Back to the roots – Vapiano in Hamburg

It all started in Hamburg. Now, with a total of five Vapiano restaurants across Germany’s second largest city, it’s high time we took at look at what else the jewel of the north has to offer. Start planning your city break here.

The very first Vapiano opened in Hamburg back in 2002, but fans can now choose to enjoy their favourite pizza and pasta dishes in any of the city’s five Vapiano restaurants. No other German city has more. But Germany’s jewel of the north has so much more than food on offer. The city’s latest tourist attraction is the dazzling Elbphilharmonie concert hall on the banks of the river Elbe.

Looks good, sounds good – the Elbphilharmonie

Although much criticised because of cost and delays to the construction schedule, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie seems to have been worth it. The concert hall’s striking architecture has promoted it to landmark status, drawing visitors from near and far. After catching a concert you can spend the night in the hotel within. An observation deck offers spectacular views of the port and the local area, and you don’t need a ticket to access it.

Nautical but nice – the port, Hafencity & Speicherstadt

The Hafencity quarter is the place to stroll around and take photos of Europe’s second largest port, no matter what time of year it is. Twinkling lights reflecting on the water make winter and night walks extra special. The Speicherstadt, Hamburg’s historical warehouse district, was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2015.

Hamburg’s Michel – the best views in town

Although the new Elbphilharmonie is currently the talk of the town, let’s not forget Hamburg’s Saint Michael’s church, lovingly referred to as “Michel” by locals. It’s North Germany’s finest baroque church and a prominent feature of the city’s famous skyline. Climb the 132m tall church spire for unrivalled views of the whole of Hamburg and the river Elbe.

Walk it, bike it or set sail – Old Elbe Tunnel & Elbstrand

Another must-do activity on your city break is the Old Elbe Tunnel. Built in 1911, the historical tunnel connects Landungsbrücken with the port area in Steinwerder on the other side of the river Elbe. You can walk or cycle through the tunnel for free at any time of day or night. Tip: pick up a hire bike at Landungsbrücken so you can explore more easily. You can also catch a ferry from Landungsbrücken to Elbstrand on the other side of the river. Learn more about shipping and the role of Hamburg’s port on one of the many harbour boat tours on offer.

Food, drink & nightlife – Reeperbahn, Hamburger Dom & Schanzenviertel

If you’re there for the nightlife, head for Hamburg’s notorious Reeperbahn in the St Pauli quarter. Known fondly as the “Kiez”, the area is packed with bars, clubs, theatres and more. The neighbouring Schanzenviertel quarter is slightly quieter with some quirky independent shops and cosy cafes for brunch. Tip: check to see if the Hamburger Dom is in town when you’re there. North Germany’s biggest travelling funfair comes to Hamburg three times a year and stays for a month. There’s a free firework display every Friday at 2230h.

The city’s green heart – Planten un Blomen

The huge Planten un Blomen park is Hamburg’s green heart at the centre of the city. Nature lovers will be delighted by the huge range of plants and flowers, and there’s a giant adventure playground for kids to let off steam. Couples can stroll through themed areas like the Japanese Garden or snuggle up on a blanket to watch the free water light concert every evening. Don’t leave town without visiting.

The closest Vapiano to Planten un Blomen is located at nearby Gänsemarkt, so pick up a takeaway for a picnic in the park. Buon appetito!