From infamous to in – living in Hamburg-Altona
Believe it or not, the word Altona comes from the name of a tavern! The establishment in question was often called "all to nah" in Low German, meaning “much too close.” The reason being the tavern was stealing business from the nearby inns located in Hamburg which was a separate city in those days. Thus, according to legend, the name Altona was born. Whatever the actual origins of this district’s name may be, one thing is certain, Hamburg-Altona is diverse. This goes both for its inhabitants as well as for what it offers. The district has everything from the beloved riverwalk along the Elbe and adjoining parks to hip bars and restaurants, to small boutiques and large chains, to old buildings and modern lofts. There are many furnished interim apartments on offer here as well.
Altona is comprised of Altona-Nord, Altona-Altstadt, the very popular Ottensen, and the newly established Neue Mitte-Altona. Each of these residential areas has its own character and environment. The Mitte-Altona district will be expanded substantially in the coming years once the long-distance train station has been relocated from Altona Station to Diebsteich Station.
Short Profile Hamburg-Altona
- great dining
- lovely farmer’s markets
- lively, vibrant residential district
- close to the Fishmarkt, Elbufer (river walk), St.Pauli
- many pubs, cafés and restaurants
- shopping center Mercado with many great little shops
- Germany’s first downtown IKEA
- many schools, day-care centers etc.
- beautiful parks such as Fischers Park
- good public transport connections from Altona train station
Culture in Hamburg-Altona
Once a year the entire neighborhood celebrates the Altonale, an alternative street festival with lots of music, events, artists and international guests. The event has grown over the years, so you can attend a great range of offerings from theater performances, to museum or gallery exhibits, to screenings. The very lively, three-day festival has become famous far beyond the borders of Hamburg. The Altona Museum is perfect for those interested in maritime and regional history. There are a number of local theaters such as the Altonaer Theater and even opera at the Opernloft. There are stage productions for every taste, and sometimes even international guest productions in other languages.
Transportation / getting around
Commuter trains, buses and long-distance trains leave in all directions from the transportation hub Altona station. If you’re staying in the neighborhood, a bicycle is very useful on the winding, often one-way streets. Hamburg has many stations for call bikes (Stadtrad), a very cost-effective alternative! A bicycle will get you to many places quickly, for instance the Altonaer Balkon a popular park with a great view of the harbor and the river.
Elbe River and Fishmarkt
Officially, the Altona district reaches all the way to the Elbe, even if it does feel a lot like St. Pauli near the water. If your Saturday night doesn’t end until Sunday morning, it is worth visiting the famous Fishmarkt. Starting at 5 o’clock in the morning (7 o’clock in winter), market criers entertain partygoers and tourists. Fish, fruit, vegetables, plants and clothes change hands with great to-do. The Fishmarkt is a great starting point for those who like to sleep in as well! The historic fish auction building with the Elbe in the background is a lovely sight. In both summer and winter, you can stroll west down the riverwalk promenade to the Elbstrand, a popular sandy beach. Many cafés, restaurants and beach clubs are located along this riverside promenade.