This is the concluding piece of our two-part travel series on Hamburg, Germany.

Mostly relying on the power of the written word, our blog brings to life the destinations, cultures, traditions and people we encounter on our travels. We love to paint visual pictures that offer you, our readers, an insight into what you can expect when you visit these places.

However, once in a while, we like to do things differently.

In this Hamburg photo journal, we present you with a feast of images which capture our thoughts on the character, evolution and gastronomy of Germany’s second largest city.

 

How do you capture a city’s character?

Cities are complex beings that reveal their multidimensional character to us only when we are curious enough to explore them.

Walking the bridge at Oberhafen, Hamburg

Our long weekend wandering through Hamburg was like getting to know a new acquaintance and after a couple of hours thinking, “Hey! This person is super cool. We could actually be friends!”

Sitting at Hamburg cafe

Award-winning travel writer and photographer Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström describes Hamburg’s character as an “oftentimes eyebrow-raising vibe that is both laid back and stressed, pleasant yet provoking, inviting but also secretive…”

Enjoying a coffee at a Hamburg cafe

Watching the sunset from Elbphilarmonie, Hamburg

This dichotomy is evident across the city’s 103 districts ranging from the upmarket Eppendorf and Blankenese neighbourhoods to the bohemian enclaves of St Pauli and Reeperbahn. Each part of the city feeds Hamburg’s character like the Elbe feeds the North Sea.

St. Pauli, Hamburg

Skyline view of Hamburg with iconic buildings

View of Speicherstadt, Hamburg from the river

No city is ever anything without its people. With 30% of the population being immigrants, diversity and attracting international talent is an important part of Hamburg’s modern character.

DJ entertaining at Ahoimarkt, Hamburg

Wandering through markets like the Flohschanze flea market and the Ahoimarkt, Oberhafen presented us with opportunities to meet locals. Locals like Ajuwa, originally from Ghana, who runs a social enterprise called Aya and is passionate about using her brand to empower local weavers in Africa.

Whether they are sharing their food traditions, resisting gentrification or driving innovation, Hamburgers (an actual term) proudly reflect the character of their city.

 

Hamburg’s evolution

Progressive cities always have their eye on the future. Not to be left out, Hamburg’s evolution from a nondescript port city to innovation powerhouse is in full gear.

Looking over the canal in HafenCity, Hamburg

Speicherstadt is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes Chilehaus and the Kontorhaus District. This warehouse district, straddling the River Elbe and crisscrossed by picturesque canals captures and preserves the city’s historic charm.

Warehouses in Speicherstadt, Hamburg UNESCO World Heritage Site

“Architecture is the platform where earth meets the sky.” – Omo Osagiede

Not too far away, HafenCity – Europe’s largest urban redevelopment project – takes Hamburg’s maritime past and brings it firmly into the 21st century. Hamburg’s newest crown jewel – the iconic Elbphilarmonie concert hall stands proudly at the edge of HafenCity, a testimony of the city’s ambition.

Inside ceiling view of Elphilarmonie, Hamburg

The juxtaposition of historical and contemporary architecture in Hamburg shows how cities can build bridges between their past and present.

Need more evidence of this city’s evolution? Hamburg’s ambition to become a knowledge exchange hub for science, industry and creatives saw them nominated as finalists in the 2018 European Capital of Innovation Award (an award for cities using technological innovation to improve the lives of their citizens).

Ship in Hamburg port at night

 

Gastronomy – Tasting Hamburg

Our final thought about Hamburg relates to gastronomy – the marriage between food, culture and pleasure.

In this city, creative chefs like Jasmin Baltres (Das Standard) are elevating fresh, local ingredients, tapping into the city’s cultural diversity and reimagining traditional favourites. Seasonality and provenance are respected here.

Food at Überquell, Hamburg

“Cuisine is a universal and mixed-race love marriage, in which man sublimates a place and a culture.” ― Marc Veyrat

For the curious ones looking to ‘taste Hamburg’, open-air markets like Isemarkt, food halls like Rindermarkthalle and Hobenköök, fine-dining establishments like Jacob’s, microbreweries like Überquell and multiple food festivals offer several opportunities.

Streetfood in Hamburg

 

Visit Hamburg – Travel information and useful links

If we’ve done our job properly with this Hamburg photo journal, then you’re probably adding this city to your travel list.

Sunset Hamburg harbour view from Elphilarmonie

Here is some useful information to help with planning your visit.

Getting there (from London): Daily direct flights with British Airways

Stay at: Tortue Hamburg

Use the: Hamburg Card to save money with local transportation and sightseeing.

Get more itinerary ideas from Hamburg Tourism and our blogger friends at

 

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Hamburg River - A Photo Journal of Character, Evolution and Gastronomy

Hamburg Elbphilharmonie - A Photo Journal of Character, Evolution and Gastronomy

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).