Hamburg’s top five Christmas highlights for 2018: with Christmas markets, shopping, and culinary adventures
Hamburg, 26. November 2018 – There is always lots going on in Hamburg, and there are thousands of good reasons to visit this Hanseatic city. And yet in the coming weeks of December there are five highlights in particular you shouldn't miss out on: with 18 Christmas markets, including the world's only adult Christmas market, an exciting restaurant scene, shopping experiences on the water and a flourishing craft beer community, Hamburg offers everything your heart desires during the festive season.
At the end of the month, Hamburg will be once again transformed into the Christmas capital of Germany’s north. From 26 November, as many as 18 Christmas markets will be wrapping the city in a festive robe, attracting more than six million visitors annually. And every guest to Hamburg will find exactly the Christmas market of their choice – ranging from traditional and nostalgic to festive and even frivolous. To give you a few popular examples: the historic Christmas market in front of Hamburg’s town hall exudes an unforgettable atmosphere and is unparalleled in Germany and beyond. Delicious organic mulled wine, mouth-watering sweets, quality arts and crafts as well as “the real Santa Claus” will make not only children’s hearts beat faster. From here, Christmas market fans can stroll on leisurely in search of culinary delights, creative gift ideas and much more – for example at the White Magic market on the nearby Jungfernstieg boulevard, at the Christmas market on Gänsemarkt, the Winterwald market on Gerhard-Hauptmann-Platz, the Spitalerstrasse shopping mile, or the Fleetinsel Christmas market.
The Christmas season is all about contemplation, tranquillity, and peace. But for all those who get a little bored with that, Hamburg offers the perfect contrasting scenario: if you're looking for a “wild” Christmas experience, you should not miss out on the Santa Pauli market on the Reeperbahn, arguably the world’s only adult Christmas market, as well as the Winter Pride in the St Georg district in the city centre, the LGBT community’s Christmas market. Boasting a very special atmosphere, these two markets are considered to be real Hamburg institutions and can get even the most rigorous Christmas Scrooge to drink mulled wine and eat gingerbread. At these Christmas markets, visitors will find more than the usual Christmas programme: think lots of glitter, glamour and extravagance! The Santa Pauli market on the Spielbudenplatz square is certainly the naughtier choice, as this is where the boundaries between conventional Christmas traditions and quirky St Pauli lifestyles are blurred in a way that is typical of Hamburg: in a relaxed manner and with a healthy dose of honesty. And that’s also the way that people celebrate the night away in the St Pauli neighbourhood
Christmas is also about gifts, no matter if you wish to give presents to your loved ones or to yourself. And the coming weeks are perhaps the ideal time for retail therapy in Germany’s north, for only the festive season allows you to combine your shopping tour with a stroll around Hamburg’s 18 Christmas markets. So what could be more fun than enjoying delicious mulled wine to warm yourself up and relax before you are once again hitting the shops? Hamburg offers more than enough opportunities for this, because Hamburg’s shopping areas are simply legendary and include e.g. the Jungfernstieg boulevard with the Alsterhaus and other department stores as well as the famous Mönckebergstrasse with its many department and fashion stores, flagship stores, local retailers, cafés and snack bars. In Hamburg’s city centre you can expect a unique international flair combined with a distinctive Northern German atmosphere.
In case you cannot find what you are looking for here, you might want to take a little detour to the back streets of the Mönckebergstrasse, e.g. to Gertrudenstrasse, Hermannstrasse, Paulstrasse, or to the Kontorhaus district at Burchardplatz with its art galleries and small boutiques. A stroll along the Neuer Wall with its mix of traditional specialist shops and renowned international fashion labels is also a must. Hamburg is also famous for its 26 arcades in the very heart of the city centre. Lots of inspiration awaits you e.g. in the picturesque 19th century Alsterarkaden, the charming Mellin-Passage, the oldest of Hamburg’s arcades, as well as the Hanse Viertel with more than 50 specialist shops, and the Europa Passage shopping centre. Plus, on each Advent Sunday visitors to the city centre will be able to watch the Hamburg Christmas Parade as it makes its way from Mönckebergstrasse to Jungfernstieg (1/12; 8/12; 15/12; 22/12 at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.)
There are many cities with Michelin-star restaurants – and of course Hamburg is one of them: in fact, Hamburg is home to as many as eleven Michelin-awarded restaurants, among them “The Table” by star chef Kevin Fehling, “Se7en Oceans” by Sebastian Andrée, “Jacobs Restaurant” with a view of the Elbe as well as the fish restaurant “Jellyfish”. But beyond these big names, lovers of gourmet cuisine will also be able to make some exciting new discoveries in Hamburg’s pre-Christmas period. Especially in the HafenCity district, there are a number of new openings that are still considered to be hidden gems. These include e.g. the “Kinfelts” near the Elbphilharmonie, where star chef Kirill Kinfelt – who is also the owner of the French-style “Trüffelschwein” in the Winterhude district – serves seasonal dishes amidst a Scandinavian bistro atmosphere. The “Kinfelts” also offers an amazing selection of wine, put together by sommelier Maximilian Wilm. Or take the “Hobenköök” on the River Elbe, which could be described as a market hall and a restaurant under one roof. Situated on an area of 600 square metres in the old Oberhafen quarter, the “Hobenköök” offers food products from 200 local producers from the Hamburg Metropolitan Region as well as a fascinating restaurant, where top chef Thomas Sampl conjures seasonal regional dishes onto your plate.
When you get together for a drink in Hamburg, you say “Prost” … or now even perhaps “Skål”? After all, a real Danish Julebryg beer was brewed in Hamburg this year for the second time. The Julebryg Christmas beer is a collaboration of Danish brewer Anders Coisbo and Tobias Hess from ÜberQuell, a popular local craft beer brewery. Situated right at the St Pauli Fish Market, the ÜberQuell brewery pub has of course other seasonal beers on sale too, including winter ale. Seasonal winter beer can also be tasted e.g. at the Altes Mädchen brewery inn in the creative Schanzenviertel district. It is considered to be one of Hamburg's coolest small breweries, along with venues such as the Kehrwieder Kreativbrauerei in Hamburg's HafenCity district. A true beer classic will be returning to its original neighbourhood at the end of November: just in time for the Christmas season, the iconic local beer brand Astra will open a new brewery house on 29 November. Located at the Reeperbahn, it will be a combination of living room and brewery kitchen. On an area of 760 square metres, there will be handmade craft beers such as lager, dark beer, bock beer, and Indian Pale flowing from the tap – alongside the traditional “Urtyp” pilsner.
Christmas trip Hamburg: from 90 euro for 3 days
In addition to these five Christmas highlights, Hamburg Tourismus GmbH (HHT) has compiled a number of attractive package deals for the weekends leading up to Christmas. The “3 nights for the price of 2” package deal, for instance, includes three overnight stays at a hotel including breakfast and one Hamburg CARD, the discovery ticket that includes reduced rates as well as free travel within the local public transport network. So there will be enough time to discover Hamburg during the festive season and to indulge in extensive Christmas shopping. Bookings can be made online at www.hamburg-travel.com or by telephone by calling +49 40 300 51 701.
Further information on Hamburg:
- Media services as well as general information on Hamburg: mediarelations.hamburg.de
- Photos and footage of Hamburg for media use: https://seafile.hamburg-tourism.de/d/b832183e37a04ba3a417/
Many more Hamburg tips for download or online at the following Websites:
- HHT website: hamburg-travel.com
- Hamburg CARD: hamburg-tourismus.de/card
- Calendar of events: www.hamburg-travel.com/experience/events
- Event app, including “culture alert”: hh-events.de
- Hamburg App: hh-app.de
Hamburg Tourismus GmbH
Wexstrasse 7, D-20355 Hamburg