Germany’s Most Underrated Travel Destination?

Whenever you think of German cities and architecture, most people think of Berlin, Cologne, Munich, and Dusseldorf. I don’t think anyone (especially Americans) think much of this rather large industrial city nestled in the Northern end of Germany. 

Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city and Europe’s third largest port. This industrial town is the center for Germany’s export economy, which happens to be the world’s third largest, the last time I checked. Hamburg has been on my bucket list of cities to visit ever since I laid eyes on the city’s, now famous warehouse, district a ten years ago.

It turns out that now is as good time as ever to visit this underrated destination because Hyatt will soon promote the Park Hyatt Hamburg to a Category 5 hotel making this property ineligible for Hyatt Credit Card annual free night certificate redemptions. (read my article for more on that)

 
 
 
 
 
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The worlds largest warehouse district in Hamburg. It’s just absolutely marvelous at blue hour especially with the partially frozen river.

A post shared by Teja Pamganamamula (@pvtejasvi) on

When I first visited Germany a few years (when Google Street View wasn’t so popular), I actually went about looking for this place in Frankfurt because I had seen an ad while getting off the plane. The ad or painting I had seen, I don’t recollect which, was a black and white rendering of the place you see below: 

 

After seeing those green rooftops rise up above perfectly aligned warehouses on top of timber piles, I was absolutely mesmerized. It has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I have since then figured out that this warehouse area is actually located in Hamburg. 

My invitation to go to ITB Berlin seemed to be the perfect opportunity to check this place off my bucket list. And so I intentionally arrived the day before the start of the conference to explore what I could of the city. 

The first stop of course was the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (the city’s main train station). I took a train directly from the airport to Hamburg Central, which cost no more than 4 Euros. 

I love the industrial and rather dystopian vibe this place has. And it makes for the perfect place to people watch. I did just that while waiting for my train to Berlin that evening.

The station also has a great array of restaurants and diners including a Burger King which is obsequiously featured in my image above of the train station. Note: For some reason this BK does not have a veggie burger making it unlike any other BK I’ve seen 🙂 

The Speicherstadt or warehouse district is just a short walk away from Hamburg Central. The walk is 12 minutes to be exact, but felt like it was a tad longer due to the chilly temperatures. 

 

Even the way along to the Speicherstadt is quite beautiful with the industrial and cohesive style of architecture found within the city. The symmetrical lines and the well laid out brickwork combined to give the area very dark and industrial tones. 

The best view of the Speicherstadt is from Poggenmulen bridge or simply “Poggenmühlen-Brücke” and the sunset occurs right behind the area itself during most of the year. On this particular day it was absolutely freezing outside and the water along the canals was beginning to refreeze at a very fast rate. I am assuming the ice was broken up because of the abnormally warm days they had in the weeks before. I spent a good 2-3 hours walking around the area and capturing some of my absolute favorites:

I didn’t get a chance to stay at the Park Hyatt Hamburg like I had initially planned because of work commitments and the start of ITB Berlin. I’ve heard great things about it and I’m sure you can’t go wrong with making a refundable award booking before the price goes up on March 18.  If you are looking for a review, Matthew over at Live and Let’s Fly has one as recent as 2017. I’ll report back once I stay here (whenever that will be). 


Bottom Line:

I barely had a couple of hours in Hamburg, but I absolutely loved the unique industrial and dystopian style of architecture found throughout the city. In fact I would really regret not leaving myself more time to walk around had it not been for the ridiculously cold weather. Brrr. It definitely deserves a second visit from me and is certainly deserving of a place on my list of most beautiful cities visited in 2018. One more thing: if you aren’t a photography buff like myself, don’t fret because the city is so large that you can pretty much find most of everything you are looking for from museums to fine arts programs to great restaurants. Let’s not forget that you aren’t far from another great German city: Berlin. 

Mark this as a place I have to return to in the near future……..


TRIP REPORT INDEX:

AA Main Cabin Extra: DFW-LHR

Photowalk through Hamburg

Grand Hyatt Berlin