Altona and St. Pauli are west of central Hamburg. Altona used to be an independent city. It existed under the Danish rule east of Hamburg, competing with it in trade and militarily. It was 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.
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 that of Hamburg, 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.
- 2 Landungsbrücken (St. Pauli Piers). The old passenger docks, from which (among many others) many of the emigrants to the Americas from eastern Europe left in the 19th century. Today they are a tourist hotspot, as the departure point for harbour tours and many public transport ferries. The stroll eastwards along the water from the S-Bahn station "Landungsbrücken" all the way to the HafenCity is very pleasant (although there is a large construction site halfway down, which was to be finished in late 2018).
- 3 U-434, St. Pauli Fischmarkt 10 (S1-S3 to Reeperbahn. Then walk 700m to Fischmarkt), ☎ . M-Sa 09:00-20:00; Su 11:00-20:00. One of the biggest non-nuclear Soviet submarines, moored near to the Fischmarkt. Guided tours are possible. €9 adults, €6 children.
- 4 Alter Elbtunnel (St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel) (you find the tunnel at Landungsbrücken in the building having the biggest green dome; signs to "Aussichtspunkt Steinwerder" also point to it). Completed in 1911, it links both sides of the river Elbe. A lift or stairs bring you the 24 m down into the tunnel. You then walk through one of its two 427-m-long pipes having 12 m of water over your head. At the other side, you again walk up the stairs or take a lift. The tunnel is decorated with ceramic arts of maritime motifs (e.g. fish, mussels, seals, old boots). For pedestrians and bicycles it is free and open all day and night, every day. Even cars can pass though the tunnel (only M-F 05:30-20:00 for €2) being brought down with four lifts.
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.
- 6 Hamburger Dom (Take the U-Bahn to Feldstraße or Sankt Pauli). Three times a year (Mar, Aug, and Nov). A large fair held at Heiligengeistfeld fair ground. With three fairs (spring, summer and winter) per year it is the biggest and the longest fair throughout Germany and attracts every one approximately ten million visitors per year.
- 7 Reeperbahn. A street and entertainment district in Hamburg's St. Pauli district, one of the two centres of Hamburg's nightlife (with Schanze) and also the city's major red-light district. In German it is also called die sündigste Meile (the most sinful mile) and nicknamed Kiez. The Reeperbahn Festival is among the largest club festivals.
- 8 Hafenstraße (Hafenstraße at Balduintreppe, between Landungsbrücken and the fish market). The street was a place for squatters in the 1980s and was well known by the media when there were "battles" between the Autonomous movement and the police. Some squats still exist there, though the "80s-Myth" is dead. You can go to the Punksbar "onkel otto" or eat at the "VoKü" ("Volxküche" - a group cooking event, at which the meal is served free of charge or at cost).
- 9 Beatles-Platz (Beatles Square) (at the corner of Reeperbahn and Grosse Freiheit). There is a sculpture honoring the Beatles. Also in the Reeperbahn area are clubs where the Beatles played at various times from 1960 to 1962, including the Indra club and Star Club.
- 10 Grosse Freiheit (Great Freedom). In the pedestrian street there are a lot of bars and clubs - a great place to go in the evening, although it's very crowded and it may get a bit dangerous in the weekend. On weekdays, it is harmless here - a low-budget tip is, 99 Cent Bar, which offers really many drinks for basically €1. On the weekend, you will have to pay an entrance fee of €1 but it's still the best place to go drinking on a budget. The street was named in 1610 after the fact that Count Ernest of Schaumburg and Holstein-Pinneberg had granted religious freedom to non-Lutherans such as Mennonites and Roman Catholics to practice their faith here and commercial freedom for handcrafters not enrolled in the else compelling guilds. Today it is part of the red light district.
This neighbourhood is 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. Schanzenviertel has become 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.
- 11 Rote Flora. This building 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 (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
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 factory building that is now home to a movie theatre, a gallery, a restaurant, and a bookshop. Ottenser Hauptstraße and Bahrenfelder Straße, crossing at the Spritzenplatz, offer a huge variety of small shops and bistros.
- 12 Christianskirche. Baroque church in Ottensen.
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 sunny 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 13:00 on W, F, and Sa), the bakeries, grocery store, and post office.
- 13 Planten un Blomen (Subway and S-Bahn station Dammtor). A park in the city with an emphasis on flower displays.
- 14 Jenisch park (Down the river Elbe close to Teufelsbrück). The oldest landscaped park in Hamburg. Two museums, Jenisch House and Ernst Barlach House, are in the park. Flottbek River flows through the park and into the Elbe at Teufelsbrück.
- 15 Baurs Park. Nice park with views to the Elbe river.
- 16 Loki Schmidt Garten (Botanischer Garten der Universität Hamburg), Ohnhorststraße (S-Bahn S1 station Klein Flottbek). Daily open from 09:00 to about 1 hour before sunset. Free.
- 1 St. Pauli Theater. It opened in 1841 as the Urania Theater and took its present name in 1941.
- 2 Schmidt Theater, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Schmidt Theater is a private theater at Spielbudenplatz. It consists of two venues, the Schmidt Theater itself and the Schmidts Tivoli (also known as Grosses Haus), which is just a stone's throw away.
- 3 Schmidt-Theater, Spielbudenplatz 24. Theatre, variety, cabaret, concerts, and satirical revues.
- 4 Schmidts Tivoli (Grosses Haus), Spielbudenplatz 27. Avant-garde shows and high-class musicals. The world-famous musical Cabaret and the successful musical compendium Fifty Fifty were staged here.
- Hafenrundfahrten. From Landungsbrücken, you can make boat tours into the harbour, available from various companies and take around an hour. Big ships provide more comfort, but smaller ships also go through the Speicherstadt. Both are well worth the money. Inquire about English language tours.
- HADAG Ferries. A low-budget alternative for a boat tour on the river Elbe. A part of Hamburg's public transport system (HVV). If you have already bought a HVV day ticket, the ride is free. Most tourists take ferry 62 from Landungsbrücken to Finkenwerder, via Neumühlen with the museum harbour Oevelgönne. The whole ride to Finkenwerder and return takes about an hour, and on weekends with good weather this ferry will be very full. In Finkenwerder, you can continue with another ferry to Teufelsbrück (Line 64 which is also part of the HVV) or just walk around on this island, which is a quarter of Hamburg. It has nice old houses, some places to eat and a great view of the harbor business as it is close to the container terminal. Another route from Landungsbrücken is the ferry line number 72 in the Hafencity to the station Elbphilharmonie. You have a good view to the harbour with the Überseebrücke and Sandtorhöft.
- 5 On Stage, Am Felde 56 (Close to Altona train station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 08:00-22:30, Sa Su 10:00-20:00. Fitness center and dance studio. €10 daypass.
- 6 Volksparkstadion. Formerly HSH Nordbank Arena, AOL Arena and Imtech Arena, this is the stadium of the local Bundesliga football/soccer club HSV. Newly constructed and reopened in 2000, it is arguably the prettiest stadium in Germany with a great atmosphere. In addition to guided tours, it also features a museum presenting the history of the club. The HSV distinguishes itself as the team with the longest continued stint in the first division, being the last founding member of the 1963 Bundesliga to have never relegated as of May 2015. They have a "Bundesliga-clock" on prominent display showing how long this era has lasted. See also the HSV website.
- 7 Millerntor-Stadion. The home of the famous Bundesliga football/soccer club FC St. Pauli. It lacks the modernity and prettiness of the Volksparkstadion, yet its atmosphere during games is unique and well worth a visit. The Millerntor-Stadion is located at the east end of the Reeperbahn. Nearest station is St. Pauli on the underground line U3.
Vintage and second-hand fashion
- 1 Hot Dogs, Marktstraße 38 (U-Bahn Feldstraße/ U-Bahn Messehallen). Best assorted true vintage and deadstock clothing of the past 15 to 90 years you will be able to find at Hot Dogs.
- 2 Kleidermarkt, Max-Brauer-Allee 174 (S-Bahn Holstenstraße). New and second-hand.
Given the character of this part of the city, it's hardly surprising that you will find a lot of affordable eateries here.
- 1 St. Pauli Fischmarkt (Walking from Landungsbrücken down the river Elbe). For Germans, it's a classic to eat bread with fish on St. Pauli Fischmarkt, especially very early in the Sunday morning (meaning 05:00 - 09:30) when visiting Hamburg. If for breakfast or as an after-party snack may depend on your inner clock, but if you are a fresh fish lover it is absolutely worth it since this fish was just fished during the night in Nordsee.
- 2 Joker, Reeperbahn 153. Great for a quick bite before going out in the area. Try the Oriental Chicken!
- 3 Lühmanns Teestube, Blankeneser Landstraße 29 (take the S-Bahn to Blankenese, and walk west on Blankeneser Landstraße from the station). M-F 09:00-23:00, Sa 09:00-18:00, Su 10:00-23:00. Friendly local café. Light fare and local specialties, wonderful pies, and baked goods. Their Cornish tea with fresh scones is worth trying. €5-15.
- 4 Feldstern, Sternstraße 2 (U-Feldstraße). M-F from 12:00, Sa Su from 09:00. Cozy pub/restaurant with affordable German food and outside seating in the summer. Nice lunch menu from 12:00-16:00 on weekdays.
- 5 Ristorante Borsalino. M-F 12:00-15:00 and 18:00-00:00; Sa 18:00-00:00. Sternstraße 125, three minutes from S-Bahn station Sternschanze in the trendy neighbourhood of Schanzenviertel. Pizzas start from €6, fresh pasta is around €7-10 (try Pasta Mista), the meat dishes are delicious (it is right next to the "Schlachthof"-Slaughterhouse) and the four course menu is at €19.50. From 12:00-15:00 they serve a lunch menu for €6.50. Reservations recommended.
- 6 Kombüse, Bernhard Nocht Str 51, ☎ . 16:00-23:00. Mexican meets Hamburg punk/alternative. Excellent fresh ingredients. Vegan & veggie options (but also meat for the carnivores), with a huge range of hot sauces. Prices are low (€10.50 or less) and portions are huge.
- 7 Köz Urfa, Paul-Nevermann-Platz 2-4 (just outside the Altona train station), ☎ . 8am-3am.
- 8 Lokma, Susannenstraße 16. It is not without reason that a lot of Turkish people love this place. Take the S11 subway and get out at Sternschanze. From there Lokma is seven minutes away.
- 9 Pamukkale Grill and Restaurant, Susannenstraße 34-35. One of the oldest Doener stores in Hamburg. Operates a takeaway bistro and a restaurant.
- 10 Falafel factory, Schanzenstraße 101 (next to S-Sternschanze). €2.60-3.10.
- 11 Azeitona, Beckstraße 17-19. There you can also get other great oriental food and smoke a shisha. price €2.50.
- 12 Aladin, Bahrenfelderstraße 221 (Ottensen/Altona).
- 13 Falafelstern, Schanzenstraße 111 (next to S-Sternschanze). price €3-3.50.
- 14 Bullerei, Lagerstraße 34, B (At Sternschanze station), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Modern and cool steak restaurant.
- 15 Delta Bistro, Lagerstraße 11 (on an intermediate floor within the wholesale storehouse of a large restaurant supplier). Surprisingly cozy atmosphere. High quality meat and fish, but the menu offers some vegetarian dishes, too. Dishes are huge and the preparation quality comes close to star-awarded locations. It is advisable to reserve a table in advance, especially on Fridays and Saturdays in the autumn and winter months. Main dishes are from €12 to 20.
- 16 Fischereihafen-Restaurant, ☎ . Große Elbstraße 143. Excellent view of parts of the port and the river Elbe. Many celebs have dined here, including English royals.
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)
- 1 The Academy, Hans-Albers-Platz 16 (right off the Reeperbahn). People in wheelchairs not always welcome.
- 2 Molly Malone, Hans-Albers-Platz 20 (right off the Reeperbahn).
- 3 Lehmitz, Reeperbahn 17. free entry.
- 4 Thomas Read, Nobistor 10. Irish pub.
- 5 Molotow/Meanie bar, Spielbudenplatz 5 (Reeperbahn). A retro bar and a great little venue in the cellar hosting alternative live acts.
- 6 Knust, Neuer Kamp 30. Concert location and club
- 7 Headcrash, Hamburger Berg 13. Concert location and club. free entry.
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:
- 8 Baalsaal, Reeperbahn 25. St. Pauli, ext to the Spielbudenplatz. Usually house and electro, sometimes drum'n'bass.
- The 9 Waagenbau and the 10 Fundbureau are both smaller clubs in Altona, close to the Max-Brauer-Allee. Admission is normally between €5-10, depending on the night. Parties usually don't start before 11-12 p.m.
- 11 Uebel und Gefährlich, Feldstraße 66. In a former bunker from WWII and can be found near St. Pauli in Feldstraße. Easy to reach with the metro U3. Music used to be more hard house and electro but is changing nowadays from day to day.
- 12 Tunnel, Große Freiheit 10. Opens Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m.. If you are more into Trance, Techno and Schranz the Tunnel might be a good place. Admission is around €10..
- 13 Moondoo, Reeperbahn 136. For upscale clubbing check out the club Moondoo right in the middle of the Reeperbahn. The door policy is strict, but the DJs are usually excellent (especially Saturdays).
- 14 Cafe Klatsch, Glashüttenstraße 17. A small cafe serving breakfast and other tidbits in a very cozy environment with friendly staff.
- 15 La Tazza d'oro, Ottenser Hauptstraße 53.
- 16 MarYSol, Ottenser Hauptstraße 36. A tapas bar.
- 17 Piazza (in the "Schulterblatt" (Schanze)). You will find a high number of bars and cafés here, many of Portuguese or Spanish background.
- 18 Christiansen's Fine Drinks & Cocktails, Pinnasberg 60, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Award winning bar (Playboy Bar of the Year 1998, Best Bartender 2000, Marcellinos Top 10, etc.), open M-Sa at 20:00.
- 19 BPSchanzen1. A tiny bar that houses many different DJs. The atmosphere is very friendly and good music is played. It's opposite the house that is occupied by various leftist fractions. (The yellow building with all the graffiti, named 'rote Flora'.)
- 20 Gun Club, Hopfenstraße 32. 21:00-04:00. Grungy but friendly punk bar in a cellar just off the Davidstraße. Came second in Hamburg Mexikanercontest (Mexikaner is a shot drink very similar to a bloody mary), and it shows - definitely the recommended drink here.
- 21 Komet (Musik Bar), Erichstraße 11. 21:00-?. 1950s, 60s and 70s rock, soul, R&B and similar in an entirely appropriate setting with cinema couches, pulp film posters and a (rather decrepit) Wurlitzer.
- 22 Eldorado, Wohlwillstraße 50, ☎ . 20:00-03:00. 1960s and 1970s music in entirely period setting, with wallpaper and ceiling that seem to be completely original and at least 40 years old, and furniture to match.
- 23 [dead link] Shebeen, Hein-Hoyer-Straße 78. 20:00-04:00. Cheap & cheerful bar with minimalist decoration celebrating St.Pauli FC and other friendly clubs. It's a hangout of the St.Pauli Ultras. Outsiders very welcome, but if you don't agree with what St.Pauli stands for, this is not the place to be. After matches it can get a bit rough if the competition decides to come visit.
- 24 Washington, Bernhard-Nocht Str 79, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Relaxed bar covered in Hunter S. Thompson quotes with atmosphere to match. Small dance floor with DJ who plays everything from psychedelic jazz to German hip-hop. Excellent selection of gin&tonics.
- 25 kir, Barnerstr. 16 (Altona). Gay party called "Love Pop" on Wednesdays and every 2nd Friday in the month from 23:00.
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.
- 1 AO Hostel Reeperbahn, Reeperbahn 154 (Reeperbahn train station and the Große Freiheit street), ☎ . Check-out: 10:00.
- 2 Backpackers St. Pauli, Bernstorffstr. 98, ☎ .
- 3 Schanzenstern, Bartelsstraße 12, ☎ . In the middle of the trendy quarter of Schanzenviertel, 50 beds.
- 4 Instant Sleep Backpacker Hostel, Max-Brauer-Allee 277, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. 45 beds, provides a kitchen. Also in Schanzenviertel.
- 5 Kiezbude, Lincolnstraße 2, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Peter, the owner has done a tremendous job of turning an old brothel into a very unique hostel. The rooms might remind you of their former purpose but are very clean and convenient.
- 6 Kogge, Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 59, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 14:00. Rock'n'Roll Hostel. Has a great bar downstairs. Towel, soap and earplugs supplied for all guests. The latter are telling: if you're looking for complete peace & quiet this is not the place, but if you want to enjoy the nightlife of St.Pauli/Kiez, you could do much worse. Prices almost identical to YHA hostel up the road, but this place rocks more.
- 7 Schanzenstern Altona, Kleine Rainstraße 24-26, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 70 beds.
- 8 Superbude St. Pauli, Juliusstraße 1 - 7, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Cool area with lots of hip shops, bars and near the football stadium. Large and clean, safe neighborhood.
- 9 Meininger Hotel, Goetheallee 11 (S-Bahn: Hamburg Altona), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Double rooms start at €45 per person, dormitory starts at €18. Breakfast €5.90. Distances: 0.5 km Bahnhof Altona.
- 10 Elbe Camp, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. One of few options in Hamburg for campers. Beautifully located right at the Elbe river. Great for ship spotters. €12/person and tent.
- 12 East Hotel, Simon-von-Utrecht Str. 31. Designer hotel with one of the best lounges/bars in town. Very trendy and stylish.
- 13 Empire Riverside Hotel, Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 97 (tramway S1 in direction Wedel or Blankenese and get off at Reeperbahn), ☎ . A hotel in St. Pauli designed by David Chipperfield near Reeperbahn and the harbour. Each rooms is designed with a floor-length panoramic window that allow for a great view from any point in the room.
- 14 Radisson Blu, Marseiller Straße, 2 (next to Dammtor), ☎ . 4-star hotel next to the Botanical Gardens by Dammtor station, the upper floors have stunning views of the city and gardens. Connected to Conference Center Hamburg (CCH) and through it to the fairgrounds. Prices skyrocket during trade fairs.