So, during my recent trip around Europe, I decided to stop in Hamburg – mainly because it was the cheapest place to travel to from Copenhagen. But, aside from that, Hamburg is a really awesome city that is somewhat different from the rest of Germany. I’m going to try and break down all the things that I think you should see and do in Hamburg – and how to do it on a budget!!
Accommodation can sometimes be your biggest expense, but there are plenty of cheap options in Hamburg. If you’re on a really really small budget – use couchsurfing and live like a local. However, if you’re like me and like to have a very social atmosphere then stay at a hostel. I stayed at Generator hostel, which is literally thirty seconds from the main station. This hostel is cool and has a really nice atmosphere with something for everyone. Generator has some great happy hour deals and drinks are pretty cheap even outside these hours. You can find rooms for as cheap as €15 a night. Don’t book too far in advance though, book around 2 weeks before you’re trip and prices will be a lot lower than say 2 months in advance! The staff are friendly and are always happy to help – what more can you ask for?
Generator’s social and bar area. Plenty to do for all kinds of travellers.
Fooooood. Everyone’s favourite thing. Now, I was on a tiny budget and couldn’t afford to eat out in nice restaurants – not sure if my flip flop and shorts would’ve been appropriate attire anyways. Not to worry though as Hamburg has plenty of cheap eateries worth checking out! If you decide to stay at Generator there is a HUGE food court across the road in the Hauptbahnhof. There’s everything from Thai to Chinese and of course, German. You can grab a meal for as little as €3. What a steal!!! There’s also a handful of street vendors to get a quick bite.
Who knew that a train station could offer such fine dining?
Places to drink (and party)
Hamburg is crawling with nightclubs and bars. It’s famous for its nightlife and I now know why. Start your night at the hostel, drinking all the happy hour cocktails you can manage and then head to the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli district for a night you will not forget! Pubs, pubs and more pubs. I can guarantee there will be at least one place hear that you enjoy. Yes, it can at times feel a little seedy but genuinely isn’t. There are sex clubs and prostitutes to be seen but you have to remember prostitution is a legitimate trade in Germany. People won’t make you do anything you don’t want to. A simple “no” will do the trick. Now, you must go to the 99cents bar, where unsurprisingly everything is 99cents, from vodka to beer to shots. Spirits may be a little watered down but it’s cheap, so who cares? The Reeperbahn is the best place in Hamburg for a night out, make your way there and an unforgettable night will be had.
The famous Reeperbahn in St. Pauli district of Hamburg. Shots. Shots. Shots.
If the Reeperbahn doesn’t seem like your kinda place (although trust me, there is something for everyone) then head to StrandPauli, an awesome beach bar not far from the Reeperbahn but with a much more relaxed atmosphere. Watch the boats dock as you drink an ice cold beer…or two. This place is amazing, really. There are nice beach chairs to chill on and there’s even sand – how cool is that? Go here and you will not be disappointed!
Hamburg or Hawaii??? Could’ve fooled me.
Things to do and see
Hamburg is bursting with culture and history and this can all be seen by taking a free walking tour. SANDEMANS do amazing free (tip based) walking tours across Europe and I’m glad Hamburg is one of the cities they operate in. There are different tours to choose from such as a Beatles tour and even tours in different languages. I chose to do the standard tour, which was great. I learned and saw so much of the city that you just wouldn’t see on your own. Another great thing is that it picks up from the hostel before the main meeting point at the town hall. If you’re in Hamburg, I highly suggest you do at least one of these tours.
My group on the walking tour. We’re trying to do some German hand gesture…
I’d also recommend chilling by Alster lake in the centre of the city. It’s really nice on a sunny day and you can even walk around it. Of course it’s free so you’ll be saving some cash too.
Take a break from all the sightseeing and chill by Alster lake.
One other place I’d definitely check out is HaffenCity. It’s a new development in the city and a real contrast to the traditional and historical parts of town. Nonetheless, a must see.
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