Hamburg City Information
Our guide will have you feeling like a local before you even get to Hamburg. Read on to learn the layout of the city.
Hamburg sits on the northern bank along the huge harbor of the Elbe River. Most of Hamburg's action can be found in the region bordered by its two major lakes, Aussenalster and Binnenalster, to the north and a string of parks to the west.
The Hauptbahnhof (the main train station) is centrally located, close to most of the Hamburg's sights. Take the Kirchenallee exit of the Hauptbahnhof north to the Aussenalster's eastern bank area, St. Georg, if you're seeking Hamburg's gay scene. Here, along Lange Reihe, you'll find quiet, café-lined streets. Or, take Steintorwall south from the Hauptbahnhof along the Kunstmeile (Art Mile), a row of museums between the Alster Lakes and the Elbe.
If you want shopping, head toward Monckebergstrasse (just south of the station and perpendicular to Steintorwall), Hamburg's infamous hopping shopping street that runs all the way west to the Rathausmarkt. Between the Rathausmarkt and northwestern Gansemarkt is the ritzy Hanseviertel area, where you'll find a majority of Hamburg's banks, galleries, auction houses, and fancy "window-shopping" district. Head further north and you'll run into the intellectual university scene of the Dammtor and western Rotherbaum areas.
Then you can head west from the university and hang with the politically-charged Schanzenviertel community artists, squatters, (and predominantly Turkish community) or you can head northeast from the university to the shores of Aussenalster's banks, where you'll find banks of money invested into the gorgeous homes of Hamburg's wealthiest area. Stick to this area if you are looking for top-quality outdoor markets. If this sweet scene doesn't do it for you, head to the southwest bank of the Elbe, Reeperbahn, the sex-trade and discoteque capital of Hamburg.
This port city is Germany's self-described 'capital of lust.' What does this tell us? Stay away from the train station. (They're already sketchy enough!) The two best hostels are in the Sternschanze area, which is vibrant and young at heart. Expect to pay between €15 and €20 a night to enjoy this artistic party-town.