Visit the World’s Greatest Port Festival in Hamburg

Categories: Entertainment

Hamburg’s Port Festival
Hamburg’s Port Festival

[ source: Wikipedia]

If you are planning a trip to Hamburg (Hamburg vacation rentals | Hamburg travel guide) this year, hurry up so you will be in time for the Port Festival. Hamburg is not only by far the largest harbor city in Germany but also host of the world’s greatest Port Festival, the so—called Hafengeburtstag. In 2011 the Hafengeburtstag is celebrated for the 821st time and takes place from the 6th until the 8th of May.

Yes, that’s right! The Port Festival has been celebrated for the last 820 years. It dates back to the 7th of May 1189, when Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa granted Hamburg’s citizens exemption from customs duties for ships on the Elbe from Hamburg to the North Sea. This act of generosity set the groundwork for the growth and success of Hamburg as a trading town. Since then its people have thrown a big birthday party to honor their harbor each and every year.

The Hafengeburtstag usually attracts more than a million visitors and offers a varied program for people of all ages. The festival takes place right around the gangplanks (Landungsbrücken) and reaches from the Dockland warehouse district (Kehrwiederspitze) to the fish auction hall. In whole there are around 500 fair stands, which offer everything, from all kinds of live music, over artistic performances to culinary delights.

Every year some of the biggest and most impressive ships from various countries all over the world come by to join the celebrations. Additionally, there are German navy ships, like the frigate Lübeck (Lübeck vacation rentals | Lübeck travel guide), ships from the fire brigade and harbor police, as well as various museum ships present. Best of all, most of them allow the public to board and stroll around free of charge. If you are interested in ships and seafaring in general, the Hafengeburtstag is the best event to go to and ask the experts all the questions you might have.

The highlights of the Port Festival certainly are the grand arrival parade Friday afternoon and the grand departure parade on Sunday evening, when all these amazing ships enter and leave the harbor. In between there will be countless other special events, like sailing regattas, performances of waterskiing artists or showrides of antique ships, like a Roman galley, that are just a lot of fun to watch.

Hamburg always is at its best during the weekend of the Port Festival. Come on over and check it out!

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About this Article

Kathrin Wagner

This travel guide has been written by Kathrin Wagner.

She grew up in a small town in Bavaria and then studied Media studies, Literature and History in Erlangen and Munich. As a student she already spent half a year in London and moved back there after graduation in 2006. She is still living in London, where she works in publishing.

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Hamburg Hafen, Germany

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