Highlanders in Hamburg 2 - Harbour XXL

When we started to plan our Hamburg trip it was always clear that the Port of Hamburg would play a big role. We love ships, living in a (small) harbour town ourselves, and often watch big ships circumnavigating the coast on their way north or south (duly looking up more info on the web where there are some brilliant sites to track those vessels).

Highlanders in Hamburg 2 - Harbour XXL

I had read all about harbour tours and compared options but then came across some references to the ferries that connect various locations on the Elbe and that are actually included in the price of the Hamburg Card, which also covers public transport. Whilst not entering all parts of the port, like where the cruise ships dock, it would provide us with a good view of most of the area, it was free and more or less hop on/hop off along some of the attractions. And we could do it again and again and again.

The Harbour Ferries, the most used being the number 62, comes in all sorts of funky colours and designs. One of them was all yellow, promoting the musical Lion King, which was on in a theatre on the other side of the harbour. They run quite frequently so it did not take long until we could board our first one, after a snack of german sausages on the pier called the "Landungsbrücken" where the ferries stop and the harbour tour boats leave. Plenty of cafes,,, restaurants and food stalls to keep the explorers busy but we didn't have to wait long.

The ferries are a bit Tardis like because as soon as you walk in you see a sizeable indoor seating area with seats and tables, coffee/tea and refreshments sold also. Or you can head for the upper deck, which is open air.

We decided to stay inside to start with as it was rainy and blustery and anticipating this was just the first go of several more we could afford to take it easy. There is plenty to see as you head along the Elbe, at quite an impressive pace. We saw some navy ships in a dockyard on the left, then spotted another attraction we wanted to visit another day - a Russian submarine/now museum.

Further down the Elbe we got a good glimpse of the container port with its huge cranes and colourful display of containers. Two-thirds of the way into the journey the ferry crosses to the other side of the Elbe, getting closer to Finkenwerder, the destination which is also the location of the Airbus factory. Not on this first one but on a later trip we were treated to an Airbus Beluga plane coming in to land at the Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport, which is part of the factory.

Once you reach Finkenwerder you can hop off and explore the local village, or you can take another short ferry which will take you back to the other side of the river. Or, like us, you can just stay on until passengers have boarded for the return trip. Each one-way trip on ferry 62 takes about 30 minutes.

For us; taking the ferry rather than booking a harbour tour definitely worked out. Overall we took about 6-7 single trips. One time having lunch in Finkenwerder and then going across the river to walk back home (or rather as it turned out walking in a big circle back to where we started, but that's another story). On another occasion we did a hop-on-hop-off trip, visiting attractions along the Elbe, on the return trip being treated to a HUGE container ship crossing our path.

As we already had opted for the Hamburg Card, which included public transport including the ferries, it was the most cost-effective option also. Hamburg Port and the Elbe were definitely highlights of our trip.

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About the Author

Monika Strell

Monika Strell

About Me & Mine

Monika (an Austrian in Scotland), Stewart (a true Highlander) and Corwin (8), plus 2 dogs and 5 cats.  We live on a woodland croft in the parish of Assynt, in the far North West Highlands of Scotland.

Favourite place in the world:

Home - we are lucky to have mountains and beaches on our doorstep and Scotland generally; but we also love the mountains in my native Austria and have a soft spot for California, where we spent our honeymoon.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Explovering (our personal term for exploring and discovering) mountains, lochs and beaches, camping, foraging, star gazing, Geocaching, developing our already wonderful woodlands into a magic place to share with family, friends and neighbours and fishing.

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