Hamburg: Boat tours for every budget

Posted in: Hamburg

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Hamburg boat tour
Get closer to Hamburg's maritime history by taking a boat tour. Photo: yoavlerman

Given its prime position on the Elbe, its status as a major port city, the various canals cutting through the city, and the centerpiece Alster lakes, you can be certain that Hamburg offers a multitude of opportunities to explore the city from the water.

Cheapo tours

The city has numerous ferries plying the Elbe in its transportation network, which means that for the price of a transportation day ticket, you can hop on-hop off these water routes as you wish.

The classic tour is #62 to Finkenwerder, an area with a small village atmosphere that’s enjoyable to explore by foot before returning to the mainland by ferry – or make a half-day trip out of it by packing a picnic lunch or dinner along. The ferry makes a number of stops along the coast, giving you the opportunity to walk on the beach or enjoy a beer or fish sandwich from the small restaurants along the shoreline, a lovely diversion when the weather is agreeable.

Ferries depart every 15 minutes from Landungsbrücken.
Total travel time: one hour.
Cost: day tickets from 5.80€.

Alster cruises

ATG offers basic trips around the Alster all year long. If you’d prefer a short trip, it’s possible to pay per station; otherwise, purchase a round-trip or day ticket.

Cruises depart from outside S-/U-Jungfernstieg.
Cost: round trip 8.50€, day tickets 12€.

Canal tours

ATG also offers extended versions of its Alster tours, which include an additional hour-long excursion through Hamburg’s canal system.

Runs March through October.
Cost: 18€.

In good weather, however, you may prefer to rent a small boat – a canoe or even a swan-shaped paddle boat – to explore the canals at a slower pace. Try Bootsvermietung Dornheim in Winterhude; prices start at just 9€ per hour for a two-person boat.  Closest station: U-Saarlandstrasse.

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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One thought on “Hamburg: Boat tours for every budget”

  1. Hey,
    thanks a lot for the interesting recommendations. Something that I found out when travelling through Germany was, that since beginning of 2013 it’s possible to travel with a bus from city to city. Quite comfortable and cheap as well. Good Bus companies are Flixbus or City2City. My travel buddy writes quite good articles about different routes, i.e. The only disadvantage is that it’s written only in German. But if you know the language a little bit, the articles can be very helpful for planning a trip through the country.


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