Best cities to commute into Hamburg from, rent vs. transport?

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I've been working and living in Hamburg for almost a year now; unfortunately my interim WG in central Hamburg is about to end, and I have 1-2 months to find a new place. Thought I'd give commuting a chance and am looking at WG offers in neighboring cities in Niedersachsen and Schleswig-Holstein.

 

As I've just started by researching Lüneburg, the average seems to be around €300-350/mo compared to €610/mo for my current sublet in HH. Bahn.de offers an IC/EC Monatskarte at €209 (not sure if HVV pass included). All in all it seems like an attractive option; costs aren't drastically lower but the housing competition seems lower (searching in Hamburg and Berlin was killer) and I don't mind the commute.

 

Thoughts as to what other cities I should look into, especially in terms of comparision between lower rent vs. higher ticket price, and if you're a current commuter into Hamburg, I'd love to hear your story.

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For ease of commute, variety of shops and services and all-round prettiness, Lüneburg is a good choice.  I can't think of a better place to start looking. Good luck!

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