Hamburg: the hidden side of Germany

The country’s best kept secret is worth a visit for its warm welcome and rebellious, playful spirit. The city eschews clichés and awaits with open arms.

Visitors might imagine Hamburg to be rugged, austere and icy, so close as it is to the North Sea. But in reality, this city is full of surprises, with a network of canals, natural areas and hip bars. Overcome by its innate charm, some even call it the “European Brooklyn”. The city, which is easily navigated by bike (locals’ favorite mode of transport), has a plethora of record stores, bars selling good-for-the-skin herbal juices and clothing stores manned by edgy salespeople. Two shops really stand out: Cream, an ambitious concept store, and T-Rags, for its handmade design sensibility. The local Zadig & Voltaire is tucked into a street in the Neustadt district between other chic stores. Just a few hundred meters farther is the bustling St. Pauli district, where tattooed hipsters abound and discoveries can be found at every street corner. Hamburg is also no slouch in the food department. Epicurious hotspots are sprinkled all around the city, from Pauline to Café Gnosa and the very French Le Beau Voisin. There are three choice options in St. Pauli: Ban Canteen, Nil (just 20 meters away) and Grilly Idol Burger just down the street. The first features a warm, Zen décor and offers imaginative Asian food while the second transforms simple and local products (think rye bread, hummus and green asparagus) into a sumptuous culinary experience. Grilly Idol is an arty spot that takes the hamburger to heavenly heights. The café/restaurant a.mora, nestled alongside the magnificent Alster Lake, is another not-to-be-missed location with a gorgeous view and delectable pastries and forest berries to be enjoyed at brunch. Young travelers will love Chocoversum (chocolate museum) and Miniatur Wunderland, which features the largest model railway in the world. The culture-rich city of Hamburg is ideal for visitors young and old alike, where theatres and museums, majestic architecture and luxurious parks stand side by side.

Cream : Lange Reihe 88
T-Rags : Hein-Hoyer-Straße 61
Zadig & Voltaire : Bleichenbrücke 1
Pauline : Neuer Pferdemarkt 3
Cafe Gnosa : Lange Reihe 93
Le Beau Voisin : Ulmenstraße  2
Ban Canteen : Beim Grünen Jäger 1
Nil : Neuer Pferdemarkt 5
Grilly Idol Burger : Clemens-Schultz-Straße 40
A.Mora : An der Alster (Atlantic-Steg)
The chocolat museum : Meßberg 1
Miniatur-Wunderland: Kehrwieder 2-4, Block D 

Illustration : Hello Marine
Photos : Alessia Armenise