A city tour on water is a must in HafenCity Hamburg to the most popular activities. Whether with the barge, with the passenger ship or an evening light ride: On board of the ships you will experience the flair of the maritime Hanseatic city. Grab your family for an excursion and plan the harbour tour as a company event, because only here you will feel the great freedom of Hamburg.
Best time for a harbour tour
The harbour tour in Hamburg is an absolute highlight - and that in wind and weather. Whether a harbour tour in the sunshine or in the evening, a family outing or a company event, even in the rain, you can experience the indescribable maritime flair around the harbour of Hamburg on board of the traditional barges or the large passenger ships. Of course, the best time is when the sun is shining in spring or summer or an evening light tour along the port of Hamburg and the Speicherstadt. The tours through the port of Hamburg are especially popular on the annual port birthday on the 7th of May. If you don't want to miss this party, you have to book the boat tour early.
The best harbour tour
Among the most popular sightseeing tours on the Elbe are the big harbour tour on the barge and the harbour tour XXL. In addition to the attractions such as the Elbe Philharmonic Hall and the Speicherstadt, the XXL version also travels to many other sights. On the evening lights tour you will experience the port of Hamburg in a sea of lights. Enjoy a picturesque drive through the Speicherstadt with its numerous illuminated small bridges and office buildings (in German: Kontorhäuser).
The alternative harbour tour
The Port of Hamburg, the Speicherstadt and Kontorhäuser (office buildings), as well as stories about seafarers and lots of spun sailor's yarn together make up the fascination of the Port of Hamburg. Hardly anyone knows the other side of the coin - environmental pollution, contamination by oil, the disappearance of marine life and the decay of districts add up to the account of the Port of Hamburg. The alternative harbour tour in Hamburg is therefore also popular. Here you will deal with the effects of port operations on the environment. Learn why the careful use of the Elbe is so important for the environment. You can look forward to a lot of informative but also worth seeing things on board.
How much time to plan
Plan half a day for the time at the port of Hamburg. During a harbour tour you will spend at least one hour on the barge. The boat and ship tours can also last up to three hours. Why half a day when the journey only takes up to three hours? Plan time for a walk after the tour. Get one of the popular fish sandwiches on your hand. Contact point no. 1 is the fish stall "Brücke 10" directly at the landing stages. Insider tip: crab roll with remoulade or matie baguette with onions.
The fastest way to the port
Many of the harbour tours start at the landing stages (Landungsbrücken) or the Überseebrücke. As there is a hustle and bustle here (especially in the high season, in summer or for the harbour birthday) you should start your journey early enough to have enough time to find your ship or the right bridge. It is best to use public transport in Hamburg. With the underground line U3 and the tram lines S1, S2, S3 you can reach the Landungsbrücken quickly from all parts of the city. We do not recommend to arrive by car, as Hamburg's traffic is enormous and there are hardly any affordable parking spaces at the harbour. Those who do not want to do without a car will find their parking space in one of the parking garages at the Landungsbrücken.
5 highlights you experience on a harbour tour
The Elbphilharmonie is also affectionately called "Elphi" by the people of Hamburg. It is located on the banks of the North Elbe in Hamburg's HafenCity district. HafenCity has been repeatedly rebuilt and modernized for several years. The Elbe Philharmonic Hall itself is a masterpiece of modern architecture and, alongside the "Michel", became a new landmark of the Hanseatic city. The Elphi was built on the shell of a former granary and creates a combination of tradition and modernity with the combination of "old" bricks and modern upper part made of glass. On a harbour tour nobody can tear themselves away from the sight of this masterpiece.
The landing stages are a floating pier, which is almost 700 meters long. Many harbour tours and ferries to Finkenwerder or Blankenese start here. The Landungsbrücken are located between Niederhafen, Reeperbahn and the Hamburg fish market. Apart from the ships and ferries that leave here, the area is also popular for its fish restaurants and small souvenir shops.
The Hamburg Speicherstadt is one of the most beautiful corners around the port of Hamburg. Characterized by bridges, canals and great brick buildings, it is particularly interesting not only because of its architecture, but also because of its many stories. The best way to discover Speicherstadt is by water. Barge cruises then take you along the old warehouse floors, where high quality goods such as coffee, spices, tobacco and tea were once stored.
4. Harbour Museum
The Hamburg Harbour Museum is one of the best museums in the city. After the harbour tour it is worth visiting the complex. Visitors can vividly experience the various stages and the development of the port of Hamburg. Not only real ship fanatics get their money's worth here, but also families with children are recommended to visit the museum after the harbour tour. Perhaps also a successful alternative in the rain?
5. Cap San Diego
The Cap San Diego is the largest still navigable museum ship in the world. It is anchored in Hamburg's harbour at the Überseebrücke. Those who start their round trip by ship at the overseas bridge should also visit the Cap San Diego. The museum ship was even declared a maritime monument in 2003 and converted into a floating hotel. In its heyday it sailed mainly the South American waters and even today the Cap San Diego sails several times a year for museum trips with about 500 passengers. Inform yourself in advance about departure times, maybe you will be lucky and enjoy a very special city tour.