Hafenrundfahrt Hamburg

Hamburg Harbor | Explore the iconic Port of Hamburg

Cruises in HamburgHamburg Harbor

Known as the 'Gateway to the World' in Germany, Hamburg Harbor is the largest seaport in the country. Also called the Port of Hamburg, the harbor is an important link for trade between Central and Eastern Europe. A Hamburg harbor cruise reveals how this port and the culture have evolved over the years and offer breathtaking views of the harbor from the water.

What is Hamburg harbor?

Hamburg Harbor

Hamburg cruise centers in Hamburg harbor


Hamburg Cruise Center Hafencity

While it may have been erected as a temporary solution, Cruise Center Hafencity is still a chic terminal. It stands across the Elbphilharmonie in a very happening area of the city. Today, in attempts to address both local and global needs, Hafencity, Hamburg, is Europe’s largest inner-city urban development project for a European city on the waterfront.


Hamburg Cruise Center Steinwerder

A swank and highly modern terminal, Steinwerder cruise terminal is one of the largest terminals for cruise ships in the world and began operations in June 2015. It has two separate terminal buildings that can accommodate more than 8000 passengers per ship visit. It can also accommodate cruise ships with lengths of up to 405 m.

Cruise Center Altona

Hamburg Cruise Center Altona

Hamburg Altona and its glass facade will greet you as you wait to catch your Hamburg cruise. This terminal is equipped with a shore-based power system. It started operations in 2011 and can accommodate cruise ships of lengths up to 300 m. It is also adjacent to the local fish market and various bars, giving you an authentic experience of Hamburg.

Who built the Hamburg harbor?

Hamburg Harbor

History of Hamburg harbor

  • The Port of Hamburg’s official birthdate was recognized as 7th May 1189 when emperor Frederich Barbarossa gave the citizens the privilege of sailing without paying customs duties. 
  • In 1321, the Port of Hamburg's accession to Hanse allowed the city to build trading branches in London, Amsterdam, Bruges and more places.
  • On 20th October 1400, the notorious pirate, Klaus Störtebeker was beheaded after being captured by Hamburgians. The citizens were led by Admiral Karpfanfer who used the ships in convoy to repel the pirates. 
  • At the end of the 15th century, the discovery of America gave a boost to Hamburg's foreign trading practices and helped the Port of Hamburg to form close economic ties with many foreign ports. Trading with America began in 1782 and by 1799, there were 290 ships under the Hamburg flag. 
  • Expansion of the port was in progress when, in 1806, it was interrupted due to a continental blockade. However, the work on expansion resumed in 1814 after the city's liberation. In 1816, the first steamship - the British Lady of the Lake, was introduced in Hamburg.
  • In 1862, it was decided to turn the Hafenrundfarht into an open tidal port. Johannes Dalmann started planning for restructuring the port and the work on the quays and the sheds for the port began in 1866.
  • In 1881, Hamburg Harbor joined the German Customs Union and was allowed one area to store goods duty-free. In 2013, this status was given up to ensure the development of Hamburg and the port.
  • In 1913, Hamburg Harbor became the leading port in Europe and the third-largest in the world. But with WW2, 80% of the port facilities were destroyed. After the war, the city invested €115 million in the reconstruction of the port.
  • In 1967, the industrialization of sea traffic began and introduced the age of containers. On 31st May 1968, the first entirely containership, the American Lancer, berthed at Hamburg. 
  • The planning of Container Terminal Altenwerder commenced in 1990 to manage the containers. Currently, it is the first facility to be climate neutral.
  • In 2003, a new urban development project, the HafenCity Project, began on 160 hectares of portland between Elbe bridges and Kehrwiederspitze. This urban settlement combines living quarters, workspace, culture, tourism, and more and will be completely ready by 2025.

Things to see at Hamburg harbor

Hamburg Harbor


The Elbphilharmonie, nicknamed Elphi, is a concert hall in Hamburg, Germany. It is one of the largest concert halls in the world. The new glass construction on top of the old brick warehouse resembles an iceberg or a water wave and makes it a popular landmark to admire. 

Hamburg Harbor

Kontorhaus District

Built on over 5 hectares of land, the Kontorhaus District features six large office buildings that were constructed between 1920 and 1950 to host port-related businesses. Stroll through this district to marvel at the architecture and understand how the warehouse-office district worked with a port city.

Hamburg Harbor


Located in Hamburg, Germany, the Speicherstadt is the largest warehouse district in the world. This district is home to buildings that have the foundation on timber-pile, mainly oak logs. It was built between 1883 and 1927 as a free zone for the transfer of goods without any need for customs. 

Hamburg Harbor

River Elbe

River Elbe is one of the five major rivers in Central Europe and covers a majority of Germany, including Hamburg harbor. Enjoy a Hamburg cruise on this river to witness untouched wetlands and woodlands along with a wide range of wildlife.

Frequently asked questions about Hamburg harbor

What is Hamburg Harbor?

Hamburg Harbor is one of the busiest and oldest ports in Europe, serving as a vital link for trade and tourism. It offers stunning waterfront views and a bustling atmosphere.

What are the must-see attractions at Hamburg Harbor?

Key attractions include the historic Speicherstadt, Elbphilharmonie concert hall, and the maritime museum. Don't miss the stunning Hamburg harbor cruises for a unique perspective.

Can I book Hamburg Harbor cruise tickets in advance?

Yes, it's advisable to book Hamburg cruise tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Online booking offers convenience and several ticket options for securing your perfect cruise.

How long is a typical Hamburg Harbor cruise?

Hamburg Harbor cruises vary in duration, ranging from one hour to 2.5 hours, depending on the route and operator. Most offer informative commentary and opportunities for sightseeing.

How do I get to Hamburg Harbor?

Hamburg Harbor is easily accessible by public transportation, including buses, trains, and ferries. Visitors can also reach the harbor by car or taxi, with parking facilities available in the vicinity.

What makes Hamburg Harbour special?

Hamburg Harbour in Germany is a dynamic blend of history, culture, and modernity. Its significance as a major trade hub and the sheer beauty of its waterfront make it a unique destination.

Are Hamburg Harbor cruises suitable for families with children?

Yes, Hamburg Harbor cruises are family-friendly and suitable for children of all ages. Kids can enjoy the sights and sounds of the bustling harbor while adults learn about its history and significance.

Do Hamburg Harbor cruises operate year-round?

Yes, Hamburg Cruises operate year-round, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the port's beauty in every season.

Are there Hamburg evening cruises available?

Yes, there are Hamburg evening cruises, allowing passengers to witness Hamburg Harbor's enchanting transformation as night falls.