Where to stay in Hamburg for first time: 3 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Hamburg as a first-time visitor can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Hamburg for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Hamburg for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Hamburg and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany after Berlin and is known for its maritime history, cultural attractions, and vibrant atmosphere. It is one of the largest and busiest ports in Europe, situated on the River Elbe. 

The city is home to various landmarks and attractions. The Speicherstadt, a historic warehouse district with red-brick buildings, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Elbphilharmonie, a modern concert hall with striking architecture, is another notable landmark.

Hamburg has a rich cultural scene with numerous theaters, museums, and galleries. The city is known for its diverse music scene, and a vibrant nightlife with various clubs and music venues.

The Reeperbahn is a famous entertainment district in the St. Pauli neighborhood, known for its nightlife, bars, and theaters. It has a reputation as Hamburg’s red-light district but is also a popular area for entertainment and music.

The city has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trains, and ferries. The Hamburg Airport is a major international airport connecting the city to destinations worldwide.

Is Hamburg safe to visit?

Hamburg, like most of Germany, is generally safe to visit. Like any other major city, it is important to be mindful of your belongings in crowded places such as the Reeperbahn area to avoid pickpocketing.

It is recommended to avoid wandering in some areas in St. Pauli and St. Georg at night. These include the side streets and corners around the Red light district in St. Pauli. As long as you are on the main strip of the Reeperbahn area and exercise basic precautions, you’ll be fine. 

In the lively St. Georg district, it is best to avoid the areas between Lange Reihe and Steindamm, including Steindamm itself and Hansaplatz. 

Where to stay in Hamburg for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Hamburg for first-timers and tourists are Altstadt, Neustadt, and Hafencity. Safety can vary from street to street, so it is always important to take standard precautions wherever you go.

Hamburg city center, which include Altstadt and Neustadt, is the most popular area for first-time visitors. Altstadt is the historic heart of Hamburg, featuring picturesque narrow streets, historic buildings, and landmarks like the City Hall and St. Michael’s Church. You’ll find traditional German architecture, charming squares, and a range of restaurants and cafes.

Neustadt is also a central neighborhood located between the old town and St. Pauli district. It offers a lively atmosphere with many trendy shops, restaurants, and bars. 

Hafencity is a modern and upscale area with contemporary architecture, the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, and waterfront views. It’s a great choice for those who enjoy a more cosmopolitan environment.

During my trip to Hamburg, I stayed at the Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg. It was a great hotel located in a strategic location, easy access to the main sights, shopping streets, and Stadthausbrücke train station. 5-10 mins walk to  St. Michel Church, the Harbor, and Lake Alster. My room was spacious and had a good view. 

Below is a map of the popular areas in Hamburg for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Hamburg first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Hamburg first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Hamburg, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Hamburg have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

3 Safe areas to stay in Hamburg for first-timers and tourists:

1. Altstadt

Altstadt (Old Town) is an excellent base in Hamburg, especially for first-timers who appreciate history, charming architecture, and a central location. 

Altstadt is the oldest part of Hamburg, packed with narrow cobblestone streets, medieval buildings, and landmarks such as the City Hall and St. Michael’s Church. 

Altstadt’s central location means you’ll have easy access to many of Hamburg’s main attractions. You can explore the nearby shopping streets, visit museums and historical sites within walking distance.

Additionally, it is very-well served to public transportation with numerous U-bahn stations in the area. It is also close to Hamburg Central Station, a major transportation hub, providing various train services, including high-speed trains, connecting Hamburg to cities across Germany and beyond.

You can take a scenic walk along the waterfront along the Elbe River. You can enjoy beautiful views of the river and perhaps take a boat tour to explore Hamburg.

Altstadt offers a variety of dining options, ranging from traditional German cuisine to international fare. You’ll also find cozy cafes, pubs, and wine bars where you can relax and soak in the local atmosphere.

Best places to stay in Hamburg in Altstadt for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Fraser Suites Hamburg, 5-star hotel located in the center of Hamburg, within walking distance to major sights including Miniatur Wunderland, St. Michael’s Church, and Town Hall. Easy access to the metro. It has bike/car rental services, 24-hour front desk, good soundproof rooms, and good breakfast.

Mid-range ($$): Sir Nikolai Hotel, part of Sircle Collection, 4-star stylish boutique hotel, centrally located a quiet area in the Hamburg Altstadt district, easy distance from HafenCity, Landungsbrücken , Speicherstad, and Mönckebergstraße. It has comfortable rooms, parking, and a very good breakfast with plenty of choices.

Apartment ($$): Adina Apartment Hotel Hamburg Speicherstadt, great 4-star accommodation in central Hamburg City Center, within walking distance from Mönckebergstraße and the Central Station. The hotel has a private parking, a terrace, indoor swimming pool, and a fitness center.

Budget ($): Motel One Hamburg-Fleetinsel, great hotel located in the prime location on the edge of the old town, easy walking distance to popular points of interest. Close to St. Michael’s Church, St. Pauli Piers, Elbphilharmonie concert hall, and the Port. Short walk away from the S-bahn.


2. Neustadt

Neustadt is a great area in Hamburg to book your accommodation. It has a central location and is very well connected to public transportation. It is border with the Old town in the west,  Alster Lake to the north, St. Pauli to the east and the River to the south.

You’ll have easy access to all major sights on foot and metro. There are numerous green spaces in the area, including the Planten un Blomen parkland with themed gardens and japanese tea house, Kleine Wallanlagen urban park, Große Wallanlagen park on the site of the old city wall, and Alter Elbpark.

Best places to stay in Hamburg in Neustadt for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, 5-star hotel located in the New Town in the heart of Hamburg. It is a short distance from Alster Lake, the Jungfernstieg shopping street, the Staatsoper Opera and CCH Exhibition Center. Easy access to Gänsemarkt Underground Station. It has a lakeside terrace, family rooms, and a wonderful breakfast.

Mid-range ($$): TORTUE HAMBURG – Schöner als die Fantasie, 4-star  boutique hotel is directly in Hamburg city center, within easy walking distance of Hamburg’s main shopping areas such as the Neuer Wall and Mönckebergstraße shopping streets. Also close to Jungfernstieg, Gänsemarkt, and Inner Alster Lake.

Mid-range ($$): THE MADISON Hotel Hamburg, 4-star hotel in Hamburg New Town, offering studios and suites with a fully-equipped kitchenette. Good base to explore the city on foot and by public transportation.

Budget ($): Hotel Hafentor, 3-star hotel, well located in central Hamburg, 5 mins walk from St. Pauli Piers. Close proximity to major public transportation (S and U-Bahn) but rooms are quiet for good night sleep. Easy to get to the central station and major attractions.


3. Hafencity

Hafencity is an excellent location to stay in Hamburg, particularly for those who appreciate modern architecture, upscale living, and a vibrant waterfront atmosphere. 

Hafencity is known for its contemporary architecture, and the iconic Elbphilharmonie concert hall is a major highlight. The district showcases modern urban planning, and many of the buildings offer stunning views of the Elbe River.

Hafencity is situated along the waterfront, providing a unique and picturesque setting. You can enjoy strolls along the promenades, relax in parks overlooking the river, and even take boat tours to explore the area by water.

If you appreciate the arts, you’ll have easy access to concerts, performances, and cultural events. Additionally, the International Maritime Museum is nearby, offering insights into maritime history.

Hafencity features a mix of high-end shops, boutiques, and upscale restaurants. It generally offers a more relaxed atmosphere compared to the lively nightlife of areas like St. Pauli.

Hafencity is well-connected to the rest of Hamburg, making it easy to explore other neighborhoods and attractions. 

Best places to stay in Hamburg in Hafencity for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): The Westin Hamburg, popular 5-star hotel in a prime location in the HafenCity district, great place if you are going to a concert at Elbphilharmonie. Rooms are spacious with a great view of the city and harbor.  10 mins walk to a subway station for links to City Hall and Alster Lake.

Mid-range ($$): Holiday Inn – Hamburg – HafenCity, an IHG Hotel, 4-star hotel in the vibrant HafenCity district, walking distance from the River Elbe, Speicherstadt warehouse buildings. Easy access to buses and HafenCity Universität Underground Station to explore the city. 

Mid-range ($$): PIERDREI Hotel HafenCity Hamburg, 4-star accommodation, in a great location,  Close to everywhere centra. 10-20 mins walk from Elbphilharmonie, Dialogue House, and the Central Station. It has wonderful breakfast, onsite parking, family rooms, and 2 restaurants.


In conclusion, Altstadt, Neustadt, and Hafencity are the best places to stay in Hamburg for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas that provide plenty of accommodations for all budgets and preferences.

You can continue reading about other destinations in Germany in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Hamburg. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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