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Hein Köllisch Platz Ottensen
© ThisIsJulia Photography
© Alexander Schliephake
© ThisIsJulia Photography

One day in Altona & Ottensen

On the go with Claudia

Moin, my name is Claudia. For over 15 years I have been working and living with my family in Ottensen, one of the boroughs in the city of Hamburg with the highest quality of life. As soon as the sun comes out, nearly every café between Ottenser Hauptstraße and Bahrenfelder Straße is packed, and among the mothers and fathers, creative individuals and hedonists, you can maybe find one or two directors, actors or musicians. Ottensen is like a village right in the middle of the greater district of Altona, and it directly borders the eponymous borough. Both neighbourhoods are interlinked by Altona station. On one side, the Max-Brauer-Allee leads to the Große Bergstraße, Altona’s main shopping street, while connecting with the centre of Ottensen on the other side. Brick walls create a rougher charm on Altona’s side, while there is more hustle and bustle on colourful Ottensen’s side. And the best thing is: The Elbe river is very close. I’m delighted to invite you to discover some attractions and insider tips with me.  

Claudia Buchholz
© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas

Cafés upon cafés

You don’t have to look very far to find a café in Ottensen. On the Große Rainstraße, directly behind the Mercado shopping mall (Ottenser Hauptstraße 10), you can choose right away from three lovely cafés: LilliSuKnuth and Tarifa. I enjoy my coffee with cream at Tarifa and like to have a crusty croissant with it before I get on my way across my neighbourhood with its many beautiful old buildings. I walk towards Spritzenplatz and pass by the Möllers smoking pub, which has been holding the fort around here for many years. Next to it, there is a kebab shop, and right across you can find a weekly organic market that takes place once a week. These contrasts are an essential part of Ottensen’s character. At Spritzenplatz, I just have to take a look at s’ Fachl (Bahrenfelder Str. 87-75). Small producers, craftsmen and creative minds offer their exceptional goods here: Honey from Hamburg’s parks, biodegradable urns or rum from St. Pauli.

Industrial halls and sweet manufactory 

Via Bahrenfelder Straße, I arrive at Lindli (Bahrenfelder Straße 129). True to their slogan, “Everything that the world doesn’t need”, you can find many things that will make you laugh. Let’s move on across the Alma-Wartenberg-Platz, where groups of people often gather in the evening. I buy a bag of handmade sweets for my children at Bonscheladen (Friedenallee 12). Behind the counter, there is the kitchen where the sweets are freshly made with organic ingredients, as is customary in Ottensen. Right across, you can find the Zeisehallen (Friedensallee 7-9). Where ship’s propellers used to be made, there is now a cinema (Zeise Kino) and the Eisenstein restaurant, which is famous for its delicious, crispy pizzas.

Did you know?

The name Altona has its roots in an old fisherman pub. It was far too close („all to nah“) to the city borders of Hamburg for the local elites at the time.

Hamburg’s most beautiful balcony

After my lunch at Eisenstein (Friedensallee 9), I take a trip to green Altona. At the rental station at the corner of Eulenstraße and Große Brunnenstraße, I rent a city bike and move along Fischers Allee until Donners Park, while passing Fischers Park with its playgrounds and playing fields. It is beautifully located between Rosengarten and Heinepark. A special highlight is the viewpoint at the northern bank of the Elbe river in Altona. The so-called Altona balcony lies 27 metres above the Elbe and offers a glorious view on the stream and parts of the container port. On the other side, not far away, the neo-classicist façade of Altona’s city hall gleams in the sun. Behind it lies the Altona Theater (Museumstraße 17), which specialises in adapting novels to the stage. I continue by bike towards Große Elbstraße, which runs parallel to the Elbe river from St. Pauli  to Heinepark. You can find some lovely interior decoration stores here, e.g., Hello Home (Große Elbstraße 36), with Scandinavian furniture or Stilwerk (Große Elbstraße 68), with lots of design furniture. Lovers of freshly caught fish have a great choice of bistros and restaurants here, ranging from the small Fischmarkt Bistro (Große Elbstraße 133) to the sushi creations at Henssler & Henssler (Große Elbstraße 160).

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© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas
The Altonaer balcony offers a wonderful view.
© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas
The Altona town hall was built in the neoclassical style.
© Timo Sommer / Lee Maas
Stilwerk in Altona.
The Altonaer Theatre.

Fish specialties and gin cocktails 

If you want to, you can reach Övelgönne by bike in just a few minutes, one of the most beautiful quarters of Altona with its fisher and captain cottages, stalls and restaurants along the Elbe shore. I go to Hamburg-Altona station, where I return the city bike at the rental station and continue by foot towards Große Bergstraße. Here in Altona’s main shopping street, lots of new restaurants and cafés have opened around the furniture store Ikea. I am meeting a friend at Altuna or Altuna Fisch & Çiğköfte (Große Bergstraße 191), to be precise. Here, you can also get fresh fish, seafood and specialities such as spicy little bulgur balls.

Ending the evening

Back in Ottensen, we stop by Mathilde-Bar (Kleine Rainstraße 11), where sometimes there are readings and poetry slam performances, but finally decide to go to Reh-Bar (Ottenser Hauptstraße 52), where they mix first class gin cocktails. 

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© ThisIsJulia Photography

CITY AREA PORTRAIT Altona & Ottensen

For strolling, having a coffee, taking a walk or having some delicious food – situated directly at the Elbe and traversed by parks, Altona & Ottensen are considered to be charming and diverse districts with character. Brick walls create a rather rough atmosphere in Altona, while it is lively and colourful in Ottensen.

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