Sandwiched between Katharinenstraße and Nikolaifleet canal, Sir Nikolai hotel is in the heart of Hamburg’s Old Town.
Hamburg International Airport is just over 30 minutes’ drive from the hotel. You can fly direct from cities all over Europe; from London, it’s a swift 90-minute flight. Call our Smith24 team to arrange flights and transfers.
Trains come into Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (the city’s main station) from across Germany; Hanover is a 75-minute journey and the inter-city service to Berlin takes less than two hours. There’s also a 25-minute direct train to the airport. The station is a 20-minute walk from the hotel, or in half the time you can arrive by taxi for roughly €10.
You can walk to the city centre from the hotel in around 10 minutes, and buses and taxis are readily available, so you won’t need a car to get around. If you do decide to drive, there’s valet parking at the hotel (€26 for 24 hours) and the Smith24 team can help arrange car hire.
Germans’ celebrated efficiency ensures Hamburg’s buses and trains (the public transport system known locally as the HVV) run with precision timing. You can use an HVV pass on ferries that sail the city’s canals.
Worth getting out of bed for
Walk the Kunstmeile, an art marathon through five museums; view contemporary works and photography at Deichtorhallen; admire antique sculptures, Chinese porcelain and 20th-century fashion at MKG; and explore 700 years of German art in the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Architecture enthusiasts could spend the entire trip wandering the streets and ogling buildings old and new. The St. Nikolai Memorial is just across the canal from the hotel; at 76 meters high you won’t miss it. For some 19th-century opulence, head to the Rathausplatz, home to the ornately-sculpted, Neo-Gothic city hall, the Rathaus. Then, head south, first to the famous 1920s red-brick Chilehaus (another of the city's stylish office blocks) and then onto the HafenCity, which is so new, it’s not finished. Catch a show at the impressive Elbphilharmonie, or refuel in their eighth-floor deli with harbour views. Hamburg’s a great city to shop in, no matter your budget or what you’re looking for. You’ll find far more than fresh fish at the Fischmarkt, although that’s available too if you happen to want some; haggle for fruits and flowers, clothing and souvenirs every Sunday morning. Alternatively, loosen your purse strings at Alsterarkaden. Enjoy a coffee on the Venetian-inspired arcade overlooking the canal, before hitting the big name brands on Neuer Wall; home to Gucci, Patek Philippe, Bulgari, Hermés and many more leading fashion houses.
Book ahead to ensure a seat at the Table. Set in an industrial-style building with exposed concrete walls and metal accents, dinner here is a memorable experience – and not just because of the food. All guests sit around a curved cherry-wood bar facing the open kitchen, where chef Kevin Fehling’s team create his innovative tasting menus, which include some unusual dishes: flamed goose liver and Norwegian lobster, or aromatic smoked eel with a macaron-like side of steamed rice. The owners of Brooklyn Burger Bar believe a burger can be much more than a slab of meat covered in ketchup, and they’ve created more than 10 to prove it. There’s the pulled-pork version with braised pork, red-onion marmalade, provolone, and the house barbecue sauce and coleslaw; the ‘backyard barbecue’ comes with bacon, Appenzeller cheese and a generous helping of bourbon-infused barbecue sauce. After a night out, stop in for their hangover burger, a curative with fried egg, tomato and bacon. Vlet an der Alster serves traditional Hamburger fare in a contemporary canalside setting. Try the veal meatballs, preserved perch, or the ever-present schnitzel. If you can’t choose, order the Hamburg Experience tasting menu.
Stop at Schönes Leben in Speicherstadt for Kaiserschmarrn (a dessert of shredded pancakes) or waffles; their take on currywurst is a popular choice. Fill up on classic French fare in Café Paris near the Rathaus. The menu includes croque-monsieur, Niçoise salad and steak tartare. Call in at teatime for a cup of coffee or brew with a few macarons on the side.
Dress up for cocktails in the Clouds bar. Up on the 23rd and 24th floors of the Dancing Towers, this is the highest bar in Hamburg. As well as lots of creative cocktails, wines, whiskeys and even grappa, the bar offers tastings; check their events calendar to see what’s on. Not enough of a high? Take the lift to rooftop bar Heaven’s Nest. The Campari Lounge roof terrace at the George hotel also boasts sweeping views of the river and city skyline. Any Brits feeling a little homesick should head to Bar DaCaio for high tea followed by Scottish whisky sampling. For a more relaxed environment, seek out Altes Mädchen. A cool, modern take on a beer hall; this is the place to try local craft beer in Hamburg; they serve all types: lagers, pale ales,wheat beers, sour beers and stout. Try their tray of vodka-shot-style row mini beers is an excellent choice for the indecisive.