You’ve made the big decision to move to Hamburg - and this gorgeous, diverse city is waiting for you. Hamburg is a city which is big but still has a small city feeling. There are many beautiful neighbourhoods that fit each kind of person, depending on their needs. I often see questions asked in local expat forums, which neighbourhood should I move to? What Hamburg neighbourhood is affordable but nice? Where is the best neighbourhood for kids in Hamburg? Etc. Etc. Everyone has their own opinion of where is the best, and many of Hamburg’s neighbourhood can fit different situations. I am going to try to make it easier for you to choose a neighbourhood in Hamburg, with this extensive growing guide from local expats who live and breath Hamburg who live in all different areas.
This Review of Hamburg’s best neighbourhoods for expats will hopefully help you find the perfect place to start your search or help you to make a decision to move somewhere else if you’re already here. If you have the time, visit the neighbourhoods yourself, go for a walk, sit in a cafe, and feel the vibe. It should work for you and you should feel at home as much as you can.
The Best Places to Live in Hamburg - Where to Live in Hamburg as an Expat
Please watch this space as the more contributors I get, the more I can add about different neighbourhoods and the best places to live in Hamburg as an Expat. If I were to write this all by myself, it wouldn’t be as honest.
Eppendorf Neighbourhood Review
Who lived here? Hannah(me), 28, Canadian, Marketing Manager, Lived in Hamburg for 5 years
I lived in Eppendorf almost the whole time I’ve lived in Hamburg. I am pretty happy to have lived in this neighborhood. All the streets are lined with beautiful buildings and big trees, some from the ‘Art deco’ era. There are lovely parks with access to the Alster where you can easily grab a canoe or SUP board. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants and shopping ($$$) and two trains (the U1 and U3) giving you quick access to central Hamburg in 10 - 15 min. It’s a great area to go for runs or walks because many streets are quiet and there are lots to explore, all of the heritage buildings and parks are well taken care of which makes that area a fest for the eyes. I loved going for walks around here, and will miss that. However, I do find the area a bit snobe and it has a lot of young rich families, but coming with that is great accessibility to high-quality doctors, schools/kitas. There is not much nightlife after 7 pm and all stores shut down at 4 pm on Saturdays, however, it is very safe at night. I was lucky enough to find an ‘affordable’ flat for the area with my former boyfriend. However, if you are looking for a lot of space, balcony and luxuries then you’ll pay way over 1.3k for a flat here. Generally, I find there is a lot of international people living here, but more so as families with children and fewer students. It’s great area for young couples but would not recommend for singles as much.
Barmbek Süd Neighbourhood Review
Who lives here? Anja, 30, German (but lived abroad for many years), Controller & Planner, Lived in Hamburg for 3 years
Barmbek Süd is the cheaper side of Winterhude. Well actually not really part of Winterhude, but close enough. The neighborhood is really close to the city center but also has its own little area for shopping, nice restaurants and a few cool bars. Due to it being on the cheaper side of the street, rent here is still pretty affordable. I got my apartment through a realtor, which was a good investment as I have a cheaper rent now. The houses are mainly red brick buildings classic Hamburg style, but there´s been a bit of development with new apartment buildings here and there. The upside is definitely the cosiness of the area.
You can easily take a stroll to the local Café May or to some of the other cute places and grab a piece of cake and a coffee. There´s also some of the best restaurants in Hamburg just around the corner. If the weather is nice there´s plenty of opportunities to rent a boat or a SUP or just sit by the water and enjoy the sun at the canals. The downside is the connection to the U-Trains. There´s nothing really around, so you might need to walk a bit or take a bike to the next station. However there are some busses that take you on a direct way to e.g. St. Pauli and Schanze which have some stops in the area and run all night long. Parking can sometimes be a bit of a hassle, however the police aren’t checking too often and normally you have a bit of time in the morning to remark before getting a ticket. There´s quite a mix of inhabitants, young adults feel just as at home as retired people or families. It´s a pretty quiet neighbourhood. There are also international people around, but mainly people that are planning to stay long time rather than exchange students. I really enjoy living here as you don´t feel the stress of the big city, but are still close enough to things happening, so you will never get bored.
Borgweg/Winterhude Neighbourhood Review
Who lives here? Emily, 26, British, Software Enablement Consultant, I’ve lived in Hamburg for one year and have had the privilege of living on the doorstep of the gorgeous Stadtpark, in the leafy streets of Borgweg.
Situated north-east of Hamburg city centre and with neighbouring areas such as Winterhude and Barmbek, Borgweg is a green oasis only 20 -minute commute from the city centre hustle and bustle.
The close proximity to the Stadtpark is a huge draw; having this beautiful sprawling park on your doorstep means unlimited walking or running opportunities in a safe, picturesque environment, it means being minutes from the centre of the summer BBQ scene, enjoying outdoor yoga classes, going to open air concerts and being able to swim or paddle a boat to your heart‘s content. The Stadtpark is really an integral part of Hamburg‘s Social scene- be it for Australian football training, park fitness, live sport screenings in the beer garden or simply having a picnic- it’s a great place to hang out and meet people.
Jarrestraße- Kampnagel, shops, Teigfabrik
The Jarrestraße is the Main Street that is the hub for eating out and grocery shopping, with some great fresh produce stores and little corner shops. Teigfabrik is a gem for those Fridays when all you need is a freshly baked pizza and a few beers to ease you into the weekend. Kampnagel is situated just off this street and hosts a cinema, is a venue for many arst, furniture and creative industry events.
Borgweg is genuinely also great if you love brunching and cafe culture! Frau Kol, Café May are all within a Short Walk whilst if you fancy more of a vegan-friendly, healthy option, then hop on your bike and cycle to Froindlichst in Winterhude. On the flip side, this area is relatively calm at the weekends, so head to areas such as Sternschanze and St Pauli for a night out.
Calm, green, safe, friendly and relaxed: this is Borgweg in a nutshell. As it’s not as flashy as some other Hamburg neighbourhoods, the price of rent here is less however in terms of standards of living, the area is well connected to the city and the airport, with plenty of services such as doctor’s surgeries, dentists, a nursery, hairdressers, etc.
This area has a very friendly, relaxed and unpretentious vibe- if you enjoy having a chat with your neighbour over the balcony or having a beautiful park on your doorstep, then Borgweg is idyllic.
Hamburg-Nord Neighbourhood Review
Who lives here? Anna, American, Teacher, 26, Lived in Hamburg for 3 years
I have been living in Hamm-Nord since moving to Hamburg. I am very happy to live in Hamburg-Nord neighbourhood because of the easy access to the hustle & bustle of the city while still being able to live in a quiet neighbourhood. This neighbourhood was heavily bombed during the second world war so the buildings are not as old as some neighbourhoods in Hamburg (Although my building is 100 years old- that is rather young compared to others in Hamburg). In the area Hammer Park which is great for walks all year long as well as nice running routes. There is a full running track next to the park with a nice selection of outdoor workout equipment. In this neighbourhood you have easy access to the U2, U4 & S1. With these lines you are able to access the city in less than 10 minutes, and get to the airport in 20 minutes. There are quite a few university students and young professionals living in this neighbourhood which adds to a fun atmosphere. There is also the International Ballet School in this neighbourhood so you will find a lot of young internationals. One could easily say that this neighbourhood is lacking a wide selection restaurants & shops. This is definitely true compared to other parts of Hamburg- but this is also what makes the neighbourhood so peaceful. The rent is very affordable for Hamburg, while still being a very safe location. The rent is in the low-middle range for Hamburg- you are able to have a nice sized apartment with a balcony or 2 for under 800/ month.
Sternchanze Neighborhood Review
Who lives here? Hannah (me again)
Sternchanze is kind of like the mini Berlin of Hamburg. It is very eclectic, with street art lined streets, boutique hipster shops, hole-in-the-wall cafe’s and restaurants and endless bars where locals like to hang outside and drink cocktails on a nice day. I recently moved here and in the few weeks I’ve lived here I’ve grown to like the area. There are always people around and something going on, and there are plenty of affordable places to eat, buy groceries and have a drink with a friend. Sternchanze is very well connected and with bus, U-bahn or S-bahn you can get to the center in less that 15 minutes. Renting a flat here is actually fairly expensive, because of the gentrification and the ‘coolness’ of the area. I wouldn’t recommend getting a flat directly on Schulterblatt (street) as it gets very loud in the evening and weekends and sometimes there are protests that block the street. There are many side streets with lovely ‘Altbau’ buildings that are more quiet and only steps away from all the action. Although the area is fairly young there are still some families that live in this area and it has many schools around. I would say the only downside of this area is walking around alone at night, it doesn’t feel as same as other areas I’ve lived in as some of the parks near by are where people deal drugs. I generally try to avoid those places at night. Overall, It is a fun place to live, and I love exploring this new area and the access to night life.
I hope you found this neighborhood guide useful and that it makes it easier for you to pick a neighborhood to live in. Again, continue to watch this space as I plan to get more contributors to add their opinion about expat neighborhoods in Hamburg.
All the best,