The top residential locations in the Free and Hanseatic City

According to the old saying, there’s no more beautiful gray sky than a Hamburg gray sky. While that might be a question of opinion, there’s one thing no one can argue about: Hamburg is among the world’s most livable cities.

It’s no secret that Hamburg has a great deal to offer. It’s close to the sea, the Elbe and Alster rivers, it has several major employers and a unique cultural scene. It’s no coincidence that the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is home to more millionaires than any other city in Germany. At the last count, there were 42,000. Nevertheless, it’s clear that not every part of the city offers the same quality of upscale living.

In fact, demand for residential property is strongest in waterfront, river and lakeside locations, making them particularly exclusive and expensive. The sumptuous villas and houses that surround the Outer Alster lake are among the most impressive in Hamburg, largely thanks to their central location and sophisticated environs. Despite being just a hop, skip and a jump from central Hamburg, there’s almost no trace of the hustle and bustle of big city life. The whole area is characterized by green spaces, mature trees and the expansive waters of the Outer Alster.

The Outer Alster is encircled by the districts of Uhlenhorst and St. Georg to the east and the districts of Rotherbaum and Harvestehude in the west. These last two, in particular, are regarded as particularly coveted and exclusive. This is where Hamburg’s most affluent citizens enjoy life in resplendent residences such as the Alstervillen or Sophienpalais. The composition of the neighborhoods includes venerable, core renovated period buildings to new developments that blend seamlessly into the luxurious architectural landscape.

Other popular districts include Eimsbüttel am Isebekkanal and Eppendorf an der Alster, along with the Elb suburbs. And one of the most expensive places to live in Hamburg is Elbstraße in Altona-Altstadt, where buyers pay up to EUR 15,000 per square meter. That’s only topped by Havestehuder Weg in Harvestehude, where square meter prices can reach up to EUR 16,000.

Then there’s Hamburg HafenCity, which truly is a one-of-a-kind city district. It was only officially founded in 2008 and comprises several modern quarter developments, including Strandkai, Überseequartier and Oberhafen. HafenCity’s USP: a majority of the new buildings are set directly on or very close to the water. Canals run through the entire former harbor area, lending HafenCity the look and feel of an ultra-modern Venice. In attractive contrast to Harvestehude’s venerable villas, the buildings of HafenCity are characterized by their contemporary straight lines and expansive glass facades.

HafenCity is not only attractive as a residential area, but also as a sought-after business hub. Global players such as Unilever and Hapag-Lloyd have their headquarters here. In addition, the Elbarkaden is an attractive shopping destination and there are a host of studios, showrooms, restaurants and cafés, all of which combine to make HafenCity a vibrant urban quarter.