Hamburg/Altona-St. Pauli

Altona and St. Pauli are located west of central Hamburg. Altona is a formerly independent city, which existed under the Danish rule east of Hamburg, competing with it both trade-wise and militarily. It was only absorbed into Hamburg in 1937. Between them stood Hamburgischer Berg, a buffer zone that became Hamburg's borough of St. Pauli (named after the parish) in the 19th century. St. Pauli absorbed a part of the former fortifications of Hamburg, which were replaced by a ring of parks along the border of Neustadt.

Get in

Several S- and U-bahn lines link Altona and St.Pauli with the central part of the city. If you're coming by train from elsewhere, you will possibly find Altona railway station useful. For drivers, Altona and St. Pauli are easily accessed from A7 north of Elbe.



Despite having a history almost as long as Hamburg itself, there is little of it left in Altona. Despite the promising name, the Altona-Altstadt has very little of old to offer. For some remains of it, head north up Max-Brauer-Allee and venture into the streets branching out east. Especially nice is the Lornsenplatz. The district is in general a green, residential one, with a lot of post-war construction that is admittedly of little interest.

Unless you want to fish out for nicer of the preserved historic buildings mixed with Neubau, you can safely head for the riverbank soith from Bahnhof Altona, passing by (and perhaps visiting) the district's town hall and museum.

Harbour Area

Dock "Elbe 17" in Hamburg harbour
A HADAG Hafenrundfahrt making its way through the icy water in winter
The U-434 moored in the port of Hamburg
Alter Elbtunnel (St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel)
Museum port Oevelgönne / Neumühlen
Museumshafen Oevelgönne

Sankt Pauli

Sankt Pauli is one of the most populous district in Europe and a melting pot of all different people, thousands of stories and interesting histories. The Reeperbahn street is perhaps its the most defining feature, being a centre of the local nightlife and the city's "red light district". From vaudeville to prostitutes, from bars to sex-shops, you can find an assortment of attractions. Plus, it is frequently visited by a lot of travelers to go shopping for a huge variety of sex-related articles and toys. This is probably one of very few places worldwide where all shopkeepers give you serious and open advice on all kinds of sex-related articles.

Common sense and caution are advised here, as in any such area. It's relatively safe and a definite touristy place to see. A lot of people go there for dinner, live music, theatre, musicals or other non-sex related activities. It is worth pointing out however, that one is likely to be accosted by prostitutes offering their services. If you are not interested, it is best to just ignore them.

The local football club F.C. St.Pauli has a leftist, antifascist fan base, in opposition to right wing hooligans. The team plays in the 2nd Bundesliga, and is one of the most popular teams in Germany. The outstanding character of the area, its inhabitants and also the football club can best be pointed out by the person of the ex-club-president who is also the director of two non sex-related theatres on the Reeperbahn and a well-known figure in Hamburg's and even Germany's gay community. If you get the chance for a ticket of a match, don't miss it.


Schulterblatt Street in Schanzenviertel

This neighbourhood is situated right in between Sankt Pauli, Eimsbüttel, and Altona. Get out Sternschanze station and walk down Schanzenstraße southward to reach the vivid centre of Schanzenviertel. Students and immigrants from all around the world and young creatives give this quarter a unique and urban flair. During the last few years, Schanzenviertel became very popular among even wealthy people. This led to rising living costs on the one hand and a variety of exquisite boutiques on the other. The Schulterblatt street with the Rote Flora building and its galore of bars and restaurants represents the centre of Schanzenviertel. The Rote Flora used to be the last squatted house in Hamburg, it's now left to the squatters for free by the owner. During the week, it is turned into a café, concerts of various styles or other events may also take place. On some days there is cheap (mostly vegan) food available. You can sometimes find fantastic parties for small prices on Friday and Saturday.


The Karolinenviertel is a cozy oasis of local urban life nestled between the fairgrounds and the Millerntor stadium

The Karolinenviertel (also known as Karoviertel) can be compared to the Schanzenviertel, and is comprised of a variety of 19th and 20th-century tenements, which often feature external iron-wrought fire stairs and colourful local stores, giving the area a somewhat American vibe. Locals who favour the area claim that the Schanzenviertel became too popular - and thus crowded - but the Karoviertel is far from quiet. The main attractions are unique apparel shops, some of which are second hand. To get there take the HVV to either Feldstraße (Heiligengeistfeld) or Messehallen subway station.

Altona and Ottensen

Zeisehallen in Ottensen

The former Danish village Ottensen, bordered by the River Elbe in the south and the Altona Station in the east, is not unlike Schanzenviertel, a very hip place to live. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ottensen was mainly populated by Turks, working-class people, and political activists. Nowadays, it is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods. Its situation and the architecture let many inhabitants even today speak of Ottensen as a village. The Fabrik, an alternative concert hall, is situated at Barnerstraße. Only a few blocks away lies Zeisehallen, a formerly occupied fabric hall, nowadays home to a movie theatre, a gallery, a restaurant, and a bookshop. Ottenser Hauptstraße and Bahrenfelder Straße, crossing at the Spritzenplatz, offers a huge variety of small shops and bistros.

The historic villas of Blankenese are picturesquely spread over the green hillsides, with winding streets leading down to Hamburg's most popular beach


Blankenese was a fishing village on the Elbe to the southwest of Hamburg. It lies in a valley between two of the only ridges in the area that runs straight down to the river. This upbeat suburb of Hamburg has more millionaires than any other German city. On pretty weekends, the place will be full of Hamburgers there to enjoy the tiny beaches, the winding streets, and the charming houses. Blankenese is among the most picturesque parts of Hamburg.

To get there, take the S1 to Wedel or the S11 to Blankenese. The train station lies at the top of the valley, on Bahnhofstraße. Go straight across Bahnhofstraße and your will find the banks, an Italian gelateria and café, the market square (markets open early and close at 1PM on W, F, and Sa), the bakeries, grocery store, and post office.







Vintage and second-hand fashion


The Fischmarkt


Given the character of this part of the city, it's hardly surprising that you will find a lot of affordable eateries here.






As of 18 July 2009, glass bottles are banned in the neighborhood of St. Pauli from Friday night until Monday morning. Violating the ban can apparently result in a fine up to €5000. Alcohol is still permitted on the street and vendors can still sell drinks in cans or plastic bottles.

Live music (Rock)


On Fridays and Saturdays there is huge number of parties. You have to go to the Reeperbahn, but it will cost a lot and often the parties there are not more than "normal". There are different subcultures and good underground parties you should look for. In the summertime, you can get a free open-air goa. Lots of electronic stuff, like Drum'N'Bass. Look for a "Drumbule" soundsystem party. Hamburg used to have a great Hip-Hop culture, but it is declining. Most parties don't end until the early hours on weekends. Some of the clubs are having an open end, depending on the party.

Sometimes it is helpful to check out the monthly magazine Prinz which is available for €1 in most supermarkets and newspaper outlets - in there you will find most of the events that are happening in Hamburg. It's written in German.

If you are interested in electro parties here are some good clubs to go to:





Due to the district's youthful character and many facilities supporting the party lifestyle, St. Pauli has a wide range of youth hostels. At the same time, the local hotels cater to business visitors of the trade fairs. Further south at Altona's riverbank you will find a range of accommodations with a view and a price for it.



Economy hotels


The architecture of the Radisson gives it an almost American ambiance



This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.