On the right bank of the River Elbe, lies Altona, an upscale neighbourhood located 10 kilometres west of Hamburg. The Elbe River lies to the south of Altona, Eimsbüttel to the north, Hamburg-Mitte to the east and the state of Schleswig-Holstein to the west. The area has been part of both Germany and Denmark in the past, and this is reflected in Altona’s architecture, museums, markets and botanical gardens.
Altona is abundant with theatres, cultural centres and residences which are housed in old 19th century factories and warehouses. Altona-Altstadt or “Old Town” was once one of the largest towns belonging to Denmark in the Middle Ages. Although many of the buildings were destroyed during World War II, the Old Town still has a charm and character which shouldn’t be overlooked. Altonaer Museum is the perfect place for historians and culture seekers to explore the city’s art and artefact collections. It houses an impressive selection of records and maps which date back to the 16th century. As Altona is located close to the River Elbe and has a rich maritime heritage, the museum also showcases a huge collection of fishing and shipping artefacts. Alternatively, Visitors interested in exploring German military history should head for the U-Boot Museum, located inside a submarine on the river. A short walk via the riverfront is Altonaer Fischmarkt, a vibrant cacophony of sights and sounds, with vendors showcasing their daily catch. Step back into the times of ancient mariners while exploring stalls and sampling delicious seafood. Visitors who enjoy a beverage will relish a visit to Holsten Brewery in Altona-Nord. The two-hour brewery tour offers insight into the complex beer making process and dispenses free samples and complimentary snacks.
Altona is an easy place to navigate, albeit a large area. Walking or cycling from a variety of attractions is possible if the day is planned correctly. Alternatively, frequent public bus services operate throughout the district. Altona has its own railway station, Hamburg-Altona. It is the terminus for long-distance trains heading to southern Germany. The rapid transit trains of the S-Bahn operate from Altona underground station. Visitors preferring to travel by car, taxi or Uber will find the sights of central Hamburg less than half an hour away.
Altona was founded in 1535. At the time, it was a fishing village within the territory of Holstein-Pinneberg. It came under Danish rule in 1640 and became one of the Danish monarchy’s most important harbour towns. Today, many visit Altona to discover more about the dual heritage of the city, explore the harbour, markets, museums and elegant buildings of the old town.