Port - Hafen, Hamburg
In Chicago, the Elevated railway or 'EL' is strongly marketed as a symbol of the city.
Hamburg has it's own 'El', a section of over two Kilometers of the U-Bahn network, affording great views the port area of of the city. It seems a pity that it is not promoted in the same kind of way.
The Hochbahn, as it is properly called, can be accessed for a trifiling sum, and provides a reliable transfer between the main central station and the St Pauli / Reeperbahn area.
Of particular note is the Baumwall station, partly because it has been resored to something approaching its original look, and partly because this is the best place to stop off and visit some of the historic ships in the inner harbour area.
The Landungsbrücken (literally "landing bridges" -- passenger docks) are Hamburg's railway station for boat trips. They were built for steamers heading abroad, especially to America. There still are cruise ships calling in Hamburg, but they have modern passenger docks a couple of hundreds of meters upstream.
A harbour cruise with one of the tourist boats is a must!
There are also ferries across the river elbe and further down the river to the exclusive suburb of Blankenese, the old city of Stade and Helgoland, an isolated island in the North Sea.
I think that the port in Hamburg is one of the most exciting in the world. And it is one of the biggest in the world. The best thing to explore is by one of the "Barkassen", small ships that will take you around for one or two hours. With their low roofs it is possible to pass the narrow bridges of the old storage area, the so called Speicherstadt. Nowadays the big banana and cocoa terminals are in the modern parts of this really huge area.
The captains of the small ships are helpful with useful information about anything and I guess that there are some in English too. Better check this before you leave.....
Well almost, it was a bit too nippy to be sitting outside in January, but it was very snug and cosy sat in the bar of the Old English Lightship in the Hafen (port area).
There are in fact three historic ships that have been moored here, including a genuine (and still fully funcioning) general cargo ship. It is even possible to stay in the cabins overnight - an option I hope to take up on another visit.
On a cold Sunday Lunchtime in January it wasn't crowded, although I suspect it gets a damn sight busier in the summer.
I never really did get to the bottom of why that particualar 'english' ship is now in Hamburg's harbour, but the Fire-engine red boat with a jazz band playing away was a great place to be. Highly recommended.
The port may be a nice spot if you want to check the huge port(the biggest in Germany and third in Europe by the way), the large ships, huge container terminals and the doggy area of St.Pauli. Apart from that it’s a place full of restaurants and souvenir shops but also the place where you can take a boat tour through the port of Hamburg. I was suggested the route #62 but as we didn’t have much time we preferred to walk around a bit and find a place to eat something.
We noticed many ships coming in from all over the world but I was surprised by some really huge yachts (some of them have helicopter landing area!), I guess they belong to some billionaires.
There are boat tours around the harbour, they last 1 hour and they cost 12 euros(there are also some that last 2 hours). Check the companies outside the subway station. Have in mind that the small boats can go closer to big vessels while the big boats cant even enter some canals.
For years various residents’ groups in St. Pauli have been resisting gentrification and huge building projects in their neighborhood. Starting in 1994, the Hafenrandverein (Harbor Edge Association) protested against and finally prevented the construction of a housing and office development on this site facing the harbor.
Instead, they proposed a public park, called “Park Fiction”, which after a long and difficult eleven year campaign was finally established in 2005.
The unusual shapes and functional design of this park – not at all like the primly manicured bourgeois parks you can find elsewhere in the city – were developed with the participation of local residents. The park has proved to be immensely popular, as can be seen in my photos. Despite the storm that is obviously brewing in the sky, people are still sitting around on the artificial hills chatting and looking out at the harbor.
Third photo: Nearby I saw this poster protesting against the proposed demolition of some existing buildings. Though the buildings in question are quite ugly, they are part of the neighborhood structure of “residents, neighbors, shopkeepers and nightlife”. The protestors demand an end to “investors’ fantasies about St. Pauli”.
Next: Fischerhaus restaurant
A magnificent area that stretches along the southern shores of the River Elbe and no doubt the most popular city attraction. It is the largest port in Germany and the third largest in Europe. Not only warehousing, industrial and logistic center but also as a backdrop for modern culture and the ports history. About it's history there are various museum ships; musical theaters, bars, restaurants and hotels - and even a floating boat church.
This place was my first sightseeing destination here. Wonderful sights!
Hamburg's harbour is the biggest in Germany. Everyday big container-ships, cruiseships and other ships arrive and leave. They can easily be watched from Landungsbruecken, where there are many cafes and restaurants.
The huge bridge across a wide harbour basin named Köhlbrand leads into the free port area. It is a popular access for trucks, as it is connected to the Autobahn leading south and to the Elbtunnel, so the trucks can avoid the city and go straight on the freeway. There are always traffic jams on the bridge because there are many trucks and they have to clear customs when leaving the free port.
In case you plan to drive Köhlbrandbrücke, take your ID or passport because you will enter the free port.
The green three-master with the green sails is well known from photos in magazines. When she is not busy advertising a certain beer from Bremen, her home is in Hamburg at Überseebrücke with the Cap San Diego as her neighbour.
Rickmers is one of Hamburg’s old family-owned shipping companies, who names their vessels after family members. They are still active in worldwide freight business, although they are not using sailing ships any more… I recently encountered a huge container carrier named Albert Rickmers (though under Liberian flag) full of Hapag Lloyd containers in the port of Fremantle, Western Australia (photo 3).
Germany’s biggest sea port is still very busy and impressive even during the economical crisis, especially the container terminals. You can catch a view of the harbour from the promenade walk along Landungsbrücken and Überseebrücke but the best way to get an idea of the harbour and its size is a boat cruise. You are taken through the container terminals and harbour basins, see the huge freighters from close by and observe the harbour at work. Comments (usually in German) are given by the captain who gets information on the ships that are currently in the harbour from the port authorities.
Harbour cruises depart from Landungsbrücken all the time during the day. Just show up and select one. You have the choice between one and two hour cruises, between cruises on a big boat, on a small Barkasse, or a Mississippi paddle steamer.
The Mississippi steamer can be considered a gag… My photos were taken during a cruise on a larger boat like the ones in photo 3. Next time I go, however, I’ll go on a Barkasse – see photo 4 to understand why. Those tiny boats were originally used to transport workers in the harbour, nowadays some do cruises. They are small enough to enter the canals and can get much closer to the big vessels than the larger ones ever could, so the view almost from duck perspective is far more impressive (photographers!).
More photos in the travelogues.
The port of Hamburg is Europe's second largest. Hamburg is not located on the North Sea but on the Elbe. The piers along the Elbe River are called Landungsbruecken. Here you can watch boats, ships and people passing.
I recommend to spend a few Euros on a ride one of the sightseeing boats. I payed nine Euros to get an imression of the harbour's size and could see the "Alte Speicherstadt" from the water side - fascinating!
The Port Area in Hamburg is particularly interesting to get a feel of the city's past. The entrance to the port is guarded by two statues of explorers, one of Christopher Columbus and one of Vasco de Gama.
Hamburg's port area is a main contributor to the city's wealth. There are numerous canals and bridges.
Ports fulfil many functions, and although the loading and unloading of goods is the business that makes the money, it's easy to overlook that ports also house docks that are used to maintain and repair the shipping fleet.
The fabulous boat tours of Hamburg port allow you to experience the full gamut of dock facilities, from the 'backyard' dock facilities of yesterday to the super duper dry docks required by the modern container fleets.
Yet one more reason to take a harbour tour!
Hamburg is an ancient port and this has been the secret of its success. The deep, wide waters of the Elbe have allowed the city a location that is unusually far inland. This makes it ideal for delivering good deep into the heart of the country, and has led the city to become the second busiest port in Europe (and one of the busiest in the world).
The modern harbour was built down river from Hamburg so that the coal burning steamships it served couldn't set fire to the city. It's continued to serve boats up until the present day. Unsurprisingly, as it was a prime target, and Allied bombers used rivers as navigational devices, the harbor building and environs were destroyed during World War 2. But the buildings have since been fully restored.
It is now a major tourist attraction and cultural monument. It is the beginning and end of a wonderful walk along the Elbe to the city centre. You can also find the famous Fishmarkt nearby.