Hamburg is found near the Elbe River's mouth in Northern Germany, and has a population of more than 1.8 million inhabitants, with a large number of expatriates having come from across the globe. In fact, being one of the major German cities, Hamburg attracts foreigners not only for its economic prosperity but also for its rich historical and cultural background. Hamburg also provides a range of accommodation options for all tastes and all budgets, so you will have no trouble finding accommodation if you are planning to settle there.
Hamburg consists of seven municipal regions, namely Mitte, Altona, Eimsbüttel, North Hamburg, Wandsbek, Harburg and Bergedorf. These in turn are divided into several dynamic and vibrant neighbourhoods, including downtown, Schanzenviertel, Neustadt, Winterhude, Speicherstadt, St. Pauli, etc..
Eimsbüttel, Neustadt, Schanzenviertel, Rotherbaum, Eppendorf and Hoheluft are popular with expatriates. Students are also likely to hang out in these areas, enjoying the cafes, restaurants and other leisure activities. Winterhude, Ottensen, Uni-viertel and Sternschanze are more residential neighbourhoods that also have some shops, friendly cafes and nice restaurants.
As regards the city centre in Mitte, it hosts not only the town hall and big office buildings but also the city’s largest shopping area and business district, shops, bars and restaurants as well as museums and musical theatres. Mitte is home to the historic Speicherstadt, the seaport, the Inner Alster lake, Hamburg’s new Hafen City, Neustadt and the St. Pauli red light district. However, it can be quite difficult to find affordable accommodation there as you are more likely to find hotels and serviced apartments.
Eimsbüttel is not only one of the most popular, but also one of the most densely populated districts in Hamburg. Its central and traffic-favourable location, many parks, and art nouveau buildings, combined with relatively moderate rental rates makes this district particularly popular among young families. Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude and Rotherbaum are attractive, lively quarters near the Outer Lake Alster with numerous cafes, shops and bars.
Eppendorf and Winterhude are the more fancy quarters of North Hamburg with beautiful old buildings, many parks and a great location on the Alster while being close to the city centre. A formerly student area, the area is now dominated by those in higher incomes. Accordingly, rental and purchase prices are abovve average for the city.
The Altona district embeds popular areas like Ottensen on the right bank of the river Elbe and Sternschanze (or Schanzenviertel), Hamburg’s best known entertainment and nightlife hub. Both quarters are close to the city centre with many bars and restaurants. Blankenese is one of the most exclusive quarters of Hamburg with chic mansions and villas. Its famous Treppenviertel (Stair quarter) stretches to the banks of the Elbe.
Wandsbeck is a densely populated district in the north-east of Hamburg with many family houses and large apartment complexes. It is known for its lively shopping streets, proximity to green spaces and low-priced rentals.
Harburg and Bergedorf are located in the south, lining the city with residential and rural areas. The former independent city of Harburg is conveniently located, with a station and favorable rental and purchase prices making Harburg a popular holiday destination. Part of Harburg is also the Phoenix-Viertel, which has a reputation of drug criminality. However, rehabilitation is in process and with the Technical University, more and more students are settling in Harburg.
Alster is found on the lake's shores and is surrounded by huge green spaces that provide a healthy and peaceful environment, along with access to various sports and leisure activities. In Elbstrand, you will be able to enjoy a beautiful sunny day on a sandy beach with a harbour view.
Good to know:
Newcomers in Hamburg are advised to avoid some neighbourhoods such as Reeperbahn, Herbert Street and Große Freiheit in St. Pauli red light district, as well as St. Georg. Though you may find cheaper housing in these areas, they are considered to be less 'safe' than some of the other area mentioned above.
Cost of renting in Hamburg
Several types of accommodation options are available in Hamburg: vacation houses, rooms, flats, apartments, houses, etc. Room or flat sharing is also quite common. Rent prices of course vary according to the type of housing, the comfort level and neighbourhood. Thus, these are higher in and around the city centre than in the outskirts.
In early 2017 the average rental price in Hamburg was around €12.00 per square metre. In fact, you will need an average of €670 for a single-bedroom apartment (50m²) and around €1,600 for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre. In the outskirts, you will need an average of €500 for a single-bedroom apartment and some €975 for a three bedroom apartment.
Looking for accommodation in Hamburg
It is rather easy to find accommodation in Hamburg, mainly through the Internet. You can also view classified ads in local newspapers if you are already on the spot or seek help from a real estate agency. The Hamburger Abendblatt publishes an extensive offer of accommodation on Saturdays.
Good to know:
The Mieterverein (tenants’ association) in Hamburg advises not to register with a service company for a fee, in order to obtain address lists of free housing. The likelihood of obtaining potential housing offers is low and often results in disappointment and lost money.