Home » Hamburg with a Toddler {Part One}

Hamburg with a Toddler {Part One}

Hamburg with a Toddler {Part One}

G rowing up, Germany always had a special place in my heart. My Aunt, Uncle and cousin lived just outside Frankfurt and my best friend lived in Berlin for almost a year. So I’ve been lucky enough to visit on a couple of occasions and always found it a really vibrant and friendly country.  Over the course of the next two blog posts I’m going to tell you all about our recent trip to Hamburg pregnant with a toddler. The trip came about following an invitation to take part in the #CometoHamburg project!

It’s always such an honour to be invited places on account of my blog. But to be asked to sample a whole city was truly amazing. I couldn’t reply fast enough stating that we’d love to take part. You can find the second part of our Hamburg trip here: Hamburg with a Toddler {Part 2}.

First Impressions

With it being the height of wedding season, we opted for a mid-week break (as opposed to a weekend) so that Stu didn’t have to miss an extra game of cricket (the struggle is real people!!). It worked out really well. The flights were cheaper, around £60 each way from Gatwick. All of the attractions were open when we got there. This was something we forgot to research, to our cost, in Stockholm.

The city centre was also relatively quiet which was amazing with an over excited toddler in tow. I imagine it would have been a completely different story on a Saturday.

Prior to our visit, I think my impression of Hamburg was one of industry, grey buildings and beer swilling men stumbling out of bars dressed in Lederhosen. I know a few friends who chose Hamburg for their stag weekend.  Because of that its never really featured high on my list of places to take a small family. However having now visited the city in person, I realise how much of a mistake that actually was!

Hamburg is beautiful, green and interesting. Plus we didn’t cross paths with a single stag throughout our entire trip!! It’s one of the friendliest cities I’ve ever visited. Countless passers-by stopped to help us with directions and total strangers gave Ettie a little smile or pat on the head as they walked on by!!

Whatever’s in the water at Hamburg I think we should have brought some home because we had the loveliest time. A huge amount of that is down to the people!!


We stayed at the Appartello Smartime Living Hotel, in the green district of the city known as Alsterdorf and we loved it! The rooms were apartment style with separate living room and kitchen area. It also had a master bedroom and wrap around balcony. This was perfect because it meant we could sit and have a chat in the evenings once Ettie had gone to bed.

Everything was really clean, modern and fresh, with lots of space to spread out and feel at home. There was even a gym and launderette on site which would have been useful had we been staying for longer than two nights.

Located only a few stops on the bus from the airport, the apartments were really easy to find. Because of the amazing public transport system, we were never more than half an hour from any of the sights we wanted to see.  It was also really nice to stay a little bit out of the city centre as we got a taste for what real Hamburg living would be like.

The city is so green and there are rivers and waterways everywhere. It was lovely to see people paddle boarding or out on canoes as we passed by on the bus. I imagine it’s a really healthy place to live.

The hotel was also super family friendly, with big rooms, lots of space for the buggy, a play area in the restaurant and lovely little finishing touches. It even had a smaller toilet seat and step for Ettie in the bathroom so she could brush her teeth.

The staff were also amazingly friendly. The lady on reception giving Ettie a little frog as a present when we checked in. She was so happy with it, she carried it around the whole of Hamburg calling it Froggy!!! We even had to rescue it from the middle of the road in the Warehouse District as she was so distraught she’d dropped it!

Getting Around 

Getting around in Hamburg is super easy as their public transport system is second to none, Everything is timed to absolute perfection. The buses and U-Bahn trains times all link up perfectly. We were given a Hamburg Card which provided unlimited access to public transport throughout the city. This proved to be invaluable as we were hopping on buses and trains left right and centre.

One thing I would recommend if you are planning a trip is to download one of the city’s transport apps. This will tell you exactly which bus or metro train you need to take in order to get to a destination. It will save you hours of time trying to navigate your way around the U-Bahn map. We used Citymapper, but there were others available too.

Day One 

Our first day was a bit overcast and we knew the weather was set to improve on days two and three. So we chose to take our time getting to know the city rather than heading for any particular attraction and this worked well. Our first stop was to try to find somewhere to eat. So we hopped on the U-Bahn and headed for Landungsbrücken,  which is the harbour-side area of the city.

This area has a 700m long floating dock with little fish restaurants and cafes lining the riverside walk along the side of the River Elbe. It’s also the area where most of the boat tours depart.

On arrival at Landungsbrücken we walked over St. Pauli Piers bridge which is covered in locks similar to those found on the love lock bridge in Paris. Apparently this is a Europe wide tradition where lovers place locks on bridges. The moisture from the water is believed to rust the locking mechanism, thereby meaning one’s love is ‘locked’ for eternity.

Whatever the reason the locks looked very pretty glistening in the sunlight. Ettie had the time of her life dancing with the street performers who were playing music close by.

It was around 4pm by this point and we didn’t want to venture too far before getting food. So we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe which had a rooftop terrace looking out over the River Elbe. Ettie had a little accident as we went up in the lift, jamming her finger in the door.

It was so scary, but the staff couldn’t have been more friendly, scooping her up to take her behind the bar as a distraction. They gave her a huge plate of strawberries and cream to take her mind off things. We were all so shaky, but thanks to the staff she was back to her usual cheeky self in no time and we were ever so grateful.

Always matching in our denim jackets, my little Ettie and Me

Walking Around

We always love walking around a new destination taking in the sights, with no particular destination in mind. Just over the road from the Landungsbrücken building we found some really colourful street art. I thought it would make a cool backdrop for some photographs. Ettie and I had a play around chasing the pigeons that were painted on the wall while Stu became our photographer (thanks Stu).

After our walk, there were still a couple of hours of daylight left. So we hopped back on the U-Bahn and headed for Rathaus which is Hamburg’s magnificent City Hall. The architecture in that area is so impressive. We almost crooked our necks looking up the ornate stone statues.

In front of the Rathaus there is a large empty market square. Ettie decided she wanted to throw poor Froggy up in the air and chase him. It was lovely watching her run around and have so much fun.

We were really surprised to see how much water there was everywhere. We had a lovely time just walking around taking in the sights.

I love this photo of Ettie and Stu together, I really love the way she chuckles at him and thinks he’s really funny.


The Rathaus area is also Hamburg’s main shopping area, with lovely bars and restaurants lining the canals. Had we been looking for a nice place to eat and have a drink that evening, it’s definitely the area we would have headed to first.  I imagine it would have looked incredible all lit up in the evening.

Just around the corner from the Rathaus is Binnenlaster Lake, one of two artificial lakes within the city centre. There was a huge water fountain spraying up from the centre of the lake. It was mesmerizing to watch. Lots of people were gathered round. They were probably just having a bit of a chill after a long day at work!

We both thought it would be a really cool area to watch the sun go down. So we made a promise to return the next day when the weather was set to improve.


All in all we loved our first day in Hamburg, pregnant with a toddler! City breaks are by far our favourite type of holiday as we love walking around taking in new cultures. Although it’s always pretty daunting arriving at a new destination. Especially with a toddler in tow.

The people of Hamburg made us feel really comfortable and welcome. We couldn’t wait to get home to have a good nights sleep so we could continue exploring the next day.

As promised the weather did improve the next day. We woke up to bright blue skies, fresh and revived. We covered so much ground in Day three (my favourite day). So I thought it better to split this blog post into two parts. The second part of  our Trip to Hamburg will be published later this week. I can’t wait to share it with you.

NB: ‘Come to Hamburg’ very kindly invited us to Hamburg, providing us with Hamburg Cards to cover the cost of public transport and complimentary accommodation. All flights and other expenses were paid for by us. 

Hamburg with a Toddler | The Halcyon Years




  1. 5th July 2018 / 11:05 am

    What an amazing experience! And such gorgeous photos. I have never been to Germany – would totally love to travel more. My entire family’s passports have expired and I just can’t afford to renew them all at the moment. You look lovely too. Sarah x

    • 6th July 2018 / 1:03 pm

      Oh no!! That’s such a huge outgoing before you’ve even got anywhere! So much to do in the UK though!! Have a lovely summer and thankyou xxz

  2. 5th July 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Love your pics hun! It looks super cool – so many interesting things to discover. The apartment looks lush too. Looks like you all had a fab time thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this! x

    • 6th July 2018 / 1:04 pm

      Thankyou!! Yes it was lovely! City breaks are my favourite!! 😊 Xz

  3. 6th July 2018 / 3:25 pm

    Wow! What a beautiful city! I’ve never been to Hamburg before. I love that personal touch of the froggy given to Ettie by the receptionist. How very thoughtful. I also prefer apartment style hotel. You feel much more relax and can also spend more adult time together once the kids are in bed. Your photos of Ettie at the bridge is so cute!! Thanks for sharing. Hamburg is now on our list because of you. 🙂 x

    • 20th July 2018 / 12:35 pm

      Thanks really great to know! I’m sure you’ll love it. We were so pleasantly surprised! x

  4. 6th July 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Beautiful photos and it sounds like you had a lovely first day in Hamburg. That hotel room looks like a great place to stay and Ettie certainly looks like she was enjoying herself apart from jamming her finger in the door of the lift. Glad she was okay and that the staff were so good though. #coolmumclub

  5. rawsonjl
    7th July 2018 / 2:32 pm

    That looks like a lovely trip and a great city to visit.

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