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An independent city until 1938, Altona lies across the ‘border’ from Sankt Pauli and still exudes a free spirit. This part of Hamburg is home to hip thirty-somethings, art students and other creative personalities. Pedestrian streets lined with boutiques, designer stores and galleries alternate with bistros and beach bars – a refreshing change from Hamburg’s busy city centre.
Perhaps it’s the history of Altona that lends the district its unique atmosphere. Originally Danish, Altona was one of the most important port cities in the Danish Kingdom. The city was independent for many years and was only incorporated into Hamburg in 1938. The neighbourhood still exudes some of this independent free spirit. This is the place in Hamburg to find independent clothing stores, alternative record shops and designer furniture.
To explore Altona’s shops, begin in the Ottenser Hauptstraße, a pleasant lively shopping street. Take a look at Der Schaukelstuhl (the rocking chair), a small interior design store that specialises in rocking chairs and high-quality sofa beds. For sweet temptations visit B.Sweet, a few doors down, for an interesting combination of artfully presented chocolates and sets of lingerie. At the end of the street you will find Adler Altona, an irresistible shop with men's clothing and accessories by brands that are hard to find in other parts of Germany.
“Chocolates and lingerie sets at B.Sweet”
For even more creativity and originality, continue your shopping adventure in a northerly direction. Visit Retube, located on the Hohenesch, where old tractor tyres have found a new purpose as hip designer bags. Further north you will encounter Fabrik, a former factory hall that hosts a popular neighbourhood market on weekends. In addition to (second-hand) jewellery, clothing and art, you will also find all kinds of homemade delicacies – from bread and jam to rhubarb syrup. A perfect place for brunch.