Some of my favorite Hamburg haunts include:
Seeredder 22, Lütjensee
041 54 71 00
Best German food in Northern Germany, lakeview, near Ahrensburg, need advance reservations for dinner.
Gartenweg 30, Sierksdorf
045 63 7031
A little drive past Travemünde, on the Baltic Sea, nice hotel. Restaurant has good to great food and best view of Baltic, particularly if warm enough to be outside. Best to call for reservation since it is often closed for weddings, etc. (You can first take a boat ride up the Trave River to get a nice view of the coast, tax free boat) Cake at Niederegger Cafe in Travemünde is terrific.
Direction Lübeck, exit at Bad Schwartau and follow signs to Thermebad. Modern warm spring pools, indoor, outdoor, sauna.
A7 south to Fallingbostel, then direction Walsrode and look for bird park signs. Outstanding bird park.
A town on the west coast, North Sea, wide beaches, the town has a great pool, good seafood restaurant on stilts that you can drive to directly in/on ocean depending on weather!
An island off the west coast, following the Elbe River to where it empties into the North Sea. Boat trips available, leave early, ca. 7:00 depending on tides, an all day trip to an island the Americans tried to bomb out of existence. It is a tax free zone with lots of liquor stores, nice cafes, takes an hour to walk around, can be an enjoyable boat ride in good weather take the train back from Cuxhaven (can also take a shorter boat ride if you want to drive to Cuxhaven) it is included in price.
An island off the coast of Cuxhaven that you can actually walk to at low tide, about 11k, (keep a good pace before the water rushes in!). You have to call to find out when to walk as it depends on the tide; you can go with a guide or you follow bushes planted in the sand; stop for North Sea steamed shrimp direct from the sea, spend a few hours walking around the farm island and take a boat back at high tide.
Picturesque town just south of the Elbe, which to me was what I thought stereotypical Germany looked like.
An example of a noble manor with beautiful parquet floors, some period.
originally published in Currents June/July 2008