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Facts about Hamburg

Hamburg is a major city and port in the north of Germany. With around 10,000 ships docking every year, the Port of Hamburg is Germany’s biggest seaport. And as Europe’s second largest container port, Hamburg is also a major player on the international scene. The River Elbe links the city directly to the North Sea.

As well as its many canals, Hamburg is full of parkland and green spaces. The famous Jungfernstieg boulevard links the new part of town (Neustadt) to the old (Altstadt) and as you walk along it you will also find landmarks like St. Michael’s Church. Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city after Berlin, with more than 1.8 million inhabitants.

Hamburg is regarded – not without reason – as one of the cities offering the best quality of life in the world. As well as many cafés and restaurants, Hamburg is full of cultural enticements. The St. Pauli quarter (home to the Reeperbahn) and Elbphilharmonie concert hall enjoy international reputations.  

Hamburg neighbourhoods

As in every popular major city, finding affordable accommodation in Hamburg is not easy.

Eimsbüttel is one of the most popular – and densely populated – neighbourhoods in Hamburg. Eimsbüttel is in the city centre and has excellent transport connections. The borough also boasts many parks, as well as an impressive variety of old buildings. The lively Schanzenviertel (Sternschanze) district with its many cafés and bars is one of the borough’s most popular areas, especially with young people.

Winterhude is a somewhat quieter neighbourhood in the north of Hamburg. Northern Winterhude is characterised by picturesque buildings old and new, with an impressive selection of traditional shops and boutiques. The district is also very popular because it is so close to the Außenalster (Outer Alster lake), Stadtpark and city centre. However, rent here is generally higher than average.

Bergedorf lies in the southeast of Hamburg. Here you’ll find everything from high-rise housing estates to apartment blocks through to large villas. Bergedorf is particularly famous for its 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres!) of flower, fruit and vegetable gardens.

Ottensen is in the west of Hamburg, close to Altona station. As well as many old buildings, this part of town also has plenty of attractions for shoppers. And the nightlife is another major attraction! There are lots of bars and pubs around Alma-Wartenberg Square, which is why Ottensen is also known as “Altona’s Schanzenviertel” (see above under Eimsbüttel). The fact that Ottensen is close to the River Elbe and offers a wide variety of cultural activities is another reason for its popularity.

Altona-Altstadt is a multicultural neighbourhood, enjoying excellent transport connections to the city centre. It is very popular with native Hamburgers because it is so close to the River Elbe and the green belt.

Now regarded as a trendy multicultural neighbourhood, St. Georg lies alongside Hamburg’s Außenalster lake. While the nightlife is lively, there are also plenty of cultural activities to enjoy. This is where you’ll find the Deutsches Schauspielhaus (Germany’s largest theatre) and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum of Art and Industry).

St. Pauli doesn’t just boast the famous Reeperbahn with its surrounding entertainments, but also has a good infrastructure. A lot of students live in St. Pauli. Both the Schanzenviertel and many museums are very close by, and the nightlife is especially active. St. Pauli enjoys cult status, and is one of the most popular, diverse and dynamic parts of Hamburg.

Getting around Hamburg

Because Hamburg is a very big city with plenty of things to see and do all over town, it’s not the easiest place to explore on foot. But Hamburg has an excellent public transport network, making it very easy to get around the city. The best ways to travel include the U-Bahn (metro), S-Bahn (suburban rail) and bus services. The ferry is a great option if you’d like to take a trip along the Elbe from HafenCity (“Harbour City”) to Teufelsbrück (Devil’s Bridge).

Our campus is also easy to reach, with good transport connections in all directions. You can walk to our campus from Hamburg’s main railway station in just 10 minutes. Trains and buses depart every few minutes. From the airport, it takes about 30 minutes to reach the city centre by S-Bahn.

Socialising in Hamburg

Hamburg is a city of many parts, with plenty of opportunities for entertainment. Make sure you take a tour of the harbour and visit HafenCity and Speicherstadt. Lovers of the outdoors will enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Elbe or swimming in the river. And there’s plenty of street art, as well as some fine museums (like Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s largest model railway museum). And of course Hamburg is especially famous for the Reeperbahn and the fish market. Revellers in the Schanzenviertel and St. Pauli districts regularly turn night into day!

It’s also well worth taking out your bike to explore the countryside around Hamburg.

Eating in and eating out

Because the city is so close to the harbour and the sea, fish rolls are a typical Hamburg speciality. But you’ll also find an extraordinary variety of other rolls and pastries, such as Franzbrötchen (a dessert pastry) which is definitely worth sampling.

If you prefer international cuisine, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here too. The many cafés and restaurants offer pretty much any dish or delicacy you could conceivably desire.

Supermarkets like Lidl, Aldi and Rewe can be found on every Hamburg street corner.