Friederike Leest

  • Journalist
  • Mum
  • Coffee addict

Friederike is a born and bred Hamburg girl. Her days in the Nordic city are filled with her beloved job as a journalist, her two year old son and her studies of business psychology. She obviously never gets bored!

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My 24 Hours in Hamburg

A good breakfast, of course, is important in order to start your day on the right foot. For me, however, the coffee to accompany it is absolutely vital, and worth a great deal more consideration. You can win my heart with a good, preferably locally roasted cup of coffee and, accordingly, I’ve made it my business to know nearly every great coffee spot in the city. To name only a few of my favourites, there is the café Milch Feinkost in the Portugiesen Viertel district, the Rain Cafeatery in Ottensen, and the café Carroux in the beautiful district of Blankenese. Blankenese is a little removed from the city centre, but is nonetheless worth visiting, ideal perhaps for a little half-day trip. And because I absolutely adore flowers, I have to mention the floral paradise that is Blumen Graaf, a wonderful florist which is also located in Blankenese.

But let’s get back to coffee (it’s a big deal in my life people, I’m not kidding). Public Coffee Roasters in the district of Neustadt is fantastic, as is the extraordinary Entenwerder 1, where your coffee is roasted on – and I actually mean on – the Elbe river. Definitely worth checking out.

On the way to or from Public Coffee Roasters, you’re automatically in the right area of town for some shopping. In Wexstraße and the surrounding streets, you will find all manner of charming little concept and interior stores like Winkel van Sinkel, Perle Store and Maison F. If you’re in the area in the summertime, make sure to stop by Eiskantine afterwards for some delicious ice cream.

Travelling to Australia and South Africa has definitely instilled in me a love for neighbourhood/food markets. In Hamburg, you have the wonderful Isemarkt, a street market in Eppendorf which takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays all year round, and which some people call the Notting Hill of Hamburg. There’s also the small but exquisite little market in Altona, where you’ll find me almost every Saturday in the wintertime.

By just crossing the street from here you can escape to France and have the most delicious croissants in Hamburg at the bakery Die Pâtisserie. Altona seems to be the one district in Hamburg with a bit of a French touch, and another French treat – the macaron – can be found in a variety of flavours at Jö Makrönchen.

Talking about food – if you happen to get hungry while shopping or browsing through the markets, Atelier F in the city centre is a great place for lunch, whether it’s a salad or a burger with a side of fries you’re craving. When it comes to dinner, the restaurants Tarterie and Nil are the two Big Ones in my opinion, and lend themselves very well to an unforgettably romantic dinner. If I’m in the mood for something more casual it’s usually the Weinladen for me, where they serve excellent wine, which I like to accompany with bread and cheese. The Weinladen is just very fun and laid-back as well, keeping it with the character of St. Pauli, the district which it lies in the middle of. There are so many more hip bars and restaurants nearby and the general vibe in the streets is very easygoing and friendly, especially in the summer.

When the sun goes down, you might want to head out for drinks and dancing, in which case, the club Kleiner Donner is the place for you. Although it’s quite tiny it is, in my opinion, the best hip hop and electronic music joint in town. The people that come here are very cool and I can guarantee that you’ll have a good night out!

After a long night at Kleiner Donner what you really need is a clean and cosy bed. Your best bet for a good night’s sleep are Henri Hotel or the hotel Fritz im Pyjama: both are very stylish, not too posh, and very well-located, right by the main hot spots of the city. Both hotels will bewitch you with their unique and charming design, great service and very relaxed vibe (which, incidentally also makes them perfect representatives of Hamburg in general!).

For a different perspective of the city, I heartily recommend going on a guided boat tour along the river with Hamburg Waterkant Touren. It’s ideal for people who have never been to Hamburg before and want to get their bearings in the riverside area, without necessarily sticking to the beaten path.


Milch FeinkostDitmar-Koel-Straße 22, Hamburg, Germany

This place used to be a milk store in the 50s. The cool interior keeps the memory of that era alive, and they serve great coffee from small and local roasters.
Rain CafeateryGroße Rainstraße 15, Hamburg, Germany

Awesome coffee and a great lunch spot, too.
CarrouxElbchaussee 583, Hamburg, Germany

More coffee – try their very own special mixture of roasting coffee.
Blumen GraafKanzleistraße 25, Hamburg, Germany

My personal flower and decoration paradise.
Entenwerder 1Entenwerder1, Entenwerder, Hamburg, Germany

Get the ball rolling on a great day in Hamburg with breakfast here. Comes with a side of endless views of the river Elbe.
Winkel van Sinkel / Public Coffee RoastersWexstraße 28, Hamburg, Germany

Check out this store for some beautiful plant decor, stationery and tableware for your home. Next-door neighbours Public Coffee Roasters serve some great coffee as well.
Perle StoreGroßneumarkt 22, Hamburg, Germany

A fantastic store with fashion for the whole family.
Maison FPoolstraße 32, Hamburg, Germany

A concept/interior store I have absolutely fallen in love with – and so will you.
EiskantineKohlhöfen 10, Hamburg, Germany

Their delicious ice cream or a piece of their pastry is the perfect little sugar rush you’ll need for a long day in the city.
Marktzeit in der FabrikBarnerstraße 36, Hamburg, Germany

This wonderful neighbourhood market is a great place to start the weekend. Meet up with your friends, get a table and start tasting everything around you for hours – heaps of fun!
Die PâtisserieBahrenfelder Str. 231, Hamburg, Germany

Welcome to the sweet life: you’ll find the fluffiest croissants here at the French ‘Pâtisserie’.
Jö MakrönchenFriedensallee 6, Hamburg, Germany

Macaron-lovers are spoilt for choice in this cute café – vanilla, chocolate, lemon, pistachio, lavendar... you name it!
IsemarktIsestraße 1-73, Hamburg, Germany

Owing to its wealth of wonderful stalls, this food market is a superb place to get some special grocery shopping done.
Atelier FGroße Bleichen 31, Hamburg, Germany

You could throw darts at the menu to order in this French-American restaurant – I guarantee that you’d still love whatever you got, it’s that good.
TarteriePaul-Roosen-Straße 31, Hamburg, Germany

Exceptional food, cooked and served with love and an eye for detail.
NilNeuer Pferdemarkt 5, Hamburg, Germany

The food and the lovely outside area have made this restaurant one of my favourite summer treats.
WeinladenPaul-Roosen-Straße 29, Hamburg, Germany

Enjoy a snack platter alongside one of their outstanding wines, in a laid-back atmosphere.
Kleiner DonnerSchulterblatt 73, Hamburg, Deutschland

See some great artists perform live on stage and party with the locals at Kleiner Donner.
Henri HotelBugenhagenstraße 21, Hamburg, Deutschland

An unbeatable location in the city centre and a cosy, welcoming ambience make for some great lodgings for your city adventure!
Fritz im PyjamaSchanzenstraße 101-103, Hamburg, Deutschland

This charming Boutique Hotel in the hip district of Schanzenviertel should be the accommodation of choice for any passionate traveller and design freak.
‘The “Hanseat”, someone who is born and brought up in Hamburg, is a special type of personality and, coming from an old Hanseatic family myself, this characterisation means a lot to me: I like the values, the Hanseatic handshake, the style.’
  • Find some inspiration for your own home’s interior at Winkel van Sinkel. © Catja Vetter
  • I like the third-wave approach of the Public Coffee Roasters. © Catja Vetter
  • Shopping at Winkel van Sinkel is always a pleasure. © Catja Vetter
  • Endless conversations over glasses of excellent wine, at Weinladen. © Catja Vetter
  • Marktzeit, a market in Altona, is where you want to grocery shop fresh and local products on the weekend. © Catja Vetter
  • Rain Cafeatery is one of my favourite coffee places. © Catja Vetter
  • © Catja Vetter
  • The Public Coffee Roasters are well-known for their cold brew coffee. © Catja Vetter
  • Just look at these beautiful interior accessories at Winkel van Sinkel! © Catja Vetter
  • © Catja Vetter
  • Die Pâtisserie is kind to those with a sweet tooth. © Catja Vetter
  • © Catja Vetter
  • I’m a flower addict and the florist Blumen Graaf is where I go crazy. © Catja Vetter
  • Weinladen is Hamburg’s place of pilgrimage for wine enthusiasts. © Catja Vetter
  • You can spend all day at the market in Altona, just tasting anything that looks good (so basically everything). © Catja Vetter
  • Pop into the Perle Store for a peek at their fetching fusion of interior and fashion. © Catja Vetter
  • The café Entenwerder1 is a delightful place, right by the water. © Catja Vetter
  • © Catja Vetter
  • © Catja Vetter
  • Can’t go wrong with the Henri Hotel in Hamburg. © Stefan Malzkorn
  • If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m very into interior design – Maison F is another one of my favourite interior stores. © Catja Vetter
  • No macaron-lover with a shred of self-respect can walk by Jö Makrönchen without going inside. © Catja Vetter
  • Why not have a view alongside your breakfast? @Entenwerder1. © Catja Vetter
  • Die Pâtisserie’s bread is superb – and it means something when a German compliments the French for their bread. © Catja Vetter
  • No place has flowers and flower arrangements quite so beautiful as those as Blumen Graaf. © Catja Vetter
  • Start your day right, at Entenwerder1. © Catja Vetter

My thoughts about Hamburg

What do you love about your destination?

In Hamburg, everything is very close to everything else. It doesn’t take hours to drive from A to B. It’s possible to enjoy all of Hamburg’s different parts – from the city centre to the suburban countryside – within a few days. I love living close to the ‘Waterkant’, as you say in Hamburg. I can see the horizon nearly every single day. The traditional part of Hamburg is what I also like and strongly feel. The ‘Hanseat’, someone who is born and brought up in Hamburg, is a special type of personality and, coming from an old Hanseatic family myself, this characterisation means a lot to me (and might also be the reason for my coffee addiction): I like the values, the Hanseatic handshake, the style. Hamburg may not be as overtly trendy or as hyperactive as, say, Berlin, but I absolutely never get bored here.

Which music fits best to your destination?

From classic to electronic – as with the city itself, there is no uniformity.

What‘s a "must do" in your destination?

Go all the way up the Sankt Michaelis church for a 360° panorama of the city; visit the fish market on Sunday mornings; have a ‘Labskaus’ (local potato/meat dish); walk along the Elbe or Alster river, or hop aboard a ferry; visit the Hafencity and the Elbphilharmonie concert hall on one bank of the river and the old town district of Speicherstadt on the other.

© Catja Vetter
© Catja Vetter
© Catja Vetter

Take a vacation into My life

What’s your background?

I was born and raised in Hamburg. After I finished school I went off for work and travelling the world but in the end I came back for my family and a job I love. The plan is to leave again and live abroad for a few years but so far I haven’t decided where to go.

What is the best moment of the day?

The mornings, I’m an enthusiastic early bird.

What inspires you?

My son and interviews with interesting people (especially women who have created something).

How would a good friend describe you?

Workaholic, always keeps smiling, bit frantic, wild gestures, easy going mama bird.

Your lifestyle in 5 words?

Friends and family, good food and interior.

Which books, newspapers or magazines do you read?

I like books such as ‘The Girls’ (Emma Cline) and on lazy Sundays I love to read ‘Die Welt am Sonntag’ or ‘Die Zeit’. ‘Places of Spirit’ is my favourite interior magazine.

Which films blow your mind?

‘Chef’s table’ and ‘House of Cards’…but last movie? I don’t even remember when I was at the cinema last time…

What are your favourite destinations around the globe?

Cape Town, Sydney, London, South of France and almost all of Italy.

Your life philosophy?

You live your life forward and understand it backwards.

Suitcase, Backpack or Weekender?


Travelling is…

one of the most important things in my life.

Life is…

weird and challenging but so, so beautiful.

Photos © Catja Vetter


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