That locals have spent weekends on their river beaches since the late 1800s at least helps explain why no town in Germany does the Stadtstrand (city beach) with such flair as Hamburg. The Elbe views help, of course, as does sand on the riverbanks. But even away from the river, bar owners import sand to create a little piece of coastal paradise, scattering deck chairs among the potted palms and adding a soundtrack of lazy funk and chilled house beats. The city’s beach clubs – nine at the last count – operate daily in summer (roughly mid April–Sept); the exceptions are StrandPauli and Ahoi, which open year-round. Those on the river with views of the container port are quintessentially Hamburg.

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