The dynamic Sternschanze area has the city’s two best backpacker hostels. More expensive hotels line the Binnenalster and eastern Aufienalster. Small, relatively cheap pensions line Steindamm and the area around the Hauptbahnhof, although the prostitutes and wannabe Mafiosi leave something to be desired. Lange Reihe has equivalent options in a cleaner neighborhood. For longer stays, try Mitwohnzen-trale Homecompany, Schulterblatt 112. ( 194 45; www.homecompany.de).
Schanzenstern Ubernachtungs- und Gasthaus, Bartelsstr. 12 (439 84 41). S21 or U3 to Sternschanze, turn left onto Schanzenstr. right on Susannenstr. and left onto Bartelsstr. In an electrifying neighborhood of students, working-class Turks, and left-wing dissenters, the hostel maintains order and a tasteful decor. Dorms ‚17; singles ‚33; doubles ‚55; triples ‚60; quads ‚73; quints ‚91.
B2 Instant Sleep, Max-Brauer-Allee 277 (43 18 23 10). S21 or U3 to Sternschanze. Everyone is part of a big happy family in this backpacker hostel; rooms are often left open while guests lounge together, read, or cook dinner in the communal kitchen. Bike rental ‚4 per 6hr. Sheets ‚2. Internet ‚1 for 15min. Reception daily 9am-2pm. Dorms ‚15; singles ‚26; doubles ‚42; triples ‚57.
Pension Helga Schmidt, Holzdamm 14 (28 21 19). Welcoming pension only 2 blocks from the Hauptbahnhof. Some two room suites; all rooms with TV and phone. Cheaper rooms share a hall shower. Singles ‚35-37; doubles ‚55-65; triples ‚82.
Hotel-Pension Schwanenwik, Schwanenwik 29 (220 09 18). U2 to Munsberg. Leave the station on Mundsburger Damm, go right on Uhlenhorster and left on Schwanenwik. Beautiful rooms near the lake. Breakfast included. Singles ‚44-75; doubles ‚62-90. O
Hotel Annenhof, Lange Reihe 23 (24 34 26). From the train station’s Kirchenailee exit, turn left. Pass the Schauspielhaus, then turn left on Lange Reihe. Simple rooms and soft beds in the gay district. Breakfast ‚4. Singles ‚27; doubles ‚43.
Jugendherberge auf dem Stintfang (HI), Alfred-Wegener-Weg 5 (31 34 88). Take U3 or SI, 2, or 3, to LandungsbrOcke, then head up the hill on the wooded path. Clean and well-furnished rooms look out on the woods or the harbor. Breakfast included. Reception 12:30pm-12:30am. Curfew 2am. Dorms ‚21-24, under-27 ‚19-22.
Schanzenstern Altona, ( 39 91 91 91) Kleiner Rainstr. 24. Take the Offenser Hauptstr. exit from the Altona station. After two blocks, turn right on Bahrneldstr. then left on Kleine Rainstr. Just as good as its counterpart in the Schanzenviertel, but further from the center. Dorms ‚18; singles ‚40; doubles ‚55-65; triples ‚70; quads ‚80.