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Hamburg: A cheap weekend to-do list

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A bridge on the harbor in Hamburg. Photo by Audrey Sykes.
A bridge on the harbor in Hamburg. Photo by Audrey Sykes.

Hamburg, Germany’s great northern maritime city, deserves at least a weekend for exploration. From the moving World War II monuments to a bustling fish market, here’s a rundown on how to spend a cheap but worthwhile weekend in Hamburg.

Friday AM: Boats and beaches of the Elbe River

Cheap boat rides can be found along the Elbe River areas of Altona, Elbstrasse, and Landungsbrücken. They cost as much as a bus ride (about €1.60) and stop at many ideal places for eating, drinking, and sunning on the sandy beaches around the Elbe River. The Alster lake area is another option for organized boat tours.

Friday PM: Watching the St. Pauli Football Team

Snag tickets to one of the most raw, gritty, and hardcore soccer teams in Europe, the St. Pauli Football Team. St. Pauli has it all: a loyal fan base who love to party, sponsors like Hamburg’s signature Astra beer, and a skull-and-crossbones logo. It’s the “Harley Davidson” of European football.

Tickets range from €7-50. Check here for more information. The stadium is located near Feldstrasse, an area rich in World War II monuments, vintage shops, and a Saturday yard sale market.

Saturday AM:  Walking through Sternschanze

Stroll along the hip and bohemian Sternschanze neighborhood for a taste of Hamburg’s café terrace vibe and culture. Streets are lined with interesting boutiques, cheap eats, and bargain bars with a classic décor. A large park, the Planten un Blomen, is nearby – grab an ice cream and do some people-watching in the sun.

Saturday PM: Partying on Reeperbahn

Spend a night out on the Reeperbahn – Hamburg’s main party strip. See the blend of sailor roughness mix with trendy locals at the bars, music venues, clubs, and wurst stands. Beatle-maniacs should try out the nightlife around Grosse Freiheit, the street where the four “mop tops” made their European debut on stage and at parties.

Sunday AM: Stroll through the fish market

A Sunday morning in Hamburg is incomplete without a trip to the lively and exciting Fischmarkt. Located directly on the harbor from Reeperbahn S-bahn station, stroll around the dozens of seafood and produce stands. The market is action-packed with amusing characters and partygoers still out from Saturday night. Stop by anytime between 5 AM to noon.

Sunday PM: Historic Hamburg and the harbor

Spend the rest of Sunday walking along the Elbe River and surrounding harbor. Old harbor vessels permanently dock along the walkway as museums and cafés, and the surrounding area is a historic part of Hamburg undamaged from World War II.

About the author

About the author: Audrey Sykes hopped across the pond from the US eight years ago for a Masters degree in global journalism. Since then, she’s lived all over Europe, reporting and editing for music sites, snowboard mags, and travel media. She’s also the Amsterdam author for Party Earth, a guide to nightlife across Europe.

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