Kicking off the Road Trip in ‘The Gateway to the world”: Hamburg | A Travel Diary

What better place to kick off our road trip through Europe than the city known as “Gateway to the World”––Hamburg? I visited Germany’s second-largest city multiple times during a previous job, and it is undoubtedly among my favorites. I have always loved strolling through Hamburg and getting inspired: By the opulent, brick-wall facades, the seaward-facing architecture, and also the wealth of the city, that–all together–would infuse the city with its unique maritime spirit that Hamburg is known for. Plus, Hamburg serves –up to this date– the world’s best coffee, which alone is worth a pit stop.

So, knowing that we would soon be moving to the US and assuming we wouldn’t be able to come back to the city on the River Elbe in the near future, I insisted on including Hamburg on our road trip. And since Hamburg wasn’t in the worst location for our westbound, I could convince Daniel to spend one night there. So we looked for accommodation in Speicherstadt, the warehouse district in Hamburg with large storehouses on timber-pile foundations at the loading canals for our stay. In one of those buildings, the AMERON Hotel offers beautiful views of the canals and the red-brick houses with their towers, nooks, and ornaments. As usual, we would book the hotel through HotelTonight, an app that I can highly recommend if you like spontaneous trips and upscale accommodations for fair prices.

– Tip: For spontaneous trips and last-minute deals, I love to recommend HotelTonight. Booking through my link and entering the code VZAUSCH at HotelTonight gives you 20% (up to 45 Euros) on your first booking in top-rated hotels.

Since we only spent a night in Hamburg, there is not so much to tell in this diary. We basically just strolled through the Speicherstadt, the Hafencity (which is relatively new, which is why I hadn’t seen it yet), the Elbphilharmonie, and the Old Town of Hamburg with the Nikolaifleet and seeking in the beauty of the city’s architecture.

The Nikolaifleet, one of the oldest parts of the Port of Hamburg.

We were surprised, however, by how many restaurants and bars were closed, despite it being a Sunday. That’s why it was pretty hard for us to find a dinner location, so we had food in our hotel’s restaurant. After that, we went to the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten at the Binnenalster, where we had some drinks (that I very frankly cannot recommend to anyone with uptown taste when it comes to drinks…) and went to bed reasonably early (there was a curfew that damned every bar to close their doors at 11 pm!) All in all, this was a little disappointing, but considering we are still in a pandemic, it was fair enough, and we were grateful for the ability to travel in any way.

On the following day, we went to Nord Coast Coffee Roastery for waffles and avocado sourdough, or what I call the best breakfast in Germany. There is a reason why I mentioned this place many times before on this blog. They not only have excellent coffee, but I also love the location in an old warehouse, with tables and desks at the window front offering excellent views of the Nikolaifleet and the Old Town. After breakfast, we hit the road again for our next stop: Rotterdam.

Nord Coast Coffee Roastery makes the best breakfast, including their infamous waffles, and excellent coffee.

This travel diary is fairly short since we only spent one night in Hamburg. However, I have visited Hamburg many times before, which is why I am happy to leave my tips for accommodation, restaurants, and bars with you for your next Hamburg trip. The city at the River Elb is always worth a visit in my opinion and I am already looking forward to being back somewhen.

Where to stay in Hamburg

This time, we stayed in AMERON Hotelright in the Speicherstadt with fantastic views of the canals and the red-brick houses. I can genuinely recommend the hotel and its house restaurant.

Other times, I stayed at the Hyperion Hotel Hamburg, which offers upscale rooms and excellent breakfast for a fair price, and the Hotel Stella Maris Hamburg, which reminds me a lot of the maritime flair of all of Hamburg and impresses me with charmful interior design in that theme.

For next time, I have Sir Nikolai and Ruby Lotti on my list. And then there is the 25hours hotel (Altes Hafenamt) which is located in a former captain’s house in HafenCity’s oldest building.

Where to Eat in Hamburg

My all-time favorite breakfast and coffee spot is the Nord Coast Coffee Roastery. Hands-on, you will probably find the best coffee in all of Germany here and the most delicious waffles. Their prices are pretty fair, especially compared to other hip spots, but you must calculate waiting times as its popularity has led to lines in front of the restaurant.

The NENI Hamburg is an institution for a culinary mosaic of Persian, Russian, Arabic, Moroccan, Turkish, Spanish, German, and Austrian influence. There is always a long wait for a table, especially on weekends, so make sure you make a reservation way ahead to enjoy the excellent food and the usually fantastic views.

There is a reason why the Atelier F was promoted by Hamburg-based influencers and bloggers, as the restaurant serving French-American cuisine in a pink-plush interior is just stunning and among my favorites in entire Germany. I always opt for the lunch deal with the salmon steak, sauce béarnaise, and sweet potato fries, plus their raspberry-lavender-vanilla lemonade. Try it and thank me later.

The best bars for those who appreciate bespoke drinks

The Boilerman Bar in the 25hours hotel (Altes Hafenamt) brings back good old cocktail times with highball drinks. The name comes from American history, where drivers were asked to speed up in means of a highball. The Boilerman was now the one who had to heat up the boiler to be able to step on the gas. Accordingly, in the Boilerman Bar, guests are sent on a journey fueled by the bartenders and their precisely mixed drinks. The bar specializes in rum in particular. However, other spirits such as whiskey, gin, and tequila are also used in the highballs of the Boilerman Bar.

You’ll find bespoke drinks at the Bohemian Hamburg, which just opened during the pandemic and has already reached a must-visit status in Hamburg.

And last but not least, I have been told that the Ruby Lotti Hotel has a great bar, which is open 24 hours (unless current pandemic restrictions define opening hours differently), and is known for being an inspiring space where people come together to share tales and plans.

Have you ever been to Hamburg and do you love the city as much as I do?


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