• 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
Greece crisis
Berlin's tough line splits European public opinion
Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras. File Photo: DPA

Berlin's tough line splits European public opinion

A study released on Tuesday shows that Germany's firm stance on Greek reforms has split European public opinion. But of all the main parties to the negotiations Berlin still fared best in the polling. READ  

Woman tries to take pony abroad in a car boot
Photo: DPA

Woman tries to take pony abroad in a car boot

A woman from Lower Saxony was stopped by police on Tuesday – for trying to carry a Shetland Pony out of the country in the boot of her Fiat Panda. READ  

Hamburg bunker blast and fire injure 38
Photo: DPA

Hamburg bunker blast and fire injure 38

UPDATE: A fire and explosion in a World War II-era bunker injured at least 38 people in Hamburg on Tuesday morning. READ  

Local list
Germany's top refreshing summer drinks
Photo: DPA

Germany's top refreshing summer drinks

Just like countries all over Europe, there's no shortage of multinational cola and other global thirst quenchers to be had in German shops. But what do you sip when you want a little local flavour? Read on to find out... READ  

Forest tragedy as best man kills groom-to-be
File photo: DPA

Forest tragedy as best man kills groom-to-be

A family outing turned into tragedy on Monday, when a best man in Thuringia accidentally killed the groom-to-be just days before his wedding. READ  

Slash CO2 emissions to save oceans: scientists
A humpback whale breaching. Photo: Wwelles14/Wikimedia Commons

Slash CO2 emissions to save oceans: scientists

German scientists said on Monday that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must begin falling immediately if mankind is to have any hope of preserving Earth's oceans as we know them today. READ  

Weekend heatwave to follow Tuesday showers
Sun shining through an apple tree in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA

Weekend heatwave to follow Tuesday showers

Germany can expect a cooler Tuesday with heavy showers in the west of the country before returning to high summer conditions over the weekend, the German Weather service said. READ  

Merkel's office hunted journalists' sources
Photo: DPA

Merkel's office hunted journalists' sources

The scandal around an investigation into journalists reporting on classified information deepened on Tuesday as new information showed that officials from the Chancellery and the Interior Ministry tried to uncover reporters' sources. READ  

'Hot Boy from Germany' wins Vietnam Idol
Image: Fremantle Media/YouTube

'Hot Boy from Germany' wins Vietnam Idol

A 22-year-old from Hanover has become the latest winner of Vietnam Idol – bagging $27,000 along with his new title. READ  

Man promises to stop coffin naps in public
If you want to rest in place while you're still alive, a car park isn't the place place to choose. Photo: DPA

Man promises to stop coffin naps in public

When a man walking his dog alerted police to the fact that a black coffin was lying in the middle of a public parking place, the cops were surprised to find someone inside. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
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

7,161
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd