Hamburg Insider Tips

11 real insider tips for Hamburg

Falkenstein Beach in Hamburg

In a nutshell: Our top 3 Hamburg insider tips

  • Hamburg has some really cool insider tips to offer in addition to its well-known highlights.
  • Our favorite insider tip for Hamburg is definitely the Ohlsdorfer Friedhof. The park cemetery is a great place to just stroll around and unwind.
  • The ship welcoming facility at Willkomm-Höft in Wedel is great for families: giant ships sail by and a speaker announces all the important info about them.
  • An Altona 93 game is the perfect place for soccer fans.

That’s not enough? Then just keep on reading all about our Hamburg insider tips.

You’ve already done some harbor tours and know your way around the Elphi? Then it’s time for some real Hamburg insider tips!

We regularly spend a weekend in Hamburg and always discover more cool things to do in Hamburg. In this article, we will give you our 11 insider tips for Hamburg, like our favorite flea market or where to get the best Franzbrötchen in town.


Karolinenviertel in Hamburg
You will find lots of cool and unusual stores in the Karoviertel (© Wikipedia; Photo: Staro1, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bustling and colorful: what used to be a poor neighborhood is now one of Hamburg’s liveliest areas.

The Karolinenviertel, also known as the Karoviertel, is a small part of the trendy Sankt Pauli district.

We recommend two things here: shopping and brunching. In the Karoviertel there are lots of small, individual stores rather than big chains – exactly what we love!

You’ll find cool boutiques and stylish cafés on every corner. Our favorites are Glore, a sustainable clothing store, Gretchens Villa with extremely delicious cake and Teikei Café for very good coffee.

Our tip: Start your tour at Marktstraße, where you’ll find most of the stores. Then  make some detours from there to smaller side streets.

Eppendorf and Winterhude

Winterhude in Hamburg
Stand-Up paddler on the Alster in Winterhude – one of the fancier areas of Hamburg

Eppendorf and Winterhude are two neighborhoods in the north of Hamburg, located by the Outer Alster, which are among the fancier areas of Hamburg. There are two main things there: a lot of greenery and beautiful old buildings with bay windows, steeples, decorative stucco and other details.

Winterhude is larger and is home to Hamburg’s green lung, the Stadtpark. You’ll find many great cafes and restaurants in this city park. You can also climb up to the observation deck at the planetarium and enjoy the fantastic view over Hamburg.

In Eppendorf is another great park: the Haynpark. Many Hamburgers come here on weekends for a picnic and to watch the white swans swimming on the Eppendorfer Mühlenteich. Around the street Eppendorfer Landstraße you can also shop very well.

We love the two districts for strolling and relaxing in nature. They are not directly in the city center and only few tourists visit the streets and parks here.

Ohlsdorf Cemetery

Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg
Ohlsdorf Cemetery is the largest park cemetery in the world and a real insider tip in Hamburg (© Wirestock)

A cemetery as a Hamburg insider tip? Yes, really! The Ohlsdorf Cemetery, in German Ohlsdorfer Friedhof (to Google Maps), is as large as 566 soccer fields and the largest park cemetery in the world. For that reason alone, it is worth seeing.

It’s not only a cemetery, but somehow also a park. This is mainly because Hamburg’s City Park did not yet exist when the cemetery was developed, so it was also intended as a recreational area in nature.

Between ponds, pine trees, ornate paths and lots of colorful flowers, you can spend some time away from the city. There’s even a geo-app for the cemetery that tells you about the graves of famous Hamburg residents.

Important: It probably goes without saying, but please behave respectfully at the cemetery

Falkenstein Beach

Falkenstein Beach in Hamburg
The Falkensteiner Ufer: Our Hamburg insider tip as an alternative to the Elbe beach

You’ve been to the Hanseatic city a few times and know all the classic sights of Hamburg like Elbstrand, Hamburg harbor and the likes? Then we have another Hamburg insider tip up our sleeve: the Falkensteiner beach (to Google Maps), in German: Falkensteiner Ufer.

The section on the Elbe is located a bit outside the city center and you can reach it by car, bike or with the HVV ferry.

Once you arrive, you get a real North Sea feeling: white sand, blue water and in the summer a few hardy people always swim in the Elbe. Behind the beach is the forest park Falkenstein, which is perfect for hiking.

By the way: From the Falkensteiner beach you are supposed to have the most beautiful view of the Elbe. Whether this is really true, best find it out yourself!

Welcome Point: Willkomm-Höft

Welcome Point Willkomm-Höft in Hamburg Wedel
Welcoming incoming ships is a huge spectacle at the Willkomm-Höft in Wedel (© guenterm)

To look at ships, most Hamburg visitors go to the Port of Hamburg. But we can also recommend the Welcome Point at the Willkomm-Höft in Wedel (to Google Maps).

You can take part in a real Hamburg shipping tradition: Every ship that enters or leaves the port of Hamburg via the Elbe is greeted or seen off with flags, the national anthem and a greeting in the national language.

Especially with children in Hamburg, it’s a huge spectacle when the container giants pass by and the speakers provide some cool info about the size, origin and cargo of the ships.

If the weather is nice, you can sit directly by the Elbe, and on rainy days there is a good fish restaurant, the Schulauer Fährhaus, from where you have a great view.

Our tip: The ship welcoming facility is only ten minutes by car from our #4 Falkensteiner beach. It’s easy to combine the two.

Bomb Hugger by Banksy

If you walk down Steinwegpassage (to Google Maps) in downtown Hamburg, you’ll see graffiti on a pillar of a little girl hugging a bomb – the Bomb Hugger.

We thought it was just one of many graffiti, but it has real cult status, as it is by the British artist Banksy, who is a real icon in the street art scene.

The graffiti is so important to the people of Hamburg that it was even professionally restored after someone had sprayed over it.

By the way, a prankster copied the work on a neighboring pillar and wrote “Fake” under the original. So don’t get confused!

The Bomb Hugger by Banksy: definitely a Secret Place in Hamburg for us.

The other side of the Elbe

View through the old Elbe tunnel in Hamburg
A little creepy, but also a pretty cool photo motif: the old Elbe tunnel
Landungsbrücken in Hamburg
From the other side of the Elbe you also have a great view of the Landungsbrücken and the harbor

You haven’t really been to Hamburg if you haven’t walked through the Old Elbe Tunnel (to Google Maps).

The tunnel opened in 1911 – just imagine how many cars have passed through over the years! Today, the Old Elbe Tunnel is mostly traversed by bike and foot, but cars can still pass through.

Taking a cool perspective photo in this ever-long tunnel is of course a must! Not for nothing the Old Elbe Tunnel is one of the most popular photo spots in Hamburg.

Once you pass through it, you can enjoy the view of Hamburg from “the other side of the Elbe” (that’s really what the location is called).

Our tip: It’s beautiful here in the evenings and you can enjoy the sunset over Hamburg.

Altona 93: Hamburg insider tip for soccer fans

Altona 93 Stadium
Altona 93 is a real insider tip for soccer nostalgics like Basti

Watching soccer is a popular activity in Hamburg for many Hamburg residents and visitors alike.

There’s hardly any difference these days between watching a Bundesliga match of the German top clubs in Hamburg, Cologne, or Dortmund. The new stadiums are too much alike and the matches have become fully organized commercial events with nothing distinctive about them.

If you’re an incorrigible soccer nostalgic, then go and watch Altona 93. The club plays at the Adolf-Jäger-Kampfbahn (to Google Maps), the second-oldest stadium in Germany. Time has stopped here. Unfortunately, things won’t stay that way forever because the stadium is scheduled to disappear soon.

You can find information about the games on the website of Altona 93. Tickets can be purchased right at the stadium, and it definitely won’t be sold out.

Special Hamburg Musical: Kiezmusical Heiße Ecke

Heiße Ecke Hamburg
The neighborhood musical Heiße Ecke at the Schmidt Tivoli Theater (© Oliver Fantitsch)

Heiße Ecke has become a bedrock of Hamburg musicals and can easily compete with the famous The Lion King.

In the Schmidt Tivoli theater directly on the Reeperbahn, the story of a night at the currywurst stall Heiße Ecke is told. It’s all about lost souls hanging out on the Reeperbahn at night and the little stories that play out on an average night in Hamburg’s entertainment district (or Kiez).

Funny costumes, authentic personalities and lots of catchy songs! Heiße Ecke may no longer be an absolute insider tip, but it is definitely part of the real Hamburg and therefore belongs on our list of the best Hamburg insider tips.

Buy tickets for Heiße Ecke

Schanzenflohmarkt: Flea Market in the Karoviertel

The Schanzenflohmarkt in the Karoviertel
The Schanzenflohmarkt in the Karoviertel is a real Hamburg insider tip (© Wikipedia; Photo: Oxfordian Kissuth, CC BY-SA 3.0)

There’s nowhere you can stroll, rummage and haggle as well as at the Schanzenflohmarkt (to Google Maps) in the Karolinenviertel. We know lots of flea markets in Berlin, but this market, also known as Flohschanze, is something special.

You can find pretty much anything, from old guitars to ship’s lamps and records of yesteryear. And between a lot of junk you can also discover some real treasures.

But there’s one thing that the people of Hamburg take very seriously at the flea market: only second-hand goods are sold here, new things are not allowed at the Schanzenflohmarkt.

The market takes place every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you want to stroll around a bit further, there are also some cool boutiques and cafes in the surrounding area.

The best restaurants and cafes in Hamburg

Hamburg is full of great restaurants, cafes and bars. We tried out lots for you and will show you our absolute favorites – including tips for the best Franzbrötchen (a sweet cinnamon-flavored pastry) in Hamburg!

Our favorite restaurants in Hamburg

  • Mamalicious: A huge portion of delicious vegan pancakes with blueberries or mixed fruits and whipped cream. Mhh!
  • Underdocks: A variety of fish sandwiches and fish and chips. We also like the industrial style of it.
  • SomeDimSum: Fantastic Dim Sum! These are small Asian dumplings that are either grilled or steamed.
  • Andronaco: Italian restaurant with a self-service concept. You can also grab some delicacies to take home at the Italian supermarket next door.
  • Happenpappen: Delicious and vegan – this place has all sorts of bowls, burgers and salads.
  • Holy Taco: At Holy Taco on the Reeperbahn you get the best tacos and the best Mexican street food in town.
  • Salt and Silver: Two restaurants in one – Levantine inspired and Latin American. A little more upscale, but absolutely fantastic. The cuisine is a mix of everything the two founders picked up on their world travels.
  • Burgerlich: Very good burgers! The branch at the Gänsemarkt has a little play area for kids and the service is very family-friendly.

Our favorite cafés in Hamburg

  • Elbgold: A huge selection of coffee! When the weather is good you can sit in the courtyard and enjoy the sun.
  • Playground: An inconspicuous café near the Reeperbahn. In our opinion, this place has the best coffee in Hamburg and delicious cheesecake.
  • NordCoast Roastery: Located right in the Speicherstadt and a great place for breakfast. You can also buy coffee beans as a souvenir.
  • Eclair Au Café: A French café, with the biggest Franzbrötchen in town and the best croissants.
  • Törnqvist: A small, minimalist store with very good coffee! If you get a table by the window, you can watch the hustle and bustle around the Stern neighborhood!
  • Luicella’s: The best ice cream in Hamburg with creative flavors like maple syrup and Franzbrötchen. You usually have to wait in line, but it’s worth it.

Where can you find the most delicious Franzbrötchen?

  • Konditorei Wiedenroth: Not too dry, not too sweet and not too cinnamony – true Franzbrötchen heaven!
  • Kleine Konditorei: In addition to the classic kind, there are also Fanzbrötchen with pistachios, apples or sprinkles.
  • Junge Bäckerei: A bit mainstream, but tried and true. A Franzbrötchen from Junge Bäckerei is great anytime.

Extra insider Tip: Sex and Crime Tour

The Reeperbahn in Hamburg
The Reeperbahn is Hamburg’s entertainment district and one of the highlights of a visit to Hamburg (© ilolab)

When it comes to city tours in Hamburg, many people think of typical sightseeing tours to the Elphi and Co. But there is so much more! There are of course also some very special city tours through Hamburg, where you get to know a whole new side of the city. Our tip is the Sex and Crime tour through Sankt Pauli.

The tour takes you to the sinful mile of Hamburg and you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about the sex trade and criminal activities there.

Your guide will take you to the legendary Kiez pub “Zur Ritze”, tell you how to get into Herbertstraße as a woman and where Mike Tyson went to the gym. And what are the Nutella Gang and GMBH?

To the Sex and Crime Tour through Sankt Pauli

Our hotel tips for Hamburg

25 Hours Hotel Altes Hafenamt
We think the 25hours Altes Hafenamt is one of the coolest hotels in Hamburg (© 25hours Hotel Altes Hafenamt)

Have you been to Hamburg already and are now looking for something new? Or are you in the Hanseatic city for the first time and want to make your city trip even cooler with a special boutique hotel? Then here are our top 3 Hamburg hotels.

Henri Hotel: Beautiful boutique hotel with handmade furniture in the heart of Hamburg. The sauna and fitness room are a special bonus.

25hours Hotel Altes Hafenamt: One of the hippest design hotels in Hamburg. Located in HafenCity and very close to the Elbphilharmonie and Speicherstadt.

Superbude Hotel St. Pauli: Affordable hotel with the craziest style in Hamburg. The location near the Reeperbahn is perfect for young people to go out.

Haven’t found the right one yet? Then check out our hotel tip articles for Hamburg.

Do you have more Hamburg insider tips?

These were our best insider tips for Hamburg. Are you also a Hamburg connoisseur and have a few more tips up your sleeve that you can share with us? Feel free to tell us more in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!