We just disembarked P&O Iona, we cruised to Hamburg, Germany, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge, Belgium. Hamburg is crossed by hundreds of canals and also contains large areas of parkland. If like us you are visiting Hamburg, Germany for one day. Typically on a cruise here are the top things to do in a day without feeling stressed out.
Usually, the ship will provide a Shuttle bus and drop you near Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus) making this your first stop. Amazing building you can look around inside for FREE. Head for St Nicolas’s Church, then St Michael’s Church. Look round the shops between Binnenalster, Rathausmarkt, and Alsterarkaden in Hamburg very cosmopolitan place to shop also has a Galleria in case it is raining.
Where the ship docks and how to get into Hamburg:
There are three terminals at Hamburg cruise port: Cruise Centre Baakenhöft, Cruise Centre Steinwerder and Cruise Centre Altona. All of these terminals are too far to walk into Hamburg. Your cruise line will provide a Shuttle bus some will be complimentary some at a small charge. Our cruise was on P&O in Feb 2023 and the fee was £3 each way which was charged to our account.
All of the terminals are located within a very large, very busy major shipping port of Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg is the only German port city we were surrounded by massive cranes and rows and columns of shipping containers. The ship provided a shuttle bus into Hamburg it took 20 minutes for £3 each way. All the staff were helpful we were dropped off by the City Hall wow what a beautiful building, we looked around and took pictures, checking it out. Of course, much of Hamburg was destroyed in the war but the City Hall was lovingly restored and it is well worth a visit.
City Hall – Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus)
The Renaissance is located in the Altstadt District. Built between 1886 and 1897, its stunning architecture provides a dominant landmark on the skyline, you can go inside for free and take some fantastic pictures. If you have time you can research the City Hall’s amazing history. If you are on a cruise the cruise line’s shuttle bus will be dropped off very close to the City Hall use it as a landmark so you don’t get lost.
Explore the Old Town, a picturesque area featuring bridges, canals, and charming parks. On a sunny day, it’s a lovely place for a stroll. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes as you walk around the Old Town of Hamburg, the area on a warm sunny day is a lovely place to wander, taking in the bridges, canals, impressive architecture and delightful parks with all its attractions within easy reach.
St. Nicolas’s Church
Also known as the St. Nikolai War Memorial, these ruins pay tribute to those lost during World War II air raids. The church tower, the tallest in Hamburg, also hosts cultural events and exhibitions. Also known as 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!
St. Michael’s Church
Known as the ‘Michel’ by locals, St. Michael’s Church is a baroque masterpiece with its iconic copper roof. Be sure to check the opening times; the view from the tower is worth it.
St. Michael’s is the most important baroque church in northern Germany. With its unmistakable copper roof, the church tower is Hamburg’s iconic landmark. Affectionately known as the ‘Michel’ by the locals. This unique church is well worth a visit.
Do make sure you check the opening times as by the time we walked to this beauty it was closed so it was a bit of an anti-climax especially because it was February 2023 and it was cold. Managed to get a great picture though with no crowds outside.
Shopping in Hamburg
Hamburg is an excellent destination for Christmas market cruises, with lively markets outside City Hall. However, on a misty February day, local shopping options were limited. If you’re into high-end brands, Neuer Wall is the place to be. Brands like Dior, Prada, Gucci, and more await, and you can claim a tax refund when shopping for luxury items. Enjoy duty-free shopping in a picturesque setting and return home with a luxurious souvenir.
Hamburg is the city to cruise to during the Christmas holidays the Christmas markets in the square outside the City hall are the best. With Santa flying overhead into the darkness now and then.
On a grey misty day in February when we cruised there was not a lot of local shopping, local items are not very exciting in Germany. If you are into high-end brands. Here in Hamburg, there are all the brands. Such as Dior, Prada, Gucci, Luis Vuitton, Massimo Dutti, Salvatore Ferragamo, Hermes, Rolex, Moncler, Patek Philippe, Montblanc, Bottega Veneta, Mulberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel. All in the high-end shopping district on Neuer Wall. To find out how much tax you can claim back here is a tax refund calculator Germany VAT Refund Guide and Calculator – Upon. Germany’s refund rate ranges from 6.1% to 14.5% of the purchase amount, with a minimum purchase amount of 25 EUR per receipt.
Great to shop for high-end brands you will be able to claim all your tax back upon return. So if you have had your eye on a Louis Vuitton or Mulberry bag then treat yourself to claim your tax back and you have shopping in a fantastic location. So if anyone ever asks where did you bought your fabulous bag you will say. On my P&O Iona Cruise when we docked in Hamburg.