© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas
© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas
© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas
© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas

One day on the Alster

On the go with Christina Torbahn

Moin, my name is Christina. I live and work in Hamburg-Winterhude near the Alster river. I can’t think of a more beautiful neighbourhood. If the Elbe river with its port embodies the Nordic soul of the city, then the Alster river represents its heart. Right in the middle of Hamburg, the river becomes a wide lake, swarming with rowing, sailing and pedal boats as well as stand up paddling boards, if the weather is kind. You can walk or jog around the Alster lake, rest on the Alster meadows and enjoy the view of the water and the lordly mansions. One you’ve relaxed enough, the urban hustle of Winterhude, Uhlenhorst and Harvestehude with lots of individual shops, cafés and restaurants awaits you just a few steps away. Let me invite you to discover some insider tips and attractions. 

Christina Torbahn
© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas
Christina Torbahn lebt und arbeitet in Winterhude.

Barista-triangle, small shops and a lot of water

In order to have breakfast in Winterhude, I need just step out the door. You will find a café every ten metres at the Barista-triangle between Mühlenkamp, Gertigstraße and Poelchaukamp. I prefer having my flat white with a double espresso at Elbgold (Mühlenkamp 6a und 59). Coffee is excellent here, and so are the cruffins, a fusion of croissant and muffin. On Saturday mornings, I start by going to the Goldbekmarkt. Its many regional stalls and specialities make it one of the most beautiful weekly markets in Hamburg. Afterwards, I stroll towards Cossmann (Mühlenkamp 44), a shop for interior decoration and tasteful country home furniture. On my shopping trip, I stop by Tragbar (Gertigstraße 13), a small boutique with selected fashion by international designers. In general, this area is just great for a morning stroll. Lovely small shops in Art Nouveau buildings can be seen just about everywhere. Besides, there is always water in sight, as Winterhude has a network of canals that lead into the Alster river.

Alster streamers and white mansions

Whether in Winterhude, Uhlenhorst or Harvestehude, you are always close to the water. Everywhere on the Alster canals, rowers and paddlers can be seen and you are never far from one of the piers of the Alster steamers. You can take a boat from the north via the Outer and Inner Alster to Jungfernstieg, right in the city centre. At Mühlenkamp, I can choose to continue my journey over water, by city bike or by foot. I decide to rent a city bike. On the western bank of the Alster river, I take the cycle lane that passes the neighbourhoods of Pöseldorf and Rotherbaum, between Harvestehuder Weg and the Alster meadows. In Pöseldorf, where fashion creator Jil Sander opened her first store in the 1970s, the mansions are of an outstanding white. A gem of luxury with exclusive galleries and boutiques amidst the middle-class borough of Harvestehude.

Did you know?

The name Pöseldorf supposedly stems from pöseln, meaning working slowly and ineffectively in the gardening business without much economic success. Back in the day, houses for carriage drivers, craftsmen and servants were set up in the garden areas near the Alster river. Today, Hamburg-Pöseldorf is one of the city’s most exclusive residential areas.

Strolling along the Alster

After crossing the Kennedy and Lombard bridges, which separate the Outer from the Inner Alster, I pass the Colonnades, a promenade that, with its arcades, brings some Italian flair to the city. I want to eat something and carry on to the Alsterhaus at Jungfernstieg, across the Inner Alster. On the 4th floor, I have some delicious California and Hokkaido rolls at Yoshi. Afterwards, I feel like I need to escape all the hustle, so I decide to go back to the other side of the Inner Alster. Along the Ballindamm, I pass the Alstertor with the Thalia Theater and bump into the Hamburger Kunsthalle (Glockengießerwall). Strictly speaking, it consists of three buildings which offer an exciting overview from the middle ages up to contemporary art.

© ThisIsJulia Photography
The Alsterhaus is located directly on the Alster at Jungfernstieg.
© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas
The Lombardsbrücke bridge divides the Alster river into inner and outer Alster.
© ThisIsJulia Photography
The Thalia Theater is located in the heart of Hamburg between Binnenalster and Mönckebergstraße.
© Hamburger Kunsthalle
The Hamburger Kunsthalle offers an exciting overview from the Middle Ages to contemporary art.

Both chic and down-to-earth 

Near Hotel Atlantic, I park the city bike at a rental station and go to a.mora (An der Alster 72). At the pier of this café restaurant, one can enjoy what might be the most beautiful view of the sunset on the Alster. On my way back to Winterhude, I come across the Literaturhauscafe (Schwankenwik 38), where there are often readings in the evening. I turn right into Hofweg, hoping that the flower shop Himmel & Erde (Hofweg 11) is still open. The retail space is more of a gallery here, where plants are presented like works of art. Via Hofweg, Hamburg-Uhlenhorst’s main shopping street, I return to Winterhude. In the evening, almost all seats and tables are taken, and if the weather is nice, people sit all the way up to the street. I am meeting my friend Betty at Vous (Gertigstraße 7) for some Asian tapas. Afterwards, we fancy a cocktail, so we need just cross the road. You should really try the Gin Basil Smash or the Old Fashion at Berglund (Gertigstraße 14).

Not everything is hip and chic around here, though. Just around the corner, the local community meets at Kiosk 48 or at Monty’s (Peter-Marquard-Str. 9), one of the last remaining pubs where smoking is still allowed. Those who want to party don’t have to go to St. Pauli, aka, “the Kiez”. At Mühlenkamp, weekend nights go on forever. 

© Geheimtipp Hamburg

CITY AREA PORTRAIT All around the Alster

There is much to do around the Alster, one of the must-sees in our beautiful harbour city – Gründerzeit quarters and exclusive residential areas delight fans of architecture, joggers and cyclists. Many individual shops, cafés and restaurants invite visitors to linger. For a workout, for relaxation or just to take a stroll – the Alster is always a pleasant experience!

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