Boat day in Hamburg

Boat day in Hamburg

Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany and has a massive industrial zone and harbor. Which gives great opportunity to have a boat day in Hamburg. The good news is that it is not necessary for people who like the navy and ships. It has its own magic that I believe is for everyone who has an interest in modern architecture.

Start your boat day in Hamburg with cruise

Cruise around harbor in Hamburg
Hamburg has a huge harbor, so if you are a navy lover, spend your boat day in Hamburg by cruising around the harbor.

Hamburg is full of canals and interesting architecture – similar to Copenhagen but more industrial. And because there are canals almost everywhere, there are also boats everywhere. So start your day by going to the harbor and ask for cruises. An hour cruise cost usually around 20 euros, and the company is very much just your choice. If you don’t care about the stories that have captain says and don’t speak German, just take any cruise. Most of them are in German, but there are a couple of them per day in English as well.

There are also several variants about how long do you want to cruise around. We took the one for an hour, which was really just about the harbor. The harbor is massive, so it is not like you will get bored. The longer ones are also with harbor but also some industrial areas behind Hamburg.

View from cruise
You get to know a lot of interesting things on a cruise, but more importantly, you will get some stunning views.

Cruises are quite informative, you will always get to know what kind of building are you looking at and quite interesting facts about the harbor. Like how big it is, how many ships there are, what are the ships for… And since we are talking about ships, also interesting facts about ships. Like biggest tanker and how much tons they can actually carry.

Overall, I think first it will get you with the extraordinary view of the city and the interesting facts are just cherry on top of the cake. If nothing else, this is the way on how to get an extra view on Elbphilharmonie.

Museum of Maritime

Boats boats boats
Boats! Boats! Boats! This is how you feel as a girl in the museum of maritime, but I enjoyed my time looking at the beautiful models and paintings

This is something that you cannot miss if you want a proper boat day in Hamburg. Hamburg has a huge international museum of maritime. Full five floors of boats and different stories about them. We went there mainly because it was raining cats and dogs and thought that this is something that will take us about an hour and after we can figure out something else.

Well, it took us about three hours to do the whole museum and there were parts that we basically just passed by. But it is really place where you get to see everything about boats. How people started building, biggest sailors, explanations about different kind of ships… well, but for us girls – they have nice paintings and models of boats.

Paintings in Maritime museum

There is something that fascinated me about the museum. It has about five floors and most of the people assume that Germans themselves would represent themselves there as well. But for about three floors you didn’t really see too many German products or boats in the museum. Then there are glass doors, and behind them, you get to see everything about navy during world wars. And this is where most of the German ships pop out. It almost feels like they would like to say “we are really, really sorry about this guys” in most decent way possible. Because you can, of course, say that you won’t go there and the glass doors sort of show that you don’t have to.

Walk around the harbor

One of the famous views in the canals
Finish your boat day in Hamburg by walk between canals and around piers. The warehouse district has a nice atmosphere

Finish your boat day in Hamburg by a walk around the piers. Even though Hamburg might not be that popular as Berlin, it has some great places in the city center. And since there are canals everywhere, you get to see the boats also everywhere. Or just interesting parts of the city like the warehouse district. It is a peaceful part of town with only fancy restaurants and few bakeries. Also around the harbor, there is a Portuguese part of town with a lot of tapas, that I recommend visiting in case you get hungry. During the summer, harbor could be a great place to hang out around the river and just watch ships come and go.

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17 Replies to “Boat day in Hamburg”

  1. This is very interesting! I had no idea Hamburg was such a popular port city with canals and a ton of boats. I enjoy visiting places where I can watch the ships come and go from the harbor! The Museum of Maritime also sounds very interesting and a great way to spend a rainy day. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Completely agree! You’ll discover Hamburg from a completely different angle from the river – I really enjoyed the few hours “exploring” the harbour and getting really close to the big freighters!

  3. Love the recs and details! I’ve been to Germany on numerous occasions, but have still yet to hit up Hamburg. That cruise is most interesting to me and something that I will def try to do when I go there!

  4. Wow – never been to Hamburg or anywhere around it but I feel silly for not knowing it had canals! Would you say the city also has somewhat of a foodie or cultural/arts scene? Would you only recommend spending a day there, or longer?

    1. It definitely does culture scene, I believe that in summer it can be more enjoyable to walk around, but there is a lot of historical buildings and different festivals as well. I think I would recommend two days there, three if you want to wander around on your own as well for a bit

  5. The Maritime Museum sounds interesting to visit. Hamburg looks like a nice city to visit and the harbour and canals look like a good place to walk around and see a different side of the city.

  6. I guess I didn’t realize that Hamburg had a canal system! I spend a lot of my summers on the coast, so I’m a big fan of boats! I would love to visit the museum and learn a little more about the history and stories!

  7. Loved the blog. Hamburg is often overlooked by a lot of people but I guess this guide will add value to the travelers. Loved the comprehensive guide.

  8. I love Hamburg! I was there last summer for a wedding and part of the celebration was a private little boat cruise for all the guests. Love your pictures and tips.

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