Accommodation in Hamburg

Updated 2024-03-25 12:27

Are you looking for accommodation in Hamburg? This probably means that you are ready to move to this unique city in northern Germany, which has about two million people. Even though Hamburg is known as one of the friendliest and most easygoing cities in Europe, remember not to throw your housewarming party or move your furniture on a Sunday. By German law, Sunday is a quiet day (i.e., Ruhetag), and neighbors have to respect each other's right to a peaceful time before the start of the week.

Reasons to set up home in Hamburg

In the 1100s and 1200s, Hamburg was an important trade center in the European continent, and it was an independent city until 1815 when it joined the German Federation. Today, the city carries its Hanseatic legacy, as it remains an economic power and a cosmopolitan hub, having great respect for the values of diversity, freedom, and autonomy. Living in Hamburg can be beneficial for your career, as colossal companies such as Airbus, Nivea, and Montblanc have their offices here. 

Besides, Hamburg offers an excellent work–life balance thanks to the city's attachment to nature. In 1919, city planner Fritz Schumacher envisioned a city with designated recreational spaces amid its residential areas and designed green corridors to link the city to the countryside. Even today, Hamburg and its residents have stayed loyal to their value of respecting nature and incorporating it into their busy day-to-day lives. So, whether you want to hike or cycle along one of the several rivers flowing through Hamburg (e.g., Wandse, Elbe, Bille), pick your fruits from one of the fruit farms just outside the city, or jog after work in one of the city's gorgeous parks such as Stadtpark and Volkspark, there will always be an excuse to spend time in nature. 

Good to know: 

Seasoned cyclists keen on undertaking multi-day cycling adventures will be happy to know that there is a 470-kilometer-long route that connects Hamburg and Bremen with Elberadweg.

Useful links: 

GrünesNetzHamburg (Green Network Hamburg) 

Planetarium Hamburg at Stadtpark is for cultural programs such as films, concerts, and views of the city. 

Hamburg's neighborhoods

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 neighborhoods, including downtown Hamburg, Schanzenviertel, Neustadt, Winterhude, Speicherstadt, St. Pauli, and more. Overall, these areas have everything you need within walking distance and vibrant nightlife, and they are more popular among tourists and travelers. However, accommodation is usually very expensive. Eimsbüttel (the most densely populated district in Hamburg), Neustadt, Schanzenviertel, and Rotherbaum near the Outer Lake Alster and Hoheluft are popular neighborhoods with expatriates. Students are also likely to hang out in these areas for their cafes, restaurants, 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 tributary of the Elbe River close to the city center. Formerly a student area, the area is now dominated by those with higher incomes, as rental and purchase prices are above average. Ottensen on the right bank of the river Elbe, Uni-Viertel, Sternschanze (Hamburg's best-known entertainment and nightlife hub), and Bahrenfeld are also considered residential neighborhoods, which at the same time are very close to the city center (a 20-minute bike ride away) and have their own shops, cafes, and restaurants. In other words, they bring center-like quality as they attract many people but are much more relaxed than St.Pauli.  

Mitte's center hosts the town hall, large office buildings composing a vivid business district, and a big shopping area with bars, restaurants, museums, and musical theatres. Mitte is also home to the historic Speicherstadt harbor, the Inner Alster Lake, the Reeperbahn red-light district, St. Pauli, and Hamburg's new Hafen City, an urban development on the waterfront. 

Good to know: 

Eimsbüttel is highly preferred by expats, especially young families, thanks to its many parks, art nouveau buildings, and relatively moderate rental rates.

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 northeast of Hamburg with many family houses and large apartment complexes, as well as lively shopping streets. Despite being home to the Botanischer Sondergarten Wandsbek (The Botanic Garden), which offers fantastic relaxing opportunities, Wandsbeck has low-priced rentals. Harburg and Bergedorf are the south boroughs of Hamburg, linking the city with residential and rural areas. The former independent town of Harburg is conveniently located, with a station and favorable rental and purchase prices, making Harburg a popular holiday destination and a student town due to the Technical University there.

Alster, on the lake's shores, is surrounded by huge green spaces, providing a healthy and peaceful environment and access to various sports and leisure activities. In Elbstrand, you can enjoy a beautiful sunny day on a sandy beach with a harbor view.

Kleingärten in Hamburg: Connect with nature

Kleingärten (i.e., small gardens) are community gardens for urban residents of all ages and walks of life to spend quality time close to nature, have a playground for the children, hang out with their neighbors, and even grow their own organic fruits and vegetables. They are prevalent in Hamburg. However, these gardens date back to the 1800s and have always been a breath of fresh air in densely populated and built-up areas across Germany. Kleingärten are organized in settlements (i.e., Kolonien), each made of several gardens administered by a society. The tenants of a garden must be active members of the society (Kleingartenverein) and follow some basic rules. Currently, there are more than 33,000 gardens scattered across Hamburg, covering an area of more than 14 million square meters. 

Good to know: 

Separating organic, paper, glass, plastic, and metal waste and properly disposing of electronic and hazardous waste is part of everyday life in Hamburg. Clothes can be disposed of in special textile containers for donation. 

Useful link: 

Apply for an allotment at the Landesverband der Gartenfreunde Hamburg.

Rent prices and utility bills in Hamburg

Several types of accommodation are available in Hamburg: vacation houses, rooms in shared houses, apartments, and detached houses. Rent prices, of course, vary according to the type of housing, the comfort level, and the neighborhood. Rentals are significantly higher in and around the city center than in the outskirts. You will need an average of 1,200 euros for a single-bedroom apartment (50m²) in the city center and around 2,200 euros for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center. In the outskirts, the rent is about 800 euros and 1,600 euros respectively. To secure the place, you must pay a Kaution (i.e., a deposit), which is usually equivalent to two or three months' rent. 

Some of the rent prices you will see or hear include utilities (Warmmiete), and others don't (Kaltmiete). You should make sure to obtain clear information about this information from the house owner and have it also stated in the contract. Electricity and gas are provided by private companies. As a result, the competition is big, and therefore, customer services are up to a high standard. In Hamburg, the default provider is Hamburg Energie, but it is relatively easy to switch providers. The tap water in Hamburg is drinkable, and it is supplied by Hamburg Wasser. Now, for telecommunications companies (i.e., internet, phone, and cable television), options are abundant, and the deals are many. The main issue when installing the internet, for example, is that it may take several weeks before you are connected. 

Good to know: 

Zimmer (i.e., rooms) in a listing indicates the number of bedrooms and living rooms. For example, a three-room apartment may have two bedrooms and a living room. Also, in Germany, the first floor is the first floor above the ground, whereas the ground floor is called Erdgeschoss (EG) or Parterre. 

Useful link: 

Hamburg Wasser

Finding accommodation in Hamburg

The housing market in Hamburg is quite competitive. However, that should not discourage you, as there are many ways to find rentals. First, have a clear idea about what apartment you want and what conditions it has to meet — minimum size, maximum budget for rent, pet-friendly, location, commute to work by bus or train. As soon as you have found several places, you should be ready to show some documents to the house owner in order to be considered for viewing or an offer. These documents usually include proof of your monthly income (i.e., a copy of your last payslip, bank statement, or work contract), a reference letter or contact details from the previous owner from whom you were renting, and a residence permit. Some house owners may additionally ask for your Schufa report (credit score) obtained online from the Schufa website and a guarantor (Bürge), who guarantees that they will pay your rent in the event that you are unable to pay it.  

Scammers are a reality, and the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to be vigilant. Don't pay money upfront if you don't know the identity of the person you are transferring the money to; haven't viewed the place; haven't met the owner in person or a trustworthy contact who is in charge of the property; are asked to pay a deposit in order to get the keys; pictures of the property are showing a luxurious estate, which is not representative of the price. Also, the Mieterverein (i.e., tenants' association) in Hamburg advises not to register with a service company for a fee to obtain address lists of housing ads. 

Useful links: 


WG Gesucht


WG Suche




Gartenstadt Hamburg (association)

Hamburg-Wandsbek 1897 (association) 

Hansa Baugenossenschaft (association) 

Wohnungsbörse (real estate agency) 

Bonava (real estate agency) 

Immowelt (real estate agency) 

Hamburger Abendblatt (publishes accommodation ads on Saturdays)

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