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The Best Way To Experience Hamburg And Its Cruise Port

The Best Way To Experience Hamburg And Its Cruise Port

Located in the north of Germany on the Elbe River, you will find the city of Hamburg. Considered Germany’s gateway to the world, it is a busy and vibrant place, and due to its location on the river just 62 miles from the sea, its port provides a popular stop for both ocean and river cruise vessels.

To help if you have a port day here, we’ve created a guide on what there is to do in and around Hamburg cruise port, how to get to Hamburg from the cruise port and what popular attractions the city offers.

Where do cruise ships dock in Hamburg, Germany?

There are three terminals at Hamburg cruise port: Cruise Centre Baakenhöft, Cruise Centre Steinwerder and Cruise Centre Altona.

Most large cruise ships will dock at Cruise Centre Steinwerder. Opened in 2015, it is the newest of the three terminals but is located the furthest from Hamburg’s centre.

 With two terminal buildings, it can accommodate up to 8,000 passengers. Facilities found at the cruise terminals include a café, luggage service and car rental.

Cruise Centre Altona is also relatively modern, opening in 2011. It can host cruise ships of up to 300m in length, so larger vessels may also dock here.

 Although Cruise Centre Altona is located towards the city’s western side, it is not within walking distance of Hamburg’s main attractions. A café is available in the terminal building. However, its opening hours are dependent upon ship call times.

Cruise Centre Baakenhöft is the original Hamburg cruise terminal and is situated in HafenCity.

 It is currently being used as a temporary terminal until a new one is opened in the southern Überseequartier towards the end of 2022. There is not much in the way of facilities at Cruise Centre Baakenhöft. However, it is within walking distance of Hamburg’s centre. 

What to do in Hamburg cruise port

If you’re wondering if there is anything near Hamburg cruise port, one of the best activities is exploring the Port of Hamburg itself. Seeing the captivating hubbub of activity, where around 12,000 ships transport goods every year, you’ll soon appreciate why the Port of Hamburg is so important.

With over 27 miles of wharves, taking a barge tour is a great way to take in the full enormity of this area.

How far is Hamburg from the cruise port?

The distance from Hamburg cruise port to the city centre is just over 8km, and you will likely be able to catch a shuttle bus provided by your cruise line.

However, a water bus also stops near Cruise Centre Steinwerder and Cruise Centre Altona. During the week, the service runs regularly. And, with fares at around €1.30 per trip, it is a pleasant way to start your discovery of Hamburg. Taxis are also available if needed and cost approximately €13 each way.

What to do in Hamburg on port days

Hamburg is a wonderful hub of culture, creativity and tradition, with various influences over the years providing a wealth of things to see and do.

Altstadt District

When exploring the city, the Altstadt District is a popular place to start.

Regarded as the Old Town of Hamburg, the area is a charming place to wander, taking in the bridges, canals, impressive architecture and delightful parks with all its attractions within easy reach.

Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus):The magnificent, neo-Renaissance city hall is a top attraction located in the Altstadt District. Built between 1886 and 1897, its stunning architecture provides a dominant landmark on the skyline, while its fascinating history will keep you enthralled for as much time as you have to spare.

St. Nikolai War Memorial: The ruins of St. Nikolai stand as a memorial to the tens of thousands of people killed during the air raids of World War II. As well as a permanent exhibition of the aerial war, it also hosts cultural concerts, films and events throughout the year.

The church tower is the highest in Hamburg, and interestingly it also holds the largest glockenspiel in Germany!

Warehouse District (Spiecherstadt)

Built in 1883, Spiecherstadt is the world’s largest complex of warehouses. Its surprising beauty and unique history have made it a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Covering over 260,000 square metres, you’ll find a maze of streets, canals and bridges. Visitors can board its model railway, visit the dark dungeons or learn about Hamburg’s maritime history in the museum.

Hamburg markets

For those who love to browse the local markets, Hamburg has two intriguing places to visit. At St. Pauli Fischmarkt, you’ll find not only fresh fish and seafood but fruit, flowers, clothing and an array of knick-knacks.

Meanwhile, the Flohschanze flea market is the place to head for vintage souvenirs and retro novelties.

Nearby places to visit


Just over an hour by train from Hamburg is the fairytale town of Bremen. It’s an enchanting place to explore, with its winding streets and picturesque 15th– and 16th-century houses.

It also inspired the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, and today you can find a bronze sculpture here in recognition.


If you’re seeking something with a little more natural beauty, take a trip to Schwerin, the land of lakes, and you won’t be disappointed.

Its main attraction is the splendid Schwerin Castle, which is beautifully situated between two lakes and verdant gardens. The train ride from Hamburg is just under an hour and a half.

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