This City Has More Bridges than Venice, Amsterdam, and London Combined
The official count surprisingly stands at 2,576 bridges.
I met up with a local friend and she has shown me around both Düsseldorf and Cologne on consecutive days. After an early morning train, we are now in our third and final city together; Hamburg.
A little more about Hamburg, Germany. . .
It is the second-most populous city in the country. The eighth-most in the entire EU with around 1.7 million people.
Hamburg was ranked as the 16th city in the world for livability in 2015. It’s noted for several popular culture and music festivals.
The city is known as Germany’s capital of sport. Plus, it’s a major transport hub for the European continent.
As far as the foodie scene goes, Hamburg is known for birnen and bohnen und speck (green beans cooked with pears and bacon).
Elbe River boat tour
We arrived in Hamburg around 11 on a sunny, beautiful Saturday morning.
The first thing we did was take a boat tour along the Elbe River. There, I learned Hamburg has 2,576 bridges within its city limits (which is more than Venice).
There was a lot of neat architecture including their newest Performance Center. Construction of the hall has already cost the city over 800 million Euros. It has been deemed as statistically incapable of ever turning a profit for the city.
After the boat tour, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed for the beach! Well, kind of. At Strand (beach) Bar, which was one of many artificial beach bars along the river. I couldn’t have asked for better weather. Locals tell me the warm weather was rather odd for a late-March afternoon.
After a relaxing breather at the beach, we did a bit more sight-seeing around the historic Warehouse District.
I didn’t think too highly of the Warehouse District itself, but walking around the downtown area of Hamburg is quite entertaining.
Of all European cities I’ve seen (aside from London), it had the least European-feel to it.
Afterward, I had my first taste (but not the last) of the Hamburgian cinnamon pastry, Franzbrötchen. Locals recommended it as a must for anyone visiting Hamburg!
St. Micheleis Tower
The next morning, Monja and I hiked to the top of St. Micheleis Tower. This tower has an extraordinary history. It was bombed, destroyed by fire, and rebuilt twice during the 20th Century.
It wasn’t the best view of a city I had ever seen and I probably wouldn’t recommend this to visitors. Though, the rain played a factor in our experience/view, too.
At night, we walked through the biggest “Dom” or fair I had ever seen. It was spectacular. It was about a mile-long loop of carnival games and rides and delicious food.
The Dom runs four times a year for multiple weeks at a time. So, I was a bit lucky to be here at the right time.
Kiez is the bar district of Hamburg. Locals told me there are over 4,000 bars in the area of Kiez, which is actually one street.
As one can imagine, you will see just about any kind of character out on those streets.
- Kapitan Prusse River Tour — €16
- Jever beer at Strand — €3.50 (return bottle to bar for €1 refund)
- Average hamburger meal with beer — about €12
- One use tram pass — €1.60
- AO Hostel — €11/ night for a private room and free breakfast
- St. Michelis Tower — €4 to climb
- Miniatur Wunderland — €9 admission for students, make a reservation to avoid a long queue. (Impressive model train museum.)
Bars, restaurants, and other attractions
- Rosi’s — quaint budget bar within Kiez District
- Dialog in the Dark — interesting initiative to take you into the life of a blind person
- Port of Hamburg — excellent, if not touristy, area to walk around and spend an afternoon
- Park Planten un Blomen — free bontantical gardens
- Bruecke 10 — home of the self-proclaimed best fish sandwich in the world (affordable!)
So far, Hamburg is my favorite of the three German cities I’ve been to. Off to Berlin!
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