Typically, my Trip Reports are like travel diaries. One posting per day, telling you all the stories of a trip, including all the minor ones which will never make it to a Flyctory.com posting. This trip report will be slightly different – but I still felt it is the right format. I have been to Hamburg several times during 2022. One thing I absolutely enjoyed is using the public ferry system to explore Hamburg Harbor. It is like having your own harbor cruise (like the one I took with the Ehlers company). In four episodes, this small trip report takes you to four different trips I took. As you see in the pictures, they have been taken at different days with different weather.
Hope you like the idea. In order to give you some better value of this series of postings, I decided to go for the Pictured Stories picture size whenever it comes to pictures illustrating what you see on the trip.
HADAG Ferries – Network and Ticketing
HADAG stands for Hafendampfschiffahrts-Actien-Gesellschaft, which traslates to “Harbor Steam Ship Stock Corporation”. Founded in 1888, it is nowadays a subsidiary of the Hamburger Hochbahn, which is driving Hamburg local traffic. Thus, (most) HADAG ferries are fully integrated into Hamburg public transport. You may thus transfer from ferry to rail-driven or bus services on one ticket or use day ticket or similar fare to ride the ships as well. All trips in this trip report are located in fare zones A and B. If you start after 9:00 on a weekday, a day ticket for one person is 6.90 EUR, if you travel in a group with up to five people and stay together, it is 12.90 EUR. These tickets (9 Uhr Tageskarte / 9 Uhr Gruppenkarte) are valid all day on weekends. The all-day weekday ticket for a single rider is 8.50 EUR (all fares as of September 2022). If you want to combine your ferry trips with more remote locations, you may have to pay higher fares.
As you see on the map, practically all lines either start at the Landungsbrücken or can be reached with an easy transfer (apart from the HBEL ferry, see below). Typically, starting at the famous pier in Central Hamburg also comes with the advantage that the vessels typically return there so that you do a round trip. It is definitely very recommended to check the schedule before doing the trip. If you are a morning person, you may make use of a tight schedule and that you can watch the locals, who especially use the ferry lines for their daily commute. In general, I recommend to do these trips on a weekday (Monday to Friday), as the ferries operate with a higher frequency – some might not operate on the weekends at all.
The ferry network plan above is taken from the HADAG website and copyrighted by that company. You will find very nice information about the ferry lines including some highlights along the route on their website.
HADAG Ferries – Routes Not Covered in this Trip Report
For different kinds of reason, I excluded three of the lines in this trip report:
- I did not make it to squeeze ferry 75 into my schedule. In the future, I will definitely combine a posting about this line with views of the Alter Elbtunnel (Old Elbe Tunnel), one of the most iconic and unique places around Hamburg Harbor.
- Line 68 connects Teufelsbrück with the Airbus factory. Only if you work for the company you are allowed to leave the ferry there.This is why I skipped it
- The Westernmost ferry HBEL works with different fare rules. I might write about it in a separate posting one day.
In order to serve visitors of the two musical theaters, there are also dedicated shuttle ferries to the shows. I covered the trip as part of my Ferry Line 73 posting.
HADAG Ferries – Ships
The HADAG overall runs a fleet of some 25 ships. The most obvious difference between the different vessels are different paintings and advertisement. However, thy also differ quite significantly in their model. Roughly one half of the HADAG ships is Typ 2000 style. They has a covered deck and an open air deck on top. Their characteristic design leads to the nickname Bügeleisen (“Flatiron”). They hold up to 250 passengers. The two latest ships, branded after Kehrwieder and the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, even come with a capacity of 400 passengers. There are also a few slightly older and less high vessels, especially to be able to be able to pass lower bridges.
The two-level vessels are typically prepared for catering services – these are however not used in public transport use. By the way, you cannot buy a ticket ob board (apart from online ticket), there are vending machines at the stops of the Hamburg public transport ferries. However, the ships typically feature toilets, some major ones also allow you to fasten your bike.
HADAG Ferries – Route 62 & 64- The Route
In the very first episode of my trip report, I take you to one of the most popular routes already. Ferry line 62 leads you along the harbor facilities to Finkenwerder. Most tourists transfer there to line 64, which then does two more stops to Teufelsbrück.
Line 62 runs on a daily basis. At the time of writing, the vessels depart at Brücke 3 / Bridge 3 at the Landungsbrücken. The service are very frequent and even operate in later evening hours. The travel time between Landungsbrücken and Finkenwerder is some 30 minutes. Ferry line 64 is significantly shorter and just runs some ten minutes. It is also operating on weekends. The frequency is typically every 30 minutes, with an increased frequency in the morning and in the afternoon on weekdays. A nice feature about Teufelsbrück is that it is just a not that long bus ride or walk away from S-Bahn commuter rail station Klein Flottbek,s so that you don’t necessarily have to go on a round trip.
HADAG Ferries – Route 62 & 64 – My Trip (Pictured Story)
The first two stops of the trip are very spectacular. With the famous Fischmarkt (Fish Market) and the characteristic building at Dockland (Fischereihafen), the ferry line 62 passes two very iconic parts of Hamburg architecture. While you explore the city life of Hamburg on the Northern side of the Norderelbe, you for example pass Blohm + Voss, a famous Hamburg wharf, on the harbor side. This section of the trip is by the way shared between the lines 61 and 62 – while line 61 heads South afterwards, 62 stays in Western direction.
The third stop of this cruise, Neunmühlen / Övelgönne is very interesting, as this stop also features a museum harbor with historic ships. You also see a more scattered – and obviously rather rich – residential style on the North strand. Locals love to pass the bouder Alter Schwede (“Old Swede”) on the North shore, before the ferry crosses the Norderelbe for its very first South bank stop. Thereby, the Bubendey-Ufer is not only a place where harbor workers disembark. The guide boat central, a yacht harbor and some spots for good views of the container harbor turn this spot to a popular place to have a walk.
Transfer to Ferry 64
From this stop, it is just a few minutes to Finkenwerder. The lines minutes of being on ferry line 62 give you some nice view of the harbor. This area, however, has quite a lot of touristic options like restaurants as well. The scenery behind Finkenwerder is more beautiful than the transfer pier itself. . Depending on the schedule, the vessel taking you the two stops to Teufelsbrück is already waiting for you. The trip is not that thrilling. It had two highlights to me, though: The Teufelsbrück pier is a real beauty – and there were some planes departing from the Finkenwerder airport used by Airbus. I especially loved to see the Beluga cargo plane.
HADAG Ferries Trip Report – The Episodes
The episodes of my small Hamburg public ferries trip report are given in the order of the ferry line numbering, not in chronologically the way I published them:
- Ferry Line 61 – Enjoying the Köhlbrand Bridge from the Water
- Ferry Lines 62 & 64 – Go West towards Airbus Territory (incl. general information)
- Ferry Line 72 – Roundtrip to Elbphilharmonie
- Ferry Line 73 – My favorite Harbor Views
Ships & Water Travel
Here are more Flyctory.com postings about Ships & Water Travel: