The Christmas markets in Europe are a wonderful place to visit, particularly if you are looking for a little festive cheer. Which is what saw me head off to Hamburg, Germany on the 2nd December for a long weekend exploring the City.
We decided to fly from London City Airport, so after an extremely short journey to the station and an hour long flight we landed to 1 degrees and the promise of mulled wine not far away! We flew Business Class with British Airways and it was absolutely worth it – for starters you get proper crockery, and as many baby bottles of Champagne as you can drink in the hour! Perhaps not too many…
For our trip in Hamburg we had a city pass that enabled us to travel on the local transportation for just one price. This was a great assistance and meant we didn’t have to keep buying tickets, whilst traveling a lot more than we would have had we not had the ticket!
The trains are incredibly easy to use, and prompt too, so after just 1 change and a 20 minute journey from the airport we arrived at our hotel. A little bit early to check-in we left our cases and once again hopped on the train to reach the city centre.
Here we immediately found ourselves in the middle of one of nineteen Christmas markets that Hamburg hosts each year! The scent of mulled drinks, roasted chestnuts and sausages a plenty was definitely enough to entice you in – if the festive decorations and lights were not!
You would think that once you have seen a Christmas market you have seen them all, but there is something about them that is so enticing and never leaves you bored. Everybody seems in such a great, cheery mood that you simply cannot have a bad time at a Christmas market. Particularly, it seems, here in Hamburg.
After returning to our hotel (the Ibis Styles Alster City which I did a review on separately – it was great!) to warm up a bit we decided to visit the Hamburg Dom in the evening. This is an absolutely huge Christmas marketing/fun fair combination and was the perfect place to spend a few hours. The Dom is only in the city 3 times a year, so we were lucky to catch it. What I love is that despite this being a major attraction the prices weren’t over inflated, nor was it too busy to breath – something I absolutely hate.
An evening spent enjoying local dishes, watching people wander around with their huge stuffed toy wins and a few mulled wines and were once again on our way – this time to explore the night life district of St Pauli.
It was clear that here is where the action was! With pubs, clubs and some alternative venues all full to the brim of people having a good time – and it was barely 9pm at this time! So if you’re heading to Hamburg to enjoy the nightlife, or perhaps on a stag/hen do, then St Pauli is most certainly your destination.
After this we headed back to get some sleep for another day of action in Hamburg!
The next day we embarked on a trip to Miniatur Wunderland, the largest model railway/village in the world! I must admit that I wasn’t entirely sold on visiting this, thinking it perhaps more a boys attraction – but I was definitely impressed! I’ll be doing a post on this alone too just to further prove my point, but it was really incredible just what can be done with some paint, glue and figurines – everything was so intricately done.
After a few hours spent at Miniatur Wunderland we headed off in the direction of some food – and selected Better Burger Company.
With wooden bench seats and an array of sauces on each table, this place looks to be great for groups and getting stuck in to your favourite burger. The menu was entirely in German which was a bit confusing but the staff spoke perfect English and were able to explain how the process worked.
Basically there was a choice of beef, chicken, vegetarian or vegan for the pattie served with bacon and/or cheese. Then once this was ready you were called up to add up to 5 toppings of your choice – any additional were charged extra. The crispy onions were my particularly favourite, and tasted wonderful submerged against BBQ sauce and well-cooked bacon.
A definite must visit for lunch if you’re visiting Hamburg!
The rest of our day was spent, once again, at the Christmas markets enjoying a few more mulled wines and some additional German food.
On our final day we had a few hours left before we needed to get back to the airport, so we hopped on the train for 15 minutes and arrived at the Alster lake.
Now, I have seen plenty of lakes in my time – but this one impressed even me. It’s absolutely huge, and beautiful too particularly as the weather was rather chilly and some it had iced over. We decided to walk round it (or as far as we could go before getting too tired or freezing!) and strolled past some lovely houses in clean, polished neighbourhoods. It was a really great way to spend a Sunday morning and blow the cobwebs away before we returned back to England.
After an hour or so of walking what else was there to do but pay one last vist to one of the many Christmas markets, and grab some lunch before we departed.
We opted for these kartoffelpuffer which are essentially potato pancakes, but one of the naughtiest and most delicious snacks I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying! The queue for these was so long it was clear we weren’t the only ones enjoying them either.
We had also been eyeing up these chocolate covered bananas all weekend and finally decided to give a Kinder Bueno one a try – and I am glad we did! The banana was moist and soft in the most delicious way, couple with the crunch and chocolate deliciousness of the outer coating. The best 3 euros spent all weekend!
Overall I had a really great time in Hamburg – the people are polite and try their best to assist you in English where possible. The food is all entirely delicious, particularly the sausage and some of the deep fried delights. It’s worth a visit for the cuisine alone.
There was also much more to do than we managed to fit in, but if museums are your bag then there are plenty of these to spend your weekend strolling around. Equally Hamburg had a really good shopping district, featuring some of my brand favourites,that I would love to have tackled properly if we had the time.0