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The Volksparkstadion in Hamburg has been completed just in time to host five European Championship matches following its 30 million euro renovation. The teams (and fans!) from Croatia, Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Albania, Georgia and Turkey are expected to attend the four preliminary round matches. It remains to be seen who will play in the quarter-finals on July 5 in the Hanseatic city. The fact is: In contrast to HSV, which has only been playing in the 2nd Bundesliga for a few years now, the stadium is first class. And beautiful Hamburg, with all its leisure facilities, is first class anyway. 

Day 1

10 am. Where does the heart of the Hanseatic city of Hamburg beat? Silly question - at the port of course, on the Elbe. That's why for many visitors the first stop in Hamburg is the Landungsbrücken. There you will find various fish restaurants and the famous barges, with which you can take a harbor tour for little money. It is part of the folklore of such an event that the boat captains point out the special features of the city and the harbor in a brash Hanseatic manner. If you don't get your culinary fix at the fish stalls or aren't prepared to pay 15 (!) euros for a crab roll, there are plenty of café and restaurant options in the nearby Portuguese quarter with much more reasonable prices.

12 o'clock. Gänsemarkt, Rathausplatz and Mönckebergstraße - these are the streets and squares in Hamburg that are dedicated to fine shopping. Many high-end addresses, but also normal chains and department stores have set up shop here and are bravely fighting the battle against online shopping. A stroll through the city center with a view of the beautiful Binnenalster is recommended for anyone new to the city. The Thalia Theater is the best theater in town. The Café des Artistes right next door with its terrace offers a good opportunity to relax for a few minutes in the middle of the city. 

3 p.m. Visitors to Hamburg's Schanzenviertel and Karoviertel districts will find a completely different, possibly less subtle, but much more colorful world. While the alternative pub scene has been replaced by various stores and fine restaurants in the Schanzenviertel has declined significantly in recent years, the nearby Karo district You can still feel a lot of the rebellious spirit of left-wing youth culture here. Which is not to say that a visit to one of the many pubs and individual stores there is not worthwhile. Even the official marketing department of the city of Hamburg calls the Karolinenviertel a trend volcano. In summer, there are few livelier places in the city than the so-called Schanzenpiazza on Schulterblatt, where people sit on the street like in Italy, with the Rote Flora always in view, and enjoy their flat whites. 

6 pm. Now you are already close by and can already see the stadium of the only first division club in Hamburg in all its glory: past the Millerntor, home of FC St. Pauli, you come to the Heiligengeistfeld. This is where the popular Dom takes place four times a year, a funfair that makes you wonder whether it's worth setting up and dismantling every time - it always feels like Dom ... Right here in Hamburg during EM 24 the Fan Zone find their home. Easily accessible via the St. Pauli, Feldstraße and Messehallen subway lines, the square is the perfect place to accommodate up to 40,000 people. Depending on the start of the games, the Fan Zone opens at around 1 pm and closes at around 11:30 pm. Admission is free. 

8 pm. The public viewing area in Hamburg couldn't be in a smarter location than Heiligengeistfeld. When it's over there, the neon lights of the Reeperbahn are already flickering a few streets away. The once "sinful mile" is no longer a no-go area for the middle-class party crowd, on the contrary. In addition to the dwindling number of go-go bars, brothels and dives, excellent clubs, bars and restaurants have long since settled on the Kiez. The streets along the Reeperbahn are particularly busy at weekends, and on Spielbudenplatz, former St. Pauli president Corny Littmann has established a small, thoroughly middle-class theater and pub district - watched suspiciously by the famous Davidwache right next door. The Dancing Towers are also a photo highlight on the Reeperbahnjust like the bustling Große Freiheit. Women sit in the shop windows of Herbertstraße and offer their services. The brothel street is closed off at both ends with screens, can only be crossed on foot and access is denied to both minors and women.

Day 2

10 am. Hamburg is a wealthy city. The highest number of millionaires in Germany, extrapolated to the population, live in the Hanseatic city. This can be seen in districts such as Nienstedten or Blankenese along the Elbchaussee, where villas generally cost millions. But also in Winterhude and Eppendorf it's a pretty decent place to live. Visitors to these districts enjoy the advantage of having a large number of cafés and restaurants to visit after a stroll. Whether in the motherland of Eppendorf, in the Petit Café or in the concept store with gastronomy, Kaufrausch, you will be amazed at so much aesthetic design. If you want to get an impression of Hamburg's dignified beauty, you should definitely take a walk or jog around the Outer Alster: more than seven kilometers of a dream route. 

1 p.m. Even swimming is allowed again. The fact that Hamburg has a proper city beach on the Elbe is probably a surprise to many visitors. Admittedly, it's not particularly wide or long, but it's enough to see the people of Hamburg flocking there in large numbers at the slightest hint of summer and sunshine. Especially as there is also a gastronomic cult spot that everyone knows, the Beach pearl. The queue in front of it is usually huge, the offer manageable, the service only average. No matter, the people of Hamburg love this place, where a giant tanker floats past on the Elbe every few minutes and yet one or two brave souls venture into the water for a swim. In the evening, we head further upstream to the really beautiful Strand Pauli beach club. 

3 p.m. Time for two of Hamburg's most popular sights in the immediate vicinity. In Hamburg's historic Speicherstadt warehouse district, which is worth a visit in itself, two brothers started building a Miniature Wonderland started. You can now admire the world's largest model railroad there. A few hundred meters further on is Hamburg's newest landmark in all its glory: the Elbphilharmonie was "slightly" more expensive than expected at 866 million euros (originally 77 million!), but people everywhere in Hamburg are now proud of the concert hall, which was completed in 2016. Visitors to the Elphi can also take a look at the modern Hafencity, Europe's largest inner-city urban development project. 

Hamburg City Park with lake, festival meadow and planetarium © stock.adobe.com - Claus Schlüter

6 pm. A popular excursion destination in good weather is the Hamburg city park. It is around 150 hectares in size and is located in the Winterhude district, very close to the city. Whole families celebrate a big picnic here at the weekend, the park has sunbathing lawns, a large beer garden with the Landhaus Walter and the spacious Stadtparksee lake. SUP, canoeing and pedal boating are just as possible here as swimming in the outdoor pool. And don't forget the architecturally fine planetarium from 1930. Bonus: In summer, exciting concerts regularly take place on the open-air stage in the city park - if you don't want to pay, just lie on the grass nearby and listen "for free". 

8 pm. One of the liveliest districts in Hamburg is the manageable Ottensen with its winding alleyways and beautiful old buildings near the Elbe. A lot of students and young families have settled here - and just as many bars and restaurants. In the evenings, when the weather is nice, Ottensen is a popular meeting place for party lovers and visitors with a particularly open-minded culinary sensibility. If you want to get to know exotic cuisines, you'll find what you're looking for in Ottensen: Japanese ramen at TakumiTurkish dumplings at Mr. DumplingEthiopian salads in Karl's Café or burgers in the Brooklyn Burger Bar - These are just a few of Ottensen's scent marks of the big, wide world. 

Copyright cover picture: On Jungfernstieg with a view of Hamburg City Hall © stock.adobe.com - Mapics

Geschrieben von Harald Brown

Travel and culture journalist Harald Braun, a native of the Rhineland, lives in the countryside of Schleswig-Holstein, regularly escapes to Australia in winter, likes FC St. Pauli, South Tyrol and, increasingly, selected corners of Germany that he has recently discovered - such as the "Greif" harbor crane in front of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, where you can spend an excellent night.

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