If there is one thing Germany is known for, it must be Christmas Markets!
Or Octoberfest. Or beer. Or sausages. Ok, but today, on this cold winter day, I want to transport you with me to the magical Christmas Markets and winter scenery of Hamburg.
To be honest, I do not like cold. I usually try to avoid winter destinations. I moved to Barcelona, Spain from Warsaw, Poland for a reason 😉 But when an opportunity to visit Hamburg arose, I didn’t hesitate much but opt for the weekend in a winter wonderland!
Christmas markets in Hamburg
Christmas Markets in Hamburg (and Germany as a whole) are deeply rooted in tradition of this country. Every December Germany decorates its cities with charming markets where you can enjoy festive food and drinks and meet with your friends.
Christmas Markets are obviously a must as the title of this blog post suggests. Nothing will make you feel the Christmas atmosphere better than drinking mulled wine, eating festive food while listening to carols and watching snowflakes falling from the sky.
While in Hamburg we visited 3 Christmas markets:
Hamburg City Hall Christmas Market
City Hall Market is the largest Christmas Market in Hamburg located right in front of the Hamburg Rathaus. The stalls are made from wood and decorated with spruce branches. You can buy here all sorts of Christmas decorations, colorful gingerbreads, mouthwatering sweets and typical dishes from Germany such as BratWurst and Gluhwein. All served in cute souvenir mugs.
The Weisser Zauber Christmas Market
The Weisser Zauber Christmas Market is located along Jungfernstieg boulevard at the Inner Alster lake. It has white, elegant stalls where you can enjoy the taste of freshly roasted nuts, smell cinnamon in the air and listen to “white Christmas” song in the loudspeakers. Ah, can’t it be Christmas all year long?
Santa Pauli Christmas Market in Hamburg
All Christmas markets look kind of similar, but not Santa Pauli Market. Everything here has a “Kinky Christmas” theme, you can buy gingerbreads in sexy shapes and watch nasty Santa show. If you are 18 or older, try an alternative St Pauli guided tour.
Things to do after visiting Hamburg Christmas Markets
Harbour boat tour
As you might know, Hamburg owns the second busiest port in Europe (after Rotterdam) and 15th busiest in the World. We always like to look at the city from different perspectives, that is why we decided to take a Harbor Boat Tour with Barkassen Meyer. Not only were we able to see docks from up close and see one of the biggest cargo ships in the World, but also we had a “fish view” on newly opened Elbphilharmonie 😉
Visiting Chocoversum was one of my favorite activities in Hamburg. I mean, what is better than a hot chocolate on a cold winter day? I tell you – Chocolate Museum where you get to try some of the finest chocolates in the World! Delicious! Also keep in mind that you can try some hot chocolate at the Christmas Markets in Hamburg, but probably not as good as the one at Chocoversum.
Additionally, we have also created our own chocolates that we planned to take with us to Barcelona as a souvenir. To be honest, they haven’t lasted longer than to the airport 😉
Germany is the second-largest grinder and importer of cocoa in Europe, behind the Netherlands, and one of the biggest consumers of Chocolate in the World. In Chocoversum, we had a chance to try raw cocoa beans and learn about the whole process of chocolate creation: from plantation to packaging. All that while sampling different types of chocolate!
Hop on Hop off bus
Let’s be honest here: winter in Germany = cold. As much as I love snow in December, as it adds a lot to the Christmas atmosphere, I don’t like to walk in a cold freezing weather. And that’s where Hop on Hop Off bus comes to rescue!
We took line A of Die Roten Doppeldecker, also called the classic route. We saw the highlights of Hamburg such as Speicherstadt, the Hafencity, the harbor, the famous Reeperbahn and beautiful villas in Harvestehude on the Outer Alster. All from the comfort of our bus.
I admit I am a spa lover. There is nothing wrong with being your true self and accept that no trip is complete for me without soaking my body in hot waters. Do I need to add that in winter, it feels even better?
We went to Kaifu-Sole for a relaxing and healthy salt bath. There are also saunas and an inviting fireplace room. The baths are open until midnight on Saturday and cost about 26 euros.
Try a burger at Better Burger
Did you know that burgers originate from Hamburg? The very first burgers were very expensive, sold as gourmet steaks made of minced meat with garlic and spices. They made their way to the USA with first German immigrants. Soon they were converted into sandwiches and became America’s bestsellers.
In Better Burger, we tried a delicious hamburger that was made with fresh ingredients, organic beef, and soft bun. What made a whole difference, is that you could choose your own toppings! Just like if you made it at home! Yum! We have topped it up with Fritz-kola, a hipster “coca cola” made in northern Germany.
Where to stay in Hamburg
Check my post on the most unique and eco-friendly hotel in Hamburg here.