Hamburg Neighbourhood Guide - The Best Neighbourhoods to live in Hamburg as an Expat or International

Top Neighborhoods in Hamburg

Top Neighborhoods in Hamburg

You’ve made the big decision to move to Hamburg - and this gorgeous, diverse city is waiting for you. Now your question is, Where to live in Hamburg and what are the Top Neighborhoods in Hamburg? Hamburg is a city that is big but still has a small city feeling. There are many beautiful neighbourhoods in Hamburg 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? Which 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.

I hope my Hamburg Neighborhood Guide will inspire and help you discover Hamburg’s best neighbourhoods for expats and international people. My goal with these Hamburg insider Tips to Hamburgs neighborhoods are to make it easier in helping 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, or book me as your mentor so I can help you further. Let’s make you feel at home in Hamburg as quick as you can.

The Best Places to Live in Hamburg - Where to Live in Hamburg as an International

Where to Live in Hamburg? Check out Hamburg Expat’s favourites neighborhoods below - click on your chosen neighborhood to jump to it.

Altona Neighborhood Review


Who Live’s here? Jennifer, American, 26,  Master’s Student, living in Hamburg for 3 years. 

Rathaus / Townhall in Altona photo by j_rangler

Rathaus / Townhall in Altona photo by j_rangler

Since my first time ever coming to Hamburg, my first neighborhood introduction was Altona, and I loved it. Quite frankly a big reason I decided to move to the city. I was fortunate that my boyfriend already had a flat in the Altona District when I moved here, but we just recently moved just right around the corner from our old place and I still feel the magic of the Altona neighborhood. I always hear different opinions of Altona, but that usually comes from people that do not live in the neighborhood, most of the time people describe it as an alternative, hipster, overpriced, and crowded neighborhood. I see it as a majority of younger adults, family-friendly, lively, and has it’s own city feel to it. The two main things I love of Altona are that you can find everything you need in the neighborhood, and in any direction you choose to go in will connect you to other neighborhoods.

Cafe in Altona, photo by j_rangeler  ler

Cafe in Altona, photo by j_rangeler


The thing to understand of Altona is that it's actually made up of many different sections. I live in Altona-Alstadt closer to the Elbe and Reeperbahn, there is also Altona Ottensen which is the more central and lively part of the neighborhood, and you have the other areas that border other parts of the city. All together you have this neighborhood that feel’s like its own city, you have the Altona Bahnoff, you have Central Ottensen where all the shops are, and all over the neighborhood you will find great restaurants and bars. You have the Bahnoff where you can take actual trains to travel all over Europe, about 10 bus lines, and the S1, S2 S3, S11, S31, but no U-bahn and that is actually no problem at all. In the summer you are most likely to be in Bahrenfelderstrasse at one of the bars, crowding the small little corner of the neighborhood. You can also have a nice barbeque, hangout, or run at Altona Balkon, with an incredible view to our harbor. You are close enough to wake up and go to the Fisch Market on Sunday mornings. In the last few years, there has also been quite a bit of growth, with startups having their headquarters here, and schools everywhere. The neighborhood can be pricey compared to other parts of the city, paying for 2 zimmer (bedrooms) average around 800 Euros per month, but it is possible to find great deals.
I love the energy in Altona, I love to see families out and about, young adults out having a drink, and diverse people of every age enjoying the neighborhood. For expats this neighborhood is great, I always felt welcome, I never felt out of place or like I didn’t belong, I felt right at home. Most of the shops and businesses are English speaking, and overall it’s a diverse neighborhood so you most definitely won’t be alone.

My blog:

Instagram: j_rangeler 


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. I can see why so many people want to live in this area, it has its reasons to be popular! 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. Eppendorf is 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. There is also a great parks, ‘Eppendorfer Park’ or ‘Haynes Park’ which is beautiful all times of year and great for sports, bbqs, or sun-bathing. 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 and 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 3 room for a flat in Eppendorf. 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 single people.


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 Bunker

Barmbek Süd Bunker

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.

Street in Barmbek Süd

Street in Barmbek Süd

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.

Borgweg Flats Style

Borgweg Flats Style

Jarrestraße- Kampnagel, shops, Teigfabrik

Stadtpark Picnic

Stadtpark Picnic

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.

Instagram: auburnmillenial


Blankenese Neighborhood Review


Who lives here? Adriana, American, Online Marketing Consultant, 26, lived in Hamburg for 3.5 years

Blankenese District is a great place to live or to visit for the day on the weekend. You can arrive there easily with multiple buses or take the S1. After arriving with the S1, you can walk to the Elbe in just 15 minutes. It's a lot less crowded than the Elbe close to the city center so I highly recommend it for a picnic or a long walk. It's also a fantastic bike ride from Altona all the way to Wedel directly next to the Elbe. One of the best cakes I have ever eaten is in the Blankener Cafe, which is to the left of the train station. The owners make everything homemade and the old decorations are lovely. Blankenese Bahnhofstrasse also has some cute shops to look through, including one that is specifically for olive oil. During the summer, there is also an outdoor pool nearby in Sülldorf, which is great for families and is very inexpensive. Jenisch Park is also close by the Elbe near Teufelsbrücke where you can quickly become closer to nature. A major ferry stop is also located in Teufelsbrücke. My favourite time of the year in Blankenese is May. I highly recommend it for a visit if you want to feel out of Hamburg without having to actually go very far. Rent prices are quite high, and there are more houses than buildings with flats. It's a beautiful place to live, but a bit out of the way from Hamburg. However, you have everything you need there. 

Sunset in Blankenese

Sunset in Blankenese


Eilbek Neighborhood Review


Who lives here? Ognen, 28, Macedonian, Software Developer, lived in Hamburg for 1 year

Eilbek is a very good neighbourhood to live in Hamburg. Since I’m living on the closer end to the centre, I find it super close to everything. You are 3 stops U1 from HBF, 6 from Jungfernstieg. If you need to the U3 to cover the other part of the city, you can hop off on Lübecker Strasse and change.

As an expat two destinations are super important for me: Airport and IKEA :) Both are covered by Landwehr station with the S1.

 Eilbek is also a quiet neighbourhood, with a lot of parks and super green streets. You have the big Jacobipark and a lot of smaller other “parks” between the small flats on the streets. You have all the big supermarkets so you can chose for which you want to go, whether it be Edeka, Penny, Lidl, Aldi.

Jacobi Park in Eilbek

Jacobi Park in Eilbek

There are some small cafes on the quiet streets to enjoy the sun every once in a while. Elisa - one of my favourite ones will always serve you the freshest cheesecake and you can enjoy in the super stylish atmosphere.

Don’t know if we were lucky or that's the average, but you can find flats in Eilbek for below 1000 euros (warm) with around 60sqm. They are not the newest buildings, of course, but also - not the oldest.

Nightlife is not the strong suite of Eilbek, apart from the nightclub next to Edeka on Wartenau - that place is packed on weekends! But again, you are a couple of S1 stations from Reeperbahn, so that is also good.

All in all - if you want a quiet, not so expensive and neighbourhood close to the center - Eilbek is the place to go!


Eimsbüttel Neighborhood Review


Who lives here? Courtney (Australian, School Teacher/Barista), Maren (German, School Teacher) and their (soon to be) two young girls.

Young Family? Young single? Young Couple? Older couple? Older single? It doesn’t really matter – Eimsbüttel is the place you won’t ever want to leave.

When first contemplating a move to Hamburg, I wasn’t prepared for the city to be as compact as it was. My friend said the move to the Hoheluft / Eimsbüttel area, but on the map, it looked so far away.

Red Brick flats in Schlankreye photo by Ccarts

Red Brick flats in Schlankreye photo by Ccarts

Cozy Cafe in Eimsbüttel - Balz und Balz Photo by Ccarts

Cozy Cafe in Eimsbüttel - Balz und Balz Photo by Ccarts

The reality is, Eimsbüttel is close enough to the city to ride in 15 minutes, but far enough away that you don’t feel like a tourist. If riding isn’t your thing (or it’s a classic Hamburg “Scheitwetter” day, your options include the number 4,5 or 281 bus, and the U2 and U3 metro lines. If you’re a little closer to Eppendorf, the U1 is also a good bet. To put it politely, its bloody well connected!

But what is it like for a local, when you’re not about the commute? It all depends. Do you want to do some clothes and gift shopping on Osterstraße, drink some delicious coffee at Balz und Balz/Blackline/Surf Shop Roastery, grab a burger at Most Wanted or Old McDonald Pub, a nice lunch at Alpenkantine, or go to the Isemarkt on a Tuesday or Friday. There’s also the option of one of Hamburg’s most notoriously good Döners at Sel Kebap. Or perhaps, just perhaps, you want to grab some early morning brötchen/franzbrötchen, or late afternoon cake for your weekend “Kaffee und Kuchen” at one of Hamburg’s best bakeries – Die Kleine Konditorei. Of course, if it’s a nice day, you might just want to grab all the aforementioned food items and have a picnic along the Isekanal, or take a ride through the schrenbergartens to the Niendorfer Gehege.

To be honest, once you move to Eimsbüttel, you’re going to be pretty attached to the area, and be eternally thankful that the Sternchanze and Reeperbahn filter out all the party animals – so you can just enjoy life at a leisurely pace.

The big caveat – much like most of Hamburg, it’s not cheap. 2 room apartments in Eilbek can range anywhere from 500€ to 1500€ per month, depending on amenities, and be ready for a fight to sign for one. However, in the opinion of the author, it’s better to pay a bit more than what you plan to because you’ll be sure to save that money by not going out, from living in such a nice area. If you look further toward the Lutterostraße/Lappensbergallee end of town, you might even find a bargain.

For families with young kids – you probably won’t find a suburb with more playgrounds, kindergartens and family-oriented things to do. It really is a small slice of paradise.

Instagram: Ccarts


Hamm-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.  


Hoheluft Neighborhood Review


Who Lives here? ME! (Hannah) moved 2 times in a year, owner of this blog ;)

Gorgeous Wilhelminian and Art Nouveau apartment buildings in Hoheluft

Gorgeous Wilhelminian and Art Nouveau apartment buildings in Hoheluft

Hoheluft is in between Eppendorf and Eimsbüttel, and that’s exactly how I would describe it! You have the laid back vibe of Eimsbüttel, but still the classiness of Eppendorf. I moved here in August 2019, after searching for a permanent flat in Hamburg, and I am lucky to have found one here. I currently live in Hoheluft-West, but there is also Hoheluft-Ost which is apart of Eppendorf, but once you cross Hoheluftchausee, you are in Hoheluft-West which is part of Eimbüttel. Both sides are great, but I prefer Hoheluft-West because I am a huge Eimsbüttel fan. The center of Hoheluft is Eppendorfer Weg, which runs from Eppendorf all the way to Schanze. This street is beautiful, and on each side of the street are Wilhelminian and Art Nouveau apartment buildings, little popular cafes like Kropka or Monkis Goodies and plenty of restaurants for any taste. This area is also known as the ‘Generals Quarter’ because many of the streets are named after Generals of Hamburg. Hoheluftchausee is not the prettiest street, but if you’re looking for cheap eats, grocery shopping and some boutiques, you can find everything you need there. Also in Hoheluft, you have the Alster canal, which runs right through it. It is perfect for running or a walk, and it’s a small escape from the busy city life. Hoheluft is very well connected, the number 5 can take you to the centre in 15 - 20 minutes or you can take the U3 from Hoheluftbrucke which takes you to the rest of Hamburg. Rent here is a bit cheaper than in Eppendorf, but still quite expensive for Hamburg. For a two-room flat in Hoheluft, you could pay between 700 - 1200 warm. I would recommend Hoheluft to other expats to live, as its quite central and has everything you need.

HoheluftChaussee - Many shops with everything you need

HoheluftChaussee - Many shops with everything you need


Hohenfelde / Uhlenhorst Neighborhood Review 


Who lives here? Andre, Portuguese, Automation Engineer

Living in Hohenfelde is very relaxing. The streets are very quiet with low traffic. The only public transport when I get out from home is U3 which runs very frequently (in the morning every 3 mins). When it is not raining or too cold, I like to walk around along the channels and seat read a book. During the weekend, when the weather is warm, I gather some friends and we do some paddling in the canals. There was a time I rented a small boat and spent the afternoon at the channels and at the Alster. BBQs in the parks next to the Alster are also really good! I haven´t found restaurants that I liked around in Hohenfelde or in Uhlenhorst but there is this little ice cream kiosk that sells very cheap ice creams and that is tasty. There is this street called Hofweg full of restaurants. I tried just 3 of them and they were ok, however, there are so many of them to try. They are expensive so it depends on your taste, if you want to do more fine dining, that’s the place to go. I still have to explore more. For sports, it is fantastic.  there is the Alster Schwimmenhalle, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, parks with volleyball courts, tennis courts... running/jogging around the Alster is really good because the terrain is so well cared for and the view to the other side of the Alster is amazing! 2 Room flat in Uhlenhorst can be quite expensive (1500 Eu) especially for new or renovated apartments but there a lot of older buildings with cheaper options (900 Eu)


Sternchanze Neighborhood Review


Who lives here? Hannah (me again)

Hamburg’s Sternchanze in the afternoon

Hamburg’s Sternchanze in the afternoon

Enjoyed sternchanze, my favourite place to live in Hamburg

Enjoyed sternchanze, my favourite place to live in Hamburg

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 really grew to love this area, and it was a great place to live. I will always think of it as home. There are always people around and something going on, and there are plenty of affordable places to eat, buy groceries, have a drink with a friend or go out dancing. 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. You could go to Nord-Schanze which is in between Eimsbüttel and Schanze, there you will find quiet flats and lovely green areas and you are also perfectly located close to Altona as well and Eppedorfer Weg for a nice place to stroll and shop. Although the area is fairly young there are still some families that live in this area and it has many schools around. My favourite thing was hearing the ice cream truck roll up, and all the neighborhood kids chasing after it. However, unlike other places in Hamburg, you need to use caution at night, as there are some places which are known for dealing drugs. Sternchanze is a great place to live to feel like you are in the center of the action, and easily connected to the rest of the city. Living in Sternchanze was a treat for me, and I hope to be able to move back there! Forever a ‘Schanze Girl’.


Winterhude Neighborhood Review


Who lives here? Shailaja Tyagi, 38, Indian; but lived in Gulf for 5.5 years, Mother to two children aged 8 and 3.5 years, Currently a SAHM and in Hamburg for about 4 years.

When I was new in Hamburg and searching for apartments, Saarlandstraße-Alte Wöhr side of Winterhude was love at first sight. Situated in a 10 minute walk-able vicinity of the Stadt-Park. It is flanked by two major Bahn lines (U3 and S1) for easy reach into the city center and the Airport and the bus service of 23 within an easy walk of 700 meters. The neighborhood has the 650 meter long Alter Güterbahnhof strasse which has newly constructed apartments. A two bedroom flat in Winterhude + Hall + Kitchen apartment with a small balcony attracts a rent of ~1500 Euro (warm) and a separate 100 Euro for the parking.

The Fuhlsbüttler straße has a plethora of shopping and eating possibilities along with Apotheke (pharmarcies) and Banks and other amenities is just 650 meters away and hence an easy 10-minute walk.

Having many Kitas and schools and doctors nearby along with parks, Edeka and Budni in the immediate vicinity make it a very friendly area.

The late evening/ night-time is quiet until there is an event in the Stadt-Park when the area livens up a bit.

The area has a healthy mix of young adults and families and has a balance of expats and Germans making it a very cosmopolitan neighbourhood with English being widely spoken.

This area has always made me feel right at home, right from the time I first saw it while house-hunting and is now home for me and my family.

Extra Tip: Take a look at the Hamburg Rent Map below

These are examples of rent, for a 2 room Flat at 70 sqm.

I hope you found this Hamburg neighborhood guide as a useful resource on your move to Hamburg. Hamburg truly has some of the best neighborhoods to live in, and there is ultimately something for everyone. Neighborhoods in Hamburg can offer everything you may need, whether that is peace and quiet, nightlife, or beautiful green scenery. Check back soon as more neighborhoods are added often. If you would like more information about where to live in Hamburg, or would like a tour of my favourite neighborhoods when you’re here, book me as your Hamburg Mentor.

All the best,

Hannah Teslin