a fresh beetroot-carrot-ginger-apple juice and a bulgur-goats cheese salad – really good and the portion was a serious one! The breakfast was something special: an ayurvedic buckwheat porridge with nuts and fresh fruit. Ooohhh my! When the – super friendly – waitress brought this to my table a couple of heads turned… ‘what’s that what she’s having’? It was new on the menu so some people where really curious.. Can’t blame them, take a look how lovely they presented it (and it was delicious):
- Eat pancakes at Mamalicious
Mamalicious is famous for her blueberry pancakes. Vegan. Yes. I couldn’t resist and hopped by – ordering a blueberry smoothie and blueberry pancakes with coconut whipped cream and maple syrup. They where warm, fluffy and the coconut whipped cream was delicious. I couldn’t finish it – so the portions are really big here, bonus! Not into pancakes (wait, what)? They offer an all day breakfast menu with classics such as Eggs Benedict, Ceasar Salads as well as Veggie Burgers and much more.
- Run around or SUP on the lake
If you’re looking for nice spot to get your mind off things, go running around the lake. It will give you an amazing view on the ‘skyline’ of Hamburg and it also takes to to the north of the city, which is the more sophisticated part. Villa’s, big big villa’s and broad streets where the ultra hipsters take their fixies to Winterhude. A run around the lake is about 7K! If you’re into supping or if you’re willing to give it a go, the canals around the lake of Hamburg are perfect for it. Visit SUP Club Hamburg of SUP Co if you’re interested!
- Visit the city during the Hamburg Cruise Days
The city is in a different state when the cruise days arrive: thousands of people (600.000 people visited the cruise days in 2014) wander the streets in search for a glimpse of the huge cruise ships like Aida Stella. During these 3 days, the Blue Port harbor is illuminated with blue lights which is stunning to see. The fireworks and the cruise parade where the absolute highlights, which we were able to see front row on the rooftop of the famous Harbour Club. In my opinion, these cruise days really adds something to your visit to Hamburg: you’ll be able to expierence the madness, the buzz and the see harbour at it’s prettiest.
- Hang around Strand Pauli
As I am born and raised by the beach, when I’m somewhere where I can run around barefoot and feel the sand between my toes I am one happy girl. Strand Pauli is filled with lounge chairs and little spots hidden between palm trees and flowers. The view on the harbor is amazing and when the sun shines, the DJ comes out to play some melodic chilled deephouse tunes. They sell alcohol free 100% natural drinks (Aloha) which I really like! Try the ginger lime one – hmmmm.. Of course, they have a great cocktail menu too ☺.
- Stroll around the neighbourhood/boulevard near Strand Pauli
Around Strand Pauli, stroll alongside the boulevard and enjoy pretty sights and views like this…
- Drink iced coffee at Elbgold
A Hamburg local recommended me this place, I visited the one up in the north (Mühlenkamp 6) but there is also one near the Marktstraße (Lagerstraße 34). They know how to make a good cup of coffee: they refine the beans traditionally by hand at low temperature and with a long roasting time. As it was 30 degrees, I choose an ice cold ice latte and was happy as a baby.
- Have a coffee at Stockholm Espresso Club
Just around the corner of Elbold, hidden in a beautiful street filled with huge trees lies the Stockholm Espresso Club. A tiny white coffee cafe that serves coffee on another level. I choose to go with the flow and let myself be surprised with a ‘fruity airpressed coffee’. It looked like strong black tea, but it tasted like a very light, berry like coffee. Very easy to drink and perfect to start your morning in Winterhude with. A must do!
- Enjoy the best ice cream of Hamburg at Eiskantine
One of the most special places I visited: Eiskantine. Again recommended by Spotted by Locals. This little ice cream cafe is know for their awesome ice cream – but I didn’t know it was this special! I had a chance to talk with the owner about his passion to bring back REAL ice cream that tastes like it should. No pre-made milk mixes, everything you taste here is made from scratch, with passion. No artificial flavours, no preservatives, all organic ingredients. I tasted all the flavours and must say I was most impressed with mango (it’s just real real mango), vanilla (white ice cream with little black dots, then you know what you’re dealing with) and peanutbutter (made with Dutch peanutbutter, need I say more). Please please please – visit Eiskantine. You will not be disappointed.
- Enjoy a cheap Vietnamese vegan dinner at Loving Hut
On my way to Eiskantine, I passed by this uber cute vegan Vietnamese restaurant: Loving Hut – turns out these restaurants can be found all over the world! They offer a menu (starter & main) for €6,90. Budget proof, super tasty, vegan, healthy, Vietnamese. I ordered the home made lemongrass iced tea, springrolls and the Pho Hanoi. As I love my Asian food really spicy, I threw in all the hot peppers (and it was a lot). When I left, the Vietnamese owners said: bye bye miss really spicy ;)!
- Stroll around the Vintage Market
If you’re looking for a cute flea market – go to the Flohschanze (Neuer Kamp 30). You can find almost anything here – from furniture to clothes, from gemstone jewellery to food. A fun stroll and a good starting point to a walk around the Markt Strabe.
- Wander the streets around the Markt Strabe
Just walk and explore the neighbourhood around the Marktstrabe. Discover the little shops owned by young clothing and interior designers. Look around you and you’ll see cute tiny balconies filled with plants, the colourful graffiti, the vintage shops.. It does feel a little like Berlin!
- Have dinner at CARLS
If you’re looking for an evening of fine dining with a stunning view, have dinner at CARLS restaurant. The tasty menu, the view on the harbour, the friendly staff – it’s worth a visit!
- Where to stay
If you’re planning on visiting Hamburg, these hostels and hotels are a good choice:
And check out Airbnb.com.
Want to get real time updates about my travels? Follow me on Instagram.