Home Food & Drink Fresh fish, beer and dancing at the Hamburg Fish Market

Fresh fish, beer and dancing at the Hamburg Fish Market

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The perfect night out wouldn’t be complete without friends, dancing, perhaps some drinks, great music, a fun venue, and of course… a Fischbrötchen! Well, at least in Hamburg, of course.

The Hamburg Fishmarkt (Hamburg Fish Market) has been a cultural staple for people of all ages, from all walks of life since 1703. Located on the Elbe River in the city of Hamburg in northern Germany, the famous fish market attracts 70,000 visitors every Sunday.

Who can you see there?

Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the fish market is not necessarily all of the various items for sale (I’ll get to that later), but actually the kind of crowds it attracts. When the market is first opening (at 5 am April to October, 7 am November to March), you will most likely encounter those who’ve successfully made it through a night of partying in Hamburg’s famous nightlife district, the Reeperbahn.

Not only does the promise of delicious Fish sandwiches (no, that is not a joke) to satisfy the hunger built up from a night of dancing and carousing bring the crowds, but also the opportunity to continue the party in the historic Fischauktionshalle (Fish Market Hall), with live rock music, great atmosphere, and of course, more beers… at 7am…

Music, dancing and beer inside the Fish Market Hall. Yep, it's 7am....
Music, dancing and beer inside the Fish Market Hall. Yep, it’s 7am….

As the morning rolls along, those who still have not gone to bed start to dwindle out and are replaced by the early risers, just beginning their day, looking for discounts on anything from fresh fruits, fish and even apparel.

The absolutely eclectic mix of people almost makes me feel as though I’m in a twilight zone. There are families with little kids walking around next to 20-somethings who are so wasted they can barely walk, all surrounded by a chorus of hawkers selling their products, chanting “10 Euros, 10 Euros!”, “2 mangoes, 2 Euros!” and of course, the most famous “lecker, lecker lecker!” (“delicious, delicious, delicious!”).

What can you buy there?

Better question: what can’t you buy there? There are fruits and veggies from all corners of the globe, fresh coffee, baked goods, meats, spices, clothes, decorations, trees, flowers, and you can’t forget fish. Smoked fish, fresh fish, fish sandwiches, fried fish, baked fish, whole fish, and fish filets, anything you can imagine.

One of the many fish venders selling their fresh catch!
One of the many fish venders selling their fresh catch!

Prices are generally less expensive than at the grocery store and for the most part the quality is quite high. To get the best deals, try not to buy when there are tons of crowds around, as they may give you a better deal. Haggling is also expected in many of the stands, and rumor has it that if you go when the market is near it’s close the venders will practically be giving away their goods, especially the perishables.

If you’re buying one of the famous fruit baskets, keep in mind that while the fruit on top will look delicious and in perfect condition, the ones on the bottom may not be so hot. The cost of the baskets is always 10 Euros, but if you hesitate to buy a little, they may top on some extra fruits for free.

Taking a break from the market to enjoy a coffee by the Elbe River.
Taking a break from the market to enjoy a coffee by the Elbe River.

And lastly: When you’ve finished filling up your refrigerator, or simply need a break, take a coffee and fresh Franzbrötchen (typical cinnamon pastry) and sit out on the bank of Elbe River, watching the city wake up and enjoying the fresh breeze.

[Official Hamburg Website], [Hamburg Travel]

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