• Germany's news in English
 

Spending a day at the beach without leaving Hamburg

Published: 08 Aug 2011 17:16 GMT+02:00

Imagine you’re lounging in a deck chair, seeking reprieve from a relentless sun beneath a striped umbrella, toes in the sand and a fruity cocktail in hand, maybe something out of a coconut. Jack Johnson croons from the bar speakers, offering anthems for a lazy beach day.

Fellow sun worshipers sprawled out on a terraced bank resemble spectators at a sporting event where they survey the entire beach as well as the no fewer than 20 nautical cranes, the Blohm + Voss dry dock and a massive cargo ship that is being ferried into port after a journey all the way from Hong Kong.

Cargo ships? Toto, we’re not in the Caribbean anymore. No, we’re at Strand Pauli on the shores of the Elbe River overlooking Hamburg’s industrial port.

Hamburg may not be the typical first choice of those in search of sea and sand, but it’s city beach clubs have charmed locals and visitors alike who claim they offer a quick vacation without leaving town.

According to Claudia Hauswedell-Glaser, proprietor of Strand Pauli, the trend sprung out of the uncharacteristically hot summer of 2003 when Hamburg felt more like St. Tropez temperature-wise. A few entrepreneurial party planners imported sand from the North Sea island of Sylt to create improvised “beaches.” They were so popular that several new clubs opened their umbrellas the following year.

City beaches are not unique to Hamburg, of course. Paris has imported sand to the banks of the Seine, London set up deck chairs on the Thames and Romans can sip cocktails while looking out over the Taber.

But rather than over looking the Notre Dame Cathedral or Big Ben, Hamburgers admire cargo ships. An eyesore to some, Hamburgers are extremely proud of their gritty port, a symbol of the hanseatic city’s history in trade and maritime transport.

Dry docks and cranes provide the backdrop for Strand Pauli, a local favourite, where patrons stick their toes in the sand and sink into the orange and brown bucket beach chairs or lay back on day beds under straw thatched umbrellas. A waiter clad in a St. Pauli t-shirt and cargo cut-offs brings a bucket of iced Astra beers to a group of young adults while their children are fully engrossed in the sand castle currently under construction.

“At Strand Pauli, everyone is welcome,” Hauswedell-Glaser says. “Young and old.”

And a quick look around confirms the mixed crowd does indeed feel at home here. “No one looks out of place at Strand Pauli – the old, the young, families with kids, holidaymakers or business-lunchers – it’s all status quo for Pauli,” says regular guest Anja, who is lounging with girlfriends.

If Jack Johnson’s surfer soundtrack sets the tone at Strand Pauli, then the DJ spinning lounge music defines the vibe at neighbouring Hamburg City Beach Club (HCBC) and Hamburg del Mar. Situated atop a parking deck next door to the old Elbe tunnel at Landungsbrucken, these clubs attract a cool clientele clad in skinny jeans, flowery sundresses and Ray Bans. Waiters deliver Flammkuchen and beach burgers to patrons who have staked out a spot on one of the slick white daybeds. Afternoons easily become evenings and DJs and disco balls transform the clubs from beaches into proper lounges.

But long before these locations emerged in recent years, there was the Strand Perle. Open since the mid-1970s, the Strand Perle is Hamburg’s original beach club. Today, it’s proud to continue what they call their “rustic” style as evidenced by what’s on offer at the bar: traditional sausage and fish roll with potato salad.

Sticking with classics is the rule of thumb here where the owners have shunned loungy day beds in favour of typical deck chairs and open spaces where patrons can throw out picnic blankets and sprawl out in the sand. Dogs, children and the occasional intrepid swimmer venture into the water as tug boats guide ships stacked several stories high with containers just a few meters away. For those who want to jump in rather than just admire from afar, Strand Perle is the way to go.

But you don’t necessarily need water to spend a day at the beach. At Central Park, a landlocked beach club in the Schanzenviertel district, patrons forego sea views for the S-Bahn train that chortles by overhead as they stick their toes in the sand at this former parking-lot-turned-sandbox. The bar is an unexpected oasis in the middle of the city that offers beach vibes and mojitos off the water.

Of course, the weather plays an instrumental role in how difficult it will be to find a free lounge chair at any of these beaches. “When the weather is good, so is business,” says Hauswedell-Glaser. One could characterize beach bar customers as fair-weather friends, making proprietors hope that the summer will be less damp for the rest of August than it has been so far.

“2010 was a catastrophe weather-wise. 2011 – we’ll see,” Hauswedell-Glaser says.

Strand Pauli

www.strandpauli.de

Hafenstraße 89

20359 Hamburg

HCBC

www.hamburgcitybeachclub.de

Bei den Sankt-Pauli-Landungsbrücken 7

20359 Hamburg

Hamburg del Mar

www.hamburg-del-mar.de

Bei den St.Pauli Landungsbrücken

20359 Hamburg

Strand Perle

www.strandperle-hamburg.de

Övelgönne 60

Hamburg

22605

Central Park

www.centralpark-hamburg.net

Max-Brauer-Allee 277

22769 Hamburg

Your comments about this article

12:23 August 9, 2011 by marimay
Sorry, germany only has fail beaches.
13:57 August 9, 2011 by So36
Apparently you've never been to the Ostsee.
10:02 August 14, 2011 by Joekara
Beaches are abundant on this earth, its all how you look at it and almost all are beautiful.
14:08 August 16, 2011 by Klaipeda
Germany's beaches used to stretch all the way to Lithuania and Germans were the dominant ethnic group in the Russian empire that lived in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that built beautiful resorts that sill stand and now prosper again in places like the Kurische Nehrung in what is now Lithuania and Jurmala, Latvia. Beautiful places and nice people.
11:19 April 17, 2012 by Kurd_007
I rather goto a swimming pool than be on this beach..sorry the view sucks
Today's headlines
Robots woo crowds at Hannover trade fair
Photo: DPA

Robots woo crowds at Hannover trade fair

Collaborative robots and intelligent machinery may have wowed the crowds at this year's Hannover Messe, but experts see German industry as having some way to go towards incorporating them on factory floors in what could become the fourth industrial revolution. READ  

Thousands protest EU-US trade talks
Photo: DPA

Thousands protest EU-US trade talks

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Europe on Saturday to oppose the world's biggest free trade pact between the US and European Union. READ  

EU-US trade talks prompt German ire
Photo: DPA

EU-US trade talks prompt German ire

In much of Europe any mention of TTIP might receive a blank stare, in Germany the proposed US-EU free trade pact is likely to prompt a volley of angry words. READ  

Auschwitz expert slams Nazi justice record
Photo: DPA

Auschwitz expert slams Nazi justice record

Oskar Gröning, 93, a former Nazi known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz", goes on trial in Germany on Tuesday in what could be the last Nazi war crimes trial while an expert calls the country's judicial record 'miserable'. READ  

Turkish Airlines: married pilots are safer pilots
Photo: DPA

Turkish Airlines: married pilots are safer pilots

The general manager of Turkish Airlines has urged single pilots to marry, after the Germanwings tragedy blamed on a pilot with psychological problems. READ  

Germany and Greece
'It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state'
Thanasis Glavinas outside one of the German parliament's buildings. Photo: Private

'It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state'

With the war of words – and cashflows – between Greece and Germany showing no sign of dying down, The Local meets one young Greek who's come to see what the Germans have to teach about running a country successfully. READ  

Interior Minister wants quicker deportations
'Loitz doesn't need any asylum seekers' reads the graffiti. Photo:DPA

Interior Minister wants quicker deportations

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called on Friday for state governments to speed up deportations of failed asylum applicants, in the latest round in a war of words between the federal government and the states. READ  

VW CEO survives despite departure rumours
Photo: DPA

VW CEO survives despite departure rumours

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has dodged a broadside from company chairman Ferdinand Piech which many thought would unseat him from the troubled car maker. Instead, the steering committee has offered him an extension to his contract. READ  

Bayern doctor quits in spat with Guardiola
Tension on the touchline: Guardiola, Schweinsteiger and Müller-Wohlfahrt Photo: DPA

Bayern doctor quits in spat with Guardiola

The resignation of iconic club doctor Hans-Willhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt on Thursday evening threatens to unleash internal chaos at Bayern Munich after their Champions League humiliation at the hands of FC Porto. READ  

Deutsche Bahn flirts with drivers' strike deadline
An InterCity train in Hannover's main train station. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bahn flirts with drivers' strike deadline

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn has until 3 pm on Friday to respond to demands from the Train Drivers' Union (GDL) for a "reasonable provisional result" in talks over pay, conditions and union representation. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,264
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd