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The City Guide to Hamburg

This guide to Hamburg will let you know the ins and outs of the second largest city in Germany. If you're planning to work or study there, this is your perfect starting point.
The City Guide to Hamburg: An aerial shot of the city at sundown

Hamburg is an economic and cultural powerhouse and the second largest city in Germany, with a population of about 1.8 million. Known as one of the most livable cities in the world, Hamburg isn’t only an important economic force but also has much to offer, such as its charming canals and countless seafood markets.

This article is a comprehensive guide to Hamburg for anyone who wants to live and work or study there. You can get to know the ins and outs of this historic port city and get tips on where to find an apartment and what to explore.

The City Guide to Hamburg: a view of a canal with the Elbphilharmonie in the background.

An Introduction to Hamburg

Hamburg is one of the most popular destinations for expats moving to Germany. The city offers beautiful 19th-century architecture and a friendly atmosphere, as well as a rich history and a vibrant culture.

Hamburg’s history dates back to the city’s founding in the 9th century as a trading post on the Alster River. In the following centuries, the city developed into one of the most important ports in Europe due to its location on the Elbe River and its status as a free imperial city under the Holy Roman Empire.

Nowadays, Hamburg is an important financial center, but also benefits from many green spaces: 14% of the city’s area is recreational. When you’re not relaxing in one of the many parks, you can explore Hamburg’s excellent restaurants and impressive museums like the Museum of Art & Industry (Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe). You can also find many different types of food here, from Mediterranean to Asian cuisine. 

Where to live in Hamburg

There is a high demand for mid-term furnished apartments in Hamburg, which can make it challenging to find places to live. Wunderflats offers furnished apartments in many districts, the most popular of which are covered below.

Feel free to explore, get a feel for Hamburg, and rent a furnished apartment in a district you would like to call home.

The City Guide to Hamburg: living room with a couch and a coffee table in a furnished apartment from Wunderflats

Living in Hamburg-Altona

Altona is a multicultural area of Hamburg that also happens to have a large student population. The area is home to the Altonaer Volkspark (the city’s largest public park) and the Ottensen shopping district. Head to the Schanzenviertel for a fantastic night out, as there are a lot of nice bars and clubs there.

The Hamburg-Altona Neighborhood
Altona is a great place to raise a family or enjoy all that Hamburg has to offer. There are lots of green spaces, parks, and shopping opportunities — all within a short walk of the Ottensen district. The Hamburg Fish Market attracts people from around the city, while Schanzenviertel provides local residents with a great night out. There is also a sporting tradition in this area of Hamburg since football clubs, such as FC St. Pauli, are located nearby.

Living in Hamburg-Bergedorf

Bergedorf is easily one of the prettiest areas in the city. Tree-lined streets, beautiful country homes and houses for rent characterize this charming district. Quiet and traditional, this area is perfect for young families. And if you’re looking for exceptional serviced apartments in Hamburg, Bergedorf is a great place.

The Hamburg-Bergedorf Neighborhood
People move to Bergedorf in order to be surrounded by the beauty of nature. There is greenery at every corner, thanks to many open spaces, forested areas, and unspoiled landscapes. This district also happens to be home to Hamburg’s only sand dunes. The main retail area in Bergedorf is located in Alte Holstenstraße, where you can find a large selection of national brands and independent retailers.

Living in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel

Eimsbüttel is a historic district of Hamburg that offers fantastic amenities. Thanks to a selection of top schools in the area, the district is very popular with young families. However, there’s also a large elderly population here that enjoys a high standard of living.

The Hamburg-Eimsbüttel Neighborhood
Eimsbüttel is one of the most affluent areas in the city. Whether you’re looking for short-term rentals in Hamburg or a permanent home, you’ll find comfortable and luxury apartments throughout the district. The architecture in Eimsbüttel is stunning, giving the area its own identity. The Osterstraße area is home to a wide range of high-end retail outlets. Thousands of visitors also come to the district every week to visit the Hagenbeck Zoo.

Living in Hamburg-Harburg

Harburg is a relatively quiet corner of Hamburg, which makes it popular with families. Quiet and residential in nature, the district is on the outskirts of the city, but transport into central Hamburg is reliable. There is also a large student population in Harburg, attracted by the Hamburg University of Technology and relatively low rental prices.

The Hamburg-Harburg Neighborhood
Harburg’s crowning glory is its beautiful public park — the Harburger Stadtpark. Featuring tranquil greenery, forested areas, and a vast lake, this park is an oasis of tranquility on the outskirts of Hamburg. This neighborhood is also home to the Phoenix Center, which houses dozens of local and national retailers.

Living in Hamburg-Mitte

People who like the bright lights and bustling excitement of the city tend to gravitate towards Mitte. This district actually consists of several sub-districts, each with its own identity. The main residential areas are Hamm, Horn, and the harbor area in Steinwerder. There is also a large LGBT community in St. Georg.

The Hamburg-Mitte Neighborhood
Mitte offers its residents everything they could wish for. There’s a huge shopping district in Jungfernstieg, as well as a massive business quarter at HafenCity on the waterfront. This part of Hamburg also attracts those interested in the arts and architecture, thanks to famous landmarks such as the Elbphilharmonie concert hall.

Living in Hamburg

As Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg is home to world-class cultural landmarks, entertainment districts, big business areas, and a wide variety of housing options. This place has everything you could possibly wish for from a major European city. Here are a few more pointers to get you started in Hamburg.

Transport in Hamburg

Almost all locals get around Hamburg by bicycle or by train, thereby contributing to the city’s eco-friendly reputation.

City guide to Hamburg: A view of the city and a tram

Public Transport
Getting around the city is easy thanks to the excellent underground service, which offers single tickets for just €3.60 and 24h tickets for €8.40. Seven different ferries serve the harbor and the River Elbe.

The Deutschland-Ticket is a new option introduced in 2023, allowing you to travel on all public transport all over Germany for only €49 per month. It also includes unlimited travel on all local trains, if you feel like exploring the country, it’s an excellent option. You can buy this ticket from the HVV, Hamburg’s public transport company, or Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German national railway company, online and at travel centers.

Taxi and Car-sharing
Picking up a taxi on the street is very easy in Hamburg. The base fare is around €4, then an additional €2 for every kilometer traveled. Another option is car-sharing apps, which offer an alternative to taxis and can be a convenient way to travel around Hamburg. 

Sightseeing in Hamburg

Hamburg attracts thousands of visitors from around Germany, Europe, and the entire world every year thanks to some incredible landmarks and attractions.

Speicherstadt
The Speicherstadt is the largest continuous warehouse complex in the world. Featuring Gothic architecture from the late 19th century, this incredible area is characterized by its gables, turrets, and canal barges.

The City Guide to Hamburg: A view of the Speicherstadt

Elbphilharmonie
The Elbphilharmonie is an exceptional music venue that also happens to be a true architectural masterpiece. Everything from pop to classical music wows audiences here. The venue is also the home of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra.

Port of Hamburg
The Port of Hamburg is the third-largest commercial port in Europe. Take a barge tour of this historic port, or visit the many museum ships to get an idea of this area’s prestigious history.

The Reeperbahn
The Reeperbahn is the entertainment district of Hamburg — filled with dozens of nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and live music venues. The area is also home to one of Hamburg’s football clubs (FC St. Pauli) and the city’s red-light district.

The City Guide to Hamburg: a view of the Reeperbahn district

St. Michaelis Church “Michel”
The beautiful St. Michaelis Church, commonly referred to as the Michel has been rebuilt three times since 1641. As well as being a breathtaking example of German architecture, the Church is also home to the “Hamburg HIStory”, a multimedia presentation of Hamburg’s past, on a five-meter panoramic screen.

Fish Market
Hamburg’s famous fish market has been opening its doors to the public every Sunday since 1703. Local fishermen sell their freshly caught fish here.

Welcome to Hamburg!

Whether you are planning a move to Hamburg or already live in Germany, this city is a remarkable place to settle for a number of reasons.

Its vibrant cultural scene, strong economy, and high standard of living set it apart from many other cities. Whether looking for professional opportunities or simply seeking an enriching lifestyle, this thriving German metropolis offers a number of benefits that appeal to residents from all walks of life.

And if you are looking for a furnished apartment, Wunderflats can make your relocation process easier and faster. With a wide selection of quality apartments in Hamburg, helpful customer service, and easy solutions, Wunderflats has everything you need to make your move a success. To get started, visit wunderflats.com.

If you’re also interested in other German cities and enjoyed our guide to Hamburg, take a look at our guides to Berlin and Munich!

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