Hamburg Urban Shores
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Huilei Alsterhaus, Hamburg

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Hamburg Urban Shores

Always close to a beach between the North and the Baltic Seas

Heading east or west, Hamburg is about an hour away from the beautiful beaches of both the North Sea (St. Peter Ording) and the Baltic Sea (Timmendorfer Strand). But you don’t have to take the Autobahn and roam away from this city to get a serious beach-life vibe. Bring a towel and some sun lotion and join the Hamburgers in enjoying sun, sand and water in the city.

The classic: Strandperle

Known as the “pearl of the Elbe”, this is the No. 1 go-to spot for locals whenever the weather is nice – be it a hot summer or a fresh autumn day. You can understand why with a long, white sand beach and spectacular views. There is always room for one more towel, even on a Sunday. Two beach-side cafés sell everything you could possibly need while spending an entire day on the busy Elbe river, just opposite of the industrious Harbour piers. You can watch the world’s biggest container ships role in and get unloaded. The water is tricky, but it is safe to get your legs all wet, standing in the water and having a drink.

In the evening this is the most popular spot for setting up a fire or a BBQ. Get there with a beautiful short bike ride along the river or take a taxi that will drop you high above the shore on the Elbchaussee. All you have to do is head downhill through a charming little neighbourhood. Another option is by boat, though. Take the ferry from Landungsbrücken and get off at Övelgönne/Museumshafen and walk the last five minutes.

The Lounge: Strand Pauli Beach Club

Come here on a hot day and you’ve hit the jackpot: there’s the Harbour, sand, lounge chairs, cocktails, and a view! The Strand Pauli is the most relaxed Beach Club and has food and nice drinks that go well with the incredible scene of the ever-busy Harbour – just across the river.

You can kick off your shoes and enjoy the sand between your toes while you are listening to some chill tunes. Sometimes the mood is even right for dancing (in the sand!). You’re just a few steps away from all the bars of St. Pauli and the Reeperbahn, making this the perfect place to start off a “St. Pauli night” when the weather and the mood is right.

The hidden beauty: Falkensteiner Ufer

Okay, this might involve either a long bike ride (about an hour) or a nice drive with a rental or car sharing. But the beaches are amazing and the ride will be a pleasure as well. All you need to do is follow one of the loveliest streets, the Elbchaussee, going west. You will pass luxurious villas and brilliant river views and pass through the most expensive parts of the city: Blankenese. Just behind the city limits of Blankenese you will follow a steep street downhill which will lead you towards the river and the sandy beaches of Falkenstein.

The long, white beaches include some trees to get some shade if you need it. There is just one tiny café-stand that sells nice coffees and cakes, but apart from that, it’s mostly a wild, romantic and peaceful place. Just a few parking spots, a camping site and hundreds of meters of white sand to take a long hike or just spread your towel. The waters are calmer here so it is possible to swim in this part of the Elbe. Making a bonfire and having a BBQ are also allowed here.

Be warned: It is sometimes very hard to leave this place and return to the lights and noise of the city.