The student’s guide to moving to Hamburg

6 min read

If you’re moving to Hamburg soon, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind. From finding an apartment and packing, to researching part-time jobs and cheap transit options—there’s plenty to plan when you’re heading to a new city. At N26, we’re always looking for new ways to make your life easier. That’s why we created this guide packed with practical tips and helpful links to help you get settled in Hamburg. Let’s go!

Finding a place to live in Hamburg

It’s no secret that the housing market in German cities is competitive. But don’t worry—if you start looking early and diversify your search, you’ll likely find a great place. First, try to get in the habit of looking on a regular basis. Spending 15 minutes per day rather than 3 hours once in a while helps reduce stress and helps you feel more in control.

Here are some more tips on how to find an apartment or flat share in Hamburg: 

  • Online. There are many different online platforms, such as WG-Gesucht, HousingAnywhere, ImmobilienScout24, Wunderflats, ebay Kleinanzeigen, as well as a variety of Facebook groups. Naturally, you’ll have lots of competition, which is why you’ll need to act fast. Preparation is key—set up a nice profile, have all your documents ready, and save a template with your letter of application. You might even want to consider getting a premium membership at a site like ImmobilienScout24 to spot new apartment listings early.

  • Offline. It might come as a surprise, but looking for a flat offline isn’t a thing of the past. Quite a few people advertise their apartments in newspapers, or on bulletin boards at universities and supermarkets. You can even place your own ad, or ask friends from Hamburg to spread the word for you.  

Already found an apartment? Great news! If you’re sharing it with roommates, why not conveniently manage your bills with tools like Shared Spaces? Simply create a sub-account and share it with up to 10 people. This way, everyone can transfer their share of the rent and utility bills and budget together. You’ll make your parents proud!

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What to do in Hamburg on the weekend

From walking along the canals of the Alster and exploring art galleries to having drinks on the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli, Hamburg has a lot to offer—even when you’re on a budget. As a student, you’ll benefit from discounts on food and coffee, as well as reduced fares at movie theaters, concerts, and exhibitions. For example, instead of €14, you’ll only pay €8 to visit the Hamburger Kunsthalle. And, if you’re an art student, you’ll get in for free!

Hamburg’s architecture is worth exploring, too—and you can experience all of it without spending a dime. Stroll through the historic Speicherstadt, located in the former port of Hamburg and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2015. It’s part of the HafenCity quarter, an ongoing urbanization project. And, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the impressive Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Then, visit the equally historic but far quirkier Gängeviertel. Saved from demolition by local activists, this building is now home to young artists and features exhibitions, parties, concerts, and readings.

Exploring the city is even more fun when you do it with friends! After a long day, you can settle in for beers and food in one of Hamburg’s affordable but delicious restaurants. Plus, most places in Hamburg offer safe, contactless payments, so all you’ll need is your smartphone or debit card. 

How to get around in Hamburg

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, so having a (second-hand) bike is a must—it’s a budget-friendly, sustainable, and healthy way to get around. Plus, Hamburg is quite flat and there are numerous bike lanes throughout the city—which makes cycling a lot of fun (if you don’t mind a strong Northern breeze!). 

If your legs get tired, just rent an electric bike or scooter from Lime. Thanks to N26 Perks, you can enjoy 2 months of Lime Prime for free. And in case it rains, just hop on Hamburg’s public transport! With the Semesterticket from the Hamburg transport association—HVV—you’ll have free access to the U-, S-, and A-trains, as well as buses and ferries. The €177.60 cost of this universal student transit pass is already included in your biannual semester fee, so it’s definitely worth using it!

Want to escape the buzz of the city and discover Hamburg’s green surroundings? With your Semesterticket, you can travel all the way to Lüneburger Heide and the Alte Land to get a taste of nature. Plus, outside rush hours, you can take your bike with you for free to do some exploring. To learn more about the Semesterticket, where to get a used bike, and how to travel home on the cheap, check our guide to student transport on a budget.  

How to get a student job in Hamburg 

Rent, electricity, internet, food, transport, culture—as a student, you’ll suddenly have to deal with a variety of brand new expenses. Luckily, there are different ways to get some extra cash if you need it. In addition to applying for a study loan or scholarship, you can look for a part-time job. The minimum wage in Germany is €9.60 an hour, but you can easily earn more. As a delivery driver for companies like Wolt, for example, you can earn up to €15/hour. 

There are various online platforms that regularly post student jobs. To explore your options, check out Zenjobs, Jobmensa, Stellenwerk Hamburg, Gelegenheitsjobs, Joblift, and the official employment website of the city of Hamburg. Consider getting started with one of these side hustles:

  • Waiting tables at a restaurant or working as a barista

  • Delivering food, groceries, or packages

  • Selling tickets and popcorn at a movie theater

  • Working as a promoter

  • Helping out at the local supermarket

  • Offering guided tours (once you know your way around Hamburg)

  • Working at a local company related to your field of study

Whatever you do, just remember that student jobs come with a few conditions. Working more than 20 hours a week can affect your health insurance status, leading to higher monthly fees. Plus, if you receive BAföG financial aid and earn over €450 a month, the additional earnings will be deducted from your grant.

Having some extra cash in the bank can also tempt you to start spending. If you want to keep yourself in check, have your wages sent directly to a sub-account. With N26 Spaces, you can get up to 10 sub-accounts with unique IBANs to help you budget like a pro. Simply create one for your salary income and start saving right away.

Your money at N26

You’re just a few steps away from your new life in Hamburg. There’s so much to learn and discover—that’s why N26 gives you the power to manage your money in a smart, intuitive, 100% mobile way. Make instant payments to all your N26 contacts with MoneyBeam. Get to know your spending habits thanks to Statistics, the feature that automatically categorizes your spending and presents it in an easy-to-read chart. Plus, with Split the Bill, say goodbye to awkward post-dinner calculations after a night out with friends. Sign up today and discover everything your new N26 student bank account has to offer!  

Budgeting made simple

N26 Spaces sub-accounts make it easy to set money aside for your goals in just a few taps.
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By N26

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