A harbour tour in Hamburg can be very expensive. But there is a cheap alternative to explore the waters of Hamburg.
To use the metro lines and busses in the city, you need a Hamburg Card or a ticket for the public transport system. But both of them not only entitle you to use buses and trains, also ferries are included.
All ferry lines in the 60 and 70 range operate in the bay. Some of them are only in service on weekdays, for the commuters. But ferry line 72, for example, operates daily between the bay and the Elbphilharmonie. 62 and 64 operate daily and connect the bay and Finkenwerder. They stop at the St. Pauli Piers.
Since a harbour Hamburg tour is such an essential part of a trip to Hamburg, regardless how unpleasant the weather might be, we decided to go for one, too. Reason number one was that we had bought a Hamburg Card and got the tour for free. Reason number two was that this tour was much shorter than the other tours that were offered.
We started at the St. Pauli Piers and took the ferry to Finkenwerder. It was cold, wet and windy and the upper deck of the boat was empty. The inside, however, was packed and every seat was taken. Those who do it for the view should position themselves on the upper deck.
The ferry calls at multiple stops along the way to Finkenwerder which also turns it into a hop on / hop off tour if you fancy some excursions to different parts of the embankment.
Those who want to hear information about the bay, the docks and the ships will not find what they are looking for on this tour. It is, after all, a public transport route. But there is still a lot to discover if you take the ride with open eyes. The ferry passes the fish market, the dry docks and the warehouses and even the Harbour Museum Övelgönne and the big container ship terminals. It is almost as if you booked one of the big harbour tours.