Where to Stay in Hamburg: A (Former) Local’s Guide to Hamburg’s Neighborhoods

This post was last updated on January 28th, 2019

I just got back from another trip visiting family and friends back in Hamburg. The city gets a certain amount of tourists but is far from being as popular as Berlin, Amsterdam, or other cities, so there is not much information available for tourists. I already posted about the main things to see and do in Hamburg, and today I’ll be helping you make the most of your stay in Germany’s second largest city with an overview of the neighborhoods you want to consider when booking accommodation.

Ottensen

The area of Ottensen, a neighborhood of the former independent town of Altona, is particularly attractive with its many neoclassical buildings, cafés, and restaurants. Ottensen used to be part of Denmark and has managed to preserve its unique character. It makes for a great place to stay due to its excellent public transport connections (several metro lines and long-distance trains depart from Altona train station). What’s even better: You can get to Altona directly from the airport without having to change lines.

Barmbek

Barmbek is not the most intriguing neighborhood of Hamburg, but it’s easier to find less expensive accommodation there because it’s less popular and not as central as some of the other neighborhoods. However, it is served by several metro lines and is easily reachable from the airport within ten minutes.

Blankenese

While Blankenese is quite a metro ride from the center of Hamburg, this former fishing village is particularly enchanting which makes it a great place to stay in Hamburg. If you have a bit more money to spend on accommodation (Blankenese is the richest neighborhood in Germany), you’ll really enjoy this beautiful neighborhood close the beach.
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The “Treppenviertel” in Blankenese is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Hamburg.

Eimsbüttel

Eimsbüttel is a fairly central residential neighborhood of Hamburg which doesn’t get a lot of tourists. It’s the perfect neighborhood if you want to get a glimpse of the everyday life of ordinary inhabitants of the city. There are several restaurants and beautiful neoclassical buildings in the area around Osterstraße metro, and you can get to the center of Hamburg with different metro lines or buses. It’s a very relaxed neighborhood and one of my favorite ones in the city.

Rotherbaum

The area Rotherbaum might be of special interest to students as the area of the campus of the University of Hamburg. There are some truly astonishing mansions in the area, but it’s also home to several bars, cafés, and restaurants as one of the centers of student life in Hamburg. As it’s also very central and well connected to other areas of Hamburg you can consider yourself lucky if you find accommodation in this neighborhood of Hamburg.

St. Georg

LGBTQI travelers might be interested in staying in Hamburg’s St. Georg neighborhood, the center of LGTBQI life in Hamburg. There are several cafés and restaurants in the area, many of which proudly display the rainbow flag, especially on Lange Reihe, a street showcasing some of Hamburg’s most impressive architecture. Be aware, however, that, due to its proximity to Hamburg’s central station, St. Georg is also home to prostitution and drug use, although gentrification has played its part in making rent more and more expensive.

St. Pauli

By far Hamburg’s most famous neighborhood is St. Pauli, home to Hamburg’s infamous red light district. Tourists are intrigued by the sex shops and bars as well as legal prostitution. While it’s undoubtedly an area of interest for tourists and renowned for going out, I wouldn’t recommend staying here as the same things that make it fascinating can easily become overwhelming.

Sternschanze

The Sternschanze neighborhood has become a synonym for gentrification and is extremely popular for going out to eat or drink. Despite all the negative things associated with wealthy people taking over this neighborhood, it does, however, remain one of the areas in Hamburg for which I have a soft spot.

Winterhude

Winterhude is another neighborhood that can be reached quickly by metro from the airport or the center but isn’t frequented by tourists. There are some very pretty canals connected to the Alster river as well as several impressive mansions. Personally, I consider this one of the best areas for tourists to stay in Hamburg due to the beautiful architecture and the close proximity to both the airport and the center.
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Going for walks in Winterhude means crossing several bridges.

Eppendorf

Eppendorf is a very posh neighborhood of Hamburg without being pretentious. The architecture shows Hamburg at its finest with well-preserved 19th-century buildings. Two metro lines connect the neighborhood to the city center so you can easily get the best of both fancy Eppendorf and other areas in which you can satisfy your sightseeing needs.

Old Town and New Town

The Old Town and New Town in the center are, of course, easy to reach due to their location close to Hamburg’s central station. You’ll find most sights here (museums, City Hall, churches, and Speicherstadt), but, to be honest, the area isn’t exactly exciting anymore once the stores in the shopping district close. In my opinion, it might be better to go here a few times for sightseeing but not actually stay here.
Have you ever been to Hamburg? What’s your favorite place to stay at?

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