This famous event requires setting your alarm clock to a very early hour. Every Sunday morning the market takes place on the quay of Altona. It begins at 5 a.m., if you come at 7 a.m. you are already too late.
The market sells not only fish but also lots of other stuff – one stall has potted flowers, another fruit, noodles, sausage... It is known for the barkers competing – who is the loudest? – and selling bags or baskets filled with an assortment of their respective merchandise for a fixed price: a basket full of fruit, half a dozen pot plants, or a huge bag of different kinds of smoked and canned fish for 10 €. They pack and sell the full bags as they are – you have no choice what they put in. Selecting and buying one single fish or whatever is not possible either. A bargain if you can deal with huge amounts and are not too picky about quality.
I’d say the merchandise is generally all right and trustworthy (food control is strict in this country) but do not expect first class products.
But even if you don't intend to buy anything, it is fun to watch. The merchants are all unique personalities and put on their show. If you understand a bit of Hamburg dialect, the better. But even if not, by observing them you will quickly grasp what is going on.
If you are in town on a Saturday morning, be sure to stop by the fishmarket where you can shop, drink and listen to bands. It is a great market experience that is held both indoors and outdoors, has a crazy atmosphere, and is lots of fun!
After 3 hours sleep on Friday night and a whole day exploring Lubeck on Friday and Bremen on Saturday, we were rather exhausted by Sunday morning. However, having read great things about the Fischmarkt, I was determined to get there early to see some of it. The market begins very early - at 5 am I believe - and runs until about approximately 10am. However, as the clocks were going forward this Sunday so we only got there towards the end.
Despite its name, there is far more than fish on sale at the Fischmarkt. When we arrived, the fruit sellers were offering whole boxes of fruit for 1 Euro...if only we had a car. My favourite section was the indoor area at the western end of the market, where there was a folk band entertaining the crowd. The people here were knocking back beers like it was a Saturday night rather than a Sunday morning. I was tempted to join them but we had a whole day of sightseeing ahead of us...
Every Sunday morning, an unusal ritual unfolds along the banks of the Elbe, south of the Reeperbahn. A fleet of small trucks roars onto the cobbled pavement. Hearty types emerge from the driver's cabins and set out to turn their vehicles into stores on wheels. Locals of every age join curious tourists at Hamburg’s main weekly event on the Altona’s waterfront.
The Fischmarkt has been a Hamburg institution since 1703 and takes place from 5am to 10am on Sunday(from 7am October to March).
Thank you VT! Knowing full well that Germany is a very closed country on Sundays, I threw out a question on what to do with ourselves during a Sunday morning. Instantly came the reply; Fischmarkt. So when we arrived early morning from Brussels, we took a taxi to the market and ended up in the middle of a carnival affair in the market hall itself. At eight in the morning, people consumed huge amounts of beer German style in the lovely old hall, accompanied by deafening oompah music. We quickly left and went to look at the rest of the market as not even the Yorkshireman was up for beer that early and the seven-year-old prefered the harbour life outside. The market was great fun and almost everything was on sale there even if it's not the biggest market I've seen. Most locals come for the huge baskets of good fruit it seems, but there are clothes, plants, toys and other things too as well as snack bars for "breakfast". I fell in love with "quarkbällchen", huge yummy light dough balls made of quark (German sour cream) dipped in various coatings - I picked cinnamon and I can come back to Hamburg on a Sunday morning just for that!
Early Sunday morning is the time to visit here, between 6 and 10 is when the action takes place! Traders selling their wares, not just fish, just about anything is on offer. There is a band playing in the Fischmarkt hall and of course there is food and beer available too. Many of the crowd were on their way home from Saturday partying I think.
Hamburg is known amongst young people for its nightlife.
Numerous clubs and bars line whole streets in the downtown area and parties often spill over into the daylight hours.
This leaves a large group of tired and hungry people that may or may not be ready to go home, these are some of the fish markets unlikely early customers.
As the sun comes up over the citys mighty harbour, it casts its first rays onto the waterside open market where local merchants sell fish, but also all manners of fresh produce. At one end of the market there stands a large three story warehouse which is home to a restaurant, a stage and a lot of small food stands.
Here the party continues for some, and just gets started for others with a live band and breakfast.
FISHMARKET!!!! Do I have to say more. It's wold famous. It's happening every sunday from 5 am to 11 am. You better be there early. We wanted to be there at 5am, but we didn't make it. We arrived at about 9 am, but it was still awesome.
They offer everything there (not only fish). You get flowers (from Holland), sweets (also from Holland I guess), italian salami and cheese....and so on. But the main attraction is not the goods, but the people who sell them. They scream, and wave with their hands and feet and will try to underbid the seller next to them.
No Hamburg visit is complete without a visit to the fishmarket.
Unmissable experience this one, unique.
We went along at about 05.30am to be confronted by masses of people milling about a huge continental market with literally hundreds of stalls, selling all kinds of stuff, from fresh produce, to tacky souveniers, to clothes, and even some Fish.
Although mostly outside it's centred around a hall which i assume used to be the original Fish Market, in the hall food vendors do a roaring trade dishing out Fruhstuck(Breakfast) to a lively crowd, some still tanking gallons of beer from the previous nights partying.
There are stages at either end of this hall where bands/musicians belt out songs to the masses, who show their pleasure by dancing around like dafties, quality stuff.
Apparently its all finished by 10am, some old tradition for not letting the fish market get in the way of attending church. We had to head at about 8am to catch our flight home though.
Well this is a perfect activity for those early Sunday mornings... or late Saturday nights. I haven't been to the market since 2003 so my Memory is a little foggy. I seem to remember some food, lots o guys trying to sell fish and tossing it around. An inside sorta cafeteria area with live music. The main memory is that I had the greatest time! You should go and check it out!
Check out the website below for a great story of Matthew's trip to the market..
The fish market held on a Sunday morning must be high on visitors lists of things to do.
The actual produce markets are very good (fish naturally being the speciality, although there is a lot of fuit and veg as well), although there is a lot of tat sold in common with most markets.
The highlight, however, is the old fish auction building itself (a very impressive structure). The place is packed with people eating and drinking, and when were there, there was even a live pop band playing.
There is the odd slightly troublesome drunk about, although the security guards soon get rid of them.
It's a good way to finish off a hard Saturday night's partying in Hamburg.
If you are in Hamburg over the weekend then you simply must swing by the fishmarkt on a Sunday morning. It is Hamburg's most traditional open air market and the oldest, dating back to 1703.
We arrived at approximately 7am and the market was in full swing. Quite a sight to see (and hear!) with the hawkers promoting their wares. Their enthusiasm is almost infectious however it still did not manage to convince me to buy eel. Ewww, thanks but no thanks!!
It was 9am before we made it to the hall where we sat down to enjoy a true Hanseatic breakfast, listen to Abba covers by a German band and watch boozy locals sing and dance along. Quite an experience and one I will not forget easily!
The fischmarkt is open 5-9:30am and 7-9:30am in winter.