Where to Stay in Hamburg: Best Areas and Hotels
If you’re wondering where to stay in Hamburg, or where is the best area to stay in Hamburg, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will give an insight into the best places to stay in Hamburg for first time visitors, couples, families, backpackers, all budget travelers; read on as I show you the best of Hamburg.
The second largest city in Germany and 7th largest in the European Union, Hamburg lies on the River Elbe and features some of the most stunning areas in the country, outside of Bavaria.
While much of what is on offer in Hamburg is located around the city centre, there are still a number of different locations to choose from when it comes to deciding on where to stay.
So, if you’re planning your own trip to Hamburg but haven’t decided where in the city to stay yet, I strongly suggest reading on.
Where to Stay in Hamburg: Tips & Info
Before we begin, there are a few things you may want to consider before reading, in order to help you come to your decision as quickly as possible.
For example, if history, shopping and culture are your priorities, then staying in the city centre, in either Altstadt or Neustadt, would be the best fit.
If nightlife is your priority, or you want to be near ChinaTown, then St Pauli is probably the best place for you to stay. That said, if you are middle eastern or part of the LGBT community, you may prefer St. Georg.
If you would like to try a more emerging neighbourhood, then Hafencity and Speicherstadt are both great options. Or perhaps you are more interested in visiting parks than you are the more built-up sections of the city, in which case Dammtor or Blankenese would be a better fit.
Whatever it is you are looking for; chances are Hamburg will have something to offer you. If you keep things like this and any other essential requirements you may have in mind while reading, it will greatly improve your chances of getting your destination absolutely spot on.
Where to Stay in Hamburg – The 8 Best Areas to Stay in Hamburg
So, now that you know exactly what to look for, it’s time to get down to business. I’m going to show you what I believe to be the best 8 areas in the city. I will explain what they offer and why you would want to stay there.
Hopefully after that, you will be much clearer on where you want to stay when you make your own visit to the city.
Where to Stay in Hamburg Map
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1. Altstadt – Where to Stay in Hamburg for First Time Visitors
We begin in the city centre of Hamburg, Altstadt. The old town part of the city, this is a location brimming with history and iconic locations.
For starters, it has a collection of 5 iconic churches for visitors to explore. The most famous of these, the church of St. Nikolai, serves as a towering memorial against war.
Then there is the fabulous collection of museums on offer, where visitors can learn about the art and history of the area first-hand. They also have a number of cultural institutions as well, such as theatre’s and convention centres.
Perhaps the most famous attraction in the city though, is Hamburg Rathaus. The acting city hall, it is an incredible Renaissance Revival building, situated in the Rathausmarkt square. One of the most iconic and historical buildings in the city, it is a must see for anyone visiting Hamburg.
The square in front of the Rathaus often hosts festivals and events as well, such as the city’s main Christmas market. This means if you visit at the right time, you will be able to see the stunning building while enjoying the events and activities that are taking place in front of it.
For those who enjoy a little culture without all of the history, this is also one of the best shopping areas in the city. Beautiful squares, such as Mönckebergstrasse and Spitalerstraße, are surrounded by a wide and diverse range of shops. This allows people to purchase souvenirs and local products, while still taking in the culture of the city.
STAY IN ALTSTADT IF:
- You are interested in the history of the city
- You enjoy shopping
- You are a fan of churches, museums and galleries
- You want to be in the centre of the city
2. Neustadt – Where to Stay in Hamburg for Shopping
The second stop we will be making is in Neustadt, a quarter that borders the Old Town of Altstadt. As you may expect from such an area, it features many similar sites and attractions to its neighbour.
The Gansemarkt square and St. Michaelis church are two of the most prominent and important attractions in the city and both can be found in Neustadt. This makes it an ideal destination for anyone wanting to visit those locations.
In many ways, Neustadt slightly lags behind Altstadt when it comes to popularity. However, there is one area it takes the lead in and that is shopping.
The Neuer Wall passage is an upmarket shopping street, that is essentially Hamburg’s answer to the fabled Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Then there is the Jungfernstieg, the city’s most prominent boulevard. These locations provide visitors with a diverse range of shops to choose from, ideal for those wanting to indulge in a little retail therapy, no matter what your personal taste may be.
If you are intent on doing shopping during your time in the city, while still taking in plenty of its most famous sites, this should be a strong candidate for where you choose to stay.
STAY IN NEUSTADT IF:
- Shopping is one of the priorities on your trip
- You want to be in the heart of the city
- You want to see some of the most important and famous locations in Hamburg
3. St. Pauli – Where to Stay in Hamburg for Nightlife
We’re now going to head west to St. Pauli, located on the right bank of the Elbe River. One of the most popular destinations in Hamburg, St. Pauli is the undisputed king of nightlife in the city.
Hamburg is an unusually quiet city in terms of nightlife, with many places closing by 9 or 10pm, even on Friday and Saturday nights. St. Pauli, however, does not seem to follow this trend.
Known for its famous and historic red-light district, the area, most specifically around the Reeperbahn portion of the district, features a wide range of wild and vibrant activities. A distinctly adult oriented area, what’s on offer here is vastly different to the majority of the city.
Bars, clubs and restaurants, boasting music and entertainment from a range of tastes, entertain customers late into the night, offering a dramatic change of pace to the rest of Hamburg.
It is also the location of Hamburg’s “ChinaTown” area. Home to many Asian people, there are plenty of shops and restaurants catering to those looking for some eastern cuisine or products.
Outside of the bars, clubs and restaurants, there are still a few other attractions on offer in the district. For starters it is home to St. Pauli football club, who can usually be found playing in the second tier of German football. While by no means the most successful team in the city, they do have a passionate fanbase, even with those outside of Germany.
There is a museum and a few other cultural sites on offer here too, so you can explore the area’s history as well. Although considering how close it is to the city centre, you may be better off travelling in and enjoying the greater selection on offer there.
STAY IN ST. PAULI IF:
- Nightlife is a priority on your visit
- You want to be located near the centre of the city but not actually in it
- You are attending an FC St. Pauli football match
- You want to visit the red-light district or take a trip to China Town
4. Hafencity – Best Area to Stay in Hamburg on Budget
Our next destination is located to the south of the city centre, on the Grasbrook island in the Elbe River – Hafencity. The former port of the city, it is now considered to be an urban regeneration project.
This means that new shops and hotels are constantly being built, in addition to private residences and office blocks. Offering a slightly slower pace to the centre of the city, it gives visitors the chance to stay in a more relaxed environment, while being easily able to travel in when they choose to.
In addition to the prominent location, the blossoming neighbourhood is an ideal place to stay for those on a budget. With an array of wonderful shops, bars and restaurants, in an area that hasn’t yet established a reputation, you can make the most of some of the best value to be had in the city.
There are also a few noteworthy attractions in the area as well as the shops and bars. For starters, the old port is located here. This makes a great stop for anyone interested in traditional boats and you can even book tickets to sail on one. Speaking of which, major cruises also dock here, making Hafencity a perfect location for anyone planning to take a cruise or stopping in Hamburg while already on one.
The other notable attraction in the area is the Elbphilharmonie. First opened in 2017, it is one of the largest concert halls in the entire world. Whether you are visiting to attend an event or simply want to marvel at its architecture, it is well worth stopping to see while you’re in the city.
STAY IN HAFENCITY IF:
- You are attending and event at, or simply want to see, the Elbphilharmonie
- You are taking a cruise or stopping off while already on one
- You are travelling on a budget
- You want to stay on an island
- You like river views
- You want to sail on a traditional boat
- You want to be located near the city centre but not actually in it
5. Speicherstadt – Best Area to Stay in Hamburg with River Views
The next stop is an area that is technically a part of Hafencity, though for all intents and purposes is considered its own quarter. Speicherstadt literally translates to “City Of Warehouses”, so it is perhaps unsurprising that it is Hamburg’s warehouse district. In fact, it is the largest warehouse district in the entire world where the buildings stand on timber-pile foundations.
While at first glance that may not sound like the ideal place to stay on a vacation, it has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, it was the first location in Hamburg to be awarded the distinction.
Situated on the bank of the river, it features stunning buildings that represent that history of the city. If you enjoy walking along rivers and taking in beautiful architecture, Speicherstadt is the best place in Hamburg to do so.
In addition to that, as a developing neighbourhood, the prices here are slightly lower than will be found elsewhere in the city. That said, accommodation is more limited here. So, if you do plan on staying here, you may want to reserve your hotel early.
Admittedly, it is certainly an area that will only appeal to a specific type of traveller. However, if you are one of those people, this is a location that could be a real hidden gem.
STAY IN SPEICHERSTADT IF:
- You want to stay in an emerging district
- You like beautiful architecture
- You like walking along rivers with stunning views
- You are happy to book well in advance
6. St. Georg – Where to Stay in Hamburg for LGBT
Next up we travel just to the north of the city centre, to the neighbourhood of St. Georg. Situated on the bank of Aussenalster lake, this is a location that provides some of the most stunning views in Hamburg.
Featuring some of the best value accommodation in the city, many visitors who are travelling on a budget will opt to stay here, as they will get so much more for their money. Being just a 20-minute walk along the shore of the lake from the city centre, it offers visitors quick and pleasant access back into the heart of the city. This allows them to enjoy everything Altstadt has to offer, without having to pay the premium required to stay there.
Another reason it is popular among visitors is that it is Hamburg’s major transport hub. The Hamburg Hauptbahnhof railway station and Hamburg Central Bus Station, both the largest of their kind in the city, are located here.
With regular long-distance buses and trains in and out of the city, this is the ideal spot for anyone travelling via either of those means who is worried about missing their train or having to drag their luggage all over the city.
Outside of this there is a strong middle eastern presence in the area, as well as a long running LGBT district, affectionately nicknamed the gaybourhood. People from either of those communities who come to the city often choose to stay in St. Georg, as they can immediately feel at ease and at home.
STAY IN ST. GEORG IF:
- You are travelling in or out of the city by train or bus and want to remain near the station
- You are travelling on a budget
- You want to be just on the edge of the city centre but not actually in it
- You are part of the middle eastern or LGBT communities
7. Dammtor – Beautiful Park Area to Stay in Hamburg
Our penultimate destination of Dammtor is technically a location outside of the traditional quarters of Hamburg. This is an area of the city where the attraction is different to what is found elsewhere, as the main selling point here is its fantastic parks.
The Moorweide and Gustav-Mahler-Park are both stunning locations, with wide open spaces and beautiful statues. However, neither compare to the crown jewel of the region, Planten Un Blomen.
Featuring greenhouses, a Japanese garden and the old botanical garden, it is a location where you can marvel at natural wonders from around the world. You can even find prominent sculptures, such as the Kriegerdenkmal war memorial.
For the more active among you, the park also features a play area and regularly hosts water-light concerts, public theatre shows and live musical performances.
While it may not be as abundant with history and culture as the city centre, anyone who prefers staying in a more open, natural area, while still being able to quickly travel in to see the sites, will be more than happy with what’s on offer here.
STAY IN DAMMTOR IF:
- You want to explore the city’s most beautiful parks
- You aren’t worried about being out of the centre of the city
8. Blankenese – Beautiful Parks and Beaches Area to Stay in Hamburg
Our final destination of Blankenese is the first we will look at that is located far away from the city centre. It can be found on the bank of the Elbe River, at the western most point of the city.
Known primarily as a residential area, it also features a number of high-end, exclusive hotels. Historically a fishing village, it is now one of the most affluent areas in the city. Visitors who come here are generally looking for a more relaxed experience, hoping to enjoy strolling around, looking at some of the stunning views on offer.
Among the attractions in the area are a number of parks and lighthouses, offering fabulous destinations for walking enthusiasts. There are also two shipwrecks on the beach that are fabulous attractions to explore while you’re there.
Outside of scenery, sports fans are also drawn to the area at certain times throughout the year. The most prominent sporting attraction is the EuroEyes CyClassics, the only German World Tour Race. Held annually for over 20 years, the streets of Blankenese are included in the course several times, while the Waseberg hill, considered to be the hardest part of the entire race, is also located here.
If you happen to be visiting at the time of the race, it is a fantastic occasion to get caught up in. If not, this is still a great destination to come for a relaxing vacation.
STAY IN BLANKENESE IF:
- You want to witness the EuroEyes CyClassics race
- You enjoy walking in beautiful parks and on beaches
- You love river views
- You aren’t worried about money
So, that is our list of the 8 best places to stay in Hamburg taken care of. Hopefully this will have helped most of you come to your decision on where to stay while you’re in town. However, for everyone who is still unsure, I will now answer a few of the most frequently asked questions people have about the city, to try and help you come to your decision.
FAQs on Where to Stay in Hamburg
- Where To Stay In Hamburg For A Weekend?
- Where To Stay In Hamburg For Tourists/Sightseeing?
- Where To Stay In Hamburg City Centre?
- Where To Stay In Hamburg For Nightlife?
- Where To Stay In Hamburg For A Stag Do Or Hen Party?
- Where To Stay In Hamburg For Christmas Markets?
- Where To Stay In Hamburg If You’re Gay?
Where To Stay In Hamburg For A Weekend?
For anyone visiting Hamburg for a weekend, I would recommend staying in St Georg. Located just outside the city centre, it is only a short walk back into town, which allows you to explore some of the more local areas as well as the famous attractions. This gives you a much better representation of the overall city.
You also get much more for your money too, with hotels like the Relaxa Hotel Bellevue An Der Alster. A beautiful hotel with stunning lake views, friendly staff and a price you won’t believe, it makes a perfect choice for a weekend break to Hamburg.
Where To Stay In Hamburg For Tourists/Sightseeing?
When it comes to tourists and those looking for sightseeing, the city centre is the ideal destination. Home to the Old Town part of the city, as well as its main shopping district, it features many of the most popular attractions on offer in Hamburg.
Not only that but its central location makes it quick and easy to explore the surrounding areas as well. This means staying here will allow you to fit as much sightseeing into your stay as possible, without worrying about wasting time travelling from place to place.
Where To Stay In Hamburg City Centre?
Following on from our previous question, if you do decide to stay in the city centre, I would recommend staying at the Sofitel Hamburg Alter Wall. A 5-star hotel, with a “fabulous” rating, it is located right at the heart of the city, on one of its most exclusive shopping streets.
This leaves you perfectly positioned to explore the city, while coming back to luxury every evening. Just what you want after a long day of sightseeing, so you can rest up to do it all again tomorrow.
Where To Stay In Hamburg For Nightlife?
When it comes to nightlife, Hamburg is a city that closes down for the night much earlier than you would normally expect. However, the district of St. Pauli is known to be the more risqué part of the city. With clubs, bars and other entertainment specifically geared towards adults and nightlife, this is the ideal place to stay if that is your priority during your visit.
The ARCOTEL Onyx Hamburg is a beautiful, 4-star hotel, with a “fabulous” rating. Located on St. Pauli’s famous Reeperbahn, it is the ideal spot to enjoy a trip filled with wild nights.
Where To Stay In Hamburg For A Stag Do Or Hen Party?
If you are visiting Hamburg for a stag do or hen party, I would again recommend staying in St. Pauli. Known for its clubs and bars, it is also home to a few more “X-rated” forms of entertainment. While certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, locations such as strip bars may appeal to many groups looking for a wild weekend before the guest of honour ties the knot.
It is also the location of the famous red-light district which, while it is definitely a more specialised attraction, will certainly appeal to some stag parties.
Much like above, if you do choose to stay here for your stag do or hen party, I would again recommend staying at the ARCOTEL Onyx Hamburg. Its location and quality simply can’t be beaten, perfectly crowning a memorable stay on your final weekend of freedom.
Where To Stay In Hamburg For Christmas Markets?
For anyone visiting Hamburg to experience the Christmas markets, I’d highly recommend staying in the city centre. While the markets spring up all over the city, the biggest, most popular markets are found in the heart of the city, where you will also find the greatest number of them as well.
Not only that but it also leaves you perfectly positioned to travel to the surrounding areas and their markets as well. Just like I did above, in terms of accommodation, I would again recommend the Sofitel Hamburg Alter Wall as the perfect place to stay during your visit.
Where To Stay In Hamburg If You’re Gay?
Hamburg in general is known as an incredibly inviting city for members of the LGBT community. That said, perhaps nowhere is as accommodating as St. Georg, a section of which has even been affectionately nicknamed the gaybourhood.
Featuring some of the best gay bars and even a gallery dedicated to the history of the community in the city as well, it is the perfect place to make you feel at home. It is even located right next to the city centre, making it perfect for when you want to explore the more mainstream attractions too.
The Hotel City House is a 4-star hotel with a “fabulous” rating, located in the gaybourhood. A perfect destination to make you feel comfortable throughout your stay, in every sense of the word.
Hamburg is a wonderful city, especially around Christmas, and one which will give most visitors plenty to explore while they’re there. While many of the attractions are located in close proximity to one another, there are still things spread around that will appeal to different groups of people.
Hopefully this article has helped you determine where is best to stay for your particular group. Now all that’s left is for you to go and start getting things booked, so you can experience it all for yourself.