Hamburg Cruise Port To City Centre.

What To Do in Hamburg, Germany in one day.

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:
  1. Where the ship docks and how to get into Hamburg.

  2. Hamburg, sights to see in one day.

  3. Shopping in Hamburg. 

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 completely surrounded by massive cranes, and rows and columns of shipping containers.  The ship provided a shuttle bus into Hamburg it took 20 minutes at a cost of £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, check 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.

Hamburg, sights to see in one day:

City Hall – 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, 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.

Altstadt District 

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 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 

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 freezing cold.  Managed to get a great picture though with no crowds outside.
Here is a link to their website for more information, St. Michael’s Church (

Shopping in Hamburg:

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 every now and then.

On a grey misty day in February when we cruised there is 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 Luis Vuitton or Mulberry bag then treat yourself to claim your tax back and you have shopping in a fantastic location.  So if anyone ever says where did you buy your fabulous bag you will say.  On my P&O Iona Cruise when we docked in Hamburg. 

The area is clean and the new buildings look gorgeous mainly as they reflect in the canal waterways.  There is also a shopping mall called Galleria. GALLERIA Passage Hamburg Shoppen Genießen Verweilen (



I went into Christ Jewellery store, in Hamburg, Germany really close to where the Cruise LIne’s shuttle bus dropped us off.  They were super helpful and I decided to do some comparison shopping against a Breitling watch I was looking at on the ship.  I just want to highlight here how if the ship has a brand that you love especially in premium watches and jewellery then definitely buy it on the ship.  Here is a case study for you:


Breitling Professional Endurance.

One of Breitling’s earliest and most enduring mottos was “Instruments for Professionals” and the words are as relevant today as ever.  The watches in the Professional family are equipped with features that make them perfect partners for every adventure:

  • 3 times lighter than TITANIUM
  • 8 TIMES LIGHT THAN 316L steel
  • Processed titanium material
  • 4 years of battery life
  • Chronometer Certified

Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff if you bought this watch in the UK it would cost you –

£2,750* UK High Street

€3,300 = £2,930* Hamburg, Germany High Street Tax refund €413 (£367) = £2,563


I wanted to give you another comparison but after looking everywhere I actually couldn’t find a jeweller that had this model in stock.  Take the Breitling Navitimer BOI Chronograph 46mm Men’s Watch Black strap.

UK Highstreet = £7,200

Onboard the P&O Cruises Iona = £5,875* which is a saving of £1,325.  You’re saving VAT and there is a small percentage off on top of that. 18.40% saving.

There are more benefits when buying a watch onboard.  One is that it is guaranteed through the cruise line and there are a couple more benefits I will leave you to enquire about when you are on board. If you want to know more email me to find out 

*Prices quoted on this blog are verified at the time of writing.