LGBT visitors keen on Hamburg scene
(Photo above: Hamburg’s warehouse district is the largest in the world.)
Hamburg’s trendy LGBT village, St. George, couldn’t be much more accessible, located a mere 10-minute walk from the German city’s central train station.
The vibrant area, and its primary thoroughfare – Lange Reihe – is filled with boutiques, outdoor patio restaurants, cafés, and a variety of shops, along with the requisite nightclubs and bars.
One of my favourite haunts (found on the main street) is ‘Café Gnosa,’ which serves great coffee and delicious desserts.
Hamburg’s alternative LGBT village, St. Pauli, has a colourful, edgy scene, with many interesting shops and bars, pedestrian zone, cabarets and red light district.
A worthy base from which to explore both areas, and Hamburg’s historic district, is Le Méridien Hamburg hotel, which overlooks the Alster River. The elegant and hospitable hotel has a variety of accommodation options, including a duplex suite, which boasts Le Méridien’s signature bed, Bose sound system, iPod docking station, WiFi, coffee machine, and much more.
The hotel’s signature Heritage Restaurant and Bar is frequented by locals and tourists alike offering a gorgeous view of Alster Lake and the city centre, and the contemporary cuisine is sure to ignite visitors’ palettes. The cheese menu, with over 20 varieties by the renowned Maître Affineur Waltmann, and international wines is the perfect recipe for the ultimate dining experience.
Those with discerning tastes will welcome next summer’s opening of The Fontenay Hamburg. The Leading Hotels of the World member will have a 1,000-sq.-m. rooftop spa with a 20-metre indoor/outdoor pool and breathtaking panoramic views. Designed as a homage to the city’s Hanseatic heritage, the sculpture-like architecture is designed to mirror the fluid lines of the lake and surrounding parkland, “creating the perfect balance between nature and urbanity.” (www.lhw.com/hotel/Fontenay-Hamburg-Germany)
Shopping in Hamburg can be an adventure, in a good way, with a plethora of designer shops, boutiques and charming café patio restaurants. The best areas to hit are Hanseviertel, Europapassage, Jungfernstieg Mönckeberg, and Spitalerstrasse.
Churches are aplenty in Hamburg, and after visiting the landmark St. Michaelis – said by some to be the most beautiful baroque church in northern Germany – I was pleasantly surprised to discover a thriving Portuguese neighbourhood with various restaurants, cafés, bakeries and shops offering Portuguese delights.
All in all, Hamburg’s diversity in cuisine, top-notch shopping, Gothic architecture, unique landscapes, and vibrant LGBT culture makes for a perfect European city getaway!
Hamburg Pride, also known as Christopher Street Day, will take place July 29 – Aug. 6, 2017.
General and LGBT-specific info can also be found at www.germany.travel/en and www.hamburg-travel.com .
(Armando Mendonça is a tourism entrepreneur, philanthropist supporting HIV/AIDS charities and LGBT travel expert. He can be reached at [email protected])