Hamburg’s Nautical Culture

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There are “tourist hub” cities that visitors flock to for their attractions, activities, or natural beauty; places you see to tick boxes and fill instagram profiles.  Hamburg does offer most of these things, however what struck me most was it’s culture and livability.  Hamburg is definitely a city where people live, work, and have fun.

Hamburg is one of Europe’s largest port cities which lends the cities a working class, industrial feel.  This port history has given the city a unique attachment to the water.  Like most of Europe, the second the weather turns warm, the locals head outside.

Locals crowd the banks of the Outer Alster Lake on a warm summer day in Hamburg.

A summer day on the Outer Alster Lake.

You’ll find plenty of water sports on the lake, as well as a bike path around the water, but the most surprising aspect of summer in Hamburg was their beach culture.  I’m a Floridian, I know my way around a beach.  This is why Hamburg surprised me so much.  While the River Elbe leads to the North Sea, Hamburg is not coastal.  More importantly, even in summer Hamburg is not THAT warm (see the jackets in the above picture).  That doesn’t stop the Germans though.  There are loads of beach clubs with man-made sand beaches that are absolutely filled with Hamburgers enjoying a drink by the water.

Beachclub in Wedel Hamburg

Image courtesy of Hamburg Marketing GmbH

Not quite a tropical oasis, but still a great time!  Hamburg’s ties to the water can be seen everywhere in the city; from the street art to business logos.  There are old school nautical references all over the place.  You’d be hard pressed to walk down any block and not see an anchor, a sailor tattoo, or best of all mermaids!  Who doesn’t love a city covered in mermaids?

Hamburg postcards

Nautical Culture in Hamburg

Nautical Culture in Hamburg

What’s my favorite way to celebrate Hamburg’s Nautical history and German culture?  A mermaid full of beer of course!  At Altes Madchen Braugasthaus you can get just that!  This is a craft brewery that serves beer flights inside of a wooden mermaid.  I can’t handle how much I love this!

Altes Madchen Braugasthaus in Hamburg

Altes Madchen Braugasthaus in Hamburg

Beer and whimsy, what more could you want?

So what’s the best way to enjoy the warmish summer days in Hamburg and pay homage to their history and culture?  Head to the water and drink like a sailor on shore leave!

Beautiful Hamburg, Germany

Many thanks to Hamburg Marketing GmbH for showing me around this amazing city, as usual opinions are my own (no one needs to convince me to love beer and mermaids!)




19 thoughts on “Hamburg’s Nautical Culture

  1. Wow, I was in Hamburg a few months ago and totally missed out on visiting the mermaid bar. That would have been cool to have a flight served on that mermaid shaped wood plaque.

  2. Are residents of Hamburg really called Hamburgers? I’d be curious to know if the hamburger (the edible kind) was actually invented in Hamburg…probably not. I was surprised to learn there’s a beach in Hamburg and even though it’s manmade it looks like a good spot. Is it expensive? What’s the average price of a beer?

  3. Love water sports! Great post, thanks for sharing. Happy travels 🙂

  4. Port cities have a charm all of their own and Hamburg too has its unique charm. Life in a port city too is really interesting and it is indeed fascinating how people are attached to the water and the water in many ways is central to their lives. Hamburg presents a unique experience different from many other European cities.

  5. I had heard that Hamburg is not a tourist city, which is just fine with me. I would rather visit a city that has people living and working in it anyway, rather than a city that is just built around accommodating visitors. Best way to preserver local culture, which as a frequent traveler, I enjoy quite a bit.

  6. I never even thought about visiting Hamburg. In fact, I knew absolutely nothing until reading this post. Looks like I should look into visiting a bit more. The waterfront looks beautiful.

  7. Looks like a fun town. Those Germans do a great job of soaking up all of the available sunshine.

  8. We’re really looking forward to discovering Hamburg next year – we have a cruise of Norway booked, but it leaves from the ports here. Planning on getting there a few days early to explore first 🙂

  9. Definitely putting Hamburg high up on my list now! Lovely read, thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted…Where To Stay In Edinburgh: A 15th Century TownhouseMy Profile

  10. Haha! We’re such Florida girls! But hey, whatever works. Man-made beaches can be just as much fun, especially of there’s alcohol! 😉

  11. I didn’t realise there was such a tie with the water in Hamburg! Looks like they really know how to make the most of the weather! I’d love to visit Altes Madchen Braugasthaus for some mermaid beer too!

  12. Since I also love beer and mermaids, Hamburg is clearly a city that I need to visit!

  13. Huh… I had never considered Hamburg before for my travels, so I am glad you shared your experience visiting there! 🙂 And the mermaid flight of beer is awesome!

  14. I never knew that about Hamburg’s mermaid culture. 😉 You know, I find all of Germany like that, so anxious to get outdoors and live in the green space. That is one of the things I really love about the whole country.

  15. Danielle Des

    I find it so funny that they call themselves Hamburgers =). I love craft beer so loved that it was featured in your post as a highlight in Hamburg. Also, coats in the summer, that’s something I’d have to get used to!

  16. Hamburg sounds like an incredible city! I’ve always wanted to visit because of the nautical theme that thrives throughout the city. Awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing a bit this experience with us!

  17. Will have to keep Hamburg in mind for my upcoming European tour!

  18. It’s not surprising to hear that there are so many nautical references. It’s pleasant to read that Hamburg is a normal city with everyday people who like to work and have fun.

  19. I’ve always heard amazing things about cruises but have never been on one. Seems like a great way to travel and have an adventure on a budget.

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