5 Parks to Enjoy the Autumn in Hamburg

5 Parks to Enjoy the Autumn in Hamburg

As the summer comes to a close, Hamburg’s lush green parks metamorphosize into an ocean of colors with many shades of green, yellow, orange and brown depicted on their trees. Speaking of parks, did you know that almost 9 % of Hamburg’s total city area is public parks and another 9.5% of the city’s area is protected natural reserve?! Deservingly the city was voted as the “European Green Capital” in 2011. Here’s a list of our favorite parks for a colorful autumn stroll to enjoy before the clocks are reversed and the long dark winter kicks in.


City Park in Hamburg

Hamburg’s largest park is a magnet for nature lovers all year round. We love it even more in the autumn because once its many trees turn orange-red-yellow, pretty much every other corner of the park turns into a photo spot. A perfect place for a leisurely stroll or an energizing evening run. Once there, don’t forget to check out a “proper” beer garden in the city – the Landhaus Walter to the park’s north and the Sierich’s Biergarten on its south. 

Niendorfer Gehege

Niendorfer Gehege in Hamburg

Almost a forest right at one’s doorstep, spread on a whopping 150 hectares and at a distance of about 20 minutes from the city center, the Niendorfer Gehege is a forest inside Hamburg. Its 15 km long trekking trail is a particularly inviting location for long walks during the golden season when its flora shines in its most vibrant autumn colors. A special highlight are the free-living animals of the natural reserve area and if you’re lucky a few shy deer make show themselves during your autumn walk. A children’s play area and a pony farm make the Niendorfer Gehege popular among families as well.

Harburger Berge

Harburger Berge Park in Hamburg

Hamburg may be far away from the Alps, but if there is one place where Hamburgers need all-terrain shoes to go for a hike then it has to be the Harburg mountains, yes that’s what it literally means ???? Home to the city’s highest spot at 116.2 meters above ground level, this can be a challenging trek for many as one does do a number of ascents averaging between 40 to 70 meters while walking through the mixed forests. Admittedly, the Harburger Bergen are a little away from the city, but they can be easily reached with the S3 line from its Neuwiedenthal station. 

Jenisch Park

Jenisch Park in Hamburg

An ideal place to stroll around, jog or walk the dog, the Jenisch Park is equally popular with all. Designed in the style of an elegant English garden, the 42-hectare park stretches alongside the Elbe and offers enough space for beautiful autumn walks through rustling leaves. Those interested in art and culture should definitely make a stop at the Jenisch House and the Ernst Barlach Art Forum. And those who haven’t had enough of nature can stroll to the nearby botanical gardens and be enchanted by the exotic plants there.

Ohlsdorf Cemetery

the Ohlsdorfer Cemetery in Hamburg

Europe’s largest park cemetery is also an impressive natural area. Come autumn and the park turns into a colorful sea of leaves. The park offers an ideal opportunity for long reflective walks in the fresh air and is easily reachable with the S1 and the U1 lines. Given that it is also a cemetery where the last mortal remains of thousands of people are preserved, it promises to provide the spooky factor for an eerily walk on Halloween. 

Hamburg’s Delicious Fast-Food, the Fischbrötchen

Hamburg’s Delicious Fast-Food, the Fischbrötchen

While hamburgers may have originated in Hamburg, its most popular sandwich does not have a beef patty in it, but fish. Yes, put a piece of smoked, fried or pickled fish inside a bread roll and you have the Fischbrötchen – one of Hamburg’s most widely consumed snacks today. The Fischbrötchen go well with the maritime flair of the city and people are easily convinced of their being a part of Hamburg’s culinary heritage. Here’s a list of our favorite Fischbrötchen joints in the city for you to try out. Afterall, it is one of the must-dos while you’re in Hamburg – having a hamburger..err…sorry, trying a Fischbrötchen ????

Bei den Sankt-Pauli-Landungsbrücken Nr. 10

Brücke 10 

A perennial favorite of ours, an all-weather place to enjoy a Fischbrötchen located right in the heart of its harbor. The Brücke 10 at the last pier of the Landungsbrücken is not really an insider tip as the area is always bustling with people, visitors and locals alike. Freshly baked bread and a wide choice of fish options, screeching seagulls and passing by ships make the Brücke 10 a place to try a Fischbrötchen even if you didn’t intend to have one – the atmosphere is just infectious, but in a healthy way! Try their Krabbenbrötchen and you will thank us always for this suggestion ???? (Bei den Sankt-Pauli-Landungsbrücken Nr.9)

 Kleine Haie, Große Fische 

If a döner kebab is not your choice snack during an evening of indulgence, then try a Fischbrötchen at the Kleine Haie, Große Fische. Located right in the heart of the party district of St. Pauli, their offering of Fischbrötchen is somewhat unique and also perhaps somewhat healthier than what the other fast-food joints, kebab stalls and pizzerias dotting the neighborhood offer. (Querstr. 4)


A refreshing new entrant on the Fischbrötchen scene of the city, the Underdocks promises to revolutionize the way Fischbrötchen are done and eaten in Hamburg. With a wide array of fusionized and innovative creations like corn-coated sardines and marinated black tiger shrimps, their Fischbrötchens are definitely ushering a new-era of street food in Hamburg – the Fischbrötchen 2.0, as they call it. (Neuer Kamp 13)

Expeimental Fischbrötchen
Altona Fish Market

Altonaer Fischmarkt

Any list of fish joints in Hamburg would be incomplete without a mention of its Sunday-morning highlight – the fish market or the Altonaer Fischmarkt as it’s officially known as. Traditionally, a fish mongers’ market, but now an attraction in its own right, the fish market has perhaps the densest fish offerings in the city, both raw and prepared. Our to-go place is the stand of Marx und Sohn and theirs is arguably the best Backfischbrötchen in the city. Try it with the garlic sauce. Num! Num! Num!  (Grosse Elbstrasse 9)

The Alster Lakes: Hamburg’s Liquid Soul in the Heart of the City

The Alster Lakes: Hamburg’s Liquid Soul in the Heart of the City

Hamburg is a city defined by its relationship with water. And no other element in the city’s geography drives this point home than the existence of the Alster lakes as its center. The outer and the inner Alster have been ground zero for Hamburg’s urban life since the 1850s. A stroll around the inner Alster even today shows us the base of the city’s socio-economic life, with the Rathaus, the seat of political power, being a stone’s throw away. The outer Alster, on the other hand, showcases Hamburg in its 19th Century glory, with the mansions of its old elite, its very well kept parks and the numerous watersport options in town. Especially, during the summer months, the Alster becomes one of the most happening places in the city. And to help you navigate it, we have drawn a list of our top activities around the Alster.

Alster Boat Rides

Admittedly, the Harbor boat cruises draw much more attention and a lot of that has to do with the availability of public transport ferries, however, the Alster boat rides are not for everyone. They sail off the beaten course, to paraphrase the idiom. Away from the hustle of the commercial harbor, they show you Hamburg the city from its waterside. Classical architecture, lush green lawns, clear blue skies (only in summer), plenty of water and fascinating views is what they offer. The vessels themselves are a decent blend of traditional steamships like the “St. Georg” and the modern solar-powered “Alstersonne”. The routes also vary, but almost all cover both the Alster lakes. Some are hop-on and hop-off, whereas others just take you around on the same boat. The Kanalfahrt is especially popular for taking you around Hamburg’s many canals. There are also reasonably priced refreshments and snacks available on board.

Alster boat tours

 Go Boating

rental boats on the alster lake

If there’s one thing that makes the Alster lakes that is the presence of all kinds of boats. If a boat cruise isn’t exciting for you, then you can rent a paddle boat, a sailing boat or even a stand-up paddle board from the numerous establishments that dot the banks of the outer Alster. To rent a sailing boat, one requires a license (Segelschein), but most other vessels are available without such requirements. “Barca An der Alster” is not only conveniently located and has competitive prices, but also boasts of a cozy café/bar attached to it. Please note, drinking and driving are frowned upon, but not drinking and boating ????

Bella Vistas – the Fernsichtbrücke and/or the Lombardsbrücke

The Fernsichtbrücke marks the end of the outer Alster and the Lombardsbrücke is one of the bridges separating the outer and the inner Alsters. Standing on the former, one is bedazzled by the sheer size of the outer Alster and the boats that, no matter what season, are going around it. It is actually a view into the city’s liquid soul. Views from the latter offer a brilliant panorama of the city’s clean skyline and its architectural face. Both are amazing spots to take photographs! ????

Bella Vista of the Alster lake

Enjoy a Sundowner at the Spanish Steps

Spanish steps in Hamburg, Germany

Yes, it’s not just Rome. Hamburg also has its very own Spanish steps. It’s not gelato that is consumed here, but rather gin and tonics ???? The stairways and the pontons around them are a Tapas-Bar of the same name that uses the space as its service area. Amazing views of a canal flowing into the outer Alster as well as the last rays of the setting sun are what brings many guests to this spot. The place does get busy, but the service and prices are reasonable enough to wait for a spot.

Pay Your Respects to the Alster Swans

Not to be forgotten are another highlight around the Alster – the Swans. These are not just any swans, they are the goodluck charm of the city of Hamburg. A popular belief holds that as long as there are swans around the Alster, Hamburg will be a free and prosperous city. That is why since 1664, swans are creatures protected under law – protected from being hunted, beaten and insulted(!). So be respectful to them while you’re enjoying your time around the Alster ????

Ready for a Treat? Try Hamburg’s Delicious Franzbrötchen!

Ready for a Treat? Try Hamburg’s Delicious Franzbrötchen!

While its origins may be speculative, one thing is for sure that Franzbrötchen is the definitive highlight of Hamburg’s baked delicacies. This distinctive roll generated from the French style butter puff pastry in its dough and the Swedish Kanelbullar in its flavoring is no longer a regional specialty, but can be savored pretty much all over Germany today. However, we in Hamburg take our French rolls seriously – a bi-annual Franzbrötchen competition at the Museum of Hamburg History makes bakeries compete with each other for the best recipe in town and win-over our hearts and minds. Afterall, the Franzbrötchen is our national pride. A popular saying alludes to it being a cure for all sorrow and worry. In the morning or in the evening, for a snack-on-the-go or as an accompaniment to your coffee or tea, there’s never an inappropriate time to bite a Franzbrötchen. So, here’s some of our favorite places try one in Hamburg.


  1.     The Kleine Konditorei – a two-time winner of the Franzbrötchen competition, this 4-outlet chain of bakeries mostly located in the West of the city takes baking in general and its Franzbrötchen in particular as a passion. Roughly about 10,000 Franzbrötchen are baked everyday and each of them is crafted by hand! Every visit to them is a delight.
  1. Braaker Mühle – also a winner of the Franzbrötchen competition, Braaker Mühle dominates the bakery scene in the east of the city with its 15 branches and its presence at almost all of the city’s major weekly markets. Not only do their Franzbrötchen taste heavenly, but their version of Franzbrötchen was also voted the most beautiful out of all 47 participants in the 2018 competition!
  1.     Franz & Friends – the most experimental of Hamburg’s Franzbrötchen makers and the one chain that has it in their name! This is one bakery where you can satisfy your curiosities of mixing Franzbrötchen with seasonal fruits like strawberries, apples or with dry fruits like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc. Besides, they have a weekly special when a selected variety of the Franzbrötchen is sold just for 1€ making you there at least once every week.
Why You Should Take a Free Tour with Robin and the Tourguides

Why You Should Take a Free Tour with Robin and the Tourguides

In the past years, many travelers have gained a deep appreciation for free tours throughout the world. They love the concept and motivation of the companies and guides that lead them through new and exciting cities. However, there are many companies out there and not all of them have the best reputations and practices. It can be difficult sometimes to discern which company to choose from as well as factors of quality, reliability and sustainability. That is why we feel it is important to highlight the main reasons why you can’t go wrong with a tour with us, Robin and the Tourguides.

Great Way to See and get a Good Overview of what the City has to Offer

We offer two free tours of the city: the Historic City Centre Tour and the Harbour & St.Pauli Tour. Both are completely different from each other and offer great overviews of the different districts in the city.

Our Historic City Centre Free Tour focuses on the main sight-seeing spots here in the inner city and delves into the history of how Hamburg became what it is today. From the early fortifications of the Hammaburg to the early twentieth century ports, you will discover this city’s rich history while seeing the main attractions.

Our Harbour & St.Pauli Free Tour focuses on the more modern up-to-date aspects of the city. From the container ports and ferries to the alternative, red-light and party district here in the city.

On both tours, you get a great insight of things to do, places to enjoy some local cuisine, great photo opportunities and personal anecdotes into Germany’s largest port city. You will definitely have a lot of recommendations for after the tour for activities and places to visit!

Nr. 1 Rated Tour Operator in Hamburg

We here at Robin and the Tourguides give a lot of care for the quality of our guests’ time while on our tours. We ensure that the guides have a deep understanding and connection with the city.

Many times free tour companies are associated with maybe exchange students or expats that haven’t been living in the local community for a long time. This is not the case with us. Our guides know the city very well and love to show the city to their guests. They have also passed a quality certification exam from us and have a deep knowledge of the city. They are experienced and professional tour guides that will do their best to take care of you on the tours!

This is very well reflected in our vast number of high quality reviews and feedback from our guests. In fact we are rated the nr. 1 tour operator in all of Hamburg by TripAdvisor for the past several years now*. We also enjoy a perfect 5 star google rating* from over 1,300 customer reviews*! So why risk it going with another free tour operator that maybe doesn’t have as high standards as we do?

*(as of 14.12.2022)

No Matter your Budget you can Come Along on a Free Tour

One great thing about us is that we truly believe that everyone should have a great time here in our city no matter what their budget is. Even if you are a Backpacker, student, traveler on a shoe-string budget, free tours allow everyone to come along and enjoy the city. We, of course, realize that everyone has hard times sometimes and don’t believe in excluding people based solely on their socioeconomic status. That is why we offer free tours.

Will some people take advantage of this concept?… Of course, but we have noticed overall, people are decent and honest people. Those that can afford to pay what they think it is worth tend to do so which makes up for those that can’t.

Please note though, that groups of 8 or more people will not be allowed on our public free tours. This is so as not to overwhelm our guides and other members of the group with unexpectedly large groups. We kindly ask that groups of 8 or more book a private tour with us.

No Hidden Sponsoring or Sales Pitches

When traveling to other countries many people take tours and halfway through they are bombarded with a stop at maybe a company that highly encourages them to buy souvenirs or gifts from them. Many times with free tour companies they might also make a stop at a cafe to push their guests to buy paid tours that they offer later. Mandatory stops are also many times made at cafes or restaurants where the guests are encouraged to buy food or drinks while the tour company cuts a commission from the cafe or restaurant for every sale they make despite the quality. We here at Robin and the Tourguides do not believe in this practice.

We don’t have any hidden sales intents or commissions we get from stopping at certain places. Of course, if it is very cold in winter or very hot in summer, our guides will often offer the group a nice cafe to get some refreshments or to warm up a bit, but because we don’t have hidden arrangements this allows the guides the freedom to stop at really great local and maybe small hidden places that are a lot better than chain cafes or franchises such as Starbucks. Our guides have the flexibility to go to the places they really feel comfortable with and think you deserve as a guest to really get to experience the true Hamburg feeling.

Meet other Travelers

Traveling many times is a great adventure and opportunity to discover new places and cultures, making great memories and meeting new people. However, especially for lone travelers, breaking the ice or having the opportunity to meet new people in a city you don’t know can be intimidating and sometimes overwhelming.

There are countless examples of people meeting and discovering a new city together on free tours. Many times it is not uncommon to hear of such great friendships that travelers decide to travel together or meet up in other cities or even their hometowns.

On free tours, people meet a lot of other enthusiastic travelers to share and exchange their personal travel experiences with. You can get a lot of great tips from other travelers about where to go next on your journey or what to watch out for.

Also, it is great to spend some time with others in the evening together in a maybe a nice bar or restaurant and planning activities together with others that are still anxious to discover the local scene. Free Tours allow for you to make connections with others to plan for some great interactions!

We are a Local Company and Support the Local Community

Evermore, with free tours, there are conglomerates of multinational companies that are on a mission to expand to every major city in the world. These companies are usually highly influenced in maximizing their profits from mass tourism on the backs of their workers and guides. The owner usually sits in New York or London and has little direct knowledge of the other cities his company does business in and relies often  heavily on low paid City-Managers or regional managers, usually who are desperate students, to manage several cities or countries… all the while making a hefty profit from their exploitative practices.

Robin and the Tourguides believes in giving their employees, guides and partners a living wage with respectful and fair conditions. We are a truly local company and will stay that way. We are based in Hamburg and only offer tours in Hamburg. This means our taxes also go to the city and don’t wander off to tax havens or other dodgy countries.

Our Partners are also locals businesses and not just franchise chains that are based in other countries. This means we support local entrepreneurs and small businesses helping the local economy and offering a more personal experience for our guests.

We also believe in self-empowerment for our workers and were founded by guides themselves. We are still managed and run by guides that call Hamburg their home. This allows for a much better understanding and ability to adapt to the local tendencies and an incredible flexibility to care for the needs of our customers in a responsible and sustainable way. We are just not a cookie cutting, one-size-fits-all company copying their free tours and cheap pub crawls all over the world.

We are also a proud member of the Free Tour Community and the local Tourism Association of Hamburg (Tourismusverband Hamburg e.V.). The Free Tour Community is a non-profit organization of independent and local free tour operators from all around the world with excellent reviews. For more information you can visit their website at: www.freetourcommunity.com .


We have also noticed over the years that many companies open tours here in the city and just don’t show up to the meeting point. With us you can be certain that we will be there with our yellow umbrellas for the tours!

We Believe in Sustainability

We are a company that strongly believes that everyday actions have a big impact on the world around us and are willing to act responsibly for our environment. From everything to using 100% renewable energy for our office actions, co2 neutral Flyer printing, sustainable banking with the GLS Community bank (Germany’s first ecological bank), to yearly donations to charities, we do our best to preserve the wonderful planet that we all want to explore!

Also, our free walking tours are the most sustainable way of seeing a city. So instead of taking a diesel double-decker bus or an exhaust blustering cruise ship feel free to come along on a walking tour with fresh air and a little bit of exercise for the environment and health.

Our Tours are Fun!

Not only are our free tours a great way to get to know the city but they are also really fun and entertaining! We all know the feeling of paying for a normal tour and having to listen 2 or 3 hours to maybe an elderly professor reciting a memorized script of the city as if it were interesting. Our free tours are not like that at all! We don’t, for example, have scripts that our guides learn by heart. Our tours are individual to every guide and often no two tours are the same.

Our guides are highly motivated to give you a great experience here in the city because if you don’t like the tour, let’s be honest, you probably won’t want to give them a rewarding pay at the end. The free tour concept is just too rewarding for the guides to give fond and memorable experiences for the guests each and every tour!

Top Free or Almost Free Things to do in Hamburg

Top Free or Almost Free Things to do in Hamburg

Hamburg is one of the most expensive cities in Germany. It is also known for its many attractions for tourists and locals alike. Many people think that you have to allocate a substantial amount of money for a trip to Hamburg to have a good time, but as many insiders will tell you, Hamburg also has a lot to offer for those traveling on a shoe-string budget. Here are our top free activities to enjoy while here in the beautiful city of Hamburg!

Free Tours with Robin and the Tourguides

If you are looking for a great opportunity to get an overview of the city go on the free tours from Robin and the Tourguides. We offer two free tours of the city, one through the historic city centre and another through the harbour & St.Pauli district. The two tours are completely different from each other and offer different views of the city. Discover the beginning of Hamburg’s rich history and how it became what it is today and in the afternoon learn of the economic power-house of the city, the ports. Also, delve into the night life and hear of how St.Pauli, the red-light and party district, is constantly changing.

With free tours you get to decide yourself what the tour is worth or what your budget allows. So everyone is welcome to come along no matter how much or little you have in your pocket. Please note, that groups of 8 or more persons should book a private tour with us for fairness reasons. You can book directly with Robin and the Tourguides at: www.robinandthetourguides.de .

Elbphilharmonie Plaza

One of the most impressive contemporary buildings architecturally in the city is the Elpphilharmonie, the new symphonic concert hall here in Hamburg. It is located in the modern Hafencity area and is a bekon of Hamburg’s intent to be known internationally in the music world over. It is an amazing building not only from the outside but also on the inside and offers a wonderful 360 degree view of the harbour and city 37 meters above ground. You can go spontaneously to the front desk to get a ticket to visit the Plaza for free. Opening hours are from 12 p.m. till 12 a.m. and there are also nice cafes, a restaurant and Craft beer bar to have a nice bite to eat or drink while visiting the plaza.

A Nice Stroll along the Elbpromenade

After a nice visit to the Elbphilharmonie, one can take a nice stroll along the waterfront on the Elbpromenade. Not only will you see the historic harbour and the many historical ships along the way but will also get to see the historic Landungsbrücken, where millions of immigrants left on their journeys to the New-World.

Some of the beautiful museum ships that you will see along the way are for example, the fire–ship, a wonderful little lighthouse boat that served off the coast of England for decades. Today it has been turned into a restaurant, hotel and event location for jazz combos. Which is also a great way to get some free music while enjoying a nice house beer or drink.

The Cap San Diego is also a wonderful freight ship from 1962 that is housed along the promenade. The Swan of the sees sailed for several decades between Germany and South America before being forced into retirement due to the age of the containers.

If looking for a beautiful tall sailing ship, the Rickmer Rickmers is the ship to staun. This museum ship from 1896 is a testament to the Rickmer’s family, with their Grandson, as the figurehead at the front of the ship. You can also for a small fee go on board the Rickmer Rickmers and get a feeling of how the sailors lived and worked at that time.

The Old Elbe Tunnel

Once completing a nice walk along the Elbpromenade, be sure to go through the Old Elbtunnel located at the Landungsbrücken Nr. 6. This tunnel from 1911 still has its beautiful original glazed tiling which has recently been restored. From the other side of the Elbe river you will enjoy a wonderful view of the harbour, Landungsbrücken, city centre and Elbphilharmonie in the distance. You can also see all of Hamburg’s 5 main churches on the horizon!

Be sure to take the historic lifts which once took horse buggies and cars in and out of the tunnel. And if you need a snack along the way be sure to visit Captain Schwarz right next to the entrance of the tunnel for some wonderful Fischbrötchen-fish rolls!

The Harbour from the Water with the Ferry 62

Although it is technically not free, many people while here buy a day ticket for the excellent public transportation system while visiting Hamburg. If you have a day ticket for the metro, be sure to take a ride on the Ferry 62, which is included in the HVV day ticket.

The ferry starts from the Landungsbrücken Nr. 3 and takes about an hour to go around the harbour and back. Along the way, you can also get off at different stops, for example, Övelgönne/Neumühlen where there is a nice museum harbour for historical boats, nice cafes and restaurants. Iif the weather is sunny and warm be sure to visit the Elbstrand, Hamburg’s most famous beach with a beach bar.

The ferry goes all the way to Finkenwerder and if that isn’t enough for you, quickly change Ferries on to the 63 for a quick trip to Teufelsbrücke (devil’s bridge). There you can enjoy some nice chips or a sausage on the docks at the Engel (Angel) kiosk or maybe even enjoy a nice walk through the idyllic Jenisch park.

Enjoy the Water Fountain Show in the Planten un Blomen Parks

The newly renovated water fountain show located in the Planten un Blomen is a must see for everyone looking for something very special! It is a mix between water jets shooting water 36 meters into the air and a light show of 566 LED light projectors choreographed to the music of Copeland, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and other famous composers. The shows start every day at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Parksee located in the north of Planten un Blomen. Not much to say other than to visit it if you do have the chance!

Visit the 5 Main Churches of Hamburg

Of course, Europe and Hamburg are really known for the abundance of medieval churches that seem to be every few hundreds of meters apart from each other… Sometimes, one can definitely get a little bit church-out from all the historically important churches. Here, though, are the main churches in order of beauty to visit while here in the city:

    The St. Michealis Church: the largest and main church here in the city. One of the best examples of baroque architecture in Germany. It is wonderfully decorated with gold, marble, and ornamentations. Also, every day at 12 o’clock they have their sermons with live concerts of their many different types of organs free of charge. Of course, they do ask for donations for the upkeep and maintenance of the church, so if you do decide to give a Euro or two, they are very grateful for that.

    The St. Petri Church: The oldest still standing church here in the city. Originally built in 1195 it is a testament to the gothic styles and still has many reliques, paintings, and artifacts inside. During the Nepolianic wars, Napoleon Bonapart use this church as a horse stable for his infantry. Can you discover the mineral sediments on the walls of the church where the horses peed? Also, for a small fee you can climb the 544 steps to enjoy the highest look-out point in Hamburg 123 meters above the ground. Opening hours for the steeple is from 10 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.

    St. Katherinen Church: this small but impressive church was recently renovated so it is also definitely worth a visit. It also has the oldest still standing structured wall in the city. There are many concerts here of the organ which dates back to 1543 and many famous musicians have performed on it including Georg Philip Telemann and Johann Sebastian Bach. So it is a great way to hear how music sounded back then at that time. Also, the golden spire is, according to legend, the gold of Germany’s most famous pirate, Klaus Störtebeker!

    St. Jakobi Church: This church is mostly known for its organ… the largest baroque organ in the world. But there are also many paintings and sculptures inside which are of significance. It is a famous pilgrimage church that many pilgrims visited on their way to Santiago de Compostela located along the oldest paved street in Germany. Johann Sebastian Bach actually auditioned for the position of organist and music director here, but turned it down when he realized that the congregation wanted him to pay for the honor of playing their organ!

    St. Nikolai Church/Memorial site: The ruins of this church today are what is left over from the church after the Operation Gomorrah bombings during the Second World War. Today this somber site is a memorial against the horrors of war and persecution. It is a reminder of what might come if we let brutal dictators rule over us and the consequences of tyranny. In the crypt there is an excellent exhibition that only cost a few Euros about the bombings of Hamburg and also the Nazi bombings, for example, the bombings of Coventry, London, Rotterdamm, Warsaw and many other cities. Every Thursday at 12 p.m. there is also a live concert of the corellian (the bells) that takes about 45 minutes and is free of charge.

Public Parks in the City

There are many beautiful parks in Hamburg to enjoy a nice stroll through. One of them is the Planten un Blomen (Plants and Flowers) located where once the city walls defending the inner city used to be. There are many different types of flowers, trees, lawns, streams, playgrounds and activities to enjoy at this park. Be sure to walk through the largest Japanese Gardens in Europe here with their Minka houses and ponds filled with koi fish large and small. Here they also have sushi courses or tea ceremonies. Also, there are live concerts and workshops taking place at the Planten un Blomen almost on a daily basis. In winter you can also enjoy Europe’s largest outdoor ice skating rink, or in summer they turn it into a skating rink. Or how about a round of minigolf?

The Stadtpark (City Park) located north of the alster lakes is also a nice place to take a jog or enjoy a nice picnic. Many people flock to the Stadtpark on the weekends if the weather is permitting to bbq on the large lawn. But be sure to visit the rose gardens and the planetarium which was once a large water tower for the city. You can also go up the planetarium to enjoy a nice view of the park with the city in the background 70 meters above ground. Many open air concerts take place there and for a small price you can also go for a nice swim or stand up paddle on the lake there.

The Volkspark is the largest park here in the city and although most Hamburgers don’t know it too well, it also has a lot to offer. There are many forests to hike through with little hills and unexpected path crossings but also amazing cultivated gardens. Be sure to visit the Dahlia gardens, the largest Dahlia collection in the world. Or the wonderfully pruned rose garden. Also worth a visit is the geometrical Tutenberg arena in the parks. A wonderful place to study, relax or practice some acting for the next school play!

Although the Ohlsdorfer Cemetery isn’t technically a park, it is still a great place to visit if looking for peace and quiet in an idyllic surrounding. In fact, it is the world’s largest cemetery garden. It is a great place to have a nice bike ride or walk around and also discover many famous former people from the city. It is still in use as a cemetary so one is asked to be respectful of the graves there.

Discovering the Street Art in St.Pauli and the Schanzen Quarter

Always changing, always fresh is the paint on the walls in St.Pauli, Hamburg’s alternative district. Even as a local, there are always new provocative, rebellious and thought provoking pictures graffitied everywhere here. In fact, St.Pauli is visited by some of the most famous street artists from around the world. It is a wonderful place to discover the artwork of inner courtyards, small alleyways, abandoned buildings, and bustling boulevards. Every corner you turn there is a new piece of art revealing the next… truly an impossible feat to justly document, but maybe just to enjoy for the moment and reflect on while constantly discovering the public underground scenes.

Live Music Bars and Clubs

You can find a lot of live music in Hamburg. Sometimes you have to pay for it, sometimes you can get in for free. Some places where you can enjoy free entry are on the Hans-Albers-Platz at the Academy, Drafthouse and Molly Malon. The good thing about these places are, if you don’t like one place you can just go next door, or even two doors down. The prices are also average prices. 

Go down the Reeperbahn a few meters to the Lehmitz bar. Here you can listen to some local St.Pauli rock. A lot of the times it is so packed here that the band members actually have to play on the bar counter. The drinks are very well priced here so it is a lively place to listen to some good local bands.

If looking for jazz clubs, Every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. you can enjoy the open mic improv sessions for free. It can get very crowded so it is recommended to be there when they open at 7 o’clock to get some places for the gig.

Also not to be forgotten is the Haus 73 located in the Schulterblatt. They regularly have concerts and events free of charge to go along with their excellent craft beers.

The Altona Fish Market

The fish market starts every Sunday at 5:00 am and goes till 9:30 am. If here on a Sunday, absolutely try to make it to the fish market. A lot of people in fact go out Saturday evening to the Reeperbahn and party the whole night through. When the sun starts to rise in the morning they go to the fish market and the partying keeps going. Here you can listen to live music, get a nice Fish-roll for breakfast as well as your morning beer… yes, that is a thing here in Germany!

Here you can find hundreds of stands of people trying to sell you stuff. A lot of times they will be throwing fish, bananas, or smoked eels through the air. You can find typical market things here, for example, fruits, vegetables, flowers, clothing, souvenirs but also very strange and odd things as well like live chickens, pet ferrets or rabbits but also sometimes things like used denters… Oh course, you can try them out before buying them to make sure they fit properly!

The main thing the Fish market is known for though are the Market yellers! People yelling into the market doing whatever possible so you will buy their stuff. With their salty and humorous sayings it is like a show every 10 meters!

Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial Site

In the south of the city, you can also visit for free the former concentration camp, Neuengamme. It was a forced labor camp used by the SS in Germany’s dark Nazi past with around 500,000 forced laborers working there and around 50,000 people who were murdered there.

Start off with seeing some of the original livestock train wagons that brought the prisoners to the camp. Sometimes in the middle of winter in the open and how groups of 50 persons were cramped into these small waggons for sometimes there days long journey without even room to sit. Also visit the work rooms and hear of the dangerous and strenuous work conditions forced on the people with little or no protection or the gas chambers where many were executed with zyklon B gas.

There is an excellent museum building where you can learn about some of the forced laborers and their horrible conditions they had to live in.

For any WWII historian, this is a must do place to visit explaining in incredible detail this morbid and dark history and the perversions of such a destructive, oppressive, murderous regime under Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. It is a massive memorial site so do plan a good day or so to visit it.

You can reach the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial by first taking the S21 to “Bergedorf”. From Bergedorf take either the bus 127 or 227 to “Neuengamme Gedenkstätte” ( www.kz-gedenkstaette-neuengamme.de/en/ )

Free Concerts at the Hamburg Hochschule for Music and Theater

For all classical or jazz music lovers, a hidden secret here in the city are the free recitals and concerts performed by the music students at the Hamburg Hochschule for Music and Theater located directly on the beautiful outer alster lakes (Harvestehuder Weg 12). With recitals playing almost every day, one can listen to an array of solo instrumentalists and vocalists displaying their skills in recitals. But there are also symphony concerts, operas, jazz combos and bands showing off these students’ hard diligence and practice. 

Also, enjoy the wonderful concert halls, sometimes historic as in their Budget Palais and sometimes new and modern as in their new jazz hall. It is a wonderful mix of old and new halls to showcase the best of these up and coming musicians!

You can find the schedule of concerts at:


This blog was written by Brent Foster, a tour guide and manager of Robin and the Tourguides. Visit our website for great tours of the city! www.robinandthetourguides.de

Robin and the Tourguides is a member of Free Tour Community. If looking for great free tours for your next trip somewhere in the world, visit www.freetourcommunity.com for some of the best independent companies that have an emphasis on fair conditions for their workers and partners!